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Samsung Galaxy S4 ZOOM phone review


The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is an unusual phone. On the one hand, it seems like a good idea, because cameras in smartphones have always lagged behind compact cameras. But on the other hand, the massive lens on the back of the phone is clearly not the most ergonomic design solution.

Apart from the camera, the phone looks very much like the Galaxy S4. Although there is only a dual-core processor, 1.5 GHz, and 1.5 GB of RAM. Unfortunately, the internal memory is only 8 GB, however the phone supports micro SD memory cards (up to 64 GB).

Looking at this smartphone from the outside, at first it seems that it is a digital camera. But this is only at first glance, the phone can be easily held in hands, both horizontally and vertically. And the massive lens does not interfere with this at all. But it is inconvenient to carry it in your pocket because of its weight (208 grams) and specific dimensions, which are 125.5 x 63.5 x 15.4 mm. Such great thickness and weight is naturally achieved thanks to the lens. In addition, due to the same lens, the weight is unevenly distributed, so the phone is not balanced.

The body is made of glossy plastic with metal edging around the edges.

Below the screen are the Home button and two control buttons.

On the left side there is a small slot covered with a plastic flap, under which there is a memory card. The phone supports memory cards up to 64 GB. On the right side there are a camera control button, a sound rocker and a power / lock button for the device. All buttons are made in the same style as the metal edging. It is convenient to use the camera control button only if you hold the phone horizontally, otherwise there is a risk of accidentally dropping it.

At the top there is a 3.5 mm headphone jack, microphone and infrared port. At the bottom there is a microUSB port and a second microphone.

Due to the peculiarities of this phone, namely the large lens, there is no way to make the back cover completely removable, but the manufacturer found a way out of this situation by making the lower end of the device removable. Under it are the battery and the microSIM card slot. The camera lens itself is located on the back cover, closer to the upper end of the device.

It has an add-on, which Samsung calls the Zoom Ring, that lets you change the zoom, camera mode, and quickly send your photos to friends with just a twist of the lens ring.


It has a Super AMOLED display with a size of 4.3 inches and a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. The pixel density per inch is 256. The characteristics are very similar to the display of the S4 Mini, except for the Gorilla Glass 3 protective glass, which is found in the S4 Zoom. Although not the maximum available screen resolution, the image is still bright and colorful, and the low definition level is only visible when watching HD video.

In order to choose the best option for displaying the color gamut, the phone has the ability to set one of the screen modes: Dynamic, Standard, Cinema and Professional photography. And Super Sensitive technology allows you to work with the touch screen even when wearing gloves.


The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom runs on Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2. Quite a remarkable fact, because most modern phones still run on older versions of the operating system. Samsung's TouchWiz user interface is installed on top of the main operating system.

The lock screen is distinguished by the presence of security settings in which only the wallpaper, time and date are displayed on the screen. And unlocking is carried out using a code or face recognition.

After unlocking the phone, you are taken to your desktops (maximum seven), which are already filled with widgets and programs by the manufacturer. If you don't like some of them, you can easily delete or move them. You can store applications in folders, for this you just need to drag the application onto the program icon for creating folders or press your finger on a free area of ​​the desktop and select the corresponding item in the pop-up menu.

At the very bottom of the screen, you can place the icons of four applications, they will be displayed there constantly, no matter what desktop you are on. The manufacturer has installed icons there: Phone, Phonebook, Internet, Messages. But you can easily swap them out for something else. In addition to these four applications, there is also a permanent link to the menu of your applications, where you can view and open all the programs installed on your device. There is an icon at the top of the application menu, clicking on which you will see a list of all available widgets.

At the top of the desktops is a notification bar that shows the time, battery level, active connections, new emails, messages and missed calls, as well as quick access to Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and screen brightness.

There are also three buttons below the screen to control the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom interface: Home, Back and Menu.

By clicking the Menu button (on the left) you open a context menu with a lot of options. For example, if you press this button while on the desktop, the menu will prompt you to add a widget or application, create a folder, change the wallpaper, find something on the Internet, enter the main screen settings. If you click on it while in another application, you will see a list of completely different options. In addition, this button has an additional function: if you hold it for a long time, it launches the Google Now program.

Google Now is Siri's answer, but more text-based. He will show you all the information you need, for example, in the morning he will show you if there are traffic jams on the way to work and calculate the approximate travel time. It is a great program that accepts both text and voice prompts.

By clicking on the Home button, you will be taken to the main desktop, holding this button brings up a list of running applications.

The last button - Back, allows you to return to the previous menu item.

The phone comes with Smart screen settings, a technology that allows you to control the screen based on your head position and eye movement. This technology first appeared on the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone and the Galaxy S4 Zoom has all options except Smart Scroll.

For older people, as well as those who are not very good friends with modern technologies, there is Simple Mode, which, if enabled, you get large icons and simplified management (no folders, no bottom line with four applications).

There is also a set of applications from the manufacturer called S Apps.

S Travel helps you choose a place to stay, although most often the program gives trivial advice, sometimes it chooses rather interesting destinations.

Story Album creates an album of your photos, which you can then print.

The S Memo app is essentially a notebook. You can send your notes by email or upload to Dropbox.

S Planner is a calendar that automatically syncs with your Gmail calendar. It can also be connected to another email account or Facebook to download upcoming events from there.

S Voice is a voice personal assistant capable of launching applications, playing music, making calls or sending messages to contacts. And I must admit that this application performs somewhat better than Google Now.

S Translator is, as you might guess, a translator. It also supports voice text input.


The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom comes with standard Android navigation apps, namely Maps and Navigation. The first program is Google Maps and the second is a satellite navigation app.Both programs quickly connect to a GPS signal and work great. Naturally, the huge plus is that they are free.

The device also comes with Local and Photo Suggest, which use Google Maps to show you nearby restaurants, cafes, pubs and attractions.

Phone book

Contacts in the phone book are arranged alphabetically. You can scroll through them, select a specific letter, or search for the desired contact in the search bar. In addition to the name, near the contact there is a small photo that you can upload yourself or, by synchronizing contacts with Facebook, install pictures from their profile. By clicking on the subscriber's photo, you will see a small pop-up menu, which will indicate the methods of communication with the subscriber: call, send a message, make a video call. And if you click on a contact's name, a tab with information about him will open. From here you can not only call the subscriber or send a message, but also add information or change the ringtone. If you click on the Menu button while on this page, you will see the history of calls and messages.

And if you click on the Menu while on the main page of the Contacts application, you will be able to import or export contacts, merge accounts, choose which contacts to show, sort contacts, add contacts to speed dial. You can save a new contact in the phone memory, on your SIM card or on your Google account.

The dialer is not much different in appearance from a similar standard Android application, but it supports smart dialing. As for the functions, you can: answer or reject a call, turn on the speakerphone, turn off the sound, call the keypad, hold the call, and you can also take photos during a call, having the opportunity to immediately send them as a text message.

In addition, there is an equalizer here, which allows you to change the sound quality and level as you wish.


Text messages on Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom are sent using the Messaging app. Run the program and a list of all your dialogs will open, sorted by the last message. The username and profile photo are displayed next to the message. By clicking on the photo, you will receive the same options as in the Phonebook: call, send a message or email.

Pressing the Menu button allows you to find a specific message, show spam or messages from an operator, delete a message thread.

A very convenient feature is the ability to block messages from certain numbers.

You can send email using two apps, Gmail for your Google Mail account and the manufacturer's app for all other accounts.

Although these applications look slightly different, their functionality is very similar. They provide a fast email experience.

Google Talk and ChatOn are installed in Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom as programs for sending quick messages.

As for the keyboard, here everything is somewhat more complicated. The program itself is not bad, it has auto-correction, voice input is possible, and the keys are quite responsive to pressing. But it is inconvenient to use the keyboard when the phone is oriented vertically, because the buttons become too small and difficult to hit, and when the device is oriented horizontally, the camera lens will interfere with you.

the Internet

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom has two browsers: Chrome and Internet. The latter is a browser from the phone manufacturer, and it is even rendered in a line at the bottom of the desktop. Both browsers do their job perfectly.

In the Internet browser, the control panel takes up very little space, it has a line for entering the address, forward and backward arrows, a page refresh button and bookmarks. The rest of the space is occupied by a screen for browsing the Internet.If you want to access more advanced settings, then press the menu button, so you can save the page, add a bookmark, turn on the invisible mode, change the brightness, view history, switch to the full version of the site. The browser loads pages very quickly. Chrome works a little slower, but in terms of functionality it is in no way inferior.


Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom can be called a multimedia phone. It has a variety of media applications and a fairly large screen.


Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom supports formats such as MP3, WAV, eAAC +, AC3 and FLAC.

There are two built-in music players here: Google Play Music and Samsung Music.

The player from the manufacturer has rich functionality. You can sort songs alphabetically, by album, and by artist. And albums and artists can be displayed as a list or as thumbnails with album art. You can also create and save playlists.

The player can also be controlled from the lock screen.

You can change the playback speed, set a timer to turn off the player, turn on the Smart Volume mode, which automatically equalizes the sound level of all tracks. There are also Sound Alive equalizer settings, in which there is both the ability to adjust the sound manually, and many preset modes: pop, rock, bass. And the Musuc square function, by analyzing your music, automatically creates playlists suitable for a certain mood.

Google's player has similar capabilities. In addition, it allows you to create playlists based on a specific artist or album, and is also connected to the cloud storage where you can upload up to 20,000 of your songs.

In addition to the actual players, there is a Group Play function that provides audio streaming to other Samsung devices.


There are also two video players in the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. These are Video from Samsung and Play Movies from Google.

Video is a standard video player: by clicking on a clip thumbnail, you start playback and have the ability to stretch the image to fit the screen, pause playback, rewind and skip the video. If you press the Menu button while a video is playing, you can turn on subtitles, change the brightness and speed, and change the audio settings, giving priority to music or voice.

One of the most interesting features of the player is the ability to play videos in a small window that you can place on top of other applications. You can resize the window and move it around the screen.

The second video player, Play Movies, has a smaller set of functions. Only basic control options are available here.

You will find among the programs and the video editor icon, but by clicking on it, you will understand that it is not installed and you need to download about 100 MB from the application store. If you do, you can add music and sound effects to your clips and combine them.

There is also a pre-installed YouTube app.

The latest built-in video application is WatchON, which, using the infrared port, turns your phone into a remote control.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom supports MP4, DivX, XviD, WMV, H.264 and H.263 files.


In the Gallery app, you can sort your photos by album, people, time, location, and view images from social networks.

Plus, you can share your photos online or add them to text messages and emails. There is also a built-in image editor that allows you to rotate and crop a picture, change colors and add effects, stickers and frames.


The performance of the 16 Mpx camera of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is really impressive. And it's not just about the large number of megapixels, the camera has a large lens, xenon flash, optical image stabilization and 10x optical zoom. Optical zoom is generally quite a rare feature for smartphone cameras and this brings the Galaxy S4 Zoom camera closer to the quality of digital cameras. In addition, there is a separate camera control button, which is a rarity for devices based on the Android operating system. The button is conveniently located, it does not interfere when you hold the phone in your hands, and is easy to press, the only drawback is that you cannot launch the Camera application using this button.However, you still have several ways to do this: click on the application icon or rotate the lens ring. If you rotate the Zoom Ring, a small menu appears with various options such as changing the camera mode and linking to the gallery. You can select an option by clicking on it or continue scrolling the ring. It's a great way to control your camera from any desktop.

Once you launch the camera, the lens is ready to use. The screen is used as a viewfinder, which is not always convenient, because in bright daylight the image on the display is not always clearly visible. The quality of photos is much higher than in a regular smartphone, except perhaps for the 808 PureVew.

There are a lot of options on the screen. In the lower left corner (in the horizontal orientation of the phone) there is a small thumbnail of your last photo, clicking on it will open the gallery. In the middle at the bottom there is a small arrow, clicking on which shows a list of effects that can be applied. In the upper left corner there are “plus” and “minus” icons - these are the optical zoom controls. You can also change the zoom by turning the Zoom Ring. Above these controls is an icon that launches the front 1.9MP camera. In the upper right corner is a button that launches a menu for options such as flash, microphone, or adding geolocation. On the right is the menu of modes, clicking on it, you will get four options: Automatic, Expert, My Mode and Smart.

Expert mode allows you to change shutter speed, contrast and saturation. Automatic mode automatically selects the appropriate operating mode. My Mode allows you to select a certain number of options that you can quickly access. And in Smart Mode you will find all the main modes of operation, from macro to HDR (Rich Tone). In total, there are 26 modes of operation, this is quite enough to take pictures in various situations.

There are also quite unusual and interesting options here, for example, Best Photo, in which a series of eight shots is taken, and you can choose the best one, or the Baby Photo function, which plays different funny sounds to attract the child's attention. And the Animated photo option takes a few seconds, and then turns the resulting materials into a kind of GIF-image, and you yourself can choose which section will remain animated and which will be static.

Video recording is carried out in 1080p, 720p or lower, at 30 or 60 frames per second. To start video recording, just press the button on the screen.

There are several modes to remove background sounds. You can also turn off the microphone completely. You can use the zoom during movie recording. The video quality is high, it is detailed, the colors are vivid, and the microphone records loud, clear sound.


The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom has a 2330 mAh battery. This is an order of magnitude more powerful than in the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, but considering the camera, an increased battery capacity is simply necessary.

The battery is removable, so you can always carry a spare with you. Although, even with very active use of the phone, the battery can easily work for more than a day, and with moderate use, even two.

The camera doesn't actually use that much power. For an hour of operation, during which you can both take pictures and shoot videos, the battery level drops by only 20%.

In addition, there is a built-in power-saving mode that dims the screen brightness, turns off automatic synchronization and limits the processor.


The Galaxy S4 Zoom rather gives the impression of a camera that has added the ability to make calls, rather than a modern camera phone. The huge lens makes the phone seem too big and uncomfortable to operate with one hand.

Photo and video quality is decent, digital zoom and OIS are available, although the smaller Nokia 808 PureView and Nokia 1020 can easily compete. When it comes to phone functions, this is a solid middling.

But, if you are not specifically looking for a phone with a powerful camera, then you are unlikely to be attracted to something in this model. For the same price, you can get a better phone and digital camera.

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