Samsung Galaxy K zoom Preview
With 20 MP camera, 10x optical zoom lens and OIS, the Galaxy K zoom is a promising candidate for the Android camera top.
The 20.7 megapixels camera in the Galaxy K zoom has powerful specs sheet to back it up. The sensor is pretty large at 1/2.3”, and it features 10x optical zoom (24-240 mm), Xenon flash, and image stabilization. Only the aperture is subpar – with no zoom it is f3.1 (compared to f2 to f2.4 in most phones) reaching f6.3 when zoomed in.
Zooming is done with the volume rocker or an on-screen slider, while the Instant Camera Mode lets you enter directly the camera app from a lock screen by pressing the shutter key and volume rocker at once.
There's a smorgasbord of shooting modes and color effects that goes way beyond the typical smartphone camera options, even on feature-rich ones. Apart from the dozen or so ones you can also find on the Galaxy S5, S4 or the Note 3, like Rich Tone (HDR), Panorama, Night, Virtual Tour, Sound&shot, Silhouette, Animated photo and so on, there are at least as many more on the Galaxy K zoom. Granted, a lot of those are for shooting in special conditions, like Dawn, or Landscape, which just overemphasize the typical for the scene colors, but still the choice is there. There are a few extra selfie regimes, too. One of those lets you snap a selfie with the rear camera, which can be fired up after it locks your face firmly. The other uses the rear camera for the background, and lets you choose the section where your humble self should appear, after the front camera takes your selfie. For tricky dynamic scenarios, the K zoom has a unique feature, allowing you to place the focus on the subject you want, but move the exposure measurement to be taken from another part of the scene.
Check out some of the sample pictures below, but bare in mind that this might not be what the K zoom is capable of with the finalized retail hardware and software.
The Galaxy K zoom doesn't record 4K video, which is a bummer, considering that a lot of flagship handsets now do, but not a dealbreaker. The phone, however, can record 1080p video with 60fps, in addition to the usual 30fps count. Having both a 10x optical zoom lens, and optical image stabilization, makes the K zoom one of the best phones for recording video on theory, as you can steadily zoom into crazy detail from afar, without sacrificing quality. There's a silent zoom option, too, where the lens motor noise gets weeded out if you zoom in while recording.
The S Studio gallery alternative intros extra editing options for your pictures and videos, including the ability to concoct an artsy collage.
Apart from the regular TouchWiz gallery, which offers split-screen view, Samsung also offers the so-called S Studio, which adds extra editing options for your pictures and videos, including the ability to make artsy collages and slideshows on the phone itself. Samsung has also partnered with Vine for a tailored app that has the zoom buttons directly on the screen, for better utilization of the K zoom's features while making Vine video clips.
The music player interface with its blocky elements is familiar from the Galaxy S5. The UI might be unimpressive, but it offers all the basics, like song categorization, as well as an abundance of equalizer presets and sound modes to choose from.
We also get a stock video player that Samsung cites to run most popular formats, and up to 1080p resolution at that. Its interface and options leave something to be desired, yet you can always grab a better one from the Play Store.
With a 2430 mAh replaceable battery, we wouldn't expect some heroic wonders from the Galaxy K zoom. Still, Samsung cites 14 hours of talk time on a charge, 9 hours of Internet browsing, and 11 hours of video playback, which is a decent endurance.
The main cause for concern with a phone that carries 10x optical zoom lens, is its bulky demeanor, and unfortunately the Galaxy K zoom is not an exception. With that caveat aside, knowing that you have 10x optical zoom in your pocket at all times is a very strong incentive for photo enthusiasts to get the handset, as no amount of “lossless zoom” can near the tricks you can do with Samsung's cameraphone.
If you have no need for the optical zoom, though, the difference in picture quality with the current Android flagships might not turn out to be as stark as needed to warrant the purchase of the K zoom. This fact, together with the phone's bulk makes it more of a niche device, suitable for photogs, or for a second phone you would use when on vacation, rather than a daily driver.