12th June 2013
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is a smartphone with a proper digital camera, and it slots in the range slightly below the radical Samsung Galaxy Camera, although it does things a little differently.
Despite the "Galaxy S4" name on the device, the Galaxy S4 Zoom is not based on the Galaxy S4 but instead it seems to be based on the somewhat inferior Galaxy S4 Mini. Having said that, the specifications are certainly pretty decent and the S4 Zoom should be able to do almost anything that you want it to do.
The most obvious feature is the great big camera assembly on the back, housing a 16 megapixel sensor with a 10X optical zoom plus a Xenon flash. This is proper digital camera territory, and Samsung are experts when it comes to standalone cameras.. so you can be reasonably assured that this is going to be very good, and it can also capture 1080p HD video at 30 fps which is great. The problem is that it also looks ridiculous if you are using it for anything other than taking photos, but at least it isn't a boring black slab.
As you might expect, the camera makes it quite bulky. But you might be surprised to find that Samsung say that it is only 15.4mm thick.. but as with the Galaxy Camera before it, Samsung's claims are not actually true. As far as we can tell, the Galaxy S4 Zoom is only 15.4mm thick at its thinnest point, at the point where the camera is it comes in at a whopping 27mm or so. It's a lot lighter than the Galaxy Camera though, coming in at just 208 grams compared with 305.. but even so, this is a bit of a big, heavy device.
Inside is a 2330 mAh battery, which is a major improvement over the 1650 mAh one in the Galaxy Camera. It sounds like a lot, but it's pretty modest for a digital camera which tends to have quite high battery drain.. especially when you consider that the battery in the Zoom is going to have to support the motor in the zoom lens and all the ancillary electronics plus the powerful Xenon flash in addition to the display and wireless connections.
As mentioned before, this is pretty much a Galaxy S4 Mini with a massive camera stuck to the back. The screen is a 4.3" 540 x 960 pixel AMOLED screen, inside is a 1.5GHz dualc-ore CPU with 1.5GB of RAM with 8GB of flash storage plus a microSD slot. The Galaxy Zoom has NFC support, GPS and GLONASS, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, there's an optional LTE version and there are all the usual Android features, and we think that you can even make phone calls on it (unlike the Galaxy Camera). Oh yes, there's a 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera in addition to the 16 megapixel behemoth on the back.
No word was given on availability or pricing, but it's worth noting that the recommended retail price for the existing Galaxy Camera is about €500 with a street price as low as €310 and we guess that the Zoom will be at the higher end of that scale at launch.
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