Samsung TL225's unique front screen comes in handy

Like to take self portraits? Samsung's TL225 has a tiny 1.5-inch screen up front, letting you see yourself when you snap those arms-length shots. That innovative feature turns out to be quite useful, setting this $350 point-and-shoot camera apart from all the others.

Start up the TL225 and you'll be startled by the relatively huge 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen in the back. Not only is it big, but it's responsive, deftly reacting to your touch, while adding haptic buzzes with each finger press. We even like the little noises it makes. Its innovative gestural controls let you swipe from side to side to view the next picture you've taken, and if you want to delete a pic, you just draw an X on the screen. Neat.

The camera has a small sensor, but its 12.2 megapixels packed tightly within serve it well. Its pictures look better than most point-and-shoot cameras, particularly in low light. While it's not a DSLR, it'll do the trick for most casual photography. We especially like the 4.6x optical zoom lens that widens out to 27mm, letting you include more than just yourself in an arms-length self portrait. There's also HD (720p/30) video capability, with decent image stabilization and the ability to zoom in and out while you shoot.

That front screen has multi-uses besides just letting you frame up yourself when you take a picture. There's a cute little animation to attract the eyes of toddlers and tots, which might be effective the first few times, depending on how smart your kid is. We like the way it displays a countdown in self-timer mode, making sure everyone's ready with a big smile. And, you can send the shutter and function indicators to that front screen, too. Sometimes that rear touchscreen is a little bit too sensitive for its own good, though, because when we tried to take pictures of ourselves, our hands often inadvertently touched the wrong button.

We like the Samsung TL225. Not only does it take acceptable pictures, its unusual front screen is a useful innovation. We also like its attractive purple trim (also available in orange), setting its appearance apart from the huge crowd of point-and-shoot cameras on the market. However, if you're not going to be taking a lot of self portraits, there are plenty of cheaper point-and-shoot cameras that can do the job just as well.

Samsung TL225