Rightly or wrongly, Samsung is one of the few camera manufacturers to show a commitment to the idea of convergence. The i series have all been portable media players as well as shooting still images and video. The latest entry to the series is the Samsung i70, a camera that also includes an MP3 player, MPEG-4 video recorder, multimedia player, text viewer and voice recorder. It's available now for around £130.
The i series has often boasted unusual designs. Although Samsung has backed away from the wacky spinning screen on the , the i70 has an idiosyncratic sliding design. The body of the camera slides horizontally like a slider mobile phone, revealing the lens at the front and the buttons at the back. The sliding design means that the back of the i70 is all 76mm (3-inch) LCD screen, which we love.
It's something of a chunky beast, with the stainless steel body adding heft. The hidden lens and buttons give the camera a beautifully minimalist appearance. We tested a matte silver model that looks gorgeous, although we also had a patterned pink version that recalls saloon bar wallpaper. Other colurs include a two-tone black and white, or a patterned gold.
The mobile phone comparisons continue with the nine-button keypad, which can be used to enter text.
Although the recessed keyboard is easy to use, the sunken zoom pad is difficult to use, as it is set too low for large thumbs to make use of the impressive degree of responsiveness.
The i70's non-protruding 3x optical zoom lens is equivalent to 38-114mm on a 35mm film camera. That isn't particularly wide -- we would prefer 28mm or at least 35mm.
The various multimedia functions are the i70's big draw. Video, text and MP3s can be watched or listened to with the body closed. Menus include a flash animation-based graphical user interface, which boasts bouncing icons.