A Galaxy S4 in name only, the Zoom is perhaps better related to the Galaxy Camera
The launch of the original Samsung Galaxy Camera brought to the table a different class of product. An all-in-one device for people who wanted to take decent photographs yet have all the benefits of a smartphone at their disposal. The Galaxy S4 Zoom is very much in this same vein; a point-and-shoot camera with smartphone capabilities. Only this time around, you can actually use it to call people.
The design of the Galaxy S4 Zoom in one regard will be instantly recognizable as a Galaxy class device. Looking at it display side on, we're basically looking at a Galaxy S4 Mini. A 4.3-inch qHD (540x960) display sits atop Android 4.2.2 with the latest iteration of Samsung's Touchwiz interface. 5GB of user available storage, 1.5GB of RAM and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor leave us with a capable, but still decidedly mid-range smartphone. But, this isn't just a smartphone.
Round the back we have the real meat of the S4 Zoom. A 16MP F3.1 - F6.3 camera with a 10x optical zoom, and full HD 1080p video recording capabilities. This isn't a smartphone with a good camera on the back. This is a point-and-shoot camera with a smartphone on the back. Sadly, the display is a let down when you're taking nice, big 16MP photographs and can only view them on a qHD screen.
From every angle other than looking at the display face on, the S4 Zoom is designed less like a phone, and more like a camera. Big physical shutter button on the top, a nice grip area to hold with your right hand while shooting, and a much more camera sized Xenon flash.
The branding is the most misleading part of the Zoom. This is not a Galaxy S4, nor is it a Galaxy S4-class device. The S4 Zoom is so much closer to the Galaxy Camera. A slightly niche product? Possibly. But this is perhaps what the Galaxy Camera should have been all along. Pricing could still be an issue -- the Galaxy Camera was overpriced at launch -- but we have to remember that the Zoom is a full smartphone as well. And that means carrier subsidies for those who don't want to drop a big wad of cash up front. It's an interesting device for sure, and we're deeply curious to see how well it takes off.