Wireless is the new tech race in the compact digital camera field, and Kodak was first out of the Wi-Fi gate with the EasyShare One. This 4 megapixel “compact” camera has 802.11b connectivity that not only lets you print your images wirelessly but also share them on the web.
Kodak calls its Wi-Fi “integrated,” but it requires you to use a separate wireless card (included) that you insert in the top of the camera much like an SD card (same formfactor). You press the top of the card, causing it to pop up, to turn on Wi-Fi. You can then email pics to friends or upload them to the Kodak EasyShare Gallery—where others may view and print them—using your Wi-Fi network at home or some other hotspot. You can also show people your online gallery of pics on the camera’s swiveling 3-inch LCD touch-screen. (The camera comes with a stylus, allowing you to navigate its menus just like a PDA.)
The stylus and graphical menu make it simple to browse and organize your pics (you can even crop pics in-camera and save the results). However, enabling the full wireless capabilities inevitably involves messing around with WEP keys and can involve quite a bit of trial and error (plus, using Wi-Fi severely drains the battery). We had trouble getting our test unit to work with our wireless network at home until we switched from a shared-WEP key to an open key, which was not specified in the instructions.
Wi-Fi aside, don’t let the 4 megapixel rating fool you: This camera takes very nice photos, particularly outdoors. Unfortunately, the video quality is sub-par. Performance-wise, the EasyShare One is a slow starter and is heavier and bulkier than most other 4 megapixel cameras.
If you must have wireless, the EasyShare One is the only game in town—for now. However, it’s still nearly twice as expensive as more full-featured non-wireless cameras with higher resolution capabilities, and we’d really love to see the ability to upload files to other photo-sharing services or a simple FTP site in a future revision.
Month Reviewed: May 2006