Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom.
$588 (street price). Charmingly topsy turvy.
This device is a camera with a phone attached, not - like other smartphones - phones with cameras added on. The camera is a 16-megapixel unit with an image-stabilised zoom lens (24-240mm film equivalent), and the phone is Android-controlled. The 107.5mm AMOLED screen is conventional touch-sensitive phone gear, with excellent brightness and colours. Connectivity is by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC. It uses micro SD cards, up to 64GB. When set up for DropBox, the image file is copied automatically. There is GPS, which is used for ''Capture Guide'' and local photo-op recommendations. Dimensions and weight are comparable with a compact camera.
The price! This is a fine compact camera, worth at least $300, plus a top-quality Android phone, worth $400. Image quality is very good. The zoom-by-wire is better than on most compacts. And it has a proper shutter release button.
Two of the Android navigation buttons are, by default, hidden. They illuminate when touched but anyone unfamiliar with the Android system won't find them by accident.
This Samsung camera with phone attached would make the perfect traveller's compact. When in Venice, where the quality of the images is more important than the need to make phone calls, and you don't want the hassle of carrying two devices, the Galaxy S4 Zoom is the perfect companion. It takes pictures, can be used for phone calls, emails, texts and web browsing. It automatically secures the precious photos by uploading to DropBox. What's not to like?