Samsung extends the Galaxy S4 range with 10x zoom camera-phone

12 Jun 2013

Yet another iteration of the flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone has been unveiled by Samsung and this time the South Korean phone-maker has come up with a variant targeting the mobile photography enthusiast.

The Galaxy S4 Zoom looks as if Samsung took the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Camera unveiled at IFA last year and mashed them together. It’s the first smartphone to offer users 10x optical zoom and also comes with a 16MP BSI CMOS sensor, optical image stabilisation and xenon flash.

The handset features a Zoom Ring that makes it look more like a compact camera than a smartphone, and users can simply twist this to quick launch the camera app or image gallery. If they do so during a call, this will start an in-call photo sharing feature that will capture and send an image directly via MMS to the person on the other end of the line.

A new app called Photo Suggest will be pre-loaded on the device to connect users to images shared by other mobile photographers and can even be used to suggest nearby vantage points for the best shots.

Of course, the S4 Zoom also features the new photo capabilities introduced with the original S4, such as Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, Eraser and Animated Photo. There’s also Action Freeze for high-speed photography and Smart Mode for those who’d rather leave it to the camera to choose the right settings.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom

Some features of the original Galaxy S4, however, take a step down on the S4 Zoom. The camera-cum-handset has a smaller 4.3-inch qHD sAMOLED display with a resolution of 960 x 540 compared to the 1,080 x 1,920 you get with the S4, while the front-facing camera drops to 1.9MP, RAM is 1.5GB, battery is 2,330mAh, and the OS is Android Jelly Bean 4.2.

With that 24-240mm f3.1-6.3 lens tacked on to the rear, the S4 Zoom is also a good 70g heavier than the S4 and almost twice as thick.

There’s just 8GB of internal storage with the S4 Zoom so, with a 16MP camera at your service and the S4’s reputation of leaving users with little storage to play around with (specs claim the S4 Zoom leaves 5GB available to the user), it’s advisable to make use of the micro-SD slot that can expand this up to 64GB.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is coming this summer to the UK and Ireland.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic