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Samsung's CL65 ultracompact camera offers alphabet soup of connections

Samsung throws in every hot technology it can think of into the CL65 ultracompact point-and-shoot camera--DLNA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, geotagging, and a big, high-resolution touch screen that uses a gesture UI.

Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, DLNA support, gesture user interface, high-resolution touch screen, and HD video: Samsung's throwing a kitchen-sink's-worth of technologies into its CL65 point-and-shoot ultracompact camera. Other manufacturers have tried--and failed--to make a lot of these features work before. But while several of the CL65's capabilities may yet prove useful and attractive, it looks like some are traveling the oft-trodden road of FAIL.

For instance, the Wi-Fi implementation is pretty much the same as everyone else's lackluster attempts, and perhaps even more limited. It won't work through any access point that throws up a verification/terms-of-service screen. And it will automatically downsample images transferred via Wi-Fi to 2 megapixels from the camera's native 12 megapixels, which rules Wi-Fi out as a cable-free method to download photos to your system. On the other hand, it will support e-mailing and a 20-contact list, and will come with upload links to select sites including Facebook and YouTube.

And while the details of the Bluetooth and DLNA implementations remain to be seen, both are notorious for being done wrong or simply not working; despite being an open standard, our home theater reviewers haven't had much luck thus far with DLNA interconnectivity. While GPS is usually more transparent, the real challenge is making sure the geolocating and geotagging doesn't impose too much performance overhead, making shooting onerously slow. So don't start salivating over any of these features quite yet.

The 3.5-inch, 1.1-megapixel touch screen does look pretty nice, and it uses a more refined version of its gesture UI (if you like that sort of thing) even though it doesn't provide the vibratory feedback of the TL225. And the 720p 30fps MPEG-4 video is always fun to have. While you're paying a premium for all the bells and whistles, its $399.99 price doesn't seem excessively high for a 12-megapixel, 5x zoom--albeit it a slow, narrow 35-175mm f3.6-4.8 lens--ultracompact with its screen and HD video support. We'll find out how the whole package stands up when it ships in September.