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Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom review

Great cameraphone let down by an awkward design and poor performance
Fri Sep 06 2013, 12:11

Product Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Website Samsung
Specifications 4.3in 540x960 Super AMOLED touchscreen, dual-core 1.5GHz Cortex A9 processor, 1.5GB RAM, 8GB internal storage with microSD card expansion up to 64GB, 16MP rear camera with Xenon flash, optical zoom and autofocus, 1.9MP front camera, GSM/3G/4G, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, Samsung Touchwiz user interface, 2,330mAh battery, 126x64x15.4mm, 208g
Price £400 SIM-free


KOREAN PHONE MAKER Samsung's Galaxy S4 Zoom sees the firm looking to challenge Nokia in the cameraphone market, having already tackled Sony with its rugged Galaxy S4 Active and HTC with the affordable Galaxy S4 Mini smartphone.

With its bulky design and camera features, the Galaxy S4 Zoom won't appeal to everyone, but Samsung clearly is looking to win over those after a smartphone that features a high-end camera.

Design
When we say the Galaxy S4 Zoom's design won't appeal to everyone, in truth we can't see it appealing to many people.

While the handset's large optical lens might appeal to some, it adds a lot of bulk to the phone, which in fact looks little like a smartphone. The Galaxy S4 Zoom measures 15.4mm thick, and we struggled to squeeze it into our jeans pocket or hold it comfortably, with the chunky lens making it difficult to fit the handset naturally in the palm of the hand. At 208g it's also much heavier than many of its rivals, as Nokia's 41MP Lumia 1020 weighs just 158g.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom design

The Galaxy S4 Zoom's aesthetics certainly will turn heads. Most people we showed the device to thought it was a dedicated camera rather than a phone, with the lens and flash on the rear of the phone overwhelming its otherwise Galaxy S4 Mini-esque appearance.

Like the Galaxy S4 Mini, the Galaxy S4 Zoom feels rather solidly built. While the lens is likely to pick up dirt and scratches, the handset's toughened polycarbonate casing should protect it from too much damage, and the screen is coated with Gorilla Glass.

Screen
The Galaxy S4 Zoom features a 4.3in 540x960 Super AMOLED touchscreen, the same display found on the Galaxy S4 Mini.

It's just as good too, and as we said in our Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review, the display doesn't feel like a downgrade from that of the HD 1080p flagship Galaxy S4, with colours appearing vibrant and text looking crisp.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom display

Our only gripe with the handset's screen is that its viewing angles aren't great, and it can be hard to view when the phone is used in direct sunlight.

Next: Performance, operating system.

 

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