Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom review: Lights, Camera, Android!
Having cornered the Android smartphone market, Samsung now has smart cameras in its sights. The Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom is a crossover of an Android phone and a point-and-shoot camera, trying to put the best of both worlds in your pocket.
It's a lot more compact than last year's Galaxy Camera and this year's Galaxy NX and, unlike both of them, it has full telephony features. So, it has the makings of a midrange Android smartphone but adds a big sensor, xenon flash, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and 10x zoom. These things are usually well out of the reach of a smartphone, which needs to be thin.
Thin the Galaxy S4 zoom isn't, but it's got other virtues.
- Android-powered phone/camera hybrid with 10x zoom lens with OIS
- Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE; quad-band 3G with HSPA; LTE
- 4.3" 16M-color qHD (540 x 960)Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with Gorilla Glass 3
- Android OS v4.2.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz UI
- Dual-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, Mali-400 GPU; Exynos 4212 chipset
- 1.5GB of RAM
- 16 MP autofocus camera, 1/2.33" sensor, xenon flash, Optical Image Stabilization, 10x zoom, continuous autofocus and stereo sound; manual settings
- 1080p video recording @ 30fps, 720p @ 60fps, 120fps slow-mo
- 1.9 MP front-facing camera, 720p video recording
- 8GB of built-in storage, microSD card slot
- microUSB port with USB host and MHL 2.0
- Dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA
- Bluetooth v4.0
- GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
- IR blaster for remote control functionality
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack; Smart volume
- Accelerometer and proximity sensor
- Smart screen: Smart stay, Smart rotate
- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- Ample 2,330mAh battery with great endurance
- Thicker and heavier than a smartphone
- Screen not HD, sunlight legibility could have been better
- Old chipset
- Shared camera interface makes framing tricky
- No FM radio
It's like a Galaxy S4 mini and a point-and-shoot camera had a teleportation accident and merged together. Of course, the chipset is a bit older than what the mini has, but still benchmarks well enough. The Zoom even kept the IR blaster.
It used to be that people took a few dozen photos a year. Now they will do the same in a day or two and share them with the world in an instant. And all that thanks to the ever-improving photography skills of phones. The Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom takes this trend to an extreme - its long zoom, OIS and capable flash keep it relevant where a phone would be all but useless.
Combining two gadgets in one has its advantages - you only have to carry one device. You're buying only one device too. But just how good is the Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom at being both a phone and a camera? Read on and find out.