Points to Samsung for coming up with something that should have been common years ago: a point-and-shoot camera with front-facing LCD. It’s been a staple of cameraphones (even Samsung ones) for a while, but the TL225 is one of the first mainstream P&S cams to have the feature, making it ideal for self-portraits, something we’re told the kids are into these days. Face and smile detection are built in to help get that perfect shot.
Besides the self-portrait assistance, the 1.5-inch screen will display a countdown for when you don’t want to be holding the camera. It also boasts a Child Mode, which will play vaguely creepy animation of clowns, intended to help get the attention of a small child (the video can be changed).
Samsung made the TL225 simple to use — just tap the front screen to turn it on. The quality of the front LCD is a little sketchy, especially compared to the comparatively glorious 3.5-inch one on the back. But then again, this front screen is really there just to help with composition, not for picture viewing, so that’s OK. Navigating the menus on the backside touchscreen was fairly intuitive; after you’ve used it for a couple of minutes, you’ll be flying.
My favorite extra feature is touch delete: just swipe an “X” over an image during playback, and the camera deletes the pic (don’t worry about accidents; there’s a confirmation screen). The 12.2-megapixel resolution, HDMI output and 4.6x optical zoom are nice to have, too. The cam also shoots 720p HD video.
The TL 225 will sell for $350. The more affordable TL220, which also has a front LCD, costs $250, but it ditches the HDMI output and takes the rear LCD down to 3 inches. Both models will be on store shelves in September.