Most manufacturers would be happy to shoehorn just a single wireless technology into a compact camera, but Samsung has built no fewer than three into the 12.2-megapixel ST1000. This isn't just a camera -- it's a technological showcase. But how well does this stuff work, and does it justify an asking price of around £260?
Even without taking into account its wireless connectivity, the ST1000 is a very classy camera. It's fairly big and heavy for a super-slim model, but the metal finish and overall look and feel are excellent. On the top, there's a power button, shutter release, zoom switch and playback button, and, on the back, there's a giant, 89mm (3.5-inch) touchscreen display that takes up almost the whole surface area.
The ST1000 has the same 1,152,000-pixel display as the Samsung ST550, although it lacks the haptic feedback that makes such a big difference to its stablemate. The interface still works very well, though. The icons are clear, the screen responds promptly to a light touch, and navigation is straightforward. You might need to check stuff in the manual a couple of times, but, after that, you'll be able to work it all out for yourself.
The wireless side of the ST1000 is brilliant. If you want to send a photo to someone else's phone via bluetooth, you just carry out a search for nearby devices, pick the one you want, arrange a password and, when the other device accepts the image, it's done. What if you want to send a photo by email instead? For this, you'll need a nearby wireless-access point (you can type in passwords if needed), and then you just type in the email address via an on-screen Qwerty keyboard, choose the photos you want to send, and off they go. Alternatively, you can upload them to your favourite online photo site, such as Picasa Web Albums. Again, the Qwerty keyboard makes entering usernames and passwords easy.
Then there's the GPS. Like the bluetooth and Wi-Fi features, it works simply and well. GPS technology has its own limitations -- you probably won't get a signal indoors, for example, and tall trees and buildings can cause reception problems -- but, within the limits of the technology, the ST1000 works perfectly, embedding GPS co-ordinates automatically in your images so that geotagging apps like Picasa and iPhoto on the Mac can display their location on a map. The ST1000 even includes its own basic mapping tools, and can display the names of towns and cities on the camera. You can use this feature to search by location for photos stored on the camera.
There's also an enhanced face-detection system that can identify mugs it's seen before and give them priority, and the auto scene-selection mode uses 15 different scenes, whereas equivalent modes on many rival cameras use just a handful of the most obvious, like 'portrait', 'macro' and so on.
Unless you're the sort of person that reads a manual from front to back before using anything, you probably won't realise that photos sent wirelessly are resized to a smaller resolution (1,600x1,200 pixels), which is disappointing, although they're still fine for all kinds of on-screen use and snapshot-sized prints.
On a practical level, you might wish the ST1000 had a wideangle zoom, rather than the 35-175mm equivalent lens supplied. Also, while the image processing makes coarse detail look super-sharp, it smudges finer textures. The ST1000 relies on microSD and microSDHC cards, too, although these are easy enough to come by now.
As if the Samsung ST1000's ultra-high-resolution touchscreen weren't enough, you also get straightforward and effective bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS features. The ST1000 is technically ambitious, but everything works well. If you're looking for outright picture quality, you can do better than this, but, if you want 21st century-connectivity, the ST1000 rules.
Edited by Charles Kloet