Samsung WB650 Review


  • Longer than average zoom
  • Accurate GPS
  • Sharp monitor
  • Good battery life
  • Good build quality


  • Image quality not quite as good as rivals
  • Ugly design
  • Quite heavy

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £249.99
  • 12.1 megapixel
  • 15x zoom lens(28-60mm)
  • GPS
  • 3in AMOLED screen
  • 720p video with stereo audio

As I’ve remarked before, the long-zoom compact or “travel camera” is one of the most fiercely competitive sectors of the digital camera market, with most of the major manufacturers fielding rival models sporting a range of advanced features. Although the format was first introduced by Ricoh with its R-series cameras in 2005, the current yardstick for travel cameras is Panasonic’s TZ series, particularly the advanced TZ10 (£250), which features a 12MP sensor, a 12x zoom lens, HD video recording with stereo audio and a built-in GPS receiver. Other recent long-zoom compacts include the Ricoh CX3 (£280), the Fujifilm F70EXR (£160), the Olympus mju 9000 (£175), the Canon SX210 IS (£240) and the Sony DSC-HX5 (£290).
Samsung WB650 front angle

Samsung’s previous entry into this field was the WB550 (£170), launched late last year, which while a very competent camera looked a bit pale compared to the advanced features of arch-rival Panasonic’s market-leading flagship. Not to be outdone Samsung has launched a new model in the WB series, the WB650, which which matches or exceeds the TZ10 in all areas of its specification.

Priced at a competitive £250 (but likely to fall in price), the 12-megapixel WB650 features a powerful but compact 15x zoom lens, 720p HD video with stereo sound, optional manual exposure controls, built-in GPS geotagging, and an ultra-sharp three-inch high-tech AMOLED monitor screen. It’s a very impressive specification to say the least, and is bound to have Panasonic’s boffins scurrying back to their drawing boards.
Samsung WB650 front

The WB650 is, it has to be said, not a particularly attractive camera to look at. The overall shape of the body is very similar to the WB550, but with a black plastic lump stuck on the top to house the GPS antenna. It’s quite a large and heavy camera even by long-zoom compact standards, measuring 106 x 62 x 35mm and weighing 238g fully loaded, several millimetres larger and 20g heavier than the TZ10. It’s solidly made though, and the chunky body is comfortable to hold thanks to a decent-sized handgrip and a textured thumbgrip area on the back. The body is mostly plastic with a metal front panel, and is available in only one colour scheme, the matt black with chrome trim seen here.

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