Nikon Coolpix S800C Android-based camera pictures and hands-on

It was only a matter of time before an OS such as Android made its way into a camera. Polaroid had headed up the idea with the SC1630 model, but now it's Nikon that's in line with the Coolpix S800C.

This Coolpix not only offers the usual fun of a 10x optical zoom compact camera but also ties in Wi-Fi and the Android 2.3 Gingerbread platform.

The camera can connect directly online to perform all the usual photo-sharing stuff, but as Google Play store is wide open the S800C can also download apps. We played Angry Birds and even made a video Skype call to a 3G smartphone. Yup, we went there.

Whether this will be upgradable in the future is not known. We suspect there are limitations based on processing power and the wider smartphone world that will hold the Nikon back into the more stable, less demanding Android versions initially. But, who knows, maybe this will be the springboard to many more phones on more advanced Android versions in the not too distant future.

The S800C has a 3.5-inch, WVGA (that's 1.15-million dots by our calculations) OLED touchscreen display that makes tapping, swiping and all that smartphone-esque actions extra easy. It responds really well, which is unusual for a compact camera - but essential for a device such as this to be successful.

With a 1/2.3-inch, 16-megapixel sensor the S800C offers a larger sensor than most smartphones, but it's the lens that's the critical sell. The 10x optical zoom extends from its 25mm wide-angle setting through to 250mm at the top end and slides through the range with ease when using the zoom toggle on top of the camera. Nikon's Hybrid VR (Vibration Reduction) system also kicks in to help steady shots - another essential when shooting at longer focal lengths.

Battery power comes from the rechargeable li-ion EN-EL2 battery. It's not a huge battery (the same as you'll find in the S9300, for example) and this means this Coolpix will serve only around 150 shots per charge. We've not been able to test that at length as yet, but the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and operating system demands are likely to suck juice out of the battery more than a regular compact camera.

The Coolpix S800C also includes 2GB of internal memory as well as an SD card slot for further expansion.

The £379 price tag may not be small, but this compact comes fully loaded with all kinds of goodies which other compacts are yet to achieve.