Wi-Fi-capable cameras like Canon's latest PowerShot additions allow users to share digitized memories online at the press of a button ... so long as there's a wireless network or smartphone within range. Samsung's Galaxy Camera offers instant gratification in the shape of 3G/4G capabilities, but is mighty expensive. Swedish-led Q Lifestyle has released a colorful 5 megapixel, 3G-packing pocket camera called theQ that's both easy on the budget and simple to use.

theQ point-and-shoot is described by its developers as a modern vintage camera. The outer housing benefits from a rubberized coating and a slight thumb-friendly cutout, and there's a simple through-body viewfinder/window to frame up shots (and double as a home for a belt clip or carabiner). The housing is also sealed against dust and water ingress, so users can take theQ along for a quick dip in the pool (up to a depth of 3.3 ft/1 m for 30 minutes).

Designed for mobile connectivity, users will need to throw in a 3G-capable SIM card, like the ones used for mobile phones. It doesn't come supplied with one, however, leaving users free to choose their own carriers, but this will obviously add to the initial outlay for the camera.

Pressing the Save & Share button once sends an image to a user's online photo album at theQ Lab over 3G or mobile networks. This is also the place to spice up images courtesy of nine post-production filters. There's currently no limit on the amount of photos users can send to this free and secure online vault. Hitting the Save & Share button a second time flings the captured digital memory to user-selected social networks.

If theQ camera can't find a 3G connection to upload the snaps, it will temporarily store them in the device's 2 GB of solid state memory. As soon as theQ emerges from the wireless dead zone, the cache will be sent on its way.

Rather than having a top-mounted pop up flash, theQ has a built-in eight segment LED flash ring that sits back behind, and surrounds, the camera's 24 mm f2.4 wide-angle lens. This light ring also serves as a battery level indicator and timer countdown indicator for selfies. The manual focus lens offers three capture presets, including macro, and users can choose from outdoor, indoor and night exposure modes using the selector on the top of the camera.

The colorful snapper has two shutter release buttons to the top right, one to fire the flash and the other to capture the image au naturel. The remaining button to the top brings up drop-down menu options on the 2.7-inch 320 x 240 resolution TFT display at the back, which is also used for previewing photos prior to upload.

The camera's micro-USB port at the bottom is not for transferring images to a computer, but rather to charge theQ's 800 mAh Li-Pol battery. Users will shortly be able to access, manipulate and share photos from an iOS/Android smartphone using theQ app.

Camera specs such as ISO sensitivity, shutter speeds, stabilization, JPEG image quality and aspect ratio, white balance adjustment, and so on, remain a bit of a mystery. Unfortunately, we've been unable to persuade the company to part with any more information on the sensor and image processing engine at the heart of this photo-only device (there's no support for video capture).

The first batch of cameras has just been sent out, and the company is now taking orders for the second production run at US$199 each.

The video below shows the kind of adventures that the designers expect users to get up to with theQ camera.

Source: Q Lifestyle

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