The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is one of the more intriguing devices I’ve seen to date. It’s most definitely a smartphone, except that there’s a huge honking camera zoom lens strapped to its back. It was originally expected to be launched along other devices at Samsung’s June 20 Galaxy and Ativ event. However, it seems Samsung has pulled a fast one and decided to launch the Galaxy S4 Zoom well ahead of the expected launch date and boy does it look lovely.
In case you guys hadn’t guessed it, the most obvious feature of the Galaxy S4 Zoom is its 16mp camera autofocus camera with 10x optical zoom. It’s pretty decent from an imaging standpoint, considering it has optical image stabilization, a 4fps burst mode with autofocus, up to ISO3200 support, and a xenon flash. Pretty good if you want a full-featured point-and-shoot camera replacement.
But what about the phone side? Well despite it sporting the S4 moniker, the internals are actually closer to the Galaxy S4 Mini. The Samsung Galaxy S4 features a 4.3 inch qHD Super AMOLED display, 1.5GHz dual core processor, 8Gb of storage, a 2,330mAh battery and Android 4.2 with Samsung’s Nature UX running on top. Those are some pretty mid-range specs but the actual performance should still be more than enough for most people.
While the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is the only hybrid smartphone and camera that has officially been launched at the moment for this year, it won’t be alone for long. Nokia is expected to unveil its own true Pureview Lumia handset in the coming months. That device, codenamed EOS, will likely sport a sensor similar to the original Pureview 808’s 41mp shooter.
If the Galaxy Camera bridged the divide between the smartphone and the full-fledged camera, the Galaxy S4 Zoom crossed that bridge. It’s quite simply the most logical and beautiful marriage of camera and smartphone I’ve seen yet. Despite the upcoming competition and possibly even better imaging chops that Nokia might have to offer, I still expect Samsung to come out strong on this one. The Android platform has a wider appeal and the Korean brand just has a colossal marketing budget that it can easily promote the S4 Zoom to no end. No pricing and availability has been announced yet, but that should be announced shortly so stay tuned.