Gadling gear review – Samsung TL225 Dualview digital camera

This Gadling gear review is going to introduce you to one of the newest cameras from Samsung. The Korean electronics maker may not be one of the first names you think of when you shop for a digital camera, but their products are always quite innovative and usually bring pretty decent value for money to the table.

The TL225 “Dualview” camera is the first digital camera with two LCD screens. On the rear of the camera is a 3.5″ touch sensitive screen, and on the front is a lower resolution 1.5″ screen.

The basic specifications of the camera are quite decent – 27mm wide angle 4.6x optical zoom with dual image stabilization, 12.2 megapixel sensor, smart face recognition, 29 smart scene modes, 14 effect modes, 15 integrated edit features, HD video and a voice recorder.

The second screen is of course the biggest selling point of the TL225. When turned off, the screen can’t be seen, as it is hidden behind a piano black plastic exterior. When enabled, you can select to use it as a second viewfinder, which is great if you like making photos of yourself.

A second mode turns the display into a settings screen, showing the current mode and focus settings. The screen also shows a countdown timer when on timed shutter mode. A third setting uses the screen to grab the attention of young kids, by displaying cute animated cartoon clips.

Sadly, when you turn the camera off, the Dualview screen setting is lost – so if you plan to use it a lot, you’ll need to turn it on every time you power the camera on. The screen is also a little dark, making it fairly useless in bright scenes.

In using the camera, I found the animated kid setting to be the most useful. The self-view feature is fun, and if you combine it with a small tripod, you’ll be able to make decent photos of yourself, without having to hand your camera off to a stranger.

The touch screen is nice – but it’ll be something you either love or hate. Integrated behind the screen is “haptic feedback”, which means you get a vibration feedback when you touch it. Navigating the menus is fairly easy, and there are still dedicated buttons for zoom, power, shutter and playback.

The screen also supports several gestures, making it really simple to browse photos by swiping left or right.

The TL225 takes MicroSD memory cards – which is also one of its biggest drawbacks. For starters, MicroSD cards are about 2-3x more expensive than regular SD memory. MicroSD cards are also more expensive if you need a faster card, something you’ll absolutely need if you plan to record HD movies.

I initially tested the camera with a class 2 8GB card (a pretty popular speed/size), but it could not record HD video, complaining about the card speed. I then tried it with a class 6 8GB card, and had no problems with HD. A high speed Class 6 MicroSD card is fairly hard to find, and you’ll need to go online to find a retailer that carries them as your local electronics store usually only carries class 2 or class 4 (the higher the number, the faster the card). I understand how space constraints forced them to make the switch to MicroSD, but it is really inconvenient.

Another big inconvenience is the USB/video connector port. As with many Samsung products, the TL225 uses a proprietary connector, which means you’ll need to bring the bulky USB cable with you when your travel. The camera does come with a video cable, but only for non-HD content. An HDMI cable for viewing content on an HD TV is an optional extra, and I was not able to locate any (online) retailer selling it.

Final thoughts

There is a lot to like about the Samsung TL225 – it looks great, has a very decent wide angle zoom lens, and the quality of its photos is above average (sample photos are in the gallery below). The Dualview screen starts off feeling like a nice gimmick, but I actually found myself making good use of it.

Sadly, there are also several things I did not like – the camera is quite sluggish, and I often got annoyed waiting for it to take a photo after I pressed the shutter. The piano black exterior is going to be a massive fingerprint magnet, so be sure to carry a cleaning cloth when you take it on a trip.

The proprietary cable and MicroSD slot are probably the two things that annoy me the most – most manufacturers offer cameras with MiniUSB and MiniHDMI but Samsung forces you to carry their bulky (and rather short) USB cable with you. Thankfully the USB cable does allow you to charge the camera when plugged into your computer. When you purchase the camera, calculate an additional $30 into the price for a fast MicroSD memory card.

The TL225 comes with a carrying strap, battery, USB/charging cable, USB wall charger, composite video cable, manual and software CD (Windows only). Its MSRP is $349.99, but can regularly be found for as little as $250, making is a very decent bargain for such a well equipped camera.

Samsung product page


Gadling gift guide – family travel and kid friendly products

Long gone are the days when a kid could be kept entertained with a coloring book and 2 crayons. Of course, part of the higher demands from kids has something to do with the gadgets we adults surround ourselves with.

In this Gadling gift guide, you’ll find some of the best travel friendly gadgets out there. Some will keep kids safe, some will entertain them, and some will help capture those fun memories.

Clek oobr Car seat

Not every trip with the kid(s) will be by air – in fact, 2008 and 2009 have been real “road trip” years, mainly to blame on the crappy economy. If you are going to be going all Clark Griswald on your family, then it pays to be sure your kids are sitting in the best and safest seat available. The Clek oobr is made by car component manufacturer Magna. In fact, the technology behind the oobr seat comes directly from actual car seats – the kind you and I sit on. The seat is built around an all metal frame, and incorporate several innovatives safety measures.

The oobr is designed for children 3 and up (depending on height/weight) and can convert from a regular seat into a backless booster. Unlike most booster seats, the oobr attaches to the LATCH restraints in your car, which puts and end to loose seats. Oobr is available in six colors, including a really neat looking Paul Frank design.

Price: $274.99
Product page: Magna Clek

Loud Enough Earphones

Pretty colors? Check. Volume limiting circuit? Check. Sized for small ears? Check. The Ultimate Ears “Loud Enough” headphones combine the high quality audio experience from Ultimate Ears, with a design young kids will love. The headphones feature integrated noise reduction to prevent hearing damage.

They come in a pretty carrying case, are available in three bright colors, and include a set of different earpieces.

Price: $39.99
Product page: Ultimate Ears Loud Enough

Leapfrog Leapster 2

Not all kids are at the age where they want to be shooting zombies or trying to run over people in their race car. For those kids (four and up), there is the LeapFrog Leapster 2 gaming console. The Leapster 2 is a bright and rugged console with a huge assortment of educational games.

LeapFrog offers some great game titles, and always keeps up with the latest trends. At the moment, the new Disney movie “The Princess and the Frog” is already available as a Leapster game. Kids get a good balance of fun and learning, and parents can hook the unit up to their PC to track progress. Best of all, several kids can share a unit and set up their own account.

Price: $49.99 + games
Product page: LeapFrog Leapster 2

Tag pen

Another great product from LeapFrog helps teach kids how to read, while making the experience more fun. The LeapFrog Tag pen uses optical recognition technology from Anoto (the same system used in the Livescribe pen). Special books combined with software loaded on the Tag pen helps narrate parts of the book, and adds a lot of fun, as well as various hidden bonus portions. Best of all, the Tag pen has a headphone jack, making it perfect for using with the Ultimate Ears Loud Enough headphones mentioned earlier.

Price: $39.99
Product page: LeapFrog Tag


At home you try and keep germs to a minimum – so why not use gadgets to do the same on the road. Violight produces a big lineup of toothbrush sanitizers that use UV light to reduce germs. These work great at home, but are equally effective on the road. Especially in a poorly cleaned hotel room, a (kids) toothbrush can pick up a load of germs, and unless you fully dry it, it will only get even filthier when packed away for the ride home.

Violight even developed an assortment of UV sanitizers just for kids.

Price: from $19.95
Product page: Violight UV sanitizers

Flip pocket HD camera

Handing your high-tech gadgets to a child does not have to be a gamble. Flip HD cameras are built to be sturdy, and easy to use. Starting at just under $150, you can get yourself an HD camera that is great for filming your kids, and great for letting your kids film the kind of stuff they enjoy looking at (usually closeups of their nose).

Once you get home, you simply plug the camera into your TV or PC, and the whole family can enjoy two hours of nose closeups.

Price: From $149.99
Product page: Flip digital video cameras

Heys xcase Mini with light-up wheels

Once your kids reach the age where they can pull their own luggage, you can let them experience how much fun it is to drag a bag full of stuff through the airport.

The Heys xcase Mini is a smaller version of the popular Heys ultra-lightweight rolling luggage. It is available in 7 bright colors, and comes with light-up LED wheels. Its retracting single-handle makes it easy to pull along.

Price: $69.97
Product page: Heys XCase mini


This product took one of the spots in top 10 travel products of 2009 here on Gadling. The Lug NAPSAC and SNUZSAC are perfect for those flights where the airline “enhanced” its services by removing pillows and blankets. The concept behind both pillows is brilliant – you unzip it, remove the super cozy blanket, then inflate the pillow. It comes as a regular pillow and a neck pillow.

Price: $28 (NAPSAC) $30 (SNUZSAC)
Product page:

Samsung DualView camera

Making photos of young kids is a hassle. It is nearly impossible to get infants to do anything on command. This is where the Samsung TL220 and TL225 DualView cameras can help. The DualView is the first camera with dual screens. On the back (for mommy and daddy) is a large touchscreen, and on the front is a smaller display that shows what you are shooting, or (and this one is great for infants), a smiley face. If a smiley face doesn’t do it for your kid, Samsung offers 20 additional animations, and there is bound to be one that will get their attention.

No infant can resist looking at a smiley face or jumping bunny – so your chance at getting the photo you want is greatly increased. The TL225 shoots in 12 megapixels and can do HD video, plus it features an HDMI output for viewing content on your HD TV.

Price: $299.99 (TL220) and $349.99 (TL225)
Product page: Samsung DualView

New Samsung digital cameras make “say cheese” a lot more fun

Samsung just announced 2 new cameras for their 2009 lineup. Now, new cameras are launched virtually every day, so it takes some creativity from the manufacturer to grab my attention. Which is exactly what Samsung managed to achieve.

The first camera, the CL65 (above on the left) is packed full of smart features. It has Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS. The Bluetooth allows you to send photos to other Bluetooth devices, like printers or mobile phones. The WiFi allows for direct uploads to Facebook, Picasa and Youtube. And finally, the GPS geotags your photos, storing the location you took it. The camera also offers HD video recording. HDMI output and oh yeah, it also takes 12.2 megapixel photos.

The second newcomer is the TL220/TL225. For the first time in any point-and-shoot camera, someone added a display to the front of the device. Sounds stupid? Well, I for one think it is brilliant. Anyone who has ever tried to grab the attention of an infant knows how hard it can be to photograph them. But imagine a clown or smiley face on the front! In addition to this, it can also help with self portraits or couples photos, for those times you don’t want to ask a stranger to help with your photos.

You can learn more about these new cameras (including pricing) over at Engadget (CL65 and TL220/TL225)
Update: Engadget has posted a hands-on with both cameras