• Operating System: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • Processor: 1.5GHz dual core processor
  • Frequency: HSDPA 2100/900 EDGE / GPRS / GSM 850/900/1800/1900
  • Screen: 4.3-inch qHD sAMOLED
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB, WiFi,
  • Pros:
  • Great daytime shots
  • Wide array of filters and modes
  • Cons:
  • Less than stellar low-light shots

A GALAXY In The Making

When we last reviewed the Samsung GALAXY Camera, we mentioned that the only thing the Android-based camera was missing was the ability to make calls. Samsung seems to have caught on to that, and have created a device that’s a cross between a Samsung GALAXY S4 Mini and the GALAXY Camera. This is the Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom.

The GALAXY S4 Zoom is powered by a dual core 1.5 GHz processor and features 8GBs of onboard memory, which is expandable up to 64GBs via a microSD card. The display meanwhile is a 4.3-inch qHD sAMOLED display. The camera itself features a 16MP sensor with 10x optical zoom and a xenon flash for shooting under low-light conditions.

The S4 Zoom performs admirably well as a smartphone, and paired with a 2,330 mAh battery, it has a pretty decent battery life and comes with some of the cool features found in Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the GALAXY S4.

How does the camera perform, you ask? In areas with a lot of direct sunlight or ample lighting, the S4 Zoom performs as well as you’d expect it to be. The colours are vibrant and sharp, even when zoomed in a fair bit. The camera also comes with a wide variety of filters and features, and chief amongst these are the Photo Suggest and Smart Mode Suggest.

Photo Suggest uses the WiFi and GPS features of the S4 Zoom to pinpoint your location, and suggests locations of scenes that you should take a photo of based on a database. The Smart Mode Suggest meanwhile suggests the best Smart Mode filter that you should take the photo with when you have the shutter half-pressed.

That being said, the camera is not without its own faults. Taking shots under low light conditions without the flash more often than not yields very dark photos, and cranking up the ISO doesn’t help much as the photos turn out to be very grainy. There is a Smart Mode for night shots, but it really doesn’t help much.

CHIP CONCLUDE: If you’re in two minds about getting a new smartphone or a new compact camera to shoot everyday things, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is probably one to consider. Low light issues aside, this is a really convenient device if you don’t mind how it looks like.

(previously published in issue September 2013)