Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom official, 16-megapixel CMOS smartphone gets real

Samsung has just announced the long-rumoured Galaxy S4 Zoom. The phone - which features a huge 16-megapixel CMOS sensor with 10x optical zoom on the back - is the latest variant of the Galaxy S4 to be announced.

The handset runs on Android 4.2 and uses all the same features as the Galaxy S4, but with a few extra camera-centric tweaks. These come in the shape of the "zoom ring", a ring on the back of the phone that you can twist to share images instantly. This can be done even while making a phone call, allowing you to send pictures from the 16-megapixel camera while you chat.

The Zoom Ring also acts as a quick way to boot up the camera and scroll through all its features. The big 16x optical zoom is controlled by digital, not hardware controls however.

The real talking point is of course its camera. At 16-megapixels and with a full, proper CMOS sensor, it's certainly impressive. The camera also uses a 10x optical zoom and optical image stabilisation technology - it even features a Xenon Flash. Essentially, the Galaxy S4 Zoom is the phone that the Galaxy Camera should have always been

One clever software tweak is something called photo suggest. It hooks you up to a big online library of images taken by other photographers around the globe, to help give you an idea of composition when taking a picture. Photo suggest can even send you to the best location to take a picture. 

All the other Galaxy S4 camera software is there, including the motion stopping Action Freeze and the Drama Shot mode that merges continuous pictures into one. Face detection and other tweaks are also available. 

TouchWiz remains largely unchanged for the Galaxy S4 Zoom. The internal hardware however is slightly different. The phone lacks the quad-core or eight-core processor of the flagship Galaxy S4, instead using a 1.5 GHz dual-core chip. Ram drops to 1.5 GB and - here's the real clincher - there is only 8GB of internal memory with 5GB of real world memory available to use. You will need to buy a big microSD card if you are intending to use this as a camera. The 2,330 mAh battery is a bonus which, given the lower number of cores in the processor, should mean the Zoom lasts a while.

Another major hardware letdown is with the phone's screen. Rather than the beautiful 1080p display found on the Galaxy S4, the Zoom features a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED offering, with just 960 x 540 resolution, which isn't great for taking pictures. Finally we have the size, which is fairly bulky at 125.5 x 63.5 x 15.4 mm and 208g.

For those after one, the Galaxy S4 Zoom will be launching in the UK this summer. Shipping dates and pricing is still TBC.



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