Samsung released the Galaxy K zoom, which replaces the Galaxy S4 Zoom. As of the time of writing, the K zoom is the latest smartphone from Samsung, and one the gives a great deal of focus on the phone’s camera features. The S4 Zoom appealed to many people who were searching for a phone with a high optical zoom range. this phone however has its cons, as it wasn’t comfortable to hold due to the bulge at the back, the zoom wheel wasn’t comfortable to operate, image quality wasn’t on par with Apple’s latest iPhone 5S (some say that acceptable considering the 5S has a prime lens), there wasn’t an option to charge the battery externally, etc.
All in all, the Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom was the only phone that offered 10x optical zoom, something that isn’t taken for granted, as most mobile phones use a prime (fixed zoom) lens or use a lossless reduced-sized digital zoom that uses portion of the sensor for the final image.
No doubt that there were several things that Samsung could have done to make the Galaxy S4 Zoom better, and it did it with the Galaxy K zoom.
Galaxy K zoom vs Galaxy S4 Zoom – Differences
Let’s take a look at a Galaxy S4 Zoom vs Galaxy K zoom specs comparison table, to see the differences between the two smartphones side by side.
|Galaxy S4 Zoom||Galaxy K zoom||Side Notes|
|Announced||June 12, 2013||April 29, 2014||The K zoom announced 322 days after the S4 zoom was announced|
|Android||4.2||4.4.2||The Galaxy K zoom features a newer Android OS version|
|Dimensions||4.94 x 2.50 x 0.61 inches (125.5 x 63.5 x 15.4 mm)||5.41 x 2.79 x 0.65 inches (137.5 x 70.8 x 16.6)||The K Zoom is noticeably bigger due to its larger display, but it's much slimmer than the S4 zoom (18 vs 28 mm) if you consider the lens bulge at the back. It also lacks a grip as the S4 zoom, but gain a better gripping material at the back, also easier to put in your pocket!|
|Weight||7.34 oz (208 g)||7.05 oz (200 g)||S4 zoom is slightly heavier, but have improved design and ergonomics.|
|Galaxy K Zoom features a large screen with higher resolution and higher pixel density. You get better viewing and image composition experience. Overall it's great to have a bigger screen for apps and games as well, but certainly better for image editing.|
|Sensor||1/2.3" (6.17x4.55 mm)|
1.34µm pixel size
|1/2.3" (6.17x4.55 mm)|
|1/2.3" sensor is 1.8 times bigger than the typical smartphone sensor.
Galaxy K zoom features higher resolution, so considering same sensor size, it has smaller pixels. This might have a negative effect on the low-light performance and image quality in general (we'll wait and see).
|Flash||Xenon||LED, Xenon||K zoom now offers a built-in Xenon flash and LED flash. Xenon flash provided much stronger illumination and more natural color for stills.|
|Lens (Rear camera)||24-240 mm f/3.1-6.4 (equiv.)|
10x optical zoom
Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
Need to manually extend in camera mode
|24-240 mm f/3.1-6.4 (equiv.)|
10x optical zoom
Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
Automatically extends in camera mode
|The Galaxy K zoom features a slimmer retracting zoom lens. We get the same focal length and aperture though.
|Video Recording||FHD (1920 x 1080) @30fps||FHD (1920 x 1080) @60fps||The Galaxy K zoom record videos at 60 fps, the S4 zoom at 30 fps. Better for slow motion videos (in post processing).
Didn't find info whether it's progressive or interlaced though.
|Front Camera||1.9 megapixels|
|CPU||Samsung Exynos 4212|
|Exynos 5 Hexa|
ARM Cortex-A15 & ARM Cortex-A7
Size cored as 1.7GHz Dual + 1.3Ghz Quad
|Galaxy K zoom features a much stronger processor and image processor. You'll get enhanced performance for general use, image editing and camera performance overall.|
|Image Processor||ARM Mali-400 MP4||ARM Mali-T624|
|RAM||1536 MB||2048 MB|
|Camera Studio||Yes||Yes, version 2.0||Use Camera Studio to edit and share your photos with ease.|
|Battery||2330 mAh||2430 mAh||Improved battery life|
|AE/AF in Auto||No||Yes||You can use this setting to set a different point for the exposure, one that is different than the focus point. Allows more creative shots.|
|Pro Suggest smart Mode||Yes||Yes, Improved|
We can see by looking at the above K zoom vs S4 zoom comparison table that the K zoom was vastly improved as a camera and as a smartphone device. The phone features the same 10x optical zoom, but it’s now slimmer. The problem with putting a phone in the pocket is more troublesome when the phone is too thick. There are many people who opted for the S4 zoom but ditched it for its bulkiness.
It’s great to have a larger screen with higher resolution, especially considering that this phone is all about the camera, and therefore you’ll find it much easier and fun to capture photos, edit them and share them by using a larger high-res display.
It’s also great to have a more powerful phone. After all, if it’s your main phone, and for many people it will be, you want it to be able to run app and games smoothly. The added Xenon flash is great for shooting indoors and the extra battery power is always good thing to have.
Things I wished the K Zoom Would Have?
I have to admit that I was thrilled to see the new designed, but I think that it would have been a much better camera-phone if Samsung came up with a new lens with maybe a wider angle, faster aperture or longer optical zoom (or a combination of both).
Furthermore, Samsung has chosen to go with the same sensor size, but opted with higher resolution. Considering it’s the same sensor size, it’s hard to expect it to perform much better than the S4 zoom or even worse. I’m still waiting for some image quality and high ISO comparison image to pop out on the web.
I’m saying that because the S4 zoom image quality was average and not on par with the Apple iPhone 5S. I know it’s hard to compete against a camera with a prime lens, but I think Apple has chosen a smarter option. It has chosen a 4.80×3.60 mm (1/3″) sensor, which is smaller than the 1/2.3″ (6.17×4.55 mm) one, but the sensor resolution for the rear camera is only 8MP. I am pretty sure that if Samsung would have chosen to go with a 8MP sensor of the same size, we would have gotten a much better image quality, and I think many people care about that.
The Samsung Galaxy K zoom is a good update for the S4 zoom, but I don’t know if I would hurry to upgrade my S4 zoom to this new version. I’m sure that the K zoom will appeal to new comers that are searching for an Android smartphone with a large optical zoom camera, and those who opted out to buy the Galaxy S4 zoom for its thickness, slow performance, small screen, etc.
I will still wait to see how good the Samsung Galaxy K zoom image quality is compared to the S4 zoom. If the image quality is on par or better, I probably might consider upgrading to the new model myself. On the other hand, this is a great time to get the S4 zoom for a much lower price, so check out some of the online retailers for the latest prices.
There are many people who don’t want to carry two separate devices (camera & phone), and they wishes that their phone has a large optical zoom capability. If you are not searching for a high-end Android smartphone and you love taking photos and videos, I think that the new Samsung Galaxy K zoom might be your best pick right now.
Shooting with a prime lens is very limiting, although many people certainly shoot great photos even with the zoom limitation. Just imagine the amazing photos that you can shoot when you have a 10x optical zoom lens. You probably have an experience when shooting with a conventional superzoom digital camera, but you probably ditched it a long time ago. So this is a good time to enjoy both worlds without giving up too much.
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