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Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Hand-On Review

by Tian S Bao on September 10, 2013

the Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom is a camera phone that is designed from the ground up for those who their main aim is to shoot photos and after that share them on the web via services like Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Google Plus and other online photo and social media sharing services.

Is it a phone? or is it a camera? We take a look at this strange new addition to the S4 brand...

The very first thing that came to my brain when I noticed the products was to think about if there's going to be a way to pop a SIM in it. At first, I thought it was simply just going to be a camera which has the capability to connect to the web via WiFi. To my surprise it connects to the internet via mobile data connection using a micro SIM - the exact same type that the Samsung GALAXY S3 and S4 use.

Samsung is not scared of developing new product categories. When it first introduced the Galaxy Note everyone mocked the ludicrous oversized 'phablet'; two years later it's one of the biggest selling ranges in the entire mobile landscape. will the same be true of the S4 Zoom? Is it a parody of a camera phone, to be quickly consigned to history, or is it the start of something big? We've put it to the test to give our initial view.

The Galaxy S4 Zoom is a classic 'two devices in one' product. Look at it from the back, it's a phone. Look at it from the front, it's unmistakably a camera. To be fair, it feels more cohesive in the hand than it looks in the images, but there's no denying that it is a very strange concept.

The phone part is technically an S4 Mini rather than S4. The specs consist of a 960540 pixel, 4. 3-inch display, together with a 1. 5GHz dual-core processor and 1 . 5GB of RAM. There's as well the hefty range of connectivity choices, along with the a number of sensors that Samsung equips its devices with all these days. It's all one notch down from the full S4 experience, but still provides a decent specced device that won't compromise your use.

Design and style

Make no mistake, this is a camera instead of a phone. Yes you can make phone calls by using it. You could check your email messages and play Temple Run. But the form factor simply leaves you in undoubtedly that the S4 Zoom is a camera with phone functionality built in, not the other way around.

It struggles with even the most simple factors, like resting it on your desk. Curved edges mean it doesn't sit down well on its side like most cameras. Putting it lens down is hardly the most stylish solution, and you're definitely not going to do it screen first. In the same way it's unusual to hold while using it as a phone, as the lens means there's no comfortable location to rest your fingers. Our fingers had a natural tendency to land on the plastic cover in front of the lens, leading to a build up of fingerprints to mar our shots. And we haven't even pointed out putting the device in your trouser pocket. Safe to say, you know it's there.

On the back of the device you've got your screen, phone speaker and home button straddled by two capacitive buttons for the menu and back functions. If ever there was a time for Samsung to choose virtual buttons rather than physical ones it is here. A large part of our usage involved having the device oriented in landscape mode and it would have been nice if those buttons had rotated.

The edges sport volume, power and shutter keys. It's a surprise to discover that the shutter button doesn't wake the device, let alone wake it straight into the camera app. It has a very narrow travel, so half pressing the button to set focus and exposure requires a very soft touch. We suspect this is a deliberate decision to accommodate the more casual user who prefers to mash the shutter button in a single motion instead. The bottom edge (or left-hand side in phone mode) has a tripod mount and micro SD card slot.

The front has the large 10x optical zoom lens encircled by a zoom ring, a Xenon flash, LED light and a grip. We found the grip too small to be of any real practical use, and the device tended to get warm around that area as well, making it less comfortable to hold. The build quality is classic Galaxy, glossy plastic shell and all.

Screen, performance and battery

The display measures 4. 3 inches, with a resolution of 540 x 960 and a pixel density of 256ppi. It's a very clear level below the full HD screen on the S4 or even the 720p panel on the HTC One Mini, yet it is as well bigger and better than you'll find on pretty much any dedicated camera. As an AMOLED display, the blacks are deep and the colours very vibrant - it helps make your shots look amazing.

Overall performance was exactly as expected, being mainly fast and smooth with the occasional hiccup. The form factor is hardly ideal for high-end gaming or real productivity so you're not likely to push the Zoom as hard as you would another device. The lens on the backside doubles up as an improvised stand and that helps the phone become a quality video player, and it can handle HD video with no difficulties.

Battery life was frustrating compared to a phone but most likely average compared to a camera. Lots of zooming, shooting, reviewing and uploading eats into the battery. In case you want to use the device to its maximum potential as both camera and phone you may want to invest in a spare battery to keep it running.

Software program

The software program in the Zoom is Android 4. 2 covered almost completely right behind Samsung's own TouchWiz skin. It is basically the same as that seen in the S4, the S4 Active and S4 Mini and by now we've mentioned pretty much everything generally there is to be said about it: the frustrating hand-holding messages, the ridiculous beeps, the design inconsistencies, the truth that it functions more internal storage space than any other skin and the way it slows down with heavy use.

A few changes have been designed for the camera performance, such as the Photo Suggest app. This shows you photos that others have taken in your recent location in attempt to help you get ideas for your own shots. The Scene Suggest feature in the camera app also suggests shooting modes based on the current situations. Among them it is an excellent attempt to help your shots move beyond the average holiday snaps standard.

Verdict

Considering some of the recent innovations we've seen in smartphone cameras from the likes of Nokia, Motorola and HTC, the Galaxy S4 Zoom feels like a rather old fashioned device. Rather than adopting a different approach, or developing a new technology to improve the lot of the camera phone photographer, Samsung has merely spliced two average products together to create something new.

As a result the S4 Zoom is a very niche device. If you don't need the zoom range then you would be better off with an original Galaxy S4 - it's a better phone, has a better screen, will fit in your pocket, and has an image quality not considerably different to what you get here. If you do need the zoom - but not this kind of extent that you'd prefer a dedicated camera (with larger sensor and upgraded image quality) - then it may be really worth a look. It's difficult to see many putting up with it as their main phone, however.

TianS manages Customer Service for SaleWill. Shop Cell Phone Accessories at SaleWill.com, we bring you the latest and greatestand Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom Cases and Samsung GALAXY S4 active Cases at cheap prices. medianet_width='728'; medianet_height= '90'; medianet_crid='177027821';

Original article published on SooperArticles.com





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