Was it LG that first added a tiny convex self-portrait mirror to its camera phones? Well, Samsung has taken the concept to the next level by adding 1.5-inch LCD to the front of its two newly announced compact point and shoots, the Samsung DualView TL225 and TL220. Both cameras also sport nice, big wide-aspect touchscreens on the back (the TL225's is a 3.5-inch, 1,152,000-dot thing of beauty), but it's the small screens on the front that provide the real gee-whiz factor. The front-side LCDs not only provide a preview image for taking self-portraits, but they also display a visual countdown when used in self-timer mode (improving on the typical blinking light that no one ever seems to get) and even a short little animation to attract children's attention when shooting kids portraits.
Both front and rear LCDs are fully touch-sensitive. In fact, when the front LCD is off, it slickly disappears from view on the camera's glossy surface, but a tap turns it on, automatically setting the camera to Self-Portrait mode which also activates the smile-detection shutter release.
The rear LCD on the TL225 is gorgeous (the TL220's is a more standard -- though still large -- 3-inch, 230,000-dot screen) and both cameras offer an intuitive menu system accessed through point-and-swipe gestures as well as tilting motions powered by an internal accelerometer to make menu selections.
Both cameras include 12.2-megapixel, 1/2.33-inch CCD sensors and relatively wide 27- to 124.2mm, f/3.5-5.9 zoom lenses and can shoot 720p HD videos at 30 frames per second. In fact, the only differences between the two cameras are the size of the rear LCDs, an HDMI output on the TL225, and a negligible 0.2mm difference in overall thickness (the TL220 is a hair thinner). Oh, and of course a $50 price difference: Both cameras will ship in September, the TL225 for $349.99 and the TL220 for $299.99.