Galaxy S4 Zoom — is it any good?
Shortly after the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung announced three more models carrying the Galaxy S4 brand. There was the waterproof Galaxy S4 Active, the smaller Galaxy S4 Mini, and the camera-smartphone hybrid, the Galaxy S4 Zoom. Our friends from Widget City sent us a review unit of the Galaxy S4 Zoom and we’ve been playing around with it for the last two weeks. We’d like to share with you guys our initial review of this fascinating piece of consumer technology.
Before anything let’s quickly go over the specifications.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Spec Sheet
- 1.5GHz Dual-Core Processor
- 1.5GB RAM
- 8GB Internal Storage, microSD card slot up to 64GB
- 4.3-inch qHD (960×540) Super AMOLED capacitive display
- 256ppi with Corning Gorilla Glass 3
- 16.0-megapixel auto-focus camera with x10 Optical Zoom, Xenon flash, OIS
- 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera
- Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, 3G, HSPA+ Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, GPS/AGPS
- Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
- 2,300mAh Battery
If you take away the camera part, the internals are actually very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. We get the dual-core processor, 1.5GB RAM, and even the 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display. While that’s definitely not flagship caliber, it still is quite respectable as you will see in our tests below.
A Quick Hands-on Video of the Galaxy S4 Zoom
You’ve probably noticed this but we’ve started doing more video content. This continues with the Galaxy S4 Zoom. Check out the quick 4-minute review/hands-on that we shot for the S4 Zoom below.
Pardon the mistakes, we’re still getting used to it, hehe.
It’s a smartphone… and a point-and-shoot camera!
As you saw in the video, the Galaxy S4 Zoom offers full Android smartphone functionalities. This includes calling, texting, and the hundreds of thousands of apps being offered on the Google Play Store. Yes, that includes all the games like Candy Crush, Minion Rush, and Dead Trigger. However you will look kinda weird tilting a camera side to side while in a coffee shop while you’re in a game of Temple Rush, lol.
The 1.5GHz dual-core processor surprisingly delivered a smooth and fluid Android experience. We were expecting heavy lag spikes but that wasn’t the case. The 1.5GB RAM definitely is helping out with over-all performance and memory management. Also, note that that quality of chipsets differ. A dual-core processor might end up being more powerful than a quad-core processor in some cases. That probably is the case here.
Other than the games and apps, you can also watch videos, listen to your music, or even draw stuff with your finger using S Memo. That goes without saying that you can also use social networking apps and make full use of their photo sharing functionalities.
The camera experience is very similar to the first Samsung Galaxy Camera. There are three modes available: Smart, Expert, and Auto. Smart lets you a scenario and the camera automatically adjusts the settings. Some of the features that we first saw in the Galaxy S4 are already present here (Drama Shot and Eraser). Expert gives you control of the settings and you get to adjust them depending on your taste.
Over-all photo quality we got was pretty good but still far from the level of DSLR cameras. There’s just no comparison, hehe. Compared to other smartphone cameras though, the Galaxy S4 Zoom definitely stands out especially with the 10x Optical Zoom.
Here are a few sample shots:
Battery Life is still problematic
If there’s one criticism we’ll throw at the Galaxy S4 Zoom, it’s still the battery life. Even at 2300mAH we barely could get 3-4 hours of taking photos, texting, and uploading. With 3G on and you working the optics the battery will drain quite fast which can get frustrating.
Verdict: It’s a fun device but we don’t think it can be a good primary device
So what’s our verdict? It’s a fun device. It’s not a primary smartphone that you’d keep as your daily driver. Not only will you always look weird while walking around with a camera to the side of your face, you’ll also end up running out of battery fast if you like taking a lot of pictures throughout your day.
It’s a good secondary phone though. The one you rarely take out and use for texting and calling until your primary one is out. At least your back-up phone functions also as a kick ass camera and your dedicated Instagram buddy, right? 😛
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is available for Php20,990 at Widget City.