The Zoom may carry the Galaxy S4 handle, but you’d be wrong to assume that this is a standard Galaxy S4 with a giant camera fused onto the back. In actual fact, there are slight downgrades all over the place, but let’s get that camera out of the way first. The standard S4 has a none-too-shabby 13-megapixel camera, with digital image stabilisation, facial recognition, exposure compensation – all the usual stuff. The Zoom has a 16-megapixel camera, while that extending lens produces 10x optical zoom without hampering image quality. A Xenon flash has been added while the photography software has an upgrade too, with all kind of ‘pro’ modes going on for the keen photographer. Another interesting feature is Zoom Ring, which lets you interrupt your call to take and send pictures – if you want to be one of ‘those’ people.
Now let’s look at some of the compromises that have been made with the Zoom, and most have been made to features which are the biggest attractions on the S4. The Zoom retains the HD super-AMOLED screen, but it has been scaled back from the eye-catching 5.0 inches to 4.3 inches, while that powerful 1.9GHz quad-core processor which made the S4 one of the market leaders is replaced with a less-impressive 1.5GHz dual-core unit. Another popular feature of the S4 is how lightweight it is, yet those big lenses are heavy. Weight has gone from 130g on the S4 to 208g on the S4 Zoom, while depth has extended from 7.9mm to 15.4mm – and remember that extending the lens will mess with the centre of gravity of your phone too.
In all, the S4 Zoom is an impressive phone, but is certainly one for those who take plenty of snaps – and are serious about doing so. After all, the Galaxy S4 already had an impressive camera, while still being a super-fast smartphone. Of course, the release of the S4 Zoom should push the price of the S4 down, so look keep an eye out on sites such as E2Save for potential bargains.