Samsung ST6500 review: Samsung ST6500

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Typical Price: £150.00
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Slim design; HDMI output; plenty of filters and settings to experiment with; simple touchscreen controls.

The Bad Mono sound; nasty zoom control; performance can be unpredictable.

The Bottom Line Although it struggles to differentiate itself from other Samsung models, such as the ST95, the ST6500 is a worthy touchscreen compact camera. It offers generally good picture quality and plenty of tools to play with too.

8.3 Overall

If you've got £150 burning a camera-shaped hole in your pocket, you might find it hard to choose a snapper, given the sheer number available at this price. Apart from its slim design, what does the Samsung ST6500 offer to convince buyers to part with their cash?

Specs

Specs-wise, the camera pushes almost all the right buttons, with a 16.1-megapixel sensor handling all the image-capturing duties and a wide-angle (26mm) lens with 5x optical zoom magnification. Also on hand is hybrid image stabilisation that combines optical and digital anti-shake techniques.

High-definition movies can be recorded at up to a 720p resolution, and an HDMI output socket lets you play them back on the big screen. Sound is, sadly, only captured in mono.

Design

The ST6500 bears one of Samsung's more unusual designs. Stood on a flat surface, the camera leans backwards at a 7 degree angle. A stylish, wave-like curve finishes off the top edge, rounding neatly over the lens housing. As well as looking smart, Samsung reckons the design has a practical use too. It's supposed to make it easier for you to take self-portraits. Still, you won't be able to compose your shot, since the screen is on the rear.

Samsung ST6500 test shot 1
Brightly lit subjects are rendered with plenty of detail. Images are crisp and bold colours stand out well. There's a little noise, even at low sensitivity settings, but purple fringing is virtually absent (click image to enlarge).

The ST6500 is available in black or silver versions. It's slim, at 19mm thick, and light, at 127g, with the battery and memory card included. The unit is a little wider than some compacts we've seen but this is partly because the rear of the device hosts a large, 3-inch, wide-screen display.

Touchscreen

The screen is touch-sensitive, which means that most of the camera's settings and options are selected with your fingertips. The user interface is good too. It's largely icon-based, which makes it slightly friendlier than most, and it can understand swipes as well as taps. Plus the screen and software are responsive, so you're rarely left waiting for the camera to catch up with your commands.

Physical buttons are fairly scarce. The one you'll be using most -- other than the curved shutter button on the top -- is the home key, which gives you instant access to the ST6500's main functions.

We weren't overly keen on the spring-loaded zoom control. It's vertical, which does actually make sense (up for close in, down for further back), but it takes some getting used to and control of the zoom isn't very precise. The fact that the button feels cheaply manufactured doesn't help.

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