Samsung Galaxy Beam review: Home cinema
A decent 5MP camera
The Samsung Galaxy Beam comes with a 5MP camera alongside a single LED flash. It captures photos at a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels. There's also a front VGA camera for video calling.
The camera interface is the same as on previous Gingerbread Galaxy devices, with two shortcut bars on each side of the viewfinder. On the right you get the still camera / camcorder switch, a virtual shutter key and the gallery shortcut.
On the left there's the front-back camera toggle, the LED flash options and the Settings shortcut. You can replace the top two buttons, as well as add two more, for a total of four shortcuts to anything found in the Settings menu - any four, in any order.
The Galaxy Beam has rich camera functionality - touch focus, scenes, geotagging, panoramas, smile and blink detection, effects and manual settings for things like ISO, exposure compensation and so on.
The Beam produces good quality images for a 5MP shooter. The level of detail and was satisfactory, and the noise was kept at a reasonable level. On the other hand the color reproduction is usually slightly off and there are some artifacts caused by oversharpening.
Image quality comparison
The Galaxy Beam joins our image quality comparison tool and will face off with the likes of the Xperia U and the LG Optimus L7. The tool's page will give you all the information you'll need on what to look for.
720p video recording is uninspiring
The Samsung Galaxy Beam can capture 720p videos at 30 fps with its main camera and VGA videos with the secondary camera. The camcorder uses the exact same interface as the still camera. You can use effects in the videos, but there's no touch focus.
Videos are recorded into MP4 files with a bitrate of 12Mbps, which is pretty good for 720p resolution. The accompanying sound uses the AAC audio codec, but is mono only (64 Kbps bitrate, 44.1 kHz sampling rate).
The framerate hits the 30 fps target easily and the videos are very smooth. Colors are decent, too, but the amount of resolved detail is rather low and videos look pixelated at times. This means that the Galaxy Beam is hardly the best video shooter out there, but it will do for the occasional YouTube upload.
Here's a video sample shot that we uploaded to YouTube.
And here is an untouched 720p@30fps (0:15s, 23.6MB) video sample for direct download.
Video quality comparison
The Samsung Galaxy Beam enters our video quality comparison tool to square off against it's twin, the Galaxy S Advance, and the Sony Xperia U. Check out the results below: