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Review: Samsung Memoir is a top-notch camera phone

The Samsung Memoir is the highest-performing camera phone from a U.S. carrier. Yes, it's pricey at $250, but it is cheaper than comparable unlocked devices and for its stellar photo quality, it's worth the price.

Is it a camera or a phone? The Samsung Memoir looks stunningly like a camera from the back.
Is it a camera or a phone? The Samsung Memoir looks stunningly like a camera. James Martin/CNET

We're usually jealous of our friends across the pond for getting high-megapixel camera phones; the highest we've had so far has been the 5-megapixel Motorola Zine ZN5 from T-Mobile. But that has all changed with the Samsung Memoir, also available from T-Mobile, which has a whopping 8-megapixel camera with plenty of features you wouldn't even find in most standalone point-and-shoot cameras. They include antishake, smile and blink detection, 12 preset settings for certain lighting conditions like portrait and landscape photography, and geotagging. Perhaps the most intriguing feature is that you can upload directly to online sharing sites like Flickr, Kodak Gallery, Photobucket, and Snapfish without having to use e-mail or third-party applications.

With 8 megapixels, the Memoir better take great photos. And indeed, it does. Photo quality is absolutely stellar, with sharp images and vibrant accurate colors. The camcorder isn't too shabby either, with the ability to take 30-frames-per-second video plus a slow-motion mode to capture 120-frames-per-second video. All that, plus the Memoir has a touch-screen interface with Samsung's proprietary TouchWiz interface with the drag-and-drop widgets, a full HTML browser, a virtual QWERTY keyboard, GPS, a music player, plus support for T-Mobile's burgeoning 3G network.

The Memoir is available for $249.99 with a two-year service agreement and a $50 mail-in rebate. This may sound pricey but if you compare it to unlocked 8-megapixel phones like the Samsung Innov8 that run around $700 each, it's not that bad. And seeing as the Memoir has a lot more to offer than just the camera, we think it's worth the money. Check out our Samsung Memoir review for the whole story.