capsule review

Review: Samsung NV11

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Samsung NV11 Compact Camera

    Macworld Rating

You get a sense that Samsung’s NV11 is different just from looking at its black, sculpted body. And there’s plenty to back up this impression once you get under the hood, starting with Samsung’s innovative Smart Touch control system. Instead of a maze of minutely labeled controls, the 10.1-megapixel NV11 sports a vertical and a horizontal row of identical touch-sensitive buttons. On-screen icons clue you into the mode-dependent functions, and you make adjustments by sliding a finger over the buttons. Once you’ve had a little practice, the system will impress you as an innovative and fun way to operate a camera.

The NV11 also produces detailed and consistently well-exposed images. In Macworld Lab tests, flash quality was only Fair, but image quality was deemed Very Good, and color quality garnered a Superior rating—a rarity for a point-and-shoot camera. Advanced shooters will appreciate the options for manually setting exposure values. And the camera’s battery capacity surpassed 1,200 shots per charge, so travelers won’t be scrambling for an electrical outlet at every stop. This battery performance is all the more impressive when compared to other cameras in a recent round-up: the NV11 rated highest, while the Nikon Coolpix S50c (  ) scored lowest, with only 347 shots per charge.

Samsung NV11

The only significant downside to the NV11 is its lack of true image stabilization; instead, it tries to compensate for shaky hands by boosting light sensitivity to potentially noise-inducing levels. In addition, its protruding lens makes it an awkward fit in anything but the roomiest cargo-pant pocket.

Macworld’s buying advice

If you can live with the Samsung NV11’s portability constraints, it’s an excellent choice for an all-around camera that’s fun to use and equally accommodating of beginners and advanced shutterbugs.

performance

Image quality Very Good
Color quality Superior
Flash quality Fair
Battery life 1,233 shots on single charge

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor.

How we tested: The image-quality rating of the camera is based upon a panel of judges’ opinions in five categories: exposure, color, sharpness, distortion, and overall. Battery life testers follow a precise script, including shots with and without flash, until the battery dies.--Testing by Jim Galbraith and Brian Chen.

specifications

Resolution 10.1 megapixels
Zoom/focal length (35mm equivalent) 5x/38-190mm
Battery type Lithium ion
Media slots SD, SDHC, MMC(Plus)
Size (width x height x depth, in inches) 4.2 x 2.5 x 0.9
Weight (in ounces) 6.8

[ David Becker is a writer and photographer based in San Francisco who regularly writes about personal technology, gadgets, and travel. ]

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At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Pleasing to hold
    • Superb battery life
    • Superior image quality
    • Innovative Smart Touch controls
    • Manual exposure settings for advanced shooters

    Cons

    • Protruding lens not too pocket friendly
    • No real image stabilization
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