Q\ What do you get if you cross a smartphone with a camera?
A\ “The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom”
… said Samsung’s marketing department. Left unmentioned, however, is the fact that the Galaxy S4 zoom is neither a particularly good smartphone, nor a particularly good camera. In fact, although conceptually very solid (as a more ‘smartphoney’ version of the Galaxy Camera), the shoddy hardware and inflated price puts this quite far down on our wishlist.
Design – 6/10
Samsung must have gone through quite a lot of hoops to pack all of the necessary camera hardware into the relatively pocket friendly 15.4mm width. These hoops have definitely chipped away at the over all look of the device, which is far from polished and.. well… it’s not that the Galaxy S4 Zoom is completely ugly, but it’s not exactly beautiful.
Interface – 9/10
The Galaxy S4 Zoom runs on Android version 4.2.2 JellyBean and uses Samsung’s TouchWiz UX interface. By and large, the interface is identical to the Galaxy S4, Mega and new Tab 3 range so we won’t dwell on it too much. Rest assured, the interface is very easy to use and is packed full of smart functions (such as Smart Pause, Smart Stay and Air Gesture) which you will probably never use!
The Camera App is very well executed, and provides easy access to settings for beginners and advanced users. Really, it’s an updated version of what we saw on the Galaxy Camera – with the nice addition of being able to control the settings by turning a dial around the 10x optical zoom lens on the front. It goes a fair way to making you think you are using a real camera rather than what is essentially a phone with a lense stuck on the back.
Display – 5/10
The Galaxy S4 Zoom has a Super AMOLED display, but at a rather low qHD resolution (540 x 960) and 256ppi. One thing we quite like about the Galaxy Camera and Galaxy NX is the large screen size which, although not as ideal for battery, is a great way to see your pictures straight away and share them easily and immediately with the people around you simply by holding it up! Over all, the display is a little disappointing for [what should be] the flagship “S4” range.
Multimedia and Performance – 6/10
Although multimedia content is readily available for the Galaxy S4 zoom and the dual-core 1.5Ghz processor handles everything it needs to fairly well… you are paying a lot of money for it (especialyl when you consider that the Galaxy S4 mini is cheaper and has better hardware (apart from the Camera, of course!).
Battery – 5/10
The Galaxy S4 Zoom has a 2330mAh battery which is fairly hefty for a device this size. However, even in the short time we used it we noticed it drained rather quickly. Of course having moving, motorised parts in the camera is going to contribute to this quite heavily… so beware if you think you’ll be out snapping all the long. We don’t think it’ll happen!
Camera – 9/10
It’s quite difficult to rate the camera anywhere lower the “right up there”. A 16MP camera with ½.3’’ sensor, autofocus, 10x optical zoom and an extensive suite of camera features for both beginners and those who like to play with settings… it really is exceptional to find this on a smartphone.
There is no doubt that photography is becoming increasingly important in the way that we express ourselves and share with the world, and the Galaxy S4 zoom is a good way of Samsung acknowledging this and providing something for people who want more camera in their phone. We’re not entirely convinced that what they have provided is the right sort of something, and certainly not at the extortionate price that’s being demanded for it.
If you consider that the Galaxy S4 mini has better internal hardware than the Galaxy S4 zoom, and that (at launch) the Galaxy S4 zoom is something like 30% more than the already-a-bit-too-expensive price. All that extra money for the novelty of having a camera stuck on the back of a fairly mediocre smartphone?
Personally, I think you’d be better off spending the extra money on a separate camera.I think you’d be better off spending the money on a separate camera!
Average Score – 7/10
What do you think about the Galaxy S4 Zoom? Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!