Samsung WB650 digital camera
Samsung's WB650 pocket megazoom camera excels with photos, but disappoints with video
- Excellent image quality, In-camera GPS integration with Navteq map service, Very sharp 3-inch AMOLED screen, Dual digital/mechanical image stabilisation, Largest zoom range of any compact camera
- Dual stabilisation only in dedicated mode, disappointing video and audio capture, a bit bulky and slippery, confusing menu structure
The GPS-enabled Samsung HZ35W digital camera produces some of the sharpest, highest-quality stills we've seen this side of a DSLR, but its confusing menu system and poor video quality knock it down a peg.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
The 15X-optical-zoom Samsung WB650 (called the Samsung HZ35W in the US) had the best overall performance score and feature set of any pocket megazoom camera we've tested recently, but our hands-on tests of the camera exposed a few things to think about before you rush out to buy it.
Let's start with the laundry list of positives. The WB650's 15X lens (24mm to 360mm) offers the largest optical-zoom range of any compact camera currently available, and this model's dual stabilisation feature proves amazingly effective in correcting everything but the most severe shaking. To play back images and frame shots, you use the camera's 3-inch-diagonal AMOLED screen, which is impressively sharp and easy on the eyes.
The geotagging feature works well, going a step further than the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V--you don't need to install software on your computer and offload images to see the GPS features in their full glory. Navteq's mapping service is installed on the WB650, letting you view your photos on a map on the AMOLED screen. It also displays the city name when you're viewing your geotagged images on the camera, rather than just a number-soup of coordinates.
The WB650 also takes one heck of a picture. It logged the best overall performance scores in PCWorld Labs subjective tests, thanks to the sharpest images in our pocket megazooms test group, excellent color accuracy, and good exposure quality. Overall image quality earned a score of Very Good.
No CIPA battery-life rating is available for the WB650, so we can't judge it in that respect.
So where can such a high-performance, full-featured camera go wrong? For one thing, the WB650's video performance was among the worst of the cameras we tested, and the camera didn't pick up clear audio from its microphone. Here are sample clips that we shot in bright indoor lighting and in low light with the WB650. For the highest-quality clips, select 720p from the drop-down menu in the lower-right corner of each player.
An even bigger drawback is the menu system, which is complex and hard to navigate. Some settings are buried a few too many button presses deep, and some are categorised unintuitively. For example, you get fun in-camera effects that mimic a tilt-shift lens, a fish-eye lens, and sketch drawing, but they're hidden deep in the menus under the Smart Filter header; most users would probably look for them in the scene-mode offerings. And even though the camera's manual settings include aperture- and shutter-priority modes, you can't adjust those settings while you're framing a shot; you have to dive one layer into the menus to do so.
What's more, the camera's excellent dual-stabilisation mode is available only via a dedicated selection on the mode dial; you don't have access to its image-stabilising powers in any of the manual modes or other settings.
Last on the list of drawbacks is the camera's bulky size and somewhat slippery body. It's a bit chunkier and deeper than the other pocket megazoom cameras in our latest test group, and the body doesn't offer much of a raised handgrip. A grooved thumb rest is below the shutter button on the back of the camera, but it doesn't give you much traction. This camera might get slippery with sweaty or wet hands.
The Samsung WB650 is an excellent camera with tons of options, but you may spend a lot of time searching for settings in the menus. We love its image quality and its GPS interface, but you'll need more than intuition to get the hang of this camera.
Join the newsletter!
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Apple iPhone X
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Toys for Boys
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Bose SoundLink Micro
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Xbox One X
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- 2 Acer Spin 5 review: Value for money but conditions apply
- 3 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 4 Sony LF-S50G review: Google Assistant and then some
- 5 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
Latest News Articles
- Panasonic Announces Compact, Lightweight ultra-telephoto LEICA Lens
- Panasonic announce still-shooter flagship G9
- Sony Announces Development of New G Master Super-Telephoto Full-Frame E-Mount Lens
- Sony Expands Full-frame E-mount lens lineup
- Sony’s New Full-Frame α7R III Interchangeable Lens Camera promises to delivers both resolution and speed
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- CES 2018: Belkin go big on wearables accessories
- CES 2018: Alcatel Embrace 18:9 Aspect Ratio In 2018
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTiOS DeveloperOther
- CCSecurity SpecialistQLD
- FTNetwork EngineerSA
- FTICT Business AnalystOther
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- FTWeb Developer - Drupal 7 or iApplyNSW
- CCSAP Fiori + UI5 ArchitectVIC
- CCSnr Automation Lead (Java Development) - Banking - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCProgram ManagerQLD
- FTIntegration SpecialistACT
- FTIT Service Centre Senior Support OfficerVIC
- CCData ArchitectWA
- CCSAP ABAP CRM DeveloperQLD
- FTCyber Security AnalystOther
- FTSystems Engineer (UC)QLD
- TPAgile Project ManagerQLD
- CCNetwork EngineerNSW
- FTAndroid DeveloperQLD
- TPProject CoordinatorVIC
- TPReporting/BI AnalystVIC
- FTIT Systems AnalystOther
- FTProject Director - SAAS ImplementationOther
- FTNetwork AdministratorOther
- FTEmail Production SpecialistOther
- FTVarious DevelopersACT