Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom hands-on review

We test the world’s first smartphone with 10x optical zoom – is this the end for compact cameras?
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom

Samsung has given us the chance to get a hands, and more importantly, eyes-on experience with its Galaxy S4 zoom – the only mobile to feature 10x optical zoom.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – the lens

Having ten times optical zoom sure feels odd on a mobile – but the good odd you get used to and couldn’t live without, we imagine. Add the digital zoom from the 16MP CMOS sensor with Xenon flash and no subject can escape your all-snapping gaze. Compared to a normal smartphone the difference is amazing. If you're a nature photographer caught out with this in your pocket the results should be pretty impressive thanks to the comprehensive selection of options you can tweek.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – the power

It’s only S4 in name, not under the hood. But in spite of a 1.5GHz dual core processor it manages to flow along smoothly. Even when displaying the 16MP photos at haste in gallery mode. Shame about the 4.3in screen only packing in 256ppi though – surely a camera phone is the most important device for a 1080p screen?

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – photo share

In call photo sharing seems easy enough and sends to the recipient mid call. Touch the camera button, shoot, send - it was that easy. Seems like a great idea that should have been done before. And with an interface that simple we can see Samsung's competitors adding this function as soon as patent wriggling will allow.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – verdict

It fits in your pocket but still packs the skills of a proper compact camera. Alright, we should say it bulges in your pocket, but if you want that extra quality it's worth risking arrest for indecent behaviour. We'd imagine the mechanics of the lens aren't too kind on the battery but will let you know when we do our full review soon. A bold and much needed step to improve low light photography for casual users. Now we just have to hope the price isn't 10x the S4.