The ultimate cameraphone?
When the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom was released last year, it somehow seemed like Samsung just pasted a camera and a phone together and while their intentions were to make a camera-centric smartphone, it didn’t quite fit my taste, especially with the bulky and heavy built. This year, Samsung introduces the Galaxy K Zoom, an updated version of their camera-centric smartphone. Just to note, the ‘K’ stands for Kapture – meaning capture the moment.
Design and Specifications
The Galaxy K Zoom somehow retains various design aspects of the Galaxy S4 Zoom, though you will notice that it is now visibly slimmer with a 137.5 x 70.8 x 16.6 mm dimension but at 200 grams, it’s still as heavy as its predecessor. I found it somehow uncomfortable keeping the smartphone in my pocket, it was that heavy. There were instances as well where I would accidentally press the shutter button and the lens would just pop open when inside my pocket, which might result in you damaging the lens.
Samsung has somehow tweaked the design of the Galaxy K Zoom so that the large zoom lens at the back won’t protrude as much. The back part resembles the dimpled design first introduced on the Galaxy S5. All the usual ports and buttons are present – home button at the front and along with the power, volume rocker and shutter button on the right side. A microUSB port comes standard for charging and data transfers and also present is a 3.5 mm audio jack.
Housing a 4.8-inch screen, the Galaxy K Zoom’s Super AMOLED display still looks great, but can be oversaturated at times. That doesn’t mean it bad, but they could have upgraded the resolution to full HD since 720p screens are now considered low end. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC is also present.
The Galaxy K Zoom comes powered with Samsung’s own Exynos 5260 Octacore processor. It comes with 2 GB of RAM and an 8 GB of internal storage, which you can expand using the microSD port. It runs the latest version of Android (4.4.2 KitKat) and like all of Samsung’s smartphones, runs their own customized interface called TouchWiz that includes extra apps and their own fancy animations and wallpapers.
I couldn’t complain much about the performance, since the Galaxy K Zoom performed well during testing. There was noticeable lag when browsing through menus, but it away after a while. Maybe it’s due to TouchWiz’s overly complex animations, but I’m sure it can be rectified with a software patch.
Calls were clear, since this is still a smartphone anyways. Though with its current weight, the Galaxy K Zoom isn’t made for long conversations. Most of the time I find myself reaching for the headset during calls, which is much more comfortable than putting a 200 gram device against my ear.
Okay, so let’s get on the Galaxy K Zoom’s main selling point: the camera. It has a 10x optical zoom, same as the Galaxy S4 Zoom released last year. Even if I never the like the S4 Zoom, I loved the idea of simply turning the lens to activate the camera, though that mechanism has been removed from the Galaxy K Zoom.
The camera comes in at 20.7 megapixels and comes with all standard camera features like optical image stabilization and auto focus. There’s also a pretty good Xenon flash included and of course, the 10x optical zoom (24-2440 mm). You can also shoot video in full HD with the camera and lastly, there is also a 2 megapixel camera at the front of the smartphone.
The camera interface on the Galaxy K Zoom resembles the one you will find on the Galaxy camera. Various settings and modes are present so it is always ready to shoot whatever the situation is.
The zoom quality on the Galaxy K Zoom is great I must admit, and even it’s completely zoomed in, the optical image stabilization made sure the images I’ll be taking were sharp and crisp. Images are generally good and it especially shines with close ups. Performance is mostly comparable to a mid-range superzoom camera. Night images were okay, but not as good as the Nokia Lumia 1020 (that still gets my top choice for a camera-centric smartphone).
With a 2430 mAh battery, the Galaxy K Zoom lasted for about a whole day on normal usage, though it drains the battery quickly especially when I constantly use the flash. I’d recommend brining an extra battery or a charger just in case.
Costing 2099 AED, the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom isn’t exactly cheap and I’m sure you can buy an equally performing superzoom camera at that price. You can also add a bit more and get the Samsung Galaxy S5 instead. The Samsung Galaxy K Zoom is a hit and miss, so it is really up to you if a phone with a 10x zoom lens camera is worth it.