Most people have stopped carrying compact cameras, considering the one built into their smartphone good enough for the job. But there are those who ask a little more of their cameras, for whom carrying two gadgets is a necessary evil. It’s those people Samsung is targeting with a device we first mentioned last month, the Galaxy S4 Zoom: a compact camera on the front, an Android handset on the back. This one seems to address the major issue we had with our original Galaxy Camera review: its really large, heavy size and inability to make calls… 

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Typical smartphone cameras may have the megapixels these days, but that’s only a small part of the story when it comes to taking decent photos. Smartphone sensors are designed for bright sunlight, relying on flash for shots taken indoors or in poor lighting conditions – something that instantly robs a photo of any depth. The Zoom has a flash, of course, but it has a sensitive 16MP sensor that ranges up to 3200 ISO, meaning that mostly you shouldn’t need it.

Second, zoom. Smartphone cameras rely on ‘digital zoom’, aka in-camera cropping. You’re not really zooming at all, you’re just discarding the edges of the photo and enlarging the bit in the middle. The Zoom, in contrast, has a genuine optical zoom lens, offering the 35mm equivalent of 24-240mm, making it suitable for everything from wide-angle landscape shots to tight framing on something like a bird in a tree.

The Zoom doesn’t require you to sacrifice much on the smartphone side of the equation either: it’s essentially an S4 mini. You get a 1.5GHz processor, 8Gb built-in storage, 64Gb SD card capacity, LTE and it runs Jelly Bean.

Whether the camera lives up to the promise is something we intend to put to the test as soon as we can get our hands on one. The Zoom is expected to be available sometime this summer, in both black and white casings, with the price as yet unknown. The full press release is below.

Samsung Introduces the GALAXY S4 zoom – the first smartphone to offer 10x optical zoom, for perfect picture taking

June 12, 2013

A revolutionary new device that converges the best of a high performance smartphone and camera, the GALAXY S4 zoom delivers the best of both worlds

LONDON, UK – June 12, 2013 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today announced the launch of the Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom, a powerful new device which combines the stylish heritage of the latest GALAXY S4 smartphone with advanced photographic capabilities.

Part of the GALAXY S4 family, the GALAXY S4 zoom is the realization of Samsung’s mission to create a single device that can fulfill the role of both an industry leading smartphone and a high-end compact camera. Combining 10x Optical Zoom, 16 Mega Pixel CMOS Sensor, OIS and Xenon Flash with the very latest Samsung GALAXY S4 technology, the GALAXY S4 zoom sets new standards for perfect mobile photography. It is the ultimate smartphone and camera experience in one, and the only device you’ll ever need.

“The Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom represents yet another step forward in the way Samsung is working to enhance the lives of our customers around the world,” said JK Shin, President and CEO, Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division, Samsung Electronics. “As communication continues to become increasingly visual in nature, people wish to capture and share their moments in the highest quality possible, but often do not have the space or inclination to carry a dedicated camera for this purpose. The GALAXY S4 zoom changes this forever, combining the industry leading functionality and connectivity of the GALAXY S4 with the high quality photographic experience you’d expect from a compact camera. The result is truly the best of both worlds, without compromise.”

Revolutionary new interface

Do it all and miss nothing thanks to the revolutionary new Zoom Ring, a simple and intuitive way to access the GALAXY S4 zoom’s key features.  When you’re in the middle of a phone call and you see something you absolutely have to share, a quick twist of the Zoom Ring will activate the In-Call Photo Share feature, letting you capture and send an image directly via MMS to whoever you are talking to simply.

For easy camera navigation, the Zoom Ring can be used to activate the Quick Launch andShortcut features, giving you instant access to multiple camera modes including Auto, Gallery and Smart Mode with a simple twist.

The Zoom Ring also revolutionizes conventional camera zoom controls. Optical zoom control replaces traditional dials and buttons with smooth, easy-to-operate digital controls. Professional-quality accuracy and unprecedented ease of use are just a twist away, making it easy to compose a scene and capture wide-angle shots or tight close-ups.

Capture the best images

When it comes to high quality photography, bigger isn’t always better. The compact GALAXY S4 zoom’s best-in-class 10x Optical Zoom and 16MP BSI CMOS Sensor lets you capture beautiful images from far away or up close and personal, in all light conditions, without having to carry heavy camera gear around with you.  Furthermore, the built-in Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) helps keep the camera perfectly still even when you’re not, reducing blur and stabilizing the image while zoomed in for high-quality photos and video.

Photo Suggest instantly connects you to huge libraries of images taken by fellow photographers, to help you find and compose your best shots anywhere in the world. Photo Suggest can even direct you to the ideal nearby location which will give you the vantage point you need for that perfect photo.

The GALAXY S4 zoom also features Samsung’s popular Smart Mode, so you can stop worrying about settings and start taking professional-quality artistic shots. Simply choose from a series of pre-set modes and the camera will automatically adjust to ensure you capture the best photo possible. Use Drama Shot to merge continuous shots of moving objects into a single composed image, or Action Freeze to instantly capture high-speed action. If you aren’t sure which Smart Mode to select, the Smart Mode Suggest feature can assess the scene for you and provide a short list of the best options for your consideration based on surrounding factors such as light levels, focal length, or face detection, ensuring you always get the best shot you want.

Unlimited entertainment in the palm of your hand

The GALAXY S4 zoom’s heritage is evident throughout, from its sleek and stylish design to the powerful, yet intuitive user interface. Running on Android Jelly Bean 4.2, the GALAXY S4 zoom boasts many of the same features as the recently launched GALAXY S4, includingTouchwiz, which lets you fully customize various aspects of your device including the lock screen and notification bar, for a truly personal mobile experience.

When you return from your travel adventures, Story Album lets you arrange all of your treasured images and videos into one timeline to share with friends and loved ones. You can also edit images and even order prints directly from the device through a partnership withblurb. If you’d rather transfer your images to your laptop or tablet for safe keeping, Samsung Link lets you do so quickly and easily with just the touch of a button. Alternatively, you can sync all of your data in your own personal cloud through HomeSync, providing the ultimate peace of mind and ensuring your images and videos are waiting for you whenever you need them.

The GALAXY S4 zoom features the new Samsung Hub, a one-stop destination for all of the latest music, videos, books and games. Search, download and enjoy all of your favorite entertainment at the touch of a button, all directly from your device. When you find that amazing new track or game that you can’t wait to share with your friends, Group Play lets you connect directly with their Samsung devices so you can all listen and play together, without the need for a Wi-Fi AP or cellular signal.

Note to Editors: 

Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom Product Specifications:

Network LTE 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz3G (HSPA+ 21Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz

4G (LTE Cat 3 100/50Mbps) : up to 6 different band sets(Dependent on market)

3G 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz3G (HSPA+ 21Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
Display 4.3 inch qHD sAMOLED (960×540) screen
AP 1.5GHz Dual-Core Processor*The selection of AP will be differed by markets
OS Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
Camera Main (Rear): 16 Mega pixel with x10 Optical Zoom and enhanced SMART Modes, OIS

24-240mm, F3.1-F6.3

Sub (Front): 1.9 Mega pixel camera

ISO: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200Continuous Shot: 4fps MAX with AF

Format: JPEG, PNG, GIF, WBMP, BMP, AGIF

Xenon Flash,

SMART Mode, Expert Mode(P/S/M/C), My Mode

Video Codec: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8, Sorenson SparkRecording & Playback: Full HD (1920×1080 30p)
Audio Codec: MP3, AMR-NB/WB, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA, Vorbis(OGG), FLAC, apt-X
CameraFeatures SMART Mode(25): Smart mode suggest, Beauty face, Best photo, Continuous shot,Best face, Kids shot, Landscape, Dawn, Snow, Macro, Food, Party/Indoor, Action freeze,

Rich tone (HDR), Panorama, Waterfall, Animated photo, Drama, Eraser, Sound & Shot, Silhouette, Sunset, Night, Fireworks, Light trace

AdditionalFeatures Samsung Link, Samsung ChatON
S Voice, S Translator
Group Play: Share Music(MP3), Share Picture(JPEG, GIF), Share Document(PDF, PPT), Play Games
Story Album, Trip Advisor, Paper Artist
Google Mobile Services Chrome, Downloads, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Search, Google Settings, Google Plus,Google Local, Google Play Store, Google Messenger, Google Navigation, Youtube,

Google Talk, Voice Search, Google Play Movie & TV, Google Play books, Google Play Music, Google Play Magazine

Connectivity WiFi a/b/g/n 5GHzNFC,  Bluetooth® 4.0 (LE)

A-GPS + GLONASS

Sensor Accelerometer, Geomagnetic, Proximity, Gyro, RGB Light
Memory 8GB Internal memory (User memory approximately 5GB) + microSD slot (up to 64GB)1.5GB RAM

*User memory space may be less than the total memory space due to system files. User memory may differ by region, carrier, and supporting language, and may change after software upgrade.

Dimension 125.5 x 63.5 x 15.4 mm, 208g (with standard battery)
Battery 2,330mAh

* All functionality, features, specifications and other product information provided in this document including, but not limited to, the benefits, design, pricing, components, performance, availability, and capabilities of the product are subject to change without notice or obligation.

* Android, Chrome, Downloads, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Search, Google Settings, Google Plus, 

Google Local, Google Play Store, Google Messenger, Google Navigation, Youtube, Google Talk, Voice Search, Google Play Movie & TV, Google Play books, Google Play Music and Google Play Magazine are trademarks of Google Inc.

* Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom uses Corning’s new Gorilla® Glass 3 with Native Damage Resistance™. This cover glass, Corning’s newest formulation, enables improved damage and scratch resistance and reduced scratch visibility. 

* Blurb, the global creative publishing platform, partners with Samsung to power worldwide book and magazine print production and fulfillment within the GALAXY S4 zoom’s new Story Album application. Users of Story Album will now be able to automatically create professional quality print photo books and magazines quickly and seamlessly from their camera phone images.

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