- Excellent 10x zoom quality
- Good screen color quality and viewing angles
- Good battery life
- Sluggish performance when running multiple apps
- Bulky and uncomfortable design
- Inconsistent image quality in auto-mode
Unlike other smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom’s main attribute revolves around its rear-facing 16MP camera. While the Nokia Lumia 1020 might boast a higher resolution camera, the Zoom offers an impressive 10x optical zoom. According to reviewers, the zoom quality was impressive without much loss in image fidelity though CNET noticed it occasionally failed to focus on objects and suffered in the macro function.
Image quality itself was a mixed bag for many reviewers. For most, auto-mode produced inconsistent images that were often overexposed in bright light and underexposed in indoor situations with the occasional balanced picture occurring occasionally. The Zoom comes preloaded with different preset modes like food, indoor and action, which yielded better quality images than auto for most critics.
Unfortunately, reviewers found the Zoom difficult to wield. At its thinnest, the device measures 0.6 inches wide, but it doubles in thickness at the zooms lens at the top and large bottom hand grip and weighs a hefty 208 grams. The added thickness and weight made it difficult for many reviewers to use normally as a smartphone. When used in camera mode, critics still had issues as they found the side grip too small to hold and the plastic body too slippery.
On the front of the phone is a 4.3-inch AMOLED display. Resolution is 960x540 with pixel density of 256ppi. Reviewers noticed a slight loss of sharpness when playing HD video or games, but go on to praise the color quality and viewing angles. Trusted Reviews also compliments the screen's responsiveness and states that it reacts "just as smoothly to touch and gestures…as any other top end smartphone…"
Powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM and with 8GB of storage, performance is middle-of-the-road. Gotta Be Mobile observes that the phone can easily handle light processing tasks; however it ran into problems with heavy usage and suffered slowdown when numerous apps were running in the background.
Battery life, on the other hand, was slightly above average. Tech Radar drained the 2,330mAh battery after a full day of mixed heavy use and points out that web browsing and camera usage were the biggest battery killers. Engadget warns that at 5% battery life, the phone drops brightness and also ceases non-critical functions, which includes the camera.
Overall, experts are a bit torn on the Zoom. TechRadar states, "We really want to like the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom…but right now it's a poor compact married to a mid-range phone at a high end price tag." Android Central adds that it "doesn't do any one thing poorly…but we're far from compelled by the package as a whole."
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Jeffrey Van Camp, Digital Trends
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is half camera, half phone, but it's uncomfortable to hold and disappointing to shoot with.
- Chuong Nguyen, GottaBeMobile
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is a versatile device that allows users to ditch their telephoto zooms and smartphones for an all-in-one device that can still fit into your pockets. As a jack of all trades device, the Galaxy S4 Zoom excels at its photographic ability providing mobile photographers with additiona...
- Anupam Saxena, NDTV
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is anything but a mainstream device. It's clearly targeted at the shutterbugs, people who like taking pictures all the time and want their pictures to stand out above the rest and don't mind the extra bulk that comes with the device.
- Carly Page, The Inquirer
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is a good cameraphone let down by a clunky design that we found makes the device fairly unusable day to day. The handset does features some good specifications, including its AMOLED display, a number of useful software features and, of course, its 16MP camera with opt...
- Hunter Skipworth, Digital Spy
Despite the ergonomics being fairly bad, we have a soft spot for the S4 Zoom. There is no way it would replace our phone for day-to-day use, simply because we don't see the image quality as a necessity.For those who want a compact camera and a mobile, with space saved in their pockets for something...
Prices (Where to Buy)
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom user manual here.
Samsung backs up the Galaxy S4 Zoom with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Galaxy S4 Zoom has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Samsung support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Samsung's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
Manuals / User Guides
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