Samsung unveiled the Galaxy K Zoom at a special event in Singapore on Tuesday, its second crack at creating a smartphone/camera hybrid following its disappointing effort with last year’s S4 Zoom.
Ditching the naming convention that linked it with Samsung’s ‘S’ series of flagship smartphones, the Korean tech giant has chosen to present the K Zoom as a device in its own right rather than as an offshoot of the recently released S5 handset.
As you might expect, the new phone/camera mash-up is both sleeker and lighter than its bulky predecessor, meaning the updated device no longer doubles as a dumbbell and can now nestle neatly in your pants pocket in a way that won’t have everyone you meet thinking you’re extremely pleased to see them.
The camera component now packs a 20.7-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, up from the S4 Zoom’s 16-megapixel offering, and the 10x optical zoom (24-240mm) that caught the attention of many when it launched with the original device now features new retracting lens technology for improved performance. The optical image stabilization feature that came with the S4 Zoom also remains part of the package.
In addition, the camera incorporates an f/3.1-6.3 lens, while the ISO range goes from 100 to a noisier 3200. It also comes with the usual array of mode and filter options to give your images some sizzle and help you look like a better photographer than you actually are. For movie makers, 1080p video is offered at up to 60 frames a second with in-device editing possible via the pre-loaded Studio app.
Evidently keen to exploit people’s penchant for turning the camera on themselves, Samsung has included a gimmicky-sounding ‘Selfie Alarm’ feature that enables users to “take timed selfies with ease”. Basically, you compose your selfie using the lower-quality 2-megapixel front camera, then flip the device around so you’re looking into the lens of the main camera. When the memorized composed image matches with what the main camera’s seeing, an alarm sounds to let you know it’s about to take the picture. Sure, it may not be the K Zoom’s strongest selling point, but it might cause a stir among fans of such photos.
The smartphone element of the K Zoom runs Android 4.4 KitKat and features a 4.8-inch 1280×720 Super AMOLED display. It comes with 2GB of RAM, a hexa-core Exynos chipset (a quad-core 1.3GHz and a dual-core 1.7GHz), and 8GB of internal storage, expandable to 64GB via a microSDXC card.
A more powerful battery (2,430mAh over the S4 Zoom’s 2,330mAh) should keep the device ticking over for that bit longer, though its removability means you can simply carry a spare to save being caught out.
The Galaxy K Zoom is certainly a much better effort at creating a smartphone/point-and-shoot combo than we saw with the S4 Zoom, and could well be of interest to those who felt let down by Samsung’s initial offering. The company hasn’t yet revealed details regarding availability and pricing, though we’ll be sure to bring it to you just as soon as we find out.