- Jessica Dolcourt , Cnet
Its top-notch image quality, optical zoom, and a tripod mount make it the most flexible smartphone camera there is.
- Mike Lowe , Pocket-lint
It's the physicality of the optical zoom that makes holding and using it like a phone just plain weird.
- Excellent 10x zoom quality
- Good screen color quality and viewing angles
- Good battery life
- Sluggish performance when running multiple apps
- Bulky and uncomfortable design
- Inconsistent image quality in auto-mode
Unlike other smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom’s main attribute revolves around its rear-facing 16MP camera. While the Nokia Lumia 1020 might boast a higher resolution camera, the Zoom offers an impressive 10x optical zoom. According to reviewers, the zoom quality was impressive without much loss in image fidelity though CNET noticed it occasionally failed to focus on objects and suffered in the macro function.
Image quality itself was a mixed bag for many reviewers. For most, auto-mode produced inconsistent images that were often overexposed in bright light and underexposed in indoor situations with the occasional balanced picture occurring occasionally. The Zoom comes preloaded with different preset modes like food, indoor and action, which yielded better quality images than auto for most critics.
Unfortunately, reviewers found the Zoom difficult to wield. At its thinnest, the device measures 0.6 inches wide, but it doubles in thickness at the zooms lens at the top and large bottom hand grip and weighs a hefty 208 grams. The added thickness and weight made it difficult for many reviewers to use normally as a smartphone. When used in camera mode, critics still had issues as they found the side grip too small to hold and the plastic body too slippery.
On the front of the phone is a 4.3-inch AMOLED display. Resolution is 960x540 with pixel density of 256ppi. Reviewers noticed a slight loss of sharpness when playing HD video or games, but go on to praise the color quality and viewing angles. Trusted Reviews also compliments the screen's responsiveness and states that it reacts "just as smoothly to touch and gestures…as any other top end smartphone…"
Powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM and with 8GB of storage, performance is middle-of-the-road. Gotta Be Mobile observes that the phone can easily handle light processing tasks; however it ran into problems with heavy usage and suffered slowdown when numerous apps were running in the background.
Battery life, on the other hand, was slightly above average. Tech Radar drained the 2,330mAh battery after a full day of mixed heavy use and points out that web browsing and camera usage were the biggest battery killers. Engadget warns that at 5% battery life, the phone drops brightness and also ceases non-critical functions, which includes the camera.
Overall, experts are a bit torn on the Zoom. TechRadar states, "We really want to like the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom…but right now it's a poor compact married to a mid-range phone at a high end price tag." Android Central adds that it "doesn't do any one thing poorly…but we're far from compelled by the package as a whole."
Reviews (6.3/10 Avg. rating)
A nice point-and-shoot camera with a full Android phone interface built into it
Essentially a phone glued to a camera
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is a versatile device that allows users to ditch their telephoto zooms and smartphones for an all-in-one device that can still fit into your pockets. As a jack of all trades device, the Galaxy S4 Zoom excels at its photographic ability providing mobile photographers with additional features to help them capture the best moments of life, aided by a 10X optical zoom that provides an equivalent focal range of 24-240 mm, optical image stabilization that helps with night shots when not using a tripod and for recording handheld videos, a high resolution sensor that captures mor... Full review
Offers average performance and a low-resolution display
Great cameraphone let down by an awkward design and poor performance
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is a good cameraphone let down by a clunky design that we found makes the device fairly unusable day to day. The handset does features some good specifications, including its AMOLED display, a number of useful software features and, of course, its 16MP camera with optical zoom.
For those desperately wanting a cameraphone with a good optical zoom, there's little alternative on the market to the Galaxy S4 Zoom, although we'd advise buyers to hold out for the Nokia Lumia 1020, which squeezes a 41MP image sensor into a smaller and easier to hold packag... Full review
It feels like a top quality web-connected camera
A jack of all trades smart phone with a built in compact camera complete with optical zoom lens
You know what they say about Jack of all Trades. Well never has this been more true of a device than than the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. You have to applaud the manufacturer for continuing to innovate. If nothing else it gives journalists something to get their teeth stuck into. It's just this particular model doesn't quite work. As a camera phone it's not bad, but there are better. As a camera it's much better in terms of quality than any other smart phone I've ever used. But there are limitations - most notably that it adds considerable bulk/weight to the phone and the camera takes much long... Full review
The overall feel then is of reasonable quality, solid build, and a certain clumsy ugliness
A smartphone geared towards photographers
Good point-and-shoot, oddball smartphone
A smart camera device rather than a smartphone
Summing up, as a cameraphone the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is a good buy. Thanks to the addition of optical zoom and an improved camera sensor, images taken on the Zoom are significantly better than those taken on 99 percent of all other smartphones. However, as an actual phone the device is fairly middling. Featuring an underpowered processor, slightly disappointing screen and bulky design the Zoom isn't all too smart when it comes to basic phone functions, taking a fraction of a second longer than we'd like to boot up apps and web pages and feeling outright awkward in hand when being used to... Full review
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