Samsung’s Optical Zoom Cameraphone Gets Revamped

 
The new Samsung Galaxy K Zoom.

The new Samsung Galaxy K Zoom.

Samsung’s first optical zoom-equipped phone, the Samsung S4 Zoom, was a bulky mess. The idea of having a cameraphone that allows you a zoom range of 10x is quite novel, but not if the phone is heavy, bulky and an ergonomical nightmare.

The Samsung S4 Zoom was quite bulky and difficult to handle.

The Samsung S4 Zoom was quite bulky and difficult to handle.

So, Samsung has attempted to fix all that with their new Galaxy K Zoom, which offers 10x zoom like its predecessor, but in a much slimmer, lighter body. Weighing in at approximately 200gms and at a thickness of 0.80inches, the phone is impressively compact.

The manufacturer has managed to squeeze in more optical firepower in a small body by having two of the multiple lenses swing into place only when the zoom is extended. When the camera is on standby, they retract to the side.

Samsung has also done away with the chunky grip of the S4 Zoom. Instead, the K Zoom features a textured plastic back, based on the Galaxy S5.

Unlike the Galaxy camera, however, there are no dedicated dials or such on the K Zoom’s body. All the controls, except shutter release and zoom, are located in the camera app. The K Zoom also features a 2MP front-facing camera, along with Samsung’s proprietory Smart modes.

A particularly interesting feature is the ability to separate AF from exposure. Usually, most cameraphones meter for overall exposure settings from the area where the camera is focusing. However, the K Zoom is supposed to allow you to chose where you meter from.

The cameraphone features a 20.7 MP 1 1/2.3-inch sensor (compact sensor), a Xenon flash and the ability to shoot 1080p video at 60fps. However, the processor is a mere hexacore instead of the S5’s octacore. It runs on 2GB RAM and Android 4.4KitKat.

Samsung’s clearly trying to get things right with their optical zoom cameraphones. Whether this is a significant update, or just a design overhaul, is something only a full-fledged test will tell.

Currently, the K Zoom is set to roll out in May globally, but there is no information on specific release dates.

To read our review of the Galaxy Zoom, click here.

And here’s a side-by-side comparison chart of the features of the S4 Zoom, the K Zoom and the Lumia 1020 thrown in for good measure.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Samsung Galaxy K Zoom Nokia Lumia 1020
CMOS Resolution 16.3MP 20.7MP 41.3MP
CMOS Format 1/2.3″, 1.34 micron pixels 1/2.3″, 1.12 micron pixels 1/1.5″, 1.12 micron pixels
Optical System

Focal Length: 4.3 – 43mm (35mm equiv: 24-240 mm) F/3.1-F/6.3 aperture

10x zoom + OIS

Focal Length: 4.4 – 44mm (35mm equiv: 24-240 mm) F/3.1-F/6.3 aperture

10x zoom + OIS

Focal Length: 7.2mm (35mm equiv: 25mm) F/2.2 aperture

OIS

Dimensions

125.5 x 63.5 x 15.4 mm, 208g

137.5 x 70.8 x 16.6mm (20.2mm max), 200g

130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4 mm, 158g

Video Recording 1080p30 max 1080p60 max 1080p30 max
Display

4.3” 960 x 540 Super AMOLED

4.8″ 1280×720 Super AMOLED 4.5″ 1280×768 Super AMOLED
SoC 1.5 GHz Exynos 4212

1.7GHz/1.3GHz Exynos 5 Hexa (5260)

1.5 GHz MSM8960 Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
Storage

8GB + MicroSD

8GB + MicroSD

32/64GB
Battery

2330 mAh (8.85Whr)

2430 mAh (9.23Whr)

2000 mAh (7.6 Whr)

OS Android 4.2.2 Android 4.4 Windows Phone 8
Connectivity

2G / 3G (Intel XMM6262)

802.11a/b/g/n, NFC, BT 4.0, GPS/GNSS

2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Intel XMM7160 Category 4 LTE)

802.11a/b/g/n, NFC, BT 4.0, GPS/GNSS

2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Qualcomm MDM9x15 Category 3 LTE)

802.11a/b/g/n, NFC, BT 4.0, GPS/GNSS

Tags: 10x, 20.7MP, bulky, Compact, Galaxy K Zoom, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Zoom, metering, optical zoom, overhaul, redesign, revamp, Samsung, slim, update