So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Kodak EASYSHARE One
- Some cool wireless functions, touch screen functionality
- Battery life is terrible, wireless could use some improvement, as could the pictures
A really solid attempt by Kodak. If they improved the sensor on this model, and managed to squeeze a bit more life from the battery, they could have a winner on their hands.
Price$ 899.00 (AUD)
A few weeks ago we got our hands on Nikon's Coolpix P2, a digital camera with wireless transmission capabilities. Shortly afterwards, we recieved Sony's N1, which sported a massive three inch LCD with a touch screen interface. What do you get when you combine these two revolutionary cameras? Kodak's Easyshare One.
The One offers both wireless functionality and a massive touch screen in a single camera and whilst the presence of both certainly makes for an original and quite fun unit, there are problems with the implementation that mean it is not all it could be.
The largest of these is the inability to transfer pictures on the fly. The One will only allow wireless connectivity in playback mode, but not capture mode. One of the best things about the Nikon P2 was the ability to snap off a shot and have it instantly sent to your printer or PC. No longer could your significant other snatch the camera from you and erase all evidence of that embarrassing tumble down the stairs; pictures were safely and instantly locked away on your hard drive.
The One doesn't support such connectivity, forcing you to transfer them in bulk at the end of a shoot. To us, this defeats a lot of the purpose of a wireless setup; it takes a mere second or two to connect a cable to your camera and do a file dump after you're finished shooting, so all the wireless function does in this instance is free you of cables. It could have been considerably more useful and a lot cooler.
That said, Kodak does offer some neat options to go with this technology, namely the online gallery and email functions. You can use the camera to formulate collections and then upload them directly to Kodak's online database through your wireless connection, allowing all your friends quick and easy access to your snaps. Alternatively you can email them to people directly through the camera, or transmit wirelessly to a Kodak printer dock. The wireless capabilities of the One harness the technology of a Kodak 802.11b card. We originally disliked this, as it wasn't built in like on the Nikon, but the card can be hidden within the case when not in use, and it gradually grew on us.
Most of this functionality was easily accessible through the touchscreen, which surprisingly came complete with its own miniature stylus. We can't tell you how professional we felt tapping away at our camera like some sort of bizarrely shaped PDA. Thankfully unlike the Sony N1, there is still a directional pad, and all the functions are available without utilising the screen at all. The LCD itself looked fairly good, although some image quality is sacrificed to implement the touch sensitivity. Functionally it was about average; it probably won't be as responsive as your GPS or smartphone, but we managed to navigate the interface fairly easily, and we could always fall back on the buttons if necessary.
Unfortunately the combination of a three inch screen and a half-hearted set of buttons means that the Kodak One will probably require a backpack of its own for carrying around. Over 100 millimetres in length, and weighing over 220g without the battery, it is clunky and archaically large. The front looks like a blown up version of the v550, with a brushed silver, metallic finish. The back on the other hand is cased in pearly white and houses the impressive screen on a rotating hinge. We found this extremely useful for flipping around to take self portraits, but be warned, we cannot be held responsible for the sight that greets you when doing this. This is also a nifty feature for protecting the screen when carrying it around. It gives the One an interesting look that will probably attract some people, although the design leaves a lot to be desired aesthetically.
The picture quality was similarly disappointing. Our outdoors shots looked pretty reasonable for a four megapixel model, but they felt a little bit oversharpened, and we really noticed the presence of purple fringing along some edges. Along tree lines it was very obvious, presenting itself as a thick purple bar a millimetre or two thick; it even spilled over onto the leaves in some instances, a problem we had only seen on the Samsung L55W prior to this.
Sharpness on our indoors shots was considerably better, and rivalled some much higher rated models. Unfortunately we couldn't generate a shot with accurate colours. Our flash testing produced horribly noisy pictures, with strong oversaturation of all the different colours, whilst lowered lighting conditions led to overly warm shots. The One only offers ISO settings up to 400, but even at that level it felt largely unusable. Pictures taken at this level were snowy and blurred, with the noise creating warped image edges which really detracted from the image quality.
Feature-wise the One offers up a standard array of point and shoot options. Seventeen shooting modes are supported by ISO and white balance options, along with colour, sharpness and exposure settings and a surprisingly adept continuous shooting mode that takes roughly two shots a second for five shots. The video mode record what is now fairly standard 640x480 movies at 24 fps. These functions aren't quite as easily accessible as we would have liked; you have to navigate through several tiers of menus to change most of the options, and the menus aren't clearly marked.
Whilst the One might be the most original camera we've seen in a while, this originality comes at a very hefty cost. Its battery life is nothing short of appalling. Powering that 3" screen must suck up a lot of juice because we barely managed forty shots, with a hefty portion of idle time, wireless transferring and a small video. We even switched to the alternate battery to make sure it wasn't a fault. The One ran out not once but twice during our testing process, a feat that has never been achieved before.
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