Samsung Galaxy K zoom Review
Last year, Samsung created another new market niche, outing the first handset equipped with a 10x optical zoom – the aptly named Galaxy S4 Zoom. It has a 16 MP sensor, protruding lens, and a bulky body, making it more of a camera with phone functions you'd take on vacation, rather than something suitable for the everyday grind.
This year Samsung doubled down on the new market niche it created, by introducing the Galaxy K zoom, whose naming scheme breaks away from riding on the flagship's coattails this time. The second edition is better equipped in the specs department, both on the phone, and on the camera side: it now sports a 20 MP sensor, larger screen and better processor. Does the K zoom stand a better chance of becoming something else than a niche device for camera enthusiasts? Let's find out...
In the box
- In-ear stereo headphones
- Wall charger
- MicroUSB cable
- Warranty and information leaflets
The 10x optical zoom lens makes for a bulky and hefty phone, but it is still more comfortable to use and carry than a 6” phablet.
At 5.41 x 2.79 x 0.65 ” (137.5 x 70.8 x 16.6 mm), against the 4.94 x 2.50 x 0.61” (125.5 x 63.5 x 15.4 mm) of the Galaxy S4 Zoom, the K zoom is one taller, wider and slightly thicker handset, making it less suitable to operate with one hand than its predecessor. The huge lens area on the back sticks out a bit more, and gets in the way while operating the phone, but one can quickly get used to that. Due to the protruding lens part, the phone also looks funky when placed on a table, with the upper part propped by the camera, and the phone rocking left or right when you tap on the screen.
At 7.05 oz (200 g) of weight, you'll always notice that the K zoom is in your pocket or your hand, but still the heft and dimensions are manageable, considering that you carry a 10x optical zoom device with you at all times. The thing weighs as much as some of those 6-inchers that are flooding the market, so if you are willing to put up with that lack of comfort, you won't have trouble gobbling up the K zoom, too.
Samsung has opted for the perforated look that first appeared with the Galaxy S5, and uses the same soft-touch material for the back. The phone hence feels solid in the hand, providing a good grip, and the weight distribution doesn't lean on the lens part, so you don't need to carefully balance it when operating the screen with one hand. The dimpled battery cover is easily removable, revealing a replaceable unit underneath it. This might come in handy for those photogs that the K zoom is aimed at, since they can carry a spare juicer or two with them at all times, when shooting in the boondocks.
Samsung has outfitted the K zoom with its signature physical home key below the display, which flaunts a good tactile feedback, and the same goes for the volume rocker, lock key, and camera shutter on the right hand side. The left is occupied solely by the microSD slot, which lets you extend the internal storage with up to 64 GB cards.
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137.5 x 70.8 x 16.6
7.05 oz (200 g)
125.5 x 63.5 x 15.4 mm
7.34 oz (208 g)
130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4 mm
5.57 oz (158 g)
151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm
5.93 oz (168 g)
Typically incorrect colors and disturbingly low peak brightness.
Samsung opted for a larger display diagonal, compared to the 4.3” S4 Zoom. The K zoom sports a 4.8” 720x1280 pixels Super AMOLED display with good 306ppi pixel density. That's fine for most scenarios, including reading smaller text.
Typical for an AMOLED panel, the colors are very inaccurate – not only oversaturated, but also tone-incorrect. The color temperature is also way on the cold side at 8326 Kelvins, so what should be a white background, for instance, is actually light-blue. Thus, you can't trust the K zoom's display accuracy if you go shoe-shopping online, or want to preview your photos on the phone itself.
Moreover, at 294 nits, the panel's peak brightness is pretty low, even compared to the current Super AMOLEDs from Samsung, like the ones on the S5 or the Note 3. Outdoors the screen doesn't reflect much light, so you can tell what's on the display, though if the sun shines directly on it, you'll be in trouble. Viewing angles are pretty good, as the screen keeps its deep blacks from an angle, but the color inaccuracies deepens even further with the slightest tilt. About the only good thing that can be said about the quality of the K zoom's display is its low minimum brightness of 4 nits, so it won't burn your eyebrows if you have to read something on it in the dark.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 3||360
|Nokia Lumia 1020||317
|Samsung Galaxy K zoom||294
|Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom||290
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Nokia Lumia 1020||50.8%
|Samsung Galaxy Note 3||56.1%
|Samsung Galaxy K zoom||60.2%
|Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom||No data
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
1. refillable (Posts: 583; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
I think it's fair, just as similarly as with the Nokia 1020, I find this 'innovation' to be awkward and does 'worst in both worlds', in both smartphone world and camera world I don't find this to be good at all. I'd go with a flagship+RX100 instead, that's best of 2 worlds.
2. mousesports (Posts: 238; Member since: 28 Feb 2013)
no way , no camera will be ever similar to 808 or lumia 1020 . Keep dreaming samasugi fanboy
3. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 2642; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
Read the comment carefully nokia shill. :)
5. joey_sfb (Posts: 2552; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)
The best Nokia camera phone take 10 second to take a picture. As if having wp os is not problematic enough they have to go all the away out to make it the slowest possible phone to snap a picture.
This is a money grab to me and I will throw it into Microsoft's window!
15. muhsen (Posts: 241; Member since: 07 Jun 2012)
The 1020 takes 5 sec on the nokia camera, which is not far from the k , considering that the 1020 has to push double the amount of pixels.
"WP is problematic" is really becoming invalid at the time being. Most of the apps on android are on WP. Ironically, it's android here that's problematic. Many photography apps like hipsmatic oggl are not present, also there is no special apps that take advantage of the special features of the k or the s4 zoom before it, like the oggl pro or the instagram app on the 1020 where they take advantage of the oversampling tech and lossless zoom, there are alot of other examples for the 1020.
Another major factore is price, considering that the 1020 hardware wise is on par with the k (actually it's better thanks to more Ram), it costs 50 -60 % of the k, and when you consider that the 1020 has the upper hand photography wise, features and quality, it seems that pouring money on the k is really a bad and unwise deal.
Also, we can also throw the updates factor. As history tells us, when android gets upgraded a whole new digit up ( from 2.xx to 4.xx, and now from 4.xx to 5.xx), only handful of flagships device make it to the update. Even if the k makes to android L, it won't get anymore. Whereas, the 1020 will get WP8.1 and its 2 sucessive GDR updates. There's also an 80 % chance it will make it to the next big release for WP, thanks to its 2 GB ram.
All in all, whether you like it or not, the 1020 is the better deal hands by a big margin. Choosing the k over it is silly actually. The k is definitely a big improvement compared to its predecessor though.
32. iushnt (Posts: 600; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)
But 8.1 is not as good as current android..also k zoom defimately clicks better pics than 1020.. I have checked both in person. I agree with the price point that 1020 is a better deal
9. ArtSim98 (Posts: 2243; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
Maybe a little. But any real camera beats the shi* out of the K.
12. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 2642; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
Proof? And its not designed to rival DSLRs, but it can still beat cheap point&shoot cameras.
16. ArtSim98 (Posts: 2243; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
Do YOU have proof for that?
I doubt this beats any of the compact digital cameras you can get starting at around 200 euros from Canon, Nikon or Sony. May compare to the cheaper ones.
18. elitewolverine (Posts: 1152; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
My 925 takes better shots than my samsung point and shoot that we got on sale that was originally 180 down to 120. So much so that we have literally given it to 8yr olds as a toy
19. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 2642; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
Ok whats your problem then? Its an awesome camera and smartphone combined!
20. ArtSim98 (Posts: 2243; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
I don't remember having any problems right now :)
25. joey_sfb (Posts: 2552; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)
Those that want K would read the review carefully and I thinks its a detailed review.
Based on the review the k would match any point and shoot camera with the bonus having manual control good for user know their camera parameters. Do you guy actually read the review before heading straight to comment.
Since we are talking about lumia i would like to point out their current strength which is its cheap, priced to move. There seem to be a fire sales going on everywhere. A brand-new non contract Lumia 1320 cost $250
A new lumia 1520 cost less than $500. Pretty cheap no wonder the bottom 5% bought one.
Enjoy your cheap lumia phone and hope that Microsoft will add value to your purchase. Cause no one else would. Lol!
27. elitewolverine (Posts: 1152; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
Cheap? you rant about cheap, not the first time before...
Yet how many droids are subpar crap phones? Care to take a gander at the $50 android 2.3 brand new phone you can buy today?! CHEAP. Talk about a fire sale, these aren't even old their BRAND NEW.
And 480 is not pretty cheap for a phone that came out late in 2013.
Oh no i Can get a nexus 5 for even cheaper, must be fire sale since droid has so much bugs they cant get rid of them fast enough, ohhhhh nooooooooooo's.
And yes lets talk about the lumia. Watch the Old 1020 match this 'new' phone or even the 808. Seen the youtube video of side by side of the K vs 1020? other than optical zoom the video was not that great when going up against the 'King'.
29. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 2642; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
Genius, he was talking about new lumia phones losing value quickly. Not about ultra cheap from start. *sigh*
36. elitewolverine (Posts: 1152; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
*sigh* the 1320 is not old.
the 1520 release 2 months after the note 3.
I can find both devices for 400-550 on amazon. Yes they are so cheap...
33. iushnt (Posts: 600; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)
I have checked in person! The picture quality is better than many point and nshoot cameras
35. ArtSim98 (Posts: 2243; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
Which camera do you have? I mean judging by these photos in the review the photos are nothing special. S5 takes better ones. The only advantages seem to be the OIS and optical zoom.
39. gigaraga (Posts: 491; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)
That's a pretty dumb comment. Your saying that any real camera therefore beats the crap out of the Z2, M8 cause K Zoom is better than it. Tch.
31. ktonlai (Posts: 11; Member since: 29 Mar 2010)
Name any other android phone with xenon flash... now slap on optical zoom and decent specs.
It's not the best at anything, but the sum is greater than it's parts.
10. pwnarena (Posts: 824; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)
i wonder why they didn't put the isocell sensor here.
21. tokuzumi (Posts: 231; Member since: 27 Aug 2009)
4GB of available space to install apps? What is this 2010?
Bottom line: A good phone ruined by lack of space for apps.
26. hmmm... (Posts: 51; Member since: 05 Jun 2013)
4gb of user available space is really a disappointment considering the large amount of space required by many 3d games
22. kanagadeepan (Posts: 634; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)
OH NO... This is also infected by Chicken POX, like S5...
24. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 2642; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
Agreed. Note 3 like faux leather would be better than these pimples.
28. farhad_per (banned) (Posts: 128; Member since: 26 Mar 2014)
PA how you feel insecure and hate about Amoled display...? Its obvious because you didn't cover the news about display mate that galaxy tab s has the bast tablet display ever and the most accurate colors....! Really what a shame for this big website...! Lol....
30. ktonlai (Posts: 11; Member since: 29 Mar 2010)
What?!? no video review? is this phone not worthy or something?
Also, are both black and white versions soft-touch? I ask because I just saw the S5 in store and the black version had a significantly better feel than the white one.
34. iushnt (Posts: 600; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)
Why so much hate for AMOLEDS PA? I also think PA should make article regarding display mates review of current AMOLEDS..
37. paulyd0021 (Posts: 7; Member since: 20 Dec 2013)
I just got my black Galaxy K zoom today in the mail from Hong Kong. My first impressions are that it's impressively light weight for having a 10x optical zoom lens built in it. And the overall bulk and weight compared to other phones is blown out of proportion in reviews. I have a galaxy s4 as my current (soon to be replaced) phone and the K zoom is just barely heavier. I had to pick up each phone several times to really tell there was even a difference. The thickness, on paper makes this seem like a bulky device, but honestly holding it in the hand or even putting it in my pocket, the difference is once again negligible. I don't think either of those issues should hold anyone back from buying this phone. The textured back is also really nice and a grippy, and for some reason looks better than the ones on the S5. Also the screen brightness is actually brighter than my Galaxy S4 by a small degree. I did a side by side white screen comparison. So if you can be okay with an S4's brightness you should be fine with this as well. Just on looks and feel alone, I'm very impressed so far. If the performance stays snappy as I assume it will with the Exnos Hexacore, I can see this being my daily driver for a long time. Maybe until the next generation. I'll do another update if I find any quirks or unexpected fails, but so far, no regrets with this purchase. I hope it'll sell well overseas so carriers pick it up here in the U.S. The better this phone does sales wise the better the future of all camera centric phones will be.
38. paulyd0021 (Posts: 7; Member since: 20 Dec 2013)
Well I did find one design flaw, the lanyard spot. It's on the top left corner of the phone, which is an awkward place to put it, unless maybe you're left handed. Even so, it's still a weird spot. When you hold the phone up to speak, you're going to have a lanyard dangling off from the top like a tassel. Now I understand why Samsung didn't include a lanyard in the box, they were hoping no one would notice they accidentally placed the hole for it on the wrong end of the phone.