Samsung NX mini – the Selfie Cam Reviewed

*This device is a loaned review unit from Samsung Malaysia Electronics*

Thanks to Samsung Malaysia Electronics, I got my hands on Samsung’s slimmest and lightest interchangeable-lens camera to-date – Samsung NX mini.

NX mini_flip-up
Samsung NX mini

It has been awhile since I played with any compact cameras. I don’t regard myself as a professional photographer in any sense, of course. I dabbled in photography sometime back, bought a DSLR, but have since abandoned that hobby for awhile now. Nevertheless, I always appreciate a good compact camera, especially one that is as slim and light as this NX mini.

But then, I keep having to correct myself. The NX mini is not a compact point-and-shoot at all. It’s actually an ILC, where you can change the lens. The fact that the camera is truly small and light to fit in my handbag, making it instantly a portable camera I carry around everywhere with me. Other than the slim profile I mistake as a compact, the other thing I immediately appreciate about the NX mini is the 3″ Flip up display, which means it’ll be the perfect selfie camera.

I got to play with the camera for a good 2 weeks, so here’s a non-technical, more lifestyle driven review of the Samsung NX mini.

 

About the Samsung NX mini

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjhTcNGbZH0

Samsung NX mini belongs in their Smart Camera portfolio, and is the slimmest and lightest ILC (interchangeable-lens) camera to date. Firstly, here’s a quick  hardware specification of the Samsung NX mini:-

  • 75.2 mm (3.0-inch) HVGA Flip up and TFT LCD Display (320 X 480)
  • 20.5 effective megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • Image : JPEG / RAW; Video : MP4 / Full HD up to Full HD 1920 x 1080/30p
  • 22.5 mm thin, weighing 158 grams (body only)
  • Bundled software : Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5, iLauncher
  • Connectivity : WiFi, NFC, HDMI
  • Available in 5 colours : salmon pink, mint green, brown, black and white

For more info and technical specs, check out the Samsung NX mini Malaysian product page HERE.

Samsung NX mini - Unboxing
Unboxing Samsung NX mini

It must’ve been my review unit – for I see the camera, a standard kit lens, 3 pin power adapter, USB to microUSB cable and a wrist strap. No user manuals, warranties or CDs in the box, which I’m quite sure you’ll find in the commercial unit.

Samsung NX mini - Front & Back
Front and back of the NX mini

The camera has a nice faux leather finishing on the front, giving it a faux premium look and gives a good enough grip. Although I would’ve preferred to have a protruding hand grip. Also, the faux white leather worries me a little, I fear it might get dirty quite easily over use but unsure if it can wipe off as easily.

At the back on the top right, there’s a small thumb grip with the “Video Record” button on the side. Underneath, all the other controls for Menu, Display, Mode, Playback, Trash, etc.

Menu navigation is simple enough to understand. Even without a user manual in the box, it took me a few minutes to get the hang of the settings and menu. The menu, of course, is accessible using the touchscreen, instead of having to scroll with the physical buttons. Another feature which I much appreciate.

Samsung NX mini - Hardware Overview

At the top, all buttons and ports are flushed, allowing the display to flip all 180 degrees into selfie mode (more on this later). Other than the usual Power and Shutter buttons, you also get the one-click “Direct Link” button to access connectivity options like NFC and WiFi to upload and share your images wirelessly (also more on this later).

Samsung NX mini - Ports

The right side of the camera opens up to more ports and connectivity options for microSD card, battery pack, microUSB and microHDMI port. Seems rather standard for cameras these days, so Samsung did a good enough job for this pocketable camera.

The battery pack is a 2,330 mAH battery which is chargeable using the microUSB port and cable provided. I much prefer this option, personally. The amount of times I misplace the separate battery adapter, as well as extra storage I don’t appreciate when I bring my camera on my travels. 🙂

 

Feature Highlights

In case it’s not clear enough already, the NX mini is a pocketable ILC camera, aimed at a regular consumers who might want to experiment with different lens for different occasions. The NX mini comes with a kit lens – a 9mm lens, 224mm wide angle, equivalent to a 35mm lens on a regular camera.

But I’m getting too technical here, which I might not be the best person to educate you on the details and technical specs. So, here’s a good video introduction from Samsung Cameras.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75Oc8RpGehE

 

Selfie Cam

No doubt, the 180 degree flip up display is one of the biggest hardware feature, making this NX mini the perfect selfie cam. No more poor image quality from your low quality front facing camera on your phone, you now have a portable camera with a great lens and great image capture capability for all your selfies, wefies and what nots.

Samsung NX mini - Flip up display
Minimalist Samsung branding and a flexible flip up display
Samsung NX mini - Flip Up Display
Selfie of a selfie
Samsung NX mini - Flip Up display
Light for single hand use

With a 75.2mm (3.0-inch) Flip-up and Touch Display that rotates 180-degrees, and a camera body that weighs a mere 158 grams, it’s super easy for single hand use for your selfies.

NX mini also comes with a new Wink shot feature, which when enabled, allows you to wink at the camera to capture. No more odd hand and finger position to press the shutter button when you’re snapping a selfie, just wink and snap!

 

Connectivity with WiFi and NFC

The NX mini comes with multiple connectivity options, the highlights of which are via WiFi and NFC.  You’d really want to pair the NX mini with your smart devices, rather than using traditional cables. Pairing the camera to your smart device can:-

  • Select and transfer multiple images to the paired mobile devices through Mobile Link
  • Send images to up to four devices with Group Share, eliminating the time-consuming and repetitive process of sending pictures to multiple friends
  • Control the NX mini via a smartphone with Remote View Finder Pro
  • Use the camera as a Baby Monitor. When noise is detected, the paired an app, allowing parents to see if they need to attend to their child.

Samsung NX mini - Connectivity

This is all accesible either from the menu or simply tapping on the one-click “Direct Link” button at the top of the camera.

Samsung NX mini - Mobile Link 001
Menu options for Mobile Link

Connectivity options includes ability to  connect with your other smart devices (smartphone, tablets, laptops) via WiFi, auto backup to your computer or cloud storage, auto posting to social networks like Facebook, direct email to your friends and more. all wirelessly without the hassle of cables.

Most flagship smartphones today comes with NFC connectivity, which allows you to tap and connect two devices for file sharing and more. Although the technology is still at its early days (we need more NFC use case), think of it as a newer connectivity option to Bluetooth. 🙂 Tag & Go is the name of the NX mini NFC connectivity which allows the NX mini to pair with NFC-enabled devices, such as smartphones or tablets, simply by touching the two together.

Samsung NX mini - MobileLink
Mobile Link connection with my Samsung tablet

MobileLink allows me to connect the NX mini with my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 wirelessly. Nope, not via WiFi or Bluetooth or NFC. It’s like a private WiFi network, where it turns the NX mini into it’s own wireless network, to enable other devices to connect to it directly.

Samsung NX mini Review - Mobile Link transfer
Connected via MobileLink

With the NX mini connected to my Samsung tablet, I can immediately copy all the pictures and videos over to my tablet for storage and backup. No need to use the cable at all. Although, with the image size and amount of pictures I have, it does take a really long time to copy ALL the pictures over, when I have about 50 – 80 pictures.

So I resorted to only copying over selected image, for me to share on Instagram or something.

Which I noticed later that I really didn’t need to do that. I can connect the NX mini to the WiFi and upload images directly to Facebook from the camera. Or connect to my Dropbox cloud storage, to backup the images directly from the camera. So many handy connections options without the need of a computer – me likey!

 

Sample Pictures (and video)

I wish I had taken more pictures in different conditions that I can post and share. But I’ve been a little busy and here are some sample pictures I took for your viewing. The images are not edited or resized, so click to view enlarged copy.

[pe2-gallery album=”http://picasaweb.google.com/data/feed/base/user/109532722643475070188/albumid/6068330739682017281?alt=rss&hl=en_US&kind=photo” pe2_single_image_size_format=”P” pe2_single_image_size=”w200-c” ]

View full gallery on Google+ Photos HERE.

 

Pictures seems good enough quality for this small wonder. Better than a compact camera, but not quite good enough to compete with the higher end ILC mirrorless cameras out there. Even in low light conditions, without using the flash, images don’t have visible noise (aka blurry dots) so I’m quite impressed.

Selfies are good in bright lighting conditions (see the daytime selfies in the car) but suffer a little indoor in mid lighting conditions.

In my never-ending food porn images, the camera performed rather well, making the colours pop and food look oh-so mouth watering.

I was reviewing the NX mini during the peak of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge virality, so I happen to use the camera to shoot one for my friend, @McNastryPrime who’s one half of the movie podcast McYapandFries.com

For an outdoor video, with obvious street noise, especially when I’m standing a good 6-7 feet away from the subject, the video turned out rather well. Image quality is good, audio is acceptable – although can be better.

 

Pricing and Availability

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Selfie of a selfie. Got this Samsung NX mini for review this week. #nxmini #selfie #camera

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Samsung NX mini has been available for sale since 18 April 2014 at a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of RM1,399.

Samsung has also released specialised NX-M Lenses for NX mini. Namely the NX-M 9mm F3.5 ED lens (ultra slim, wide angle lens) and NX-M 9-27mm F3.5-5.6 ED OIS lens (micro-compact zoom lens). Alternatively, NX mini owners will also be able to use 15 NX lenses with the device by using a specialised NX-M Mount Adapter (ED-MA4NXM).

I wish that there’s more lens choices, although the current selection is good enough for the average beginner – a good wide-angle and a good zoom lens. I wonder if Samsung will be releasing good prime lens for portrait use, especially since this is a selfie cam. As well as better sports / action photography.

All lenses are sold separately, so do check out the Samsung Camera product page at http://www.samsung.com/my/consumer/camera-camcorder/smart-camera

 

Conclusion

Samsung NX mini

There’s a lot to like about the NX mini, as I kept repeating in the post. But just for conclusion purposes, here’s the Top 3 Likes and Dislikes:-

What I Like

  • Super pocketable – Slim and Light
  • Selfie Cam FTW – the flip up screen is a selfie queens must-have
  • Many Connectivity options – MobileLink, WiFi and NFC to connect directly to social media, cloud storage, email, smart devices and more

What I Dislike

  • White Faux Leather – can get dirty over time
  • No front dedicated hand grip
  • Limited lens selection – No biggie if you’re an average joe

So, at under RM 1,500 price tag, should you buy the Samsung NX mini?

For an ILC, it’s super portable that if you’re on the hunt for a decent camera and you love taking selfies, this one could be a good purchase. If you’re looking for a good portable compact and don’t really care about interchangeable lenses though, you can get better point-and-shoot cameras in that price range.

Al the end of the day, it’s quite clear who the target market is for the Samsung NX mini – selfie queens everywhere, who’d like the option of upgrading their lens collection and experimenting with better quality photos than your typical point-and-shoot.

What do you think? Something you’d consider?

 

 

For more information, visit Samsung Malaysia website at http://www.samsung.com/my/home and *LIKE* Samsung Malaysia Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/samsungmalaysia

 

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