Samsung announced the followup to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom at a press conference in Singapore Tuesday. The Samsung Galaxy K, which drops the “S” moniker, combines a 10x optical zoom camera with a full-featured smartphone.
The camera aspect of the handset sounds pretty good: it features a 20.7 megapixel 1/2.3 CMOS sensor, the 10x optical zoom that sticks out of the back of the camera, and optical image stabilization. The zoom lens has a focal length of 24-240mm and a range of aperture of f/3.1-6.3. Although the sensor size is somewhat disappointing — it’s only slightly larger than sensors on other smartphones — the optical zoom should give the handset photographic abilities beyond that of other phones.
However, the phone aspect is lacking. If the Galaxy K Zoom follows its predecessor, it will be priced like a high-end phone: $200 with a contract, roughly $700 without one. In that event, its specifications would not be worthy: a middling 4.8-inch 1280 x 720 display, 8GB of internal storage (underwhelming in light of those 21 megapixel shots), and a midrange “Hexa core” processor. It’s running Android 4.4 with a heavy dose of Samsung’s Touchwiz on top.
Unlike the Galaxy S4 Zoom, the Galaxy K Zoom doesn’t come with a tripod mount, which was one of my favorite features on its predecessor. It seems to be a clear indication that this handset is not a serious photography tool, which it’s not. What the Galaxy K Zoom does include is a skinnier body that should be more pocketable than its predecessor.
There are a few nifty modes in the camera app that you don’t get with other Samsung phones. AF/AE mode lets you choose separate parts of the photo preview to act as metering and focus points. There’s a manual mode that lets you choose shutter speed, ISO, and other settings. And finally, there’s something called “Selfie Alarm,” that seems to be a sort of self-timer, and is an excellent name for a feature.
In fact, the best part of this handset is the new naming convention — having two vastly different phones sharing the “S4″ moniker was confusing, and the new “Galaxy K” name definitely makes it easier to identify where this handset falls in Samsung’s rather large stable.