Meet theQ. It’s a digital camera designed to entice the Instagram generation away from their phones.
Tiny, lightweight and nigh-on indestructible, theQ offers a selection of filters (naturally) and wide-angle 24mm lens with manual focus – but it keeps social media front and centre thanks to a built-in 3G antenna. That means you can upload shots straight to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more.
“But I already have a mobile phone with a decent camera, and I can share my shots on all those sites,” we hear you cry. “Why would I carry around yet another device?” Well, good point: theQ isn’t going to offer DSLR or compact system camera-quality shots, and it doesn’t even have an optical zoom – it’s just a 5MP fixed focal length point-and-shoot. But it does possess some key advantages over a phone, chiefly in the ring flash and the waterproofing.
While we’d have to test it for ourselves to give a definitive verdict, theQ’s flash – a ring of eight LEDs that encircles the lens – should offer far better lighting than any phone flash. Ring flashes light images in a more even way. So there’s that.
And it’s also IP67 rated, which means it’s waterproof to a depth of a metre for up to 30 minutes. It’s dustproof too. Most (but not all) smartphones aren’t either of those things.
The camera requires a micro SIM, which suggests you’ll be paying a network a monthly fee. It also features 2GB of built-in storage (room for about 1,000 shots), a 2.7in LCD screen and an eight-second self-timer that cleverly uses the ring flash’s LEDs as a countdown indicator.
The makers are also launching 'theQ Lab', a computer app that grabs all your shots out of the cloud and lets you organise, edit and share them.
The simplicity and lo-fi nature of theQ reminds us of a Lomography camera, except digital and socially connected. We’ll be getting our mitts on one as soon as possible for a full review. A US$200 (S$251) price (plus a further US$20 in shipping) will secure you your own theQ come early 2014, when they should be back in stock. Nine colour finishes are available – you can see them all here.