Nikon Coolpix S800c Review

by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor

Originally Posted: December 30, 2012

Last Updated: December 31, 2012

At first glance, the Nikon Coolpix S800c ($349) looks like just another compact ultra zoom camera. It's anything but ordinary. The Coolpix S800c is one of only two cameras on the market powered by the Android operating system, with the other being Samsung's Galaxy Camera. The use of Android allows you to share photos without having to connect to your computer, or tether to a smartphone. There also are thousands of photo-related Android apps available to download, so if you've ever wanted Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter on your camera, here you go. You'll control all of this on the camera's 3.5" touchscreen OLED display.

The camera-related features on the Coolpix S800c include a 16 Megapixel CMOS sensor, 10X (25-250 mm) optical zoom lens, image stabilization, lots of filters and scene modes, and 1080/30p video recording.

Ready to learn more about the this unique camera? Keep reading them, our review starts now!

What's in the Box?

The Coolpix S800c has a pretty skimpy bundle, save for its healthy amount of onboard memory. Here's what you'll find when you open the box:

  • The 16.0 effective Megapixel Coolpix S800c digital camera
  • EN-EL12 lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Charging AC adapter
  • Wrist strap
  • USB cable
  • 40 page Quick Start Guide (printed) + full manual available for download

The Coolpix S800c has a total of 4 GB of memory, with 1.7 GB available for apps, photos, and movies. I had about a gigabyte less on my camera, due to all of the included Google apps. If you want more storage (and I'm sure you will), the camera supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. I'd suggest picking up a 4GB or 8GB card for use with the camera. While using a high speed card won't hurt, you don't need to go overboard and buy anything fancy.

The S800c uses the same EN-EL12 lithium-ion battery as several other Nikon cameras, including the Coolpix S9300. This battery holds 3.9 Wh worth of energy, which isn't a whole lot for this power-hungry device. Here's what kind of battery life you can expect:

Camera Battery life
(CIPA standard)
Battery used
Canon PowerShot ELPH 530 HS */** 190 shots NB-9L
Fuji FinePix F800 EXR ** 300 shots NP-50A
Nikon Coolpix S800c */** 140 shots EN-EL12
Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5 ** 250 shots DMW-BCK7
Samsung Galaxy Camera */** N/A N/A
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V */** 320 shots NP-BG1

* Touchscreen
** Built-in Wi-Fi

Battery life numbers are provided by the manufacturer, and are calculated with Wi-Fi and the GPS turned off.

If I'm not mistaken, the Coolpix S800c has the worst battery life of any camera I've ever tested. And the number above is with Wi-Fi turned off, so if you're using that, or just spending a lot of time with the screen turned on, expect much lower numbers. I think it's quite telling that the very first page of the manual is dedicated to extending battery life.

If you're going to buy the S800c, I'd recommend picking up not one, but two spare batteries. A Nikon-branded EN-EL12 will set you back around $22. Unfortunately, Samsung doesn't provide battery life numbers for their Android-powered Galaxy Camera, though other reviews have said that it's fairly good (its battery is 1650 mAh, compared to 1050 mAh on the S800c).

The Coolpix S800c's battery is charged internally, over its included (proprietary) USB cable. You can use an included AC-to-USB adapter to charge, or just plug the camera right into your computer. Don't plan on charging when you're in a hurry, as it takes almost four hours to fully charge the battery. The camera cannot be used while it's charging. If you want to charge the battery outside of the camera, then you'll want to pick up this external charger.

There are three optional accessories available for the Coolpix S800c. The first is the MH-65 external battery charger (priced from $25) that I just mentioned. This fills up the battery in 2.5 hours and also allows you to have a spare battery on hand at all times (definitely a good idea on the S800c). Accessory number two is the EH-62F AC adapter (priced from $23) which will let you operate the camera while plugged into the wall, unlike the included USB charger. Nikon also sells screen protectors (model number LP-SD001) for around $8.50.

Nikon doesn't actually bundle any software with the Coolpix S800c -- they make you download it. The software package is known as ViewNX 2, and its made up of several parts. Nikon Transfer does just as it sounds -- it moves your photos and movies from the camera to your computer. ViewNX 2 itself is a pretty standard image organizer, with a good set of editing tools. You can adjust things like sharpness/contrast/brightness/and color, brighten shadows, straighten a crooked photo, remove redeye, or reduce chromatic aberrations. Photos and videos can be uploaded to Facebook or YouTube, or to Nikon's own MyPictureTown service.

The documentation for the Coolpix S800c is split into two parts. There's a 40 page Quick Start Guide that goes over camera and Android basics. If you want more information, you'll have to go to Nikon's website and download the full manual -- just like with the ViewNX software that's normally bundled. The full manual is about average in terms of quality. If you downloaded ViewNX, then you'll find instructions for using the software installed onto your computer.