- Anton D. Nagy , Pocketnow
It’s both a smartphone and a compact point-and-shoot, and it does both pretty well, if you don’t mind the added bulk in your pocket.
- Lanh Nguyen , Android Authority
The Galaxy K Zoom features an impressive camera, and offers robust optical zoom, but suffers from being the sum of its parts and having less than stellar battery life.
- 10x Optical Zoom
- Removable battery
- MicroSD support
- 4G support
- Battery life
- Slow camera boot time
- Lack of manual camera controls
- Mid-tier specs and performance at flagship prices
- Inconsistent video quality
The previous Galaxy S4 Zoom was met with lackluster reviews and only mild acceptance. However, Samsung is back in the camera phone game with a new challenger--the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. Will this be the one to carve out a dedicated niche for these beastly phone/camera hybrids? Let’s see what the reviews have to say!
As far as phone specs go, the K Zoom is firmly in the mid-range bracket. The 4.8-inch 720p AMOLED display is a good size compared to flagship devices but lacking in the resolution department. Unfortunately, the PenTile technology used in the display doesn’t seem to be earning it any points with reviewers either. TrustedReviews was the harshest of the crowd, stating, “if you’re expecting a real top-end display you’ll be disappointed.” Wired UK elaborated a little further saying the screen “appears a little fuzzy” and called the color balance “a bit over-saturated.”
The phone is powered by a 6-core Exynos processor. While you might think this is providing a real edge to the device, most benchmarks found the phone to perform on par with last year’s flagship, the Galaxy S4. However, reviews noted that performance was smooth and overall very enjoyable. Trusted Reviews stated, “Ensure there’s enough room on-board and there’s very little lag.” Just don’t expect it perform well on resource intensive tasks.
Of course, the star of the show is the K Zoom’s 20.7 megapixel camera with 10x optical zoom. When it comes to mobile devices with built-in cameras, there simply aren’t any (other than the previous S4 Zoom) that can even think of competing in the zoom department. Wired UK states, “Use the zoom and it's instantly head and shoulders above its digital zoom rivals.”
That isn’t to say there aren’t a few concerns about the camera. Trusted Reviews noted that it takes “4-4.5 seconds to get from the phone’s main interface to the point where you can take a photo.” If you’re looking to capture those one-in-a-lifetime shots, the K Zoom might be a bit slow. The other concern is video quality. Engadget put it through the ringer at the Taipei Zoo and found, “Video quality is generally rather poor, particularly at longer focal lengths.”
The final weak link is the battery life. The 2430mAh battery seems plenty to power it on paper. However, many reviews note that it appears the Exynos 5 processor simply fails to preserve power in standby mode. The result? Most reviews found the phone steadily drained throughout a single day. Trusted Reviews noted “The battery drains fairly quickly even if you barely use the phone.” While Engadget found that shooting more than an hour of video and a few hundred pictures completely drained the battery. If you’re looking for a dedicated vacation camera, you might need a spare battery.
When it comes to final verdicts, most were rather bittersweet. TrustedReviews said, “this phone is all about the optical zoom.” GSM Arena called the phone a device for “people who take tons of photos each day, but aren't into the nitty-gritty.” Engadget was perhaps hardest on the device, stating, “you'll probably be better off buying a separate camera and smartphone.”
Reviews (7.3/10 Avg. rating)
A solid Android smartphone with a digital camera lens
The Galaxy K-Zoom provides one of the best cameras we have have seen on a smartphone. Additionally, its zoom functions are unparalleled. It’s just a shame that it didn’t get the phone bit right. Aside from offering good usability across the board, it is too bulky to carry around as a mobile phone. You’ll have a hard time fitting it in your pocket and what’s the point of carrying it in your bag if you risk missing calls and notifications.
As recent handsets such as the Nokia Lumia 930 and Sony Xperia Z2 have shown, you needn’t sacrifice design when ad... Full review
Improved a lot and feels more fluid and usable
Massive improvements in usability compared to the S4 zoom
Samsung’s desire to make a camera-centric phone was evident with the K zoom’s weird hybrid predecessor, but things have changed a lot, for the better. For starters, the device is slimmer and much easier to operate with a single hand. It has better balance and the overall profile feels way improved, but not quite as much as we’d like. Take the Lumia 1020, for example, it has a slimmer profile and the fixed lens unit which doesn’t move, provides ample space for better optics and a sensor. Samsung, on the other hand, have made the S4 zoom better, which is good, but the... Full review
Good screen, faultless multimedia options and a fluid and responsive user interface
The Galaxy K Zoom is the result of Samsung greatly improving on the Galaxy S4 Zoom formula. The S4 was already doing well on the camera front, but really didn't offer the shape and handling of a smartphone. Its successor is just a tiny bit better for photo and video capture, and the 10x optical zoom means it too is a standout camera phone. But the biggest improvement is to be found on the smartphone side. While it's still pretty chunky, it's markedly easier to handle. On top of that, there's a good screen, faultless multimedia options and a fluid and responsive user interface. In short, the... Full review
Solid camera, good performance
We had a lot of complaints last year with the Galaxy S4 zoom. Needless to say, most of those issues return on our 2014 K zoom list as well. While Samsung has definitely improved the specifications on paper, it has still not addressed some rather important aspects, like the LED notification, or the simplest, no-brainer capability of waking the phone into the camera app with the camera button (alone).
That being said, we’re still not sure we’re able to answer our fundamental questions about this device, but we’ll try our best. Is it a phone? It definitely is a sma... Full review
Boasts a great zoom-capable camera, but fails as a smartphone
The Samsung Galaxy K Zoom is a good smartphone with mid-range internals that will make the average user happy. It is, however, only a good camera compared with a digital compact, making it hard to recommend wholeheartedly.
We get the two devices rolled into one idea and Samsung is wise to pursue this route, given that most people use their phone as their camera. But the Galaxy K Zoom is a bit bulky to really convert people.
Still, if you want one of the best smartphone cameras and are happy to lug the Galaxy K Zoom with you, there's nothing quite like it. Other flagshi... Full review
An average phone with an above average camera
A smartphone with enhanced camera features
The Samsung Galaxy K Zoom feels like an echo of the earlier Galaxy S4 Zoom, albeit with some welcome improvements such as snappy autofocus and a better screen. However our sentiments remain much the same as before: as a smartphone there's a limited audience for this product in our view.
Which might sound at odds with the various positives we can reel off about this phone. It's fast in use, really powerful and opens the door to quickly sharing images via Wi-Fi or 3G/4G (the latter only if you have a microSIM and credit/contract). The 24-240mm equivalent lens and 20.7-megapixel sen... Full review
Camera software has been greatly simplified with fun features added
While the image quality you get out of a flagship phone is comparable, the K zoom has the distinct advantage of 10x optical zoom, along with 20x without too much loss in quality. Low light photography at night or in a club is actually possible - the xenon flash produces proper-looking shots instead of the murky photos of an LED-packing smartphone.
Even better, Samsung improved the Galaxy K zoom to the point where it's actually a good midrange phone. When the Galaxy S4 zoom came out last year it was woefully undeserving of the S4 name. The K zoom carefully omits the premium suffix... Full review
One of the best phones for pictures and video recording
One chief cause for concern with a phone that carries 10x optical zoom lens, is a potentially bulky chassis, and unfortunately the Galaxy K zoom is not an exception. It's still as butch and hefty as its predecessor, yet the dimensions are bearable, especially if you are used to carrying large handsets. 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 hybrid device. Discounting the lack of 4K a... Full review
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