Kodak EasyShare-One Wi-Fi Camera

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Courtesy of Kodak

Several weeks ago, I took a look at Nikon's CoolPix P2 Wi-Fi camera. My conclusion was that the camera's bonus Wi-Fi capabilities didn't do a lot to augment its appeal. Kodak's approach was to make a connected Wi-Fi device that does a lot of things— taking pictures is just one of them. By presenting this not as a camera but as a whole new way of managing and sharing pictures, Kodak succeeds where Nikon failed.

Kodak's digital camera line and online picture gallery are named "EasyShare." That used to strike me as a silly thing to call cutting-edge cameras, but I've realized over the years that Kodak doesn't make cutting-edge cameras. Rather, they make cameras that are easy to use, and that come with software that makes sharing pictures easy.

With the EasyShare-One, we see this mantra elevated to the next plane: the camera is literally connected, via Wi-Fi, to the online EasyShare Gallery. If you have pictures up there already, the camera can act as a remote viewer and manager. Albums that friends and family have shared with you are also accessible. If you want to upload pictures you just took into an online album, and e-mail those albums around, you can do it with a few clicks, without once touching your computer. On the Nikon, I enjoyed being able to send shots to a slideshow in progress, but that was just a fun diversion. Here, I see the practical side of Wi-Fi connectivity.

Like the Nikon, battery life was easily drained with a lot of Wi-Fi use. Kodak ships two batteries with the camera—just don't forget to recharge the spare. I did occasionally experience hiccups in the Wi-Fi connection, whether because of range or just the vagaries of wireless networking, I do not know. Nevertheless, when a hiccup did occur, the camera's interface made it easier to deal with. (Wi-Fi geeks might be saddened to hear that the camera only supports WEP wireless security. If your network runs the newer, safer WPA security, you'll have to drop it back down to WEP. Kodak will probably come up with a fix for this in the coming year.)

The more recent Kodak dye-sub printers, like the Photo Printer 500 and the Printer Dock Plus Series 3, can accept a Kodak Wi-Fi card ($100, sold separately) that will allow the camera to print wirelessly. Unlike other wireless printing products, I found this to be remarkably easy, something I'd recommend to technophobes and techies alike.

I said earlier that Kodak doesn't make cutting-edge cameras, and, Wi-Fi aside, that's so far true in this case as well. The 4-megapixel camera with a 3X optical zoom lens takes decent pictures, but for $600 it should. I've seen better. I've never seen easier.