Review: Samsung MV800


[This review originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of Gadgets Magazine]

By Paolo Toledo

A quick glance at most of the photos on your favorite social network will reveal a simple truth: not everyone is a serious hobbyist or professional photographer. The majority of the snapshots are by average camera users who just want to point and click at anyone and anything. They just want the basics—nice and clear photos. Simply put, they just take photos for the sheer fun of it. And that’s exactly what the Samsung MV800 multiview compact digital camera is. It’s the perfect fun-to-use camera.

Put away any impressions of a DSLR or hopes for a pro-ready machine. This is not what the MV800 is all about. The good thing about this camera is that it seems to address a nice old niche for just having a good time taking photos. It’s compact, very easy to use, and is packed with a deep set of features, presets, and extras to play around with.

This is not to say that the MV800 is a toy. In fact, by appearance and overall performance, it’s far from any basic digital camera. Its minimal sleek design is both fashionable and well-made. Textured black metal finish is always a beautiful thing and it gives the device the right balance of sophistication. In terms of size, it clocks in at 3.5 inches long, 2.5 tall, and just a little above half an inch thick—making it handy and just the right size to fit any pocket.

Perhaps the most striking innovation of the camera is its adjustable 3-inch flip-out touchscreen display that allows for taking photos at (almost) any desired angle. Connected by a single hinge, the LCD can rotate from zero to 180 degrees, or can fold out to the front of the camera for the perfect self-portrait shot.

Of course, mastering the art of taking one’s own photo at arm’s length takes a great amount of skill, aim, and experience, but the MV800 renders the job simple and enjoyable. There’s even a second shutter button tucked away behind the screen that provides a more natural grip and operation for those narcissistic moments.

Everything else about the MV800 is in the usual Samsung quality and performance that we’ve all grown to love. It boasts a Schneider-Kreuznach 26mm wide-angle lens, with 5x optical zoom and 16.1-megapixel resolution that produce clean and crisp images with stunning color. There may be a few focusing issues in some scenes, and the lack of a full manual mode is rather limiting, but still doesn’t hinder the fun and features that this device can offer.

Operation is pleasantly simple with just three buttons on top: power, shutter and zoom; and two at the back: home/menu and play. All other navigating happens in the touchscreen menus and the UI is also well-designed (think apps in an iPod) and features are all easily accessible without having to weave in and out of confusing groups and subsets. The touch response is also pretty decent, but tends to lag when viewing photos.

Driving into the camera features and photo possibilities proves to be one creative joyride. As mentioned previously, this camera is all about having fun and creating as many photo options as possible. The menus are packed with more extras than a zombie army movie. Aside from the usual presets and filters, there’s also the option to shoot 3D images, live panorama, different lomo-style effects, Funny Face, and even a cool Magic Frame feature that lets you place your photo within different settings like on a billboard, on the moon, or in an antique frame (just to name a few).

Actually, the depth of the photo possibilities on the MV800 can be quite daunting and tends to overwhelm a user during initial usage, but after steadily trying it all out in different situations and taking the time to see each one, it becomes a lot more comfortable. I found myself picking out my personal favorite effects and sticking to those in certain situations (i.e. the fisheye effect had me going for a whole weekend).

With all things said and done, there really is no huge contention against the Samsung MV800. It does not try to be a serious professional camera. It knows its role as a fun compact point-and-shoot, and it plays it well. It’s simple, sexy, and savvy enough to amaze and delight the everyday user.

Black Design
Point and Shoot, Rotating

LCD Image sensor
Approx. 16.15 Mega pixel
CCD Image Sensor Type

Schneider Lens
5x Optical Zoom
4.7~23.5mm Focal Length

Shutter Speed
Program : 1 ~ 1/2,000 sec. Smart Auto: 1/8~ 1/2000 sec Night : 8 ~ 1/2,000 sec

±2EV (1/3EV steps)
Program AE
Multi, Spot, Center Weighted, Face Detection AE Metering System

Multi AF, Center AF, Face Detection AF, Object Tracking AF, Smart Face Recognition AF, One Touch Shooting AF
Normal: 80cm ~ infinity(Wide), 150cm ~ infinity(Tele)
Image Stabilization
Dual Image Stabilization
Smart Settings
Smart Auto / Smart Filter / Smart Album / Smart Face Recognition / Smart Movie

Micro SD Card(up to 2GB guaranteed)
Approximately 10MB Internal Memory

Stereo Microphone / Mono Speaker

Inputs & Outputs
HDMI 1.3 / USB 2.0

Product Dimensions: 3.62″ x 2.21″ x .72″

4.2V DC Power, BP70A Battery

• Packed with fun shooting modes and scenes
• Sleek and compact black metal design
• Flip-out 3-inch touschscreen LCD

• Touch response lag when photo-viewing
• Not all features are useful
• Focusing issues in some shooting modes


If you’re not the serious hobbyist or professional, the Samsung MV800 is definitely one to consider. It’s downright one of the most complete and compact point-and-shoots out there, and will definitely provide the fun and creativity for any situation—especially when taking self-portraits.