Samsung GALAXY K zoom User Review

 *This is a review of a loaned product unit from Samsung Malaysia Electronics*

Samsung GALAXY K zoom is positioned as the “Camera Specialized Smartphone“. With a 20.7 megapixel rear camera, with retractable lens, it’s not hard to see that this is the best of Samsung’s digital imaging technology from their camera division, built in the form factor of their GALAXY series Android smartphones.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6pdF6pgeeo

First up, here’s a quick specs overview of the Samsung GALAXY K zoom :-

  • 4.8″ HD Super AMOLED display (1280 X 720)
  • 1.3 GHz quad-core + 1.7 GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos5 hexa-core processor
  • 8 GB internal storage (up to 64 GB expandable microSD) + 2 GB RAM
  • Powered by Android 4.4 “Kit Kat” OS
  • 20.7 megapixel FHD (1920 x 1080) rear camera; 2.0 megapixel front facing camera
  • 20.2 mm thin, weighing only 200 grams
  • 2,430 mAH non-removable battery (up to 14 hours of 3G talktime)
  • Connectivity : 4G LTE/3G HSPA+ (microSIM), WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
  • Available in 3 colours : White, Black, Blue
  • Recommended Retail Price (RRP) : RM 1,699

For more information and specifications, check out the Samsung GALAXY K zoom Malaysian product page HERE.

I’ve reviewed the Samsung GALAXY K zoom awhile back, but have not found the time to write this review. So, instead of writing another tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) review post, I’ll keep this (relatively) short and succint.

 

Hardware Overview

 

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - Unboxing
Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

The usual suspects included in the box – the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, 3-pin power adapter, USB to  micro USB cable, headphones and spare earbuds, user manuals and warranties.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - Front Back
Front & Back of the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom
Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - Hardware Overview
Looking around the ports and buttons

The K zoom is not a thin smartphone at 20.2 mm thick thin. If you treat it like it’s a compact digital camera frst and foremost, then you have a slim and portable enough camera, that can double up as a smartphone.

Looking at the front and around at Power buttons, volume rocker, microSD slot and microUSB port, it looks like any regular smartphone – a bulkier one. It’s got a nice grainy back for better grip, with a bit of a metal side towards the front. There is of course a dedicated Camera Shutter button, which is a must-have for a digital camera / smartphone hybrid.

As a smartphone, carrying this around, whether in your pocket, or in my case even in my handbag, felt big and bulky. But I constantly have to remind myself that it’s a digital camera first, which reminds me to try to take as many pictures at every opportunity that I can.

 

Camera & Image Quality

Samsung GALAXY K zoom
Retractable lens camera

The biggest selling point of the GALAXY K zoom is, of course, the big retractable lens on the rear camera. This device already looks like a camera.

The GALAXY K zoom is equipped with new retracting lens technology that provides 10x optical zoom in a remarkably slim and chic body. Other notable features include the 20.7 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor for ultra-clear, ultra-detailed images. It excels in low light conditions, and provides Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) to reduce blur caused by movement. These specifications ensure the device delivers pictures and video (Full HD) that are crisp and sharp, even when zoomed and in low light. In addition, the device’s Xenon Flash provides a brighter light than LEDs to improve the quality of the image with natural brilliance. – Samsung

There are a few things that Samsung highlights as the key feature for the Samsung GALAXY K zoom:-

  • 10X optical zoom
  • Superb low light photography
  • Xenon Flash with OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation)
  • Full HD 1080p video recording
  • Pro Suggest detects scenes and helps suggest optimised settings

The 20.7 megapixel shooter, takes 1920 X 1080 resolution images and videos. As with previous Samsung smartphones, they have always done well with their digital imaging feature and technology. Other than impressive hardwares, they usually come packed with great features to make picture taking a pleasure. For a digital camera / smartphone hybrid, you wouldn’t expect less.

Software and features are all there, to make your images pop. From the feature rich Camera app, there are mulitple modes for you to choose from for any image condition.

Pro Suggest is a feature included specifically for the Galaxy K zoom, which allows the phone to auto-magically detect the scene mode of the image you’re trying to capture and suggest the right optimised setting for the perfect shot. From Party / Nighttime shots, Fireworks etc – these are on top of the already feature rich modes in most Samsung devices – Beauty Face, Sports / Action Shot, etc. There are pre-installed mode suggestions built in, but you can always download more options, like Low Light, Cinematic, Close Up, and more.

There’s also a Photo / Video Studio app pre-installed, that allows you to create beautiful photo collages, or do some basic video editing. I usually have to download a separate third party app for this, but with this app pre-installed, I tested it out and it did a great job enhancing my pictures and creating collages for my Instagram postings. Nicely done, Samsung.

All talk, but I gotta show you some sample images taken with the Samsung Galaxy K zoom. Images are not resized or edited in any ways, so click to view enlarged version:-

As you can see, I went for a seafood dinner when I had the phone, so I took a stoll along the tanks of fishes and seafood and snapped away. 🙂

Images were nice and crisp, as I would expect from Samsung devices. The contract may be a little too turned up for my personal liking, but it does give the colours a vivid pop. As for focus, it wasn’t as pleasant as I’d like. While it’s tough to get fishes to stay still while I snap their picture, the camera struggled a little to focus on a (slow) moving object and only managed good shot after a couple of tries.

In the outdoor, in my landscape shot on a rainy day at KLCC, I was impressed that even the gloomhy skies didn’t falter the cameras. Here you see the 20.7 megapixel working well – captured a good shot.

Overall, while a 20.7 megapixel count is way higher than any regular Samsung smartphones. Compared to other phones in the market though, it’s equivalent to that of the Sony Xperia Z series, which we know takes gorgeous images for a smartphone, not a camera / phone hybrid.

See Also : Sony Xperia Z2 User Review

 

Usability as a Smartphone

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom - TouchWiz
Sammsung TouchWiz User Interface

The Samsung Galaxy K zoom is powered by Android 4.4 “Kit Kat” OS, with the proprietary Samsung TouchWiz User Interface on top. If you’re a Samsung user, you’d be right at home here. Nothing out of the ordinary. The phone zooms between screen easily with its Samsung Exynos5 hexa-core processor, which is powerful enough to power a smartphone AND a digital camera in one.

You can make phone calls, browse social media, install apps and use the device as you would a regular smartphone.

For a moderate to heavy user like myself, I don’t see any lag or struggle on the phone.

Didn’t need to save space or memory or processing power in case the camera lags. Just use it as a normal phone, and pop open the Camera app to use it as a powerful compact camera.

 

Battery Life

Samsung Galaxy K zoom - Battery

The Galaxy K zoom houses a removable 2,430 mAh battery,  which touts 14 hours of 3G talktime, according to Samsung. Which is a decent enough battery to pack in this <RM1,000 device.

Using it as a smartphone, with the occassional picture taking, the phone managed a good 12 – 16 hours of battery to last me a full day.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to go on vacation with this Galaxy K zoom, though. I would’ve loved to take this out on a day of sight-seeing and snap crazy amounts of vacation pictures, AND use it as a smartphone to see how the battery and 8 GB internal storage handle itself.

 

Conclusion

Galaxy K zoom_Shimmery White_image 1
Samsung Galaxy K zoom (RRP RM 999)

It takes me a while to get used to the fact that the Galazy K zoom is firstly a digital camera, with a smartphone build and function. That way, I don’t fault the bulkiness of the device in my hands, and learn to appreciate how handy it is to have a smart camera with me.

As a smartphone, it’s a mid-range smartphone that does the job, but you wouldn’t necessarily buy for its smartphone functionalities.

Priced at RM 1,699, the Samsung Galaxy K zoom is a good device to consider if you’re looking for a mid-range, inexpensive smartphone, that takes dedicated digital camera image quality.

So, this is a device I wouldn’t necessarily recommend to everyone. Only to a very niche group of people, me thinks – people who don’t want to / can’t afford to have both a digital camera and smartphone. Want one device that’s a decent, mid-range smartphone, that can take great camera quality pictures.

However, because there are so many smartphones out there, some cheaper (*ahem* China branded smartphones, for example) with decent camera, this Galaxy K zoom is a tough sell for the average consumer. I don’t really see this being a bestseller for Samsung, being one of the so many portfolios of devices they have in this price range.

If you’re a Samsung fan though….

 

 

For more information, check out Samsung Malaysia website at http://www.samsung.com/my/home and *LIKE* Samsung Mobile Malaysia Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/samsungmobilemalaysia

 

 

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