Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Preview

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Preview

Flanked by rumored efforts from Nokia and Sony to resurrect the cameraphone market niche in a modern mobile OS environment, Samsung, whose recent goals appear to be presence in each and every mobile segment, decided to beat them to market with the Galaxy S4 Zoom.

Despite the flagship branding, the S4 Zoom is first a camera, then a phone. It expands on the idea started with Samsung's Galaxy Camera – a 16MP Android-powered camera, which has cellular connectivity but for data only. S4 Zoom jibes very similar in design and has the same 16MP resolution and Xenon flash, toning 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 cameraphone, or did it simply slap a phone on a camera? Read on to find out...


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 with the Galaxy S4 Zoom.

This “phone” is rather bulky at 15.4mm, with a grip bulge and huge protruding lens with a zoom ring at the back, where the thickness goes up to 25mm. Apparently if you want 10x optical zoom, the sacrifice you have to make with your handset is that it will look and feel like a 7-ounce analog one from the dawn of mobile.

Working the screen with that giant lens protrusion on the back is not comfortable at all with one hand. Well, at least you've got a good grip while talking on the phone, resting your index finger just underneath. Speaking of one-handed operation, the grip bulge on the right should be helping when using it as a camera, with quickly framing the shot and taking it with just your palm. However, in reality it is too small to securely grip the phone, and the on-screen shutter key is too close to the edge, so you may have to grip with both hands. Granted, there is a two-stage physical shutter key, but it is also very close to the edge of the phone, and can't be pressed comfortably 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 sleep-to-snap function like on some Xperias for example.

Thankfully the capacitive navigational keys below the display are turned off when you are in the camera app, so you don't worry about hitting the back and context menu keys when you take pictures.

Galaxy S4 Zoom sports a 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 as well.


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 display settings let you use the image mode, though – from Dynamic, through Standard and Movie, to the Professional Photo mode that allegedly represents directly a standardized color gamut.

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.

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1. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013


12. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

Samsung should fire their current design team asap before an even more ugly galaxy shows up

14. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

I agree! xD

18. EXkurogane

Posts: 863; Member since: Mar 07, 2013

To improve the sales of other brands like HTC, Sony, Nokia, etc i think it is better for Samsung to stay on building ugly phones.

30. umadden

Posts: 90; Member since: Apr 14, 2013

htc sony nokia etc can't even outsell ugly phones. rofl that's sad

33. tashreef

Posts: 476; Member since: Nov 24, 2012

yes because the world is full of Mindless Fansungs like you ...

37. EXkurogane

Posts: 863; Member since: Mar 07, 2013

Nope, it's because Samsung's products are only beautiful to Samsung fanboys. Those who ranted about Nokia making bricks, now they'll have to swallow those comments,

39. jdoee100

Posts: 334; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Beautiful has nothing to do with it. It's just preferring function over form. Of course, people like you would want your camera and phones to look like a work of art rather than devices.

61. felisberto

Posts: 34; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

then how come samsung make 95% android profits?

54. Altair

Posts: 367; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Yes they should. Problem is that they DON'T have any design team. Havent you heard? Since 2007 Shamesung hired only industrial spies and those who are familiar with photoshop and can edit other OEM designs. Then PR department calls it "Humans best companion"! laugh Oh and yes, they hired a lot of lawmans as well!

62. willard12 unregistered

Its odd that there are so many comments about how a camera looks (which is a matter of opinion) rather than how well it works. I doubt anyone will look at a Cannon and comment "that is ugly." Has anyone ever discussed how beautiful the design of a camera is or do they discuss how beautiful the photos are? Its a camera with android functionality. I guess if you're one of the 15 people in world concerned with how your camera looks, this isn't for you.

22. TheBitterrTruth unregistered

Exactly! They should change their design ASAP

38. jdoee100

Posts: 334; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Why? So they can catch up to HTC?? Samsung design could be better. But in this case, I'd rather have function over form rather than form over function.

45. haseebzahid

Posts: 1853; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

ugly as troll i must SAY and device layout is terible no plan just put all things randomly on the back what a jerk hired to make this garbage

47. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Samsung should fire their current design team ASAP.

55. Altair

Posts: 367; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

This is what you get, when Shamesung can't copy others. Don't worry, next years model will be exactly like this years Nokia Lumia EOS.

60. haseebzahid

Posts: 1853; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

actully there was nothing to be copied here they made a stunt :D epic

2. phljcnth

Posts: 556; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Physical shutter key, zoom ring, grip bulge, tripod mount; heck, this is more of a camera than a phone! Now I know why it looks like this.

4. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

This is useless. You can buy better phones and better cameras.... Stupid idea.

5. rency0722

Posts: 158; Member since: Jun 12, 2013

And the true cameraphones will be backed up by Nokia and Sony (Ericsson), just like the good old days.

56. Altair

Posts: 367; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Yeah, except there are no such thing as Sony (Ericsson) anymore. Besides Sony doesn't know how to make phones or cameras. They should focus to PS4.

6. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2265; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

sony will make a slimmer one then this brick.

63. maccess

Posts: 742; Member since: Jan 16, 2013

but much worse picture quality..

11. chunk1x

Posts: 248; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

I don't like it. Too much design compromise for camera usage that camera phone experience is ruined. The Nokia N8 and 808 manages to be the best in class without too much sacrifice with the phone side(I wished that these two run on Android and it will be perfect.).

15. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

This is not a brick. Bricks are bulky but also very sturdy. So I don't know what this is then...

16. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Brick...Brick...Brick...Brick....there, I said it!!! Thumb me down if you can!! Hahah

17. raunak

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 12, 2011

57. Altair

Posts: 367; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

HAHA yeah good picture. Shamesung - "We like to make slim phones and such!" errr wait!

19. sergiobr

Posts: 718; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

I loved it ! I was searching for a good camera and Android !

20. TheBitterrTruth unregistered

They can't compete with Nokia..

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Galaxy S4 Zoom
  • Display 4.3" 540 x 960 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 1.9 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 4 Dual, Dual-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 8 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2330 mAh(13h 3G talk time)

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