If you're interested in Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Camera, but don't want to deal with a monthly data plan, Samsung will soon offer a Wi-Fi alternative – no data contracts required.
Samsung says its Galaxy Camera with Wi-Fi will be “more affordable” than 3G and 4G models, offered on AT&T and Verizon, respectively. The company hasn't listed a price, but AT&T's model costs $500, while Verizon's costs $550, so the Wi-Fi version will likely come in under $500.
The Wi-Fi model is the same as its connected counterparts, with a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 21x optical zoom lens with a maximum F2.8 aperture, 1080p video recording at 30 frames per second and built-in GPS. It has 8 GB of built-in storage, plus a microSD card slot.
The main attraction, of course, is the Galaxy Camera's 4.8-inch touch screen, which runs a full version of Android 4.1. That means users can download apps from Google Play, and upload their photos to services such as Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox and Twitter, all directly from the camera. The camera has a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor inside, so it's powerful enough to play some processor-intensive games.
Personally, I think most users are better off buying the Wi-Fi variant, especially if you already own a smartphone.
With shared data plans on AT&T and Verizon, you can use your phone as a wireless hotspot at no extra charge, which means your phone can provide Wi-Fi to the Galaxy Camera when you need to upload something right away. By comparison, a data connection specifically for the Galaxy Camera costs $10 per month on AT&T, and $5 per month on Verizon, as part of the carriers' shared data plans.
Even if you don't have a shared data plan, you may be better off with a wireless hotspot subscription instead of a camera-specific package. Without shared data, AT&T charges $15 per month to connect the Galaxy Camera with 250 MB. A wireless hotspot plan costs $20 per month for 2GB of extra data, and it's more versatile, allowing you to connect laptops, tablets and other Wi-Fi devices at no extra charge.
Unfortunately, Samsung hasn't said when it will actually ship the Galaxy Camera with Wi-Fi, but presumably it's coming soon.