Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom officially announced

Bonkers camera-smartphone hybrid is the first phone to pack 10x optical zoom
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom

Good news for shutterbugs with limited pocket space: Samsung has taken the wraps off its Galaxy S4 Zoom smartphone-camera hybrid, cramming a compact camera with 10x optical zoom and a stripped-down Galaxy S4 into one body like some sort of technological Doctor Moreau.

The S4 Zoom packs a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB RAM and 4.3in sAMOLED screen with 960x540 resolution, along with 8GB ofinternal storage (expandable with up to 64GB via microSD) – but honestly, the only thing anyone cares about is that massive camera bodged on the back.

The Zoom's snapper doesn't quite measure up to the Samsung Galaxy Camera's offering, but it's not far off – and it hammers most other phones' efforts. The Galaxy S4 Zoom packs a 16MP CMOS sensor, 10x optical zoom, optical image stabilisation and a xenon flash.

Samsung's built the Zoom around its camera, unsurprisingly, with the phone featuring a new Zoom Ring interface. Twisting the Zoom Ring lets you access different camera modes, the gallery and In-Call Photo Share, allowing you to ping images via MMS to whoever you're talking to on the phone. The Zoom's camera also features Samsung's Smart Mode, built into its TouchWiz interface (itself overlaid on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean), for composing multiple shots into a single image or snapping high-speed motion.

So, is the Galaxy S4 Zoom a bold new direction for smartphones, or a bodged-together Frankenstein's Monster begging to be put out of its misery? We'll be finding out at Samsung's June 20th event, where we're expecting to get hands-on with all its latest Galaxy devices. Stay tuned.