The Galaxy S 4 Zoom adds a 10x optical zoom to AT&T’s phone lineup for $199

Galaxy S 4 Zoom

AT&T has announced that Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 Zoom will be making its way to the carrier’s lineup later this week. It features a 16-megapixel camera with 10x optical zoom and looks like a standard digital camera from the back, while the front looks more like a typical Samsung Galaxy phone. And while the camera part looks cool, judging by the specs I wouldn’t quite call this phone comparable to a Galaxy S 4.

The Zoom features a 4.3-inch, 960 by 540 display and is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. You get the same Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) software as the Galaxy S 4, along with the same customizations from Samsung, but those specs actually place this phone much closer to the two-year-old Galaxy S II.

I’m not a huge fan of naming new devices after a flagship while delivering lower-performing parts than the original. When I first heard about the Galaxy S 4 Zoom, I expected to see a Galaxy S 4 with an upgraded camera, which would’ve been super. Instead, this looks like a high-quality camera attached to mid-range hardware. Samsung has also done this recently with the Galaxy S 4 Mini, and HTC has done the same with both the HTC One Mini and HTC One Max. I like to see manufacturers offering more variation in phone size and features, but I think the specs should remain relatively similar across the board.

On the plus side, the Zoom features a 16-megapixel camera with a 10x optical zoom. The lens has a manually adjustable spinning ring that allows you to zoom in and out, just like a dedicated digital camera. It also uses optical image stabilization and there’s a dedicated shutter button, which should make it a lot more photo friendly than your typical camera phone.

If you’re interested, the Galaxy S 4 Zoom will be making its way to AT&T starting November 8 for $199.99 with contract.

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