Phone Review: The Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom – One For the Price of Two by @jesseoguns

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The Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom is a camera phone that is built from the ground up for those whom their primary aim is to shoot pictures and then share them on the internet via services like Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Google Plus and other online photo and social media sharing services.

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the devices was to wonder if there’s going to be a way to pop a SIM in it. Initially, I thought it was just going to be a camera that has the capability to connect to the web via WiFi. To my surprise it connects to the web via mobile data connection using a micro SIM – the same type that the Samsung GALAXY S3 and S4 use.

It took me some time to figure out where the SIM slot is.

s4_zoom_sim_compartment

One doesn’t have to pop the phone open entirely before one can insert the SIM in it. It can be easily done by opening the cover to the battery compartment that is at the base of the phone close to where the charging port is.

Key Features of the S4 Zoom 

  • Released July, 2013
  • SIM: Micro-SIM
  • Weight 208 g
  • Display Super AMOLED Capacitive Touchscreen, 16M Colours
  • Size: 540 x 960 pixels, 4.3 inches (~256 ppi pixel density)
  • Memory: Card Slot microSD up to 64 GB Internal 8 GB (5 GB user available), 1.5 GB of RAM
  • Camera: Primary 16 MP, autofocus, Xenon Flash. Contains image stabilization, HDR and Panorama plus 10x optical Zoom.
  • Video: Yes, 1080p at 30fps
  • Operating System (OS): Android OS, V4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • Battery: 2330 mAh up to 46 hours for music playback. Talk time under 2G is up to 13 hours.

My experience using the Samsung S4 Zoom

The battery:

The time it takes for a phone’s battery to charge and discharge is pretty important to me. Although in this case, we are not talking about a phone, but a camera that has the full functionality of a smartphone.

Battery Power

The battery has a 2330 mAh capacity unlike the Samsung GALAXY S4 that comes with 2600 mAh.The battery charges pretty quickly and doesn’t discharge too soon.  When I pushed the battery of the Zoom, using it like it were a phone, I got between 7 to 8 hours use from it—using WiFi when in the office and mobile data on my way to/from work. How long the battery lasts is going to vary from person to person as we engage in different activities. This is an approximate time based on my intense use.

The activity that consumes more battery is when shooting pictures or making videos over an extended period of time. Take note of that.

Software:

The software embedded in the Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom is Android  4.2.2 like we have in the Samsung GALAXY S4. If we remove the 16 MP back camera and the bulging camera, the Zoom could pass for a Samsung GALAXY S4 miniature version. If Samsung makes a phone like that and makes it available, a lot of people who are comfortable with small screen won’t find any issue with it and are going to troupe out to buy it.

Display: The S4 Zoom is a 4.3’ screen with a 256 pixel per density ( 540 x 960 pixels) compared to GALAXY S4’s 5” screen with 441 pixel per density. It is a 4.3” screen with. Due to the size, you won’t notice the pixelation much.

Why should we care about all those details by the way? The whole focus should be on what we can accomplish with the 16 MP camera with its Xenon Flash. Not so? Ahem!

Camera

How does the camera compare with the other smartphone camera? At the moment I have an iPhone 5, Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung GALAXY Note 2 with me. When one compares the pictures taken with this different devices, the Nokia Lumia 920 comes out tops for low light camera and ease of use as a point and shoot camera. However, the Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom is packed with functionality and has a lot more customisation that the other ones I mentioned. Depending on your photography and camera skills, the Zoom allows you to toggle the camera app and obtain different kinds of exposures.

camera_settings

I have used it more as a phone than a camera. I first found it hard to see very clearly the difference between the picture created by the Samsung GALAXY S4 and the Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom. Apparently there were, especially since the S4 Zoom is spotting a 16  MP camera with Xenon flash. But with casual day-to-day photo loving fans who will want a camera to take along for an holiday trip or a phone to shoot the picture of their food to post on Instagram, the 16MP won’t make much of a difference when compared with the photos taken with the Samsung GALAXY S4.

Smart Camera

Everything I can do on the Samsung GALAXY S4 is also possible on the Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom but for less. The Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom  costs less than the S4.

Viewing Device

One thing I found is that the S4 Zoom can function as an excellent viewing device—especially for those who are fans of YouTube and video on the mobile device like me. The bulging camera at the back makes it pretty easy for one to place it on the table without getting a separate stand or support for it.

s4_zoom_youtube_viewing

In summary, the Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom is going to be used more as a phone by anyone who picks it up, as it is a full fledge phone. However, I think some folks may find it a little awkward to be placing the Zoom to their ear when making/receiving a phone call. The Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom goes for about N76,000 on some Nigerian online stores.

samsung_s4_zoom

Jesse

Jesse

In pursuit of useless knowledge, spotting patterns & connecting the dots at the intersection. | Gadget Freak

4 comments

  1. Nice case, but I would recommend the Pong Research Galaxy S4 case over this. I read that the cell phones emit a non-ionizing form of electromagnetic radiation; radiation which can be absorbed by the tissues and cells which come into close contact with the phone. That’s why I did research and found a case that can reduce radiation exposure. I found cases from Pong Research, I read that this technology reduces exposure to radiation while optimizing the mobile reception. I was skeptical about it, anyway, I decided to try it, because Pong is the only technology proven in FCC-certified laboratories to reduce the exposure to mobile device radiation by up to 95% below the FCC limit without compromising the device’s ability to communicate.

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