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Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 Zoom bridges the (narrowing) divide between phone and camera

samsung-galaxy-S4-Zoom_0Check out our review of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom camera/smartphone.

At today’s Samsung Premiere 2013 event in London, the South Korean company introduced a whole bunch of new products, most of which we’ve been reporting on for some time now as leaks and rumors slipped their way out of the company’s doors. As expected, the company finally showed off its new series of S4 cameras, including the S4 Zoom. This phone-camera amalgamation is geared toward mobile users who want to get quality photos while out and about, but don’t quite feel like carrying a separate camera.

It’s not too hard to find a smartphone with a quality camera nowadays. However, what is a challenge is finding one that can take quality photos in certain compromising scenarios involving, for example, low-light or fast moving subjects. The Galaxy S4 Zoom aims to bridge that gap in mobile photography. 

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The camera packs in a 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and is the first — and only — smartphone in the world equipped with a 10x optical zoom. Most phone cameras have a digital zoom which, as you probably know, results in low-quality, grainy images. This change, coupled with a quality glass lens, could result in substantially improved images. Plus, Samsung did away with the traditional LED flash in exchange for a Xenon flash, which might help do away with those crappy night photos that just about every other phone returns.

The camera comes with 25 different smart mode photo options, like action freeze, face, light trace, night, party/indoor, and rich tone, and if you’re not sure which setting is best for your situation, simply throw it into Smart Mode Suggest mode, and the device will reportedly choose the right one for you automatically. All of these functions can be toggled using the Zoom Ring, the portion of the camera that protrudes from the back of the phone like a traditional point-and-shoot.

The Zoom Ring promises other interesting functionality, too.  Let’s say you’re walking around and chatting with a friend when you stumble upon something you have to share right then and there. S4 Zoom lets you take a photo without hanging up on your call, then share it immediately. You give the Zoom Ring a twist, snap the photo, and tap send. 

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom comes in two colors: white frost and black mist. Pricing and exact launch date are still pending. 

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