At times some manufacturers come up with devices that are hard to understand. They try to define their class but end up fading out with time. Samsung galaxy camera was one such device. It was priced steep and had a really powerful hardware under that skin, for what? Clicking photos using a camera which would still have less camera modes and options than an 8-9K point and shoot camera.
Now you would say that it runs on android, has got a great hardware and a million other things can be done with that device. Point taken, but would you really drain the battery of your “camera” playing Real Racing if you need that thing for clicking photos for the rest of the day? The device supported a SIM card so that you can connect to the internet and post the photos you click right away, but then you won’t be able to upload more of them as you would drain the battery responding to the comments you get on Facebook. And to limit the possibilities of device even further, you can’t use the SIM card to make calls. So to summarize, it was a device which had great potential but still you were left handicapped if you want to use it as a camera. Also there were some great super zoom cameras available for that price.
This time however, Samsung has played smart and tried to fix the things that were not right with the Galaxy camera. First thing is that they are marketing it as a phone and not a camera. Last time, it was a camera which could do some other stuff while this time, they have improved upon a phone, a let it be as good as a standalone camera. The phone (yes I know I said phone) can work as your everyday calling and messaging device and whenever you want to dazzle people with your great camera phone, just let that lens pop out when you zoom at their faces.
If we don’t talk about the camera bit of the device for a while, it is still a capable thing. The phone is powered by Samsung’s dual core Exynos processor clocked at 1.5 GHz. It is coupled with 1.5 GB of RAM to keep the device running smooth. The display is a qHD AMOLED display measuring 4.3 inches as on the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. It also has a front camera, a 1.9 megapixel one. The device is powered by a 2330 mAh battery which we think is plenty. The S4 mini with almost the same hardware has got a 1900 mAh battery so the extra juice is supposed to fare well with the zoom and xenon flash.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom runs the latest android jelly bean 4.2.2 with a Samsung touch wiz treatment (obviously). We don’t have any complaints against the software of the device or the modifications made by Samsung. They keep it tidy and make the overall experience of device faster and easier than what you would get on a stock ROM.
On the connectivity front, the device supports all the usual media you get on a mid-range device (or maybe high end, I can’t think of any other connectivity option I would need). It has got 2G, 3G and even LTE connectivity for markets that will support the feature; also there is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.
As the phone carries the S4 name, an interesting feature here would be the IR blaster. It can be used to control devices which are operated using an infrared controller.
This is the most interesting bit about this device. There is something really cool about having a proper camera on a mobile device. No matter how big the claims are, most mobile phones end up having a dull camera with a LED flash that would make people look like white ghosts. This one however combines an entire digital camera with a phone.
It has got a 16 megapixel sensor with 10x optical zoom and lot of camera modes to play from. You can take the ISO on the device upto 3200 which I don’t think is possible with many smartphones. Also there are so many camera modes like Best photo, Beauty face, Best face, Continuous shot, Dawn, Snow, Macro, Kids shot, Landscape, Food, Party, Action freeze, HDR, Panorama, Waterfall, Silhouette, Sunset, Animated photo, Drama, Sound & Shot, Night, Eraser, Fireworks, Light trace and Smart mode.
Also there is an expert mode in the settings which lets you choose among P/S/M/C options. They would let you choose individual settings like an actual camera. If that was not able to get the photographer inside you interested yet, then there is a Xenon flash (yes on a phone). LED flash has been there for ages to ruin your evening photos. Xenon flash however works really well and the images obtained are way better than what you get on something with LED flash.
You get a ‘zoom ring’ on the device which, as the name suggests, zooms in or out the frame. But that is not the only purpose. If you use the zoom ring while in the middle of a call, it would activate in call sharing and let you send a pic right away.
I was really disappointed when Samsung came up with the Galaxy Camera but this time, Samsung has done a great job in making a ‘CAMERA’phone. Yes the dimensions are huge and the phone is heavy tipping the scale over 200 gms, but still it is a highly capable device. They have created a hybrid of camera and phone while retaining all the features.
There is no clear word about the pricing yet but it is expected to be around 32-33K. Now the price might not seem to be worth the device to yet but the S4 mini is supposed to be priced around 25K. The premium you pay for a better camera is definitely worth it.