Having recently reviewed the Samsung Galaxy  S4 , which I believe is still among the top three smartphones available today, I was enticed by the thought of a phone with S4’s functionality  and a 10x optical zoom camera. All things considered, I thought it would be a perfect fit for a blogger/journalist’s lifestyle. The S4 Zoom has more in common with the S4 Mini than it does with the S4. It has a 4.3-inch screen and 256 ppi pixel density, identical to the S4 Mini, and a 1.5GHZ dual-core processor which is severely under-powered when compared to the Exynos 5 Octa 5410 on the S4, but relatively close to the 1.7GHZ dual core of the S4 Mini.

So, it’s not a processing power-house but it can be mounted on a tripod and has plenty of manual control over exposure and shutter speed, so my consideration now because a question – with this in hand, could I leave my DSLR at home and go out with just and S4 zoom?


At first look, it’s quite awkward. Although typing and browsing are not as uncomfortable as I thought they would be, the device looks more like a camera than a phone. It’s bound to turn a few heads your ways, especially it rings while you’re talking a picture and the lens is out. The chrome trip that wraps around the device becomes wider at the shutter key and taking the shape of the extruding grip. The front of the S4 Mini in terms of layout and display size, the difference is all in the profile – the zoom has double the thickness without taking the lens or the extrusive bulge into consideration.


Then there is the weight: weighing in at a mighty 208g (roughly 7oz), the S4 zoom out-weights the Galaxy Note 2 or two S4 Minis. I knew that the S4 Zoom would be bulky due to the lens but I had expected the extruding bulge at the bottom (housing the battery) to balance out some of the added weight like in most cameras, so the user would be able to take pictures single handedly – I was wrong.  Contrary to my assumption, taking a picture with one hand is not easy. A user has to grip the S4 Zoom in a way which either accidentally causes one to touch the soft back key or their hand stops them from viewing the entire frame. If they compromised on aesthetic for functionality, why would they forget usability?


Not many, if any camera phones, can do what Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom is equipped for when it comes to taking pictures. It’s more than just a 3MP shooter on the S4, The 16MP S4 Zoom is capable of fantastic long exposure photography and let’s not forget the 10x optical zoom. No other smartphone camera has a 10x optical zoom coupled with a Xenon flash, optical image stabilization, and the ability to be mounted on a tripod.


There are numerous smart presets available to capture light trails, fireworks, silhouettes, waterfalls, panoramic waterfalls, panoramic pictures etcetera. All of these work great, but three is also an expert mode through which you can choose between shutter priority, aperture priority and colour priority and colour priority – these work better! You can choose how you would like the image to contrast, saturate or expose before clicking the shutter, which does not mean that there are no options for post-production. There is an array of filters and effects to enhance or animate images publish them.

Video performance unfortunately us not on par with the standard they set forth for photographs. There is no HDR, so low-light situations result in excessive noise, but it does shoot in 1080p at 30fps, you can even shoot at 60 fps.


Initially it takes a little getting used to the grip and lens, but at the end of the day it’s not as uncomfortable as it looks. Touch and display are fluid, but not much when compared with its bigger brother (S4). Under the hood, the processor is nifty enough to go about all you tasks without lagging, not does it need to be restarted every few days when people like I myself  excessively multi-task and run heavy applications simultaneously. The S4 Zoom has 8GB of internal space; you can add upto another 64GB via microSD storage and 50GB of dropbox space comes free with it for the first time two years. Connectivity is never a problem since it supports Wi-Fi, 3G, LTE, NFC and S Beam. Add this entire up and you can publish or transfer anything from anywhere.


All the applications and features that come with the S4 family are available here like WatchON, SHealth, Story Album, S Translator etcetera. Locally I’d like to add that Samsung’s WatchON application, which controls its infrared blaster, works much better than the one that comes with HTC since it is not restricted to geographic location and preset Digital TV providers. You can add numerous setups and even customize the screen to control a Samsung DVD player and a Phillips TV together without any third-party applications.



The camera really is in a own – I was able to take some fantastic long exposure shots, which would be impossible with most smartphone cameras. That being said there should have been HDR support while shooting videos, alternatively they could have included an ultra-pixel camera (pixels have a bigger surface area and so can retain more light). Samsung could have also paid a little more attention in terms of balance and ergonomics of the Galaxy S4 Zoom. However, if you were looking for a smartphone and a camera on a string budget, I would recommend you not to wear skinny jeans if you plan to buy this phone, as trying to get this ill-shaped device in and out of pockets can have a real chore. I would also recommend that you wear your belt a hoop tighter, to compensate for the additional seven ounces.



Najwa Zahara said...

this is a nice phone.... as it has camera on it... but i think its more like camera than a mobile phone...

Samantha Loius said...

this samsung has similar specs with the galaxy samsung s4 mini the differences is just only on the camera on the back... but its good to be handy when travelling..

Anonymous said...

which one is better samsung galaxy mega with this one if compare by its specifications????

Keilan Smith said...

the design was really same as galaxy grand and mega but compare to its function as a camera i think its worth to buy..

Anonymous said...

nice smartphone with good camera resolution...and of course with a good price too,

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