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Review Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Smartphone

Manuel Masiero (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 08/13/2013

Compact camera and smartphone in one device. Samsung extends its new device class with the new Galaxy S4 Zoom. Similar to the Samsung Galaxy camera, our 4.3-inch review unit is a smartphone and a compact camera at the same time and is supposed to combine the best features of both worlds. We put it to the test.

For the original German review, see here.

Compact camera or smartphone? Samsung's Galaxy S4 Zoom is the newest addition to the Galaxy S4-series and wants to be both, just like the Samsung Galaxy Camera, but this time with a bigger focus on the camera. The officially advertised compact camera with smartphone features comes with a 10x optical zoom lens and a 16 megapixels CMOS sensor. Our review will show whether the camera phone for around 500 Euros (~$663) can actually compete with similarly priced compact cameras and if it can beat the established smartphone picture-experts like the Apple iPhone 5, the Google Nexus 4 or the Nokia Lumia 920

Case

The Samsung galaxy S4 is a typical smartphone with a 4.3-inch display ...
The Samsung galaxy S4 is a typical smartphone with a 4.3-inch display ...
... and a serious 16 MP compact camera at the same time.
... and a serious 16 MP compact camera at the same time.

Despite the conspicuous camera module on the back, the visual appearance of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom shares many similarities with the other Galaxy S4 devices, which again share the same design with the old Galaxy S3-series. Once again, Samsung uses a well-built and stable polycarbonate case for its camera smartphone that is extremely torsion and pressure resistant.

Just like the Galaxy S4 Mini, the Galaxy S4 Zoom also comes with a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 960x540 pixels. With dimensions of 12.6 centimeters (~5.0 inches/width) and 6.4 centimeters (~2.5 inches/height), it has a similar footprint as well. However, our review unit is almost twice as heavy as the Galaxy S4 Mini with its additional camera lens but at least 100 grams (~3.5 ounces) lighter than the Samsung Galaxy Camera.

The back of the case does not really suggest a smartphone anymore. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom looks more like a typical compact camera with the black and white case. That is mainly because of the 10x optical zoom lens; it is significantly protruding from the rest of the case and results in a thickness of around 2.8 centimeters (~1.1 inches), which is just pocket-friendly. You can also use the Galaxy S4 Zoom like a compact camera in portrait mode: A grip on the right side ensures good handling and the camera trigger is on the top (on the right side in portrait mode).

 

 

Connectivity

Samsung equips the Galaxy S4 Zoom with its own dual-core SoC Exynos 4212 with a maximum clock of 1.5 GHz, 1.5 GB RAM and the ARM Mali-400 MP4 GPU. The result is a decent Android smartphone in terms of hardware performance. Only a few buyers will expect a performance wonder; the 16 megapixels camera is the most important feature of the Galaxy S4 Zoom after all.

Ex-works the smartphone has 8 GB internal storage, but firmware for the Android operating system and preinstalled Apps occupy around 3 GB. As a result, you can only use around 5 GB after the initial set-up. That should be sufficient for most usage scenarios but you can also use micro SD cards with up to 64 GB to expand the storage. 

Left side: Tripod holder, micro SD slot
Left side: Tripod holder, micro SD slot
Right side: Camera trigger, volume rocker, Power button
Right side: Camera trigger, volume rocker, Power button
Top: 3.5 mm stereo jack, Infrared port
Top: 3.5 mm stereo jack, Infrared port
Bottom: Micro USB port
Bottom: Micro USB port

Software

The Galaxy S4 Zoom is based on the Android operating system in version 4.2.2 with the customized user interface TouchWiz. There is not much left from the original Android design, but that does not harm the handling. The biggest difference in the standard interface can be found in the system settings, which are now divided into four sub-categories: ConnectionsMy DeviceUser Accounts and Settings. Out of the box there are several preinstalled (or prepared for download) applications and widgets, among others the Chrome browser, Google+, Gmail, YouTube as well as Google Play Store and Samsung Store.  

The integrated GPS module is very reliable.
The integrated GPS module is very reliable.

Communication & GPS

 

The Galaxy S4 Mini left almost nothing to be desired in terms of connectivity and the Galaxy S4 Zoom continues this trend. Our review unit supports the WLAN standards 802.11 a/b/g/n in 2.4 and 5 GHz networks, furthermore Bluetooth 4.0 as well as quad-band GSM and quad-band UMTS - you can use the smartphone almost anywhere in the world with this combination. There is also HSPA+ and LTE for fast mobile Internet and an NFC sensor for short range contactless data exchange. There were no connection problems during our tests and the integrated GPS module with GLONASS support was fast and reliable. 

If you actually want to make a call with the Galaxy S4 Zoom, you will not be disappointed. The voice quality is excellent, for both landline and mobile networks. We could not determine any background noise.   

Indoor pictures have problems with picture noise.
Indoor pictures have problems with picture noise.
Even outdoors you have the same problem with unfavorable lighting conditions (here: twilight).
Even outdoors you have the same problem with unfavorable lighting conditions (here: twilight).

Cameras & Multimedia

The 16 megapixels main camera of the Galaxy S4 Zoom has a 10x optical zoom with an integrated picture stabilizer and a Xenon flash. You can use the camera button in the Android menu, hold the camera trigger or turn the lens ring to activate it. The latter opens a sub menu on the display with six different picture modes (Night mode, Animated Picture, MacroLandscapeNice Portrait and Auto). Another turning of the lens ring switches between the picture modes and finally activates the camera after you selected a mode by tapping on it.  

Yet the available modes via lens ring are just a fraction of the total number; you can actually choose between 25 different picture modes when the camera is activated. You can also use the expert mode if you want to select the picture settings by yourself. You can, for instance, change the shutter speed (between 16 seconds and 1/2000 seconds), the aperture (f/3.1 or f/8.8), and the sensitivity (ISO 100 up to ISO 3200), choose the trigger mode and set the white balance. Brightness, shade, saturation, sharpness and contrast can be adjusted as well. Finally, the camera can record Full HD videos (1920x1080 pixels) with 30 fps. 

The sample pictures of the main camera are very convincing. This is mainly due to all the features: The several picture modes can automatically adjust all the important settings - if you want it - and you can precisely adjust the 10x optical zoom with the display buttons and especially with the lens ring. However, it takes quite a while before the camera is ready; the fastest way is via the camera trigger but it still takes around 3 seconds before the lens is moving.  

There is not much criticism regarding the image quality. You can clearly see in the sample shots that the Galaxy S4 Zoom can easily keep up with good smartphones like Apple's iPhone 5, Google's Nexus 4 or Nokia's Lumia 920. Picture detail, color accuracy and contrast are good but there is picture noise with unfavorable lighting conditions. 

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Reference: Sony Alpha 57
Reference: Sony Alpha 57
Reference: Sony Alpha 57
Reference: Sony Alpha 57
Reference: Sony Alpha 57
Reference: Sony Alpha 57
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5
Google Nexus 4
Google Nexus 4
Google Nexus 4
Google Nexus 4
Google Nexus 4
Google Nexus 4
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920

Accessories & Warranty

Samsung ships the Galaxy S4 Zoom with a micro USB cable, a modular power supply unit, In-Ear headphones and a printed quick start guide. There are several accessories in the manufacturers' online shop but none of them were available for the camera smartphone at the time of this review. Samsung grants a 24-month warranty for the Galaxy S4 Zoom.  

Input Devices & Handling

Virtual keyboard in landscape mode.
Virtual keyboard in landscape mode.

The display is seamlessly integrated into the chassis and is protected by a pane of glass. It enables a convenient resistant-free operation and can recognize up to ten finger inputs simultaneously. You do not really notice that the smartphone is not equipped with the fastest SoC: The Galaxy S4 Zoom reacts to inputs without delays, navigating through the Android operating system is very smooth and the display orientation reacts very quickly as well. You can get a good impression of the handling in our review video of the Galaxy S4 GT-I9505; it is also running on Android 4.2.2 with the Samsung user interface. 

The virtual QWERTY keyboard with the comparatively large spacing is very easy to handle and should be comfortable for frequent writers. However, the keyboard occupies more than 50% of the screen, as a result there is not much left of the actual content. 

Display

The 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display of the Galaxy S4 Zoom has a resolution of 960x540 pixels, similar to the Galaxy S4 Mini. Many competitors that also have a good camera module are better in this regard: Nokia Lumia 920 (4.5-inch) and Google Nexus 4 (4.7-inch) can display 1280x768 pixels, while the HTC One even has a 4.7-inch Full HD (1920x1080 pixels) display.   

In terms of luminance, the Galaxy S4 Zoom can keep up with the competition: An average brightness of 302.9 cd/m² is a very good result and the brightness distribution is very consistent with 92%. Despite its identical display specifications, the Galaxy S4 Mini falls behind (brightness 297.8 cd/m², brightness distribution 81%) and Google's Nexus 4 (275.3 cd/m², 93%) is on a similar level. The HTC One with its excellent display brightness of 488.9 cd/m² and a brightness distribution of 90% is clearly superior.  

316
cd/m²
297
cd/m²
300
cd/m²
314
cd/m²
293
cd/m²
296
cd/m²
318
cd/m²
294
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 318 cd/m²
Average: 302.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 92 %
Center on Battery: 293 cd/m²
Black: 0.0 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1

The contrast ratio of the Galaxy S4 Zoom seems to be unbeatable; the measured black value of exactly 0.0 cd/m² results in an infinite contrast ratio. The reason for this is the AMLOED technology; black colors are represented by pixels that are not illuminated. 

Users of the Galaxy S4 Zoom can switch between four different display profilesStandardDynamic, Professional Picture and Video automatically optimize the color space, the saturation and the sharpness for selected applications. Among others, this includes the gallery, the camera, the video module as well as Samsung Books and Google Play Books. Our measurements with colorimeter and the CalMAN software show the impacts of the profiles on the display quality. The grayscale presentation improves with the different profiles, starting with StandardDynamicVideo and finally Professional Picture closest to the ideal value. The same applies for the AdobeRGB color space; once again, Professional Picture shows the biggest coverage and the lowest DeltaE value 2.76. We determined the best sRGB color space coverage is the Video profile. 

 

 

Color Checker: Standard settings
Color Checker: Standard settings
Color Checker: AdobeRGB Professional Picture
Color Checker: AdobeRGB Professional Picture
Color Checker: AdobeRGB Dynamic
Color Checker: AdobeRGB Dynamic
Color Checker: Dynamic
Color Checker: Dynamic
Color Checker: Video
Color Checker: Video
Grayscale: Standard settings
Grayscale: Standard settings
Grayscale: AdobeRGB Professional Picture
Grayscale: AdobeRGB Professional Picture
Grayscale: Dynamic
Grayscale: Dynamic
Grayscale: Professional Picture
Grayscale: Professional Picture
Grayscale: Video
Grayscale: Video
Color Management: Standard settings
Color Management: Standard settings
Color Management: Professional Picture
Color Management: Professional Picture
Color Management: Dynamic
Color Management: Dynamic
Color Management: Video
Color Management: Video
Saturation: Standard settings
Saturation: Standard settings
Saturation: Dynamic
Saturation: Dynamic
Saturation: Video
Saturation: Video

We can see the advantage of the Galaxy S4 Zoom's AMOLED display both indoors and outdoors; the display content is always visible thanks to the extreme contrast ratio. The glossy display surface can be annoying under direct sunlight but that does not really affect the operation. Viewing angle stability of the Galaxy S4 Zoom is also excellent - even extreme viewing angles do not result in inverted colors, reduced brightness or any other deviations.

Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

You should not expect any performance wonders from the Galaxy S4 Zoom, the integrated dual-core SoC Exynos 4212 offers sufficient but not overwhelming performance. It has a maximum CPU clock of 1.5 GHz and 1.5 GB RAM. The dual-core CPU is supported by the quad-core ARM Mali-400 MP4 GPU.

The synthetic benchmarks confirm the average performance of the Galaxy S4 Zoom, it is especially evident with 3DMark 2013. The camera smartphone is clearly behind the - admittedly clearly better equipped in regard to the hardware - competitors like the Google Nexus 4 and HTC One. Even the sibling Galaxy S4 Mini is always noticeably faster. The only exception among the synthetic benchmarks is Epic Citadel, where the Galaxy S4 Zoom can actually take the lead.  

However, we have to be careful with the benchmark results; they do not necessarily reflect the real world performance: Our colleagues from AnandTech claimed to have found out that the high-end version from the Galaxy S4-series recognizes certain benchmarks and then raises the GPU clock of the S4 during benchmarks like AnTuTu, Benchmark Pi, GLBenchmark 2.5.1, Linpack and Quadrant. It is however not clear if other S4-series devices are also affected. Anyway, Samsung rejects explicit benchmark tuning.  

AnTuTu Benchmark v3 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Mali-400 MP4, 4212 1.5 GHz, 8 GB SSD
11044 Points ∼31%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
13958 Points ∼39% +26%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
23500 Points ∼66% +113%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
17555 Points ∼49% +59%
3DMark (2013) - 1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Mali-400 MP4, 4212 1.5 GHz, 8 GB SSD
3180 Points ∼2%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
5771 Points ∼4% +81%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
10752 Points ∼7% +238%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
11396 Points ∼7% +258%
Geekbench 2 - 32 Bit - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Mali-400 MP4, 4212 1.5 GHz, 8 GB SSD
1250 Points ∼9%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
1919 Points ∼13% +54%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
2332 Points ∼16% +87%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
2054 Points ∼14% +64%
Smartbench 2012 - Productivity Index (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Mali-400 MP4, 4212 1.5 GHz, 8 GB SSD
3001 points ∼29%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
4878 points ∼47% +63%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
6850 points ∼66% +128%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
3178 points ∼31% +6%
Epic Citadel
High Performance (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Mali-400 MP4, 4212 1.5 GHz, 8 GB SSD
58.1 fps ∼96%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
55.2 fps ∼91% -5%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
57.5 fps ∼95% -1%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD (1196x768)
54.9 fps ∼90% -6%
High Quality (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Mali-400 MP4, 4212 1.5 GHz, 8 GB SSD
56.8 fps ∼93%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
57.1 fps ∼94% +1%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD (1196x768)
54.3 fps ∼89% -4%

The Galaxy S4 Zoom shows very good results for the browser benchmarks and can keep up with the competition (on average). It can even take the lead with Browsermark 2.0 and Google V8 Ver.7. 

Browsermark - --- (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Mali-400 MP4, 4212 1.5 GHz, 8 GB SSD
2955 points ∼41%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
2188 points ∼30% -26%
Nokia Lumia 920
Adreno 225, S4 Plus MSM8960, 32 GB SSD
1194 points ∼17% -60%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
2152 points ∼30% -27%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1839 points ∼26% -38%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Mali-400 MP4, 4212 1.5 GHz, 8 GB SSD
2205 Points ∼12%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
2165 Points ∼12% -2%
Nokia Lumia 920
Adreno 225, S4 Plus MSM8960, 32 GB SSD
785 Points ∼4% -64%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
1899 Points ∼10% -14%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1381 Points ∼8% -37%
Sunspider - 0.9.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Mali-400 MP4, 4212 1.5 GHz, 8 GB SSD
916.7 ms * ∼9%
Nokia Lumia 920
Adreno 225, S4 Plus MSM8960, 32 GB SSD
915.3 ms * ∼9% -0%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
1138.1 ms * ∼11% -24%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1894.7 ms * ∼18% -107%

* ... smaller is better

The read and write performance primarily depends on the integrated flash storage and its interface. The Galaxy S4 Zoom can compensate the somewhat mediocre CPU/GPU performance and can even compete with high-end devices like the Google Nexus 4 and the HTC One in this category.

AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Mali-400 MP4, 4212 1.5 GHz, 8 GB SSD
44.05 MB/s ∼16%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
50.88 MB/s ∼18% +16%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
58.75 MB/s ∼21% +33%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
49.7 MB/s ∼18% +13%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Mali-400 MP4, 4212 1.5 GHz, 8 GB SSD
15.24 MB/s ∼20%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
6.33 MB/s ∼8% -58%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
16.37 MB/s ∼22% +7%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
13.97 MB/s ∼19% -8%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Mali-400 MP4, 4212 1.5 GHz, 8 GB SSD
11.16 MB/s ∼31%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
9.37 MB/s ∼26% -16%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
11.83 MB/s ∼33% +6%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
12.14 MB/s ∼34% +9%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Mali-400 MP4, 4212 1.5 GHz, 8 GB SSD
1.77 MB/s ∼12%
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini GT-I9195
Adreno 305, 400 8930AB, 8 GB SSD
0.32 MB/s ∼2% -82%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
1.19 MB/s ∼8% -33%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1.07 MB/s ∼7% -40%

Gaming

Despite the average SoC performance, the Galaxy S4 Zoom is well suited for gaming. Even demanding titles like Shadowgun: Dead Zone or Real Racing 3 run very smoothly. The integrated accelerometer and the display react very precisely to position changes or touch inputs, respectively. 

Even more demanding games like Real Racing 3 ...
Even more demanding games like Real Racing 3 ...
... or Shadowgun: Dead Zone run very smooth.
... or Shadowgun: Dead Zone run very smooth.

Emissions

Temperature

The Galaxy S4 Zoom does not change in temperature by a large margin during normal operation; it warms up to a maximum temperature of 44.4 degrees Celsius (111.92 Fahrenheit) during our two-hour stress test. This result is very good; just like the maximum temperature of 30.1 degrees Celsius (86.18 Fahrenheit) during idleGalaxy S4 Mini (41 degrees Celsius/105.8 Fahrenheit) and Google Nexus 4 (43.2 degrees Celsius/109.76 Fahrenheit) have a similar thermal behavior. The coolest device is the HTC One (36.6 degrees Celsius/97.88 Fahrenheit), while the Nokia Lumia 920 is the hottest smartphone within our competition (53.3 degrees Celsius/127.94 Fahrenheit).   

Max. Load
 35.5 °C38.6 °C41.0 °C 
 36.0 °C39.5 °C40.8 °C 
 34.6 °C39.2 °C39.8 °C 
Maximum: 41.0 °C
Average: 38.3 °C
44.2 °C39.2 °C31.4 °C
44.4 °C36.4 °C32.2 °C
42.1 °C34.3 °C31.8 °C
Maximum: 44.4 °C
Average: 37.3 °C
Power Supply (max.)  48 °C | Room Temperature 23 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speakers

The integrated speakers at the back produce a typical smartphone sound with focus on high tones, hardly any medium tones and basically no bass, but the sound experience is surprisingly good. There are no distortions even with the maximum volume setting and the sound experience can be improved with the provided In-Ear headphones. 

Energy Management

Power Consumption

During idle, the Galaxy S4 Zoom consumes between 0.6 Watts and 2.8 Watts, which is comparatively energy hungry. The HTC One only needs a maximum of 1.1 Watts. The Galaxy S4 Mini 1.2 Watts and the Google Nexus 4 still modest 1.4 Watts. Only Nokia's Lumia 920 (3.9 Watts) consumes even more energy during idle.

However, the situation is completely different under load: The Galaxy S4 Zoom is the most frugal smartphone in this scenario with a maximum consumption of just 3.5 Watts. Only the Galaxy S4 Mini (3.9 Watts) and HTC One (4.0 Watts) can almost keep up with the Zoom. Nokia's Lumia 920 (5.4 Watts) and especially Google's Nexus 4 (6.5 Watts) need considerably more energy. 

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.0 / 0.2 Watt
Idle 0.6 / 1.4 / 2.8 Watt
Load 3.1 / 3.5 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Battery runtimes for the Galaxy S4 Zoom with its removable 8.85 Wh battery are decent. The smartphone manages 3 hours and 7 minutes with the maximum display brightness and activated wireless connections (minimum runtime), a good result. The HTC One is the only device that can almost keep up with this runtime (2 hours and 49 minutes).

The other extreme scenario is the maximum runtime with minimum display brightness and deactivated wireless connections. The Galaxy S4 Zoom runs for 18 hours and 33 minutes before the battery is empty. This is surpassed by the Galaxy S4 Mini (19 hours 52 minutes), the Nokia Lumia 920 (22 hours 27 minutes) and the HTC One (23 hours 51 minutes). Google's Nexus 4 on the other hand shuts down after only 11 hours and 55 minutes. 

The more realistic WLAN Test (display brightness at 150 cd/m², web sites are refreshed every 40 seconds via script) results in a decent battery runtime of 10 hours and 36 minutes for the Galaxy S4 Zoom. Except for the Google Nexus 4 (7 hours 20 minutes), the competition manages longer runtimes, although the difference is smaller compared to the maximum runtime. Nokia's Lumia 920 (exactly 14 hours) lasts the longest, followed by the Galaxy S4 Mini (12 hours 10 minutes) and the HTC One (10 hours 53 minutes).   

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
18h 33min
WiFi Surfing
10h 36min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 07min

Verdict

We can fully recommend the Galaxy S4 Zoom as a smartphone. Despite the, at least in theory, average performance of the Exynos 4212 dual-core SoC of our review unit, it can convince us with high performance in real life scenarios and the smooth operation. Other features are the high build quality, the excellent Super AMOLED display (high contrast and very bright) as well as the decent battery runtimes. The discussion about potential benchmark tuning by the manufacturer (we reported) leaves a somewhat bitter taste in regard to the benchmark results.   

The performance of the Galaxy S4 Zoom as a compact camera is however not completely convincing. We would have been enthusiastic about the picture quality with every other smartphone, but that does not really carry over to Samsung's camera smartphone. Ultimately, the orientation of our review unit is to blame for that. Samsung advertises the Galaxy S4 Zoom as a real compact camera, but then it would have to be on another level compared to smartphone cameras. No question, the quality is excellent for a smartphone, but the Galaxy S4 Zoom cannot keep up with a real compact camera for 500 Euros (~$663).

All in all, you really have to make up your mind if the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is worth buying. Anyhow, we have to give the manufacturer credit for the yet unrivaled concept to combine a smartphone with a real compact camera.  

In Review: Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. Courtesy of: Samsung.
In Review: Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. Courtesy of: Samsung.
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In Review: Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. Courtesy of: Samsung.
In Review: Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. Courtesy of: Samsung.

Specifications

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
Processor
Graphics adapter
Memory
1536 MB 
Display
4.3 inch 16:9, 960x540 pixel, capacitive, SAMOLED, qHD, glossy: yes
Harddisk
8 GB SSD, 8 GB 
, 4.8 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm stereo jack, Card Reader: Micro SD (up to 64 GB), Sensors: Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Brightness sensor, Gyroscope, Magnetometer,
Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth, GSM quad-band (850, 900, 1,800, 1,900 MHz), UMTS quad-band (850, 900, 1,900, 2,100 MHz), HSPA+, LTE, NFC, DLNA
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 154 x 635 x 1255 ( = 6.06 x 25 x 49.41 in)
Weight
208 g ( = 7.34 oz) Power Supply: 20 g ( = 0.71 oz)
Battery
8.85 Wh Lithium-Ion, 2,330 mAh
Price
499 Euro
Operating System
Android 4.2
Additional features
Webcam: Front camera: 1.9 MP, Rear camera: 16 MP w/ Xenon Flash, Speakers: Mono, Keyboard: virtual, Keyboard Light: no, Micro USB cable, modular PSU, Stereo headphones (3.5 mm stereo jack), 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
From above, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom looks like a common smartphone.
From above, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom looks like a common smartphone.
Upside-down: Turn the smartphone and suddenly you have a 16 megapixels compact camera.
Upside-down: Turn the smartphone and suddenly you have a 16 megapixels compact camera.
The optical zoom lens ...
The optical zoom lens ...
... is clearly protruding.
... is clearly protruding.
The CMOS sensor of the main camera takes pictures with a resolution of up to 4,608x3,456 pixels.
The CMOS sensor of the main camera takes pictures with a resolution of up to 4,608x3,456 pixels.
A Xenon flash is also integrated.
A Xenon flash is also integrated.
The camera trigger and the grip are on the right side in the landscape mode.
The camera trigger and the grip are on the right side in the landscape mode.
Tripod holder at the bottom.
Tripod holder at the bottom.
The 1.9 megapixels front camera is not really important.
The 1.9 megapixels front camera is not really important.
Illuminated system buttons.
Illuminated system buttons.
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is well built.
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is well built.
Android 4.2.2 is the operating system.
Android 4.2.2 is the operating system.
Behind the front cover you can find the SIM tray and ...
Behind the front cover you can find the SIM tray and ...
... the battery with a capacity of 8.85 Wh.
... the battery with a capacity of 8.85 Wh.
Besides the smartphone, the box of the of the Galaxy S4 Zoom contains ...
Besides the smartphone, the box of the of the Galaxy S4 Zoom contains ...
... a modular PSU, a micro USB cable as well as In-Ear headphones and a quick start guide.
... a modular PSU, a micro USB cable as well as In-Ear headphones and a quick start guide.
Four different color profiles can be selected.
Four different color profiles can be selected.
Comprehensive: Preinstalled Apps.
Comprehensive: Preinstalled Apps.
Besides Google's Play Store you can also use the Samsung Store to get new Apps and multimedia contents.
Besides Google's Play Store you can also use the Samsung Store to get new Apps and multimedia contents.
All 25 picture modes in the camera menu.
All 25 picture modes in the camera menu.
Out of the box you can use around 5 GB of the storage.
Out of the box you can use around 5 GB of the storage.

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Links

Price Comparison

Pro

+High quality main camera
+10x optical zoom
+High build quality
+Good connectivity
+Infrared port
+Excellent display
+Good performance
+Current Android operating system
 

Cons

-Retail price
-Less compact than usual smartphones
-Main camera cannot compete with similarly priced compact cameras

Shortcut

What we like

The excellent build quality of the camera smartphone. The Galaxy S4 Zoom leaves a very durable impression and the Super AMOLED display is excellent.

What we miss

The display resolution of 960x540 pixels is not really overwhelming. A higher resolution would have improved the already very good quality even more. 

What surprises us

Samsung combines a compact camera and a smartphone in the Galaxy S4; a very innovative product. According to Samsung it is primarily a compact camera but can also be used as a smartphone.

The competition

Google Nexus 4

HTC One

Nokia Lumia 920

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

Rating

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
08/05/2013 v3
Manuel Masiero

Chassis
88%
Keyboard
50%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
40%
Weight
100%
Battery
97%
Display
86%
Games Performance
34%
Application Performance
50%
Temperature
79%
Noise
100%
Add Points
82%
Average
75%
87%
Smartphone *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Smartphone
Author: Manuel Masiero, 2013-08-13 (Update: 2013-08-15)