CES 2012: Hands On With Polaroid’s SC1630 Android Camera.

Polaroid hasn’t been on our (and probably a good number of peoples’) radar for quite some time. The once innovative company has seemingly fallen into stagnant state, unable to produce the once great products of years past. But this year is different thanks to a “smart camera” in the SC1630 — a 16 megapixel point-and-shoot camera powered by Android.

We got our clammy paws all over Polaroid’s latest and greatest. Hop past the break for the visual evidence, and of course, our oh so important thoughts…


The Specs

  • 3.2″ 800 x 400 display, 512 MB of RAM, 16 megapixel camera with up to ISO 3200, F3.1 – F5.6 aperture and 3x optical zoom, 720p video recording, and a plethora of wireless options (850/1900/2100MHz WCDMA and 850/900/1800/1900 GSM + bluetooth + WiFi).

We were really looking to be wowed by Polaroid with the SC1630. It’s the first device in a long time that’s made us want to enter their booth. Though as you can probably tell by the already declining toen of this paragraph, it wasn’t exactly roses and sweet romance.

For starters, the SC1630 hardware is pretty catching — a plus. The color options are a nice “feature” that still manages to save a gadget or two from irrelevance every now and then. Unfortunately for Polaroid, while the hardware is pretty awesome the software is atrocious.

We couldn’t find any documentation of the version of Android running (let alone get someone from Polaroid to talk to us), but we can say with confidence it’s an old version of Android. But what’s even more depressing than old Android software is old Android software being pushed by grossly outdated hardware. Lag was ever present and everywhere we looked. Seriously. Using the touchscreen controls to take pictures, share pictures, and pretty much do anything was like interacting with a touch friendly stop-motion move from the 20′s.

We know what happened. Polaroid came up with this awesome idea to take the traditional point-and-shoot (which is dying thanks to better and better smartphone cameras) and revolutionize it by turning it into a sudo-smartphone minus the phone. Unfortunately in the case of the $299 SC1630, Polaroid failed.