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Samsung NV10

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Samsung NV10 Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating

    This camera has touch-sensitive buttons and antishake, but it lacks many manual controls, and menu navigation is cumbersome.

For the price of the Samsung NV10 ($350 as of 10/6/06), you could get a lot more for your money. This compact point-and-shoot, though attractive, doesn't offer a lot of features beyond its 10.1-megapixel resolution. Its zoom is a typical 3X, its 2.5-inch LCD is ample but not outsized, and it doesn't have many manual controls. In addition, it lacks aperture- and shutter-priority modes, as well as exposure bracketing. And in our tests the NV10's performance was mediocre.

The menu navigation--potentially the most attractive thing about the NV10--unfortunately doesn't live up to its promise. Along two sides of the LCD are a series of small sensors (they rise from the back panel like buttons, though you don't press them): Six sensors run along the right side and seven along the bottom. In theory this design could put a lot of menu options at your fingertips, rather than requiring you to use a four-way button to wade through multiple menu pages. But I found the small sensors too sensitive, and the navigation less than intuitive. In preview mode, for example, you can drag a finger across the bottom row of buttons to quickly scroll through your photos; but I found it difficult to get the camera to stop on a desired image. Similarly, when exploring the menus, I often made an unintended selection due to the tininess of the sensors: While placing my thumb over one sensor, an adjacent sensor would detect my digit. Sometimes I had to use my index fingernail to poke at a sensor just to get the desired selection. Unfortunately, the most natural way to navigate would be with your thumbs--which would make one-handed operation pretty much impossible.

On the plus side, the NV10 offers light sensitivity up to ISO 1000; however, shots I took indoors at ISO 800 and ISO 1000 did show a significant amount of digital noise. The basic software included, Digimax Master, has an option for removing grain, but this filter failed to make my shots look any less splotchy. The software is aimed at beginners, offering a range of pull-down menu options for auto-exposure fixes, for example. There's a clone tool, but changing the size of the brush did not alter the size of my cloning selection.

An antishake mode on the control dial atop the camera failed, in my informal test, to freeze the shots I took indoors while shaking the camera slightly.

In our lab tests, the NV10's overall image quality earned a score of only Good. Though its scores for color and exposure accuracy were above average, and its images looked sharp, its downfall was distortion, which our jury noticed in abundance in our test image. Battery life was similarly unimpressive: The NV10 mustered less than 200 shots on a single charge of its lithium ion battery, versus the average of 279.

Considering that its menus are cumbersome to use and its image quality is average, the NV10 is difficult to recommend when some less expensive models offer higher image quality and better usability.

Eric Butterfield

This story, "Samsung NV10" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    This camera has touch-sensitive buttons and antishake, but it lacks many manual controls, and menu navigation is cumbersome.

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