The Samsung i7 is a digital compact camera with a twist -- the large touchscreen can be rotated to change it into either an MP3 player or a portable media player. It doesn't end there, though -- a number of other devices have been bundled into the i7's broad-shouldered but snake-hipped frame. It's a playful and unusual camera with plenty of novelty value, but isn't cheap at just a shade under £200.
The i7's unique selling point (or gimmick, depending on your view) is that the screen can be rotated. Keep it where it is for an MP3 player, spin it 90 degrees for a portable multimedia player, or 180 degrees for a camera. Revolving the screen is fun, with a satisfying snap to the motion. We like the idea, but we wonder whether the novelty will wear off, or how durable the flip mechanism is in the long term. The screen also has a tendency to occasionally rotate in a bag pocket.
The flat, slender design keeps the i7 pocketable, balancing out the fact that it is quite wide at the back. The slightly larger frame accommodates a giant 76mm (3-inch) LCD touchscreen.
There are some minor design gripes. At the front, the i7 is mostly minimalist, except for a clunky detail that at first looks like some kind of clip, but in fact doesn't serve any purpose. It's bulbous and ugly, and is a jarring wrong note on the face of an otherwise playfully styled camera.
As well as looking unsightly, the clip-like lump on the front slants the screen away from you when laid flat, stopping you from putting the i7 on a table to watch the PMP. Meanwhile, for some reason, the tripod mounting is on completely the opposite side of the camera to the lens.
One clever piece of design is the power connector, which is a three-pronged plug with a USB slot that attaches to the camera's download cable.
As well as taking pictures, the i7 functions as a camcorder, MP3 player, portable multimedia player, text viewer, voice recorder and text tour guide. They're all fairly basic, as you'd expect them to be crammed into such a small package.
The camcorder records .SDC format movie files which eat more memory than, say, DivX, but you do have a relatively lavish 450MB internal memory to play with.
The MP3 player is seriously devoid of frills. Despite the large screen, there's no space for album artwork, although you can show a slideshow of your pictures while listening. There's repeat and shuffle options and that's about it. Headphones are included.