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Samsung TL225 Digital Camera Review$349.99
The TL225 is a small, compact camera, but it fits well into the hand. Despite the lack of a front ridge for the fingertips, it is possible to use the camera in one hand, although the thumb tends to obscure part of the screen.
Buttons & Dials
The TL225 only has a few buttons and dials: a power button, shutter button, zoom toggle and a play button. These are generally well placed, but the zoom and shutter are a little close together: it is too easy to accidentally hit the zoom toggle when reaching for the shutter.
Everything else is controlled through the touch screen. This works pretty well, but it does miss some touches and gets confused if you are touching it in more than one place. So, if you are holding it in on hand and your thumb is touching the top right corner, it doesn't register any other touches. The touch sensor is also rather low resolution, so it is a little too easy to hit the wrong button on screen if you're not being careful. Although the touch screen does not detect multiple touches, you can use some gestures to control the camera in playback mode: if you touch the screen and draw a circle, it will rotate the photo. A left to right (or vice versa) touch scrolls to the next (or previous) photo, and an X on the screen deletes a photo. The touch screen generally works well and is easy to use.
It's also a haptic device, which means it responds with a slight vibration when you touch a button on the screen. This helps it to give more of a positive feel; you can tell that you've pressed a button. The amount of this vibration is configurable, and stealthy shooters might want to turn it off, as it makes a slight buzzing noise that house cats and other wild life can hear and get spooked by.
One other interesting feature is motion recognition: if you touch the motion recognition button on the screen and rotate the camera, you can change modes with a forward tilt switching to movie mode, and down switching to program mode. Tilting it to the left puts the camera in smart auto mode. Unfortunately, this approach cannot be used to change the scene mode: to switch between scene modes, you have to go through the on-screen menu, which takes several touches.
The TL225 has two menus; the on-screen buttons that control things such as the flash mode, focus, etc and the main menu that contains all these and less commonly used options, such as the AF illuminator. The on-screen buttons are for the mode, flash, focus, delay and display control, with some more in a pop-up menu that appears when you touch the bottom of the screen.
We found a couple of issues with this structure. One is that it is very awkward to change scene modes: to do so, you have to press the mode button, select scene mode and then select the mode you want. There is no quicker way to change between modes, which is annoying. We wish that Samsung had found a way to use the motion recognition too quickly shift between scene modes, but they didn't. We also found that we hit the wrong button on the touch screen more often than we liked because of the relatively low resolution of the screen.
The main menu of the TL225 is more conventionally designed. It's divided into four sections: functions, sound, screen and setup. Functions is for options like exposure compensation, white balance, etc. Sound is where you control the volume and the haptic features, setting the type of sounds and how the camera vibrates when you touch the screen. The screen section contains options for setting the language and screen brightness, while the setup section contains pretty much everything else.
Manual & Learning
The TL225 comes with a 106 page manual that covers the myriad functions of the camera well. It is well written and illustrated, and has a good basic functions guide at the start of the manual for new users.