Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom review: a messy marriage of smartphone and camera
Samsung's GS4 Zoom may be a slight improvement over the Galaxy Camera, but it's still not very good.
- Compact design
- Full smartphone functionality
- Poor battery life
- Mediocre image quality
- Sluggish and inconsistent performance
- Limited camera control in third-party apps
Android on a point-and-shoot? Last year we learned that it could be done. But with some features that duplicate the functionality of a smartphone without an ability to make calls, Samsung's Galaxy Camera was a confusing mix of form and function. It was very much a first-generation device, and while they may have regretted it later, some curious early adopters did drop $500 for the soon-to-be-obsolete hybrid. The cumbersome compact, with its massive 21x lens and power-hungry 4.8-inch touchscreen, may not have won over the photography community, but Samsung's 2013 approach has a much better chance at success.
With a design that's based on the Galaxy S4 Mini, the Galaxy S4 Zoom adds a fair amount of heft to accommodate the feature that sets it apart from every other smartphone on the market: a 10x 24-240mm optically stabilized lens. But it's still pocketable, believe it or not, and it functions quite well as a phone. While the Galaxy Camera was first and foremost a camera, the Zoom's primary function is as an ordinary Android smartphone -- albeit one with a larger sensor and a powerful lens. Can it replace both devices? And will you want it to? Shoot past the break for our take.