The Android-powered Samsung Galaxy camera on hand at the 3D Inspection Systems booths garnered a lot of attention at the 2013 Inspection World show in Las Vegas. Inspectors were truly excited about the possibility of ditching separate cameras for certain low-light or distant shots where it may be harder to maintain quality using standard phone or tablet cameras.

Although phone-style cameras have improved incredibly in quality over the last few years, they generally still lack a decent optical zoom. The new Samsung Galaxy camera boasts an impressive 21x optical zoom, and can run all your regular Android apps, including the popular Phone3D. A camera flash can be a huge advantage to getting those great shots, especially while in a dark attic or crawlspace where your phone camera doesn't quite cut it. The Galaxy camera also has wireless connectivity, with 3G and WiFi options for your data transfer. (Obviously a 3G data plan is not a necessity though if you normally load up your device with the day's inspections before heading out and upload them when you return).

Inspectors at Inspection World were pleased with the slick device, until noted during it's hands-on debut at the show that we found the battery life a bit lacking. Battery life only seemed to last about two and half hours during the heavy demonstration use there. Obviously that is not sufficient to support a full day of inspecting, so many were disappointed, although encouraged about the future next generation possibilities. However there seems a simple enough solution for those who really like this device concept. Checking online, we found spare batteries specifically for the Galaxy Camera seem to run only about $10-15. So that may be an ideal solution for inspectors who prefer better zoom/lens options for taking inspection photos right into their reports, letting them eliminate a separate camera and insertion of some photos later. Fewer steps is always desirable!

Here is a sampling of online reviews/videos we found for the Galaxy Camera-
One reviewer notes all day battery life during casual usage, but confirms the similar 2.5 hour life that we experienced under constant heavy usage. Although inspectors could also feasibly recharge en route to the next job, we believe keeping a spare battery on hand would be a better, more reliable option. Other general measures could also improve battery life such as turning off searching for WiFi or connectivity while actually inspecting, or closing other apps that may run in the background and sip on power. Note that these tips can actually help conserve power for other devices as well.

We are glad to see a new device like this become available for inspectors who want to simplify their equipment or simply broaden their options!