Samsung is once again attempting to fuse a powerful digital camera and smartphone into one handset, but its compromises may have gone too far in the face of strong competition from Nokia and Sony.
The freshly unveiled Samsung Galaxy K Zoom features a generous 20.7MP BSI CMOS sensor and a 10x zoom lens. While last year’s attempt at smartphone-camera fusion, the Galaxy 4 Zoom, came with a pocket-unfriendly protruding lens, Samsung has gotten smarter with the design of the K Zoom and slickly recessed its telescopic capabilities into a 16.6mm package weighing 200g.
While this is a slimming feat, it’s still a chunky competitor to Nokia’s 41MP Lumia 1020 and Sony’s 20.7MP Xperia Z2, though neither of these devices can offer the zoom capabilities of the K Zoom and, naturally, Samsung is emphasising this feature.
The K Zoom also features a Xenon flash, an optical image stabiliser for better performance in low light and scenes with movement. There’s also a Selfie Alarm to help users snap self-portraits using the superior rear camera and Instant Camera mode which lets users press the volume and power button for fast snaps.
For video shooting, the K Zoom is capable of recording full-HD 1080p at 60fps and there’s also a 2MP shooter at the front.
The camera-led smartphone follows the design language of the flagship Galaxy S5, and will be available in white, charcoal and blue variations some time in this quarter.
The HD Super AMOLED display measures 4.8 inches and the phone runs on Android 4.4. Inside, there’s an Exynos 5260 chipset with a 1.3GHz quad-core Cortex A7 and 1.7GHz Cortex A15. There’s also 8GB of internal storage, which isn’t generous for a camera being sold on its ability to shoot photos, but there is up to 64GB available via the micro-SD slot.
The battery is also disappointing for a bulky device meant to support a camera and smartphone in one. At 2,430mAh, capacity is far less than the standard offered by the Galaxy S5.