Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Review
Samsung, whose goal appears to be presence in each and every niche mobile segment, decided to beat the onslaught of cameraphones to market with the Galaxy S4 Zoom.
Despite the flagship branding, we'd have to admit that the S4 Zoom seems to be first a shooter and then a phone. S4 Zoom jibes very similar in design to Samsung's last year's dedicated camera - the Galaxy Camera - with the same 16 MP resolution and Xenon flash, but tones the optical zoom down to 10x, instead of the 21x on the Galaxy Camera, in order to keep the size relatively in check. On paper we have the first phone with a 10x optical zoom, but did Samsung manage to make a true cameraphone, or did it simply slap a phone on the back of a camera? Read on to find out...
In the box
- In-ear stereo headphones (Samsung GH59-11720A)
- Wall charger
- MicroUSB cable
- Warranty and information leaflets
In short, we get a Galaxy S4 Mini at the front, and a compact point-and-shoot Samsung camera on the back, and that's the best way to describe what you can expect from the Galaxy S4 Zoom design concept.
In short, we get a Galaxy S4 Mini at the front, and a compact point-and-shoot Samsung camera on the back
125.5 x 63.5 x 15.4 mm
7.34 oz (208 g)
129 x 70.6 x 8.5 mm
4.90 oz (139 g)
123.9 x 60.2 x 13.9 mm
5.96 oz (169 g)
124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94 mm
3.77 oz (107 g)
The “phone” is rather bulky at 15.4mm because of the grip bulge and huge protruding lens with a zoom ring at the back, where the thickness goes up to a full 25mm. Talking on this thing or simply carrying it around is no different than trying to hold and talk with a compact consumer camera. Working the screen with that giant lens protrusion on the back is not comfortable with one hand, too, but at least you've got a good grip while talking, resting your index finger against the zoom ring.
Speaking of one-handed operation, the grip bulge on the right should be helping to use the phone as a camera, quickly framing the shot and taking it with just a few fingers gripping the phone. In reality the bump is often too small to securely grip the phone, and the on-screen shutter key is too close to the edge, so you have to grip with both hands.
physical shutter key, but it is also very close to the edge of the phone, and can't be pressed comfortably with one hand without the risk of dropping the handset. That same physical shutter button enters the camera app directly when pressed, bypassing the lock and home screens, but only when you turn the display on with the power/lock key on the right. There is no one second sleep-to-snap function like on some Xperias, for example.
Thankfully the capacitive navigational keys below the display can be turned off when you are in the camera app, so you don't worry constantly about hitting the back or context menu keys when you turn the phone sideways to take pictures.
removable battery hidden under a lid on the side of the grip bulge, and released out by a sliding mechanism. That's where the microSIM card slot is as well, while the microSD one is covered with a protective flap on the left side of the phone/bottom of the camera, where the tripod mount is, too.
There is a 4.3” 540x960 pixels Super AMOLED display on the phone, just like with the S4 Mini, so you can rest assured it has great viewing angles, deep blacks and pretty saturated colors. The disadvantages are cold default colors and low brightness levels, which make framing a shot outside under direct sunlight a sad affair.
The display settings let you change the image modes, though – from Dynamic, through Standard and Movie, to the Professional Photo option that according to Samsung represents directly a standardized color gamut, though it's not clear whether the sRGB gamut, or the much wider Adobe RGB one.
Samsung has graced the display with the super-sensitive tech that allows you to operate it with gloves, so working the camera app on that ski trip won't be an issue.
More popular slideshows
LG G Pro 2 Review
04 Mar 2014, 09:00
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
14 Oct 2013, 05:28
Apple iPhone 5s vs Samsung Galaxy S4
27 Sep 2013, 05:59
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One
26 Mar 2013, 06:51
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy S4
15 Oct 2013, 05:44
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review
23 Jan 2014, 09:22
Google Nexus 5 vs LG G2
11 Nov 2013, 06:01
1. KINGJUAN27 (Posts: 188; Member since: 02 Jul 2012)
This trying hard camera phone crap from Samsuck should get a 6 or a 7. LOL. Biased as always!
5. Boreni (banned) (Posts: 28; Member since: 22 Feb 2013)
"The “phone” is rather bulky at 15.4mm"
Most of the phone is 25mm and not 15.4mm so the phone thickness is 25mm!
Say that the phone is 15.4mm thick is lie to the public.
15. ebubekir26 (Posts: 305; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
you don't have to bash Samsung like that, you may not like the device, I don't, but some people do, photoghraphers or people who are into photography,
21. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1123; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
For photoghraphers or people who are into photography quality is number 1 and with the same price point we can find compact camera with superior quality.
So only samsung die hard fans will like and buy S4 zoom
24. Bioload25 (Posts: 125; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
Not necessarily,if a photographer needs to use a phone and "professional" camera to share photos with his boss,for example,this might be a good alternative...
If someone purchases a Samsung device,that person might not be a fanboy,the possibilities of liking that specific device are very high...
(sorry,im brazilian and my english may not be correct)
30. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1123; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
i think no one will use S4 zoom as their main smartphone and if those photographer need optical zoom they can use optical zoom accessory it's smaller and they can take it off so their smartphone doesn't look like bulky brick.
or they can buy some compact camera with WIFI support so they can share photos with everybody
with that price point there is no good reason to buy S4 zoom
35. maccess (Posts: 450; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)
just say whatever reasons you want kid.. you just trying hard to make people dislike this phone or samsung's phone.. if you don't like samsung no need to manipulate other people mind with your PERSONAL OPINION kid...
38. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1123; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
Yeah at least my PERSONAL OPINION not some BS.
i can’t manipulate other people mind, i just show them there is better options but if you or other people like and want to buy S4 Zoom i can’t do anything with that.
i’m sure anyone who smart enough will agree with me, because we can find compact camere with better quality, cheaper even some of them have smaller size
40. Bioload25 (Posts: 125; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
Yudi,you've forgotten na inportant point: the S4 Zoom is still a very good midranger phone,and the fact that anyone can buy it (photographer or not),only the consumer determinates the usefulness of the phone,if u dont agree with its performance and price point,please,dont buy it
Another thing: if you see better photo quality on compact cameras,that doesnt indicate necessarily that this phone loses in câmera department,because its your interpretation of the images...
(again,sorry my bad english)
41. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1123; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
S4 Zoom is just average performer both in camera quality (compare to compact camera) and as android smartphone, at online store S4 zoom is around $600.
with $600 I can buy some high end android smartphone
or i can buy midranger with good camera for day to day use + compact camera with wifi
just like i said before there is better option than S4 zoom and photographer or not, for anyone who is smart enough the will choose the best option available
44. Bioload25 (Posts: 125; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
and again its your perception about the quality of the phone bro,that doesnt mean its the only opinion in the whole market... somebody may hate the galaxy s4 zoom (like u,for example) but someone may like the phone,open your mind a little bit...
45. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1123; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
it’s not my perception about the phone, S4 zoom is just average performer in terms of camera and smartphone.
my mind is wide opened so thats why i can see many better options
i know the truth is some people may like it and other not but it’s not what i’m trying to say.
i said with the same price point we can get high end smartphone or midranger phone with good camera for day to day use + compact camera
Having great midrange phone and compact camera with better quality with the same amount of money is smarter and better options than expensive camera phone with average performance
46. Bioload25 (Posts: 125; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
Theorically yes,but you seem to like the compact cameras and holding the thing all around,pressing hard buttons all the time and waiting some time untill the picture is taken (underwhelming processor),charging it and the phone at the same time....
if u can buy a device that takes good pictures in no time with soft touch screen and lighter weight,it'll be alot less to care about...
47. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1123; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
the biggest problem with S4 Zoom is, thick, heavy and expensive.
with about the same amount of money i can get something like
1. Sony DSC-WX200 18.2MP Exmor R, 10x optical zoom, Sony G lens, built in WiFi, Optical SteadyShot, and only 121g.
2. Xperia V 13MP Camera, 4.3” HD Display with 342ppi, Dual krait cpu and adreno 225, water and dust resistant, 120g.
you can get many other device,
but i just want to show youthat with the same amount of money i can get 2 devices, a great compac camera and great midrange phone.
49. doubleandry (Posts: 1; Member since: 08 Oct 2013)
I was a photographer, now a videographer. I have to say that I really enjoy this cameraphone alot. first because, yes, I care about a good image quality.
the main reason I fall in love with this camphone is I can get some random candid shot when I'm not working, which mean I dont bring my photography/video gear around. Hey, if you are a photographer, it doesnt mean that you bring your camera wherever you go,so it's a good deal. alot smaller than dslr, with standart quality, after all, photography is not just about high quatily image, but timing,compositing, and many more. I can say I can get better good low res photo than average people with high end photography gadget.
again, the choice is yours....
48. chocolaking (Posts: 421; Member since: 22 May 2012)
I wouldn't recommend this device to any of my friends.
this thing is realistically not practical in any aspect.
2. KINGJUAN27 (Posts: 188; Member since: 02 Jul 2012)
Meh! Next please, we're waiting for the Lumia EOS and the Xperia Honami. Samsung, get ready!
8. Birds (Posts: 918; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
I'm just pissed because I don't see a big enough photo quality boost for it's price... Not to mention that who ever reviewed this took pictures of ugly ass thistles... I hate them things...they are the worst invasive species ever...damn aggressive European plants smothering GA wildlife....-_-
19. SonyXperiaNexus (Posts: 373; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)
lol, nokia lumia EOS vs samsung galaxy POS
20. haseebzahid (Posts: 1762; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)
so nokia 6310 is still better then samsung galaxy Zoom
4. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 271; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)
Samsung has never really been a contender in the photography department. They have one really strong contender in their EXF series, so I'm surprised to see that this review was so impressed by the image quality, especially in low light situations.
6. DFranch (Posts: 120; Member since: 20 Apr 2012)
What a farce. There is no way this camera, i mean phone should score an 8. So it's uncomfortable to hold, looks stupid to make a call with, has a crappy screen and lower specs, and you give it an 8. You mention the 808 pureview, but never mention the Nokia EOS which is coming out in a week. I agree with KINGJUAN27, a 6 or 7 max.
11. PhansMuneeb (Posts: 337; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)
Some people hate Nokia, so yeah that's a fair score.
7. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
"The photos themselves are on par with a very good point-and-shoot camera, and certainly much better than the ones from your smartphone, except for the 808 PureVew. "
"In our experience with the S4 Zoom, the OIS mechanism is not as advanced as the multiaxis one on the Lumia 920/925, which indeed makes the lens appear “floating,"
Thanbk you. it would be all about samsung zoom. They took a camera, put an android in it and dare to call it a phone. yet, it cannot beat 808 which was "only" on Symbian with ancient hardware. Think what 1020 will do to this samsung crapmera.
9. hung2900 (Posts: 683; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
Nokia 808 with the basic outdoor photos has the similar level of image quality as many DSLRs, but not other situations.
And these situations almost are what the Zoom is better
10. PhansMuneeb (Posts: 337; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)
Nokia EOS will hopefully fix that situations
13. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
let me ask you something. You do make normal, standard, mostly on automatic settings, photos or make macros all the time?
Keep in mind that EOS will use OIS and probably will be an improvement over 925 in terms of optimalization and algorithms.
Your argument is invalid. It's on par with basic dslrs in may situations, but zoom cannot even beat, according to many users (mostly andro-boys), this ancient and old-hardwared device.
14. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
The point is that when Nokia is trying to achieve something truly spectacular pursuing their own way, it's gone unnoticed whereas samsung picked up a blatant shortcut.
17. shashi.map (Posts: 30; Member since: 16 Oct 2011)
"The photos themselves are on par with a very good point-and-shoot camera, and certainly much better than the ones from your smartphone, except for the 808 PureVew".
well that summed up the review for me. nice try sammy, better luck next time
waiting for Nokia EOS and Sony Honami.
18. SonyXperiaNexus (Posts: 373; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)
lol, nokia lumia EOS vs samsung galaxy S4 POS
23. MEeee (Posts: 177; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
Lumia EOS & Xperia Honami with full crop vs 10x optical zoom on the Galaxy Zoom, Lumia & Honami will look like sh1t. I hope you guys know what optical zoom is about.
Soon others will follow the Zoom models just like with phablets.
25. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1123; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
If i’m not wrong Honami will have optical zoom acessory. and maybe Eos will also have that kind of accessory.
the good thing about accessories you can take it off, so your phone doesn’t look like bulky brick.
28. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
what for EOS would be equiped with that kind of accessory? It has lossless zoom, which is limited compared to optical but let´s not forget we´re talking about a phone which basic form should remain intact. Unless new materials and tech breakthrough turn out, optical zoom won´t work in a cellphone. CELLPHONE. That´s why Nokia gave us PureView.
31. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1123; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
having optical zoom is a good thing just like iphone it can take good picture with some optical zoom accessory
So optical zoom accessory will be very useful for someone who really need it
26. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
given tnat zoom hasn´t shown anything new capable of surpassing the competition. Zoom in the form of optical one isn´t worth making such uncomfortable device. Better buy a small camera. In terms of photos it can´t hold a candle to 808. How many photos in zoom do you make?
I prefer Nokia´s approach. It´s fresh and innovating, perfectly suitable for cellphones.
29. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
I hope you know you´re comparing a camera with 3g connectivity with usual phones with unusual cameras?? And are you familiar with PureView tech? I assume you´re not.
Read about it.
I wonder what will you say when Nokia with pelican tech will be unveiled somewhere next year. Seeking new ways to omit the limitations of small parts inside.
I take more normal photos than with zoom. But that´s just me. Maybe you zoom in everything. If that´s the case then zoom is for you as it´s only advantage it has over 808 (and hopefully honami).
33. Galax3 (Posts: 19; Member since: 04 May 2012)
I rather have 3 MB file size zoom in photos than the huge 10 MB file size photos which I have to crop later. When you crop the photos, they will have more noise than photos taking with optical zoom.
32. krimHD (Posts: 106; Member since: 23 May 2012)
i'll like to see how TROLL will back the piece of fugly phone... Nokia EOS all the way :D
37. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Let's await and see....
Kinda looks fugly.
EOS VS S4ZOOM...
34. spiderpig2894 (Posts: 366; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)
The looks on how the charger, cable, and earphones are wrapped up are looking Appleish. lol.
This phone and camera hybrid is a stupid decision! Samsung is just making hypes to maintain their popularity as number 1. Looking forward to the Sony and Nokia phones.
36. downphoenix (Posts: 2134; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
actually this is quite thin for a camera, most cameras are closer to one inch thick, this is just a bit over half an inch.
39. piyath (Posts: 150; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)
Trolls everywhere.. I like this smartphone. It's good for photography.