CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Cameras

Samsung PL90: First camera to Flip out, camcorder-style

Ever lost the lead for your digital camera? The Samsung PL90 solves that problem with an idea borrowed from Flip Video

Ever lost the lead for your digital camera? Of course you have -- it's practically a legal requirement. The new, 12.2-megapixel Samsung PL90 solves that problem by borrowing an idea from the budget camcorder market: a flip-out USB arm that directly connects the camera to a computer.

It's an idea that was pioneered by Flip Video camcorders and copied by everybody from Kodak, with the Zi8, to Sony, with the MHS-PM1, and Panasonic, with the HM-TA1. This is the first stills camera to use the idea, however.

The USB arm transfers pictures and charges the camera. If you're nowhere near a USB socket, you can plug the arm into any plugs cleverly equipped with USB connections. Samsung has been including these with its cameras for a while, and Apple's iPod, iPhone and iPad have them too.

Specs-wise, the PL90 is a straightforward point-and-shoot camera. It has a 4x optical zoom, 69mm (2.7-inch) screen, face detection and other features of that ilk.

With photography trade show Photokina six weeks away, we could be seeing the first of a new round of cameras packed with gimmicks -- sorry, we mean unique selling points -- after a generation packing built-in projectors, GPS and 3D lenses.

The PL90 will be available in September for the very wallet-friendly price of £130. That's a solid-gold bargain for a pocketable snapper, let alone one with a nifty gimmick. At that price, the PL90 could even compete with Flip's camcorders and their budget brethren -- except the camera's video specs are its one weak spot. The PL90 shoots 640x480-pixel video, which is good enough for YouTube, but not a patch on even the cheapest high-definition camcorder.