Samsung has today announced the new Galaxy K zoom, the company’s latest attempt at merging a premium smartphone with an equally high-end camera with optical zoom. Its Galaxy S4 Zoom received lukewarm response last year, but that hasn’t prevented the South Korean giants from trying once more with a sleeker body, better optics and of course, a new moniker in the Galaxy K zoom.
Last year, the Galaxy S4 Zoom appeared to be a Galaxy S4 Mini merged with a 16MP digital camera with 10x optical zoom. This year, there isn’t a Galaxy S5 Mini to speak of (yet), but again with the Galaxy K zoom, the hardware is not derived directly from the company’s recent Galaxy S5 flagship. Powered by a Samsung Exynos hexa-core processor (1.3GHz quad-core + 1.7GHz dual-core) with 2GB of RAM, the “smartphone” aspect of the K zoom’s hardware is largely a “lite” version of the Galaxy S5. It has a 4.8-inch 720p Super AMOLED display, LTE connectivity, Android 4.4, 2430mAh battery and only 8GB of internal storage (expandable up to an additional 64GB).
On the other hand, the “camera” aspect of the Galaxy K zoom is a little more interesting: there’s a new 24-240mm 20.7MP 1/2.3 BSI CMOS sensor, with 10x optical zoom, optical image stabilisation (OIS) as well as a new Xenon flash with autofocus-assist LED. The new sensor has an aperture range of f/3.1 to f/6.3 and an ISO range of 100 to 3200, with a 3fps continuous shot capability.
In terms of software, the Galaxy K zoom simplifies things better than its previous iteration, splitting the camera into three main modes: SMART Mode, Expert Mode(P/M), and My Mode. As you would guess, SMART Mode has an abundance of preset settings, including Auto, Panorama, Rich Tone, Night and the more exotic ones such as Selfie Alarm, Waterfall, Sound & Shot, Shot & More, Fireworks and lots more. All told, there are 28 SMART Modes to choose from. One area that Samsung has improved upon is with Pro Suggest, which offers five optimised filter settings in any light conditions.
That’s not all. The new K zoom also has new tricks up its imaging sleeve, including object tracking, smile/blink detection, and a new AF/AE Separation (Auto Focus/Auto Exposure Separation) feature that lets you separate focus and exposure points. There’s even a pre-installed Studio app that allows users to easily edit their images and videos.
Interetingly. while the Galaxy K zoom is thicker than the S4 Zoom, measuring 20.2mm at its thickest point against the S4 Zoom’s 15.4mm, the new device is actually 8g lighter at 200g. The sides also are also tapered, and measures 16.6mm. It is of course heavy for a smartphone of its class, but none of the other smartphones can boast a 20.7MP sensor with 10x optical zoom. It also boasts a similar perforated back cover as the Galaxy S5 (and not the fake leather one as seen in the first leaked images), together with Galaxy S5 software features such as Ultra Power Saving Mode, Kids Mode and S Health Lite.
[Update] A Samsung Malaysia representative has confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy K zoom is scheduled to arrive in Malaysia sometime in June. The initial batch will see only two colours available (Black and White), with the Electric Blue version expected to come in later. Pricing details, however, were not revealed.