Week with Samsung Galaxy K Zoom: a brief overview of the new smartphone-camera

Smartphones with optical zoom appeared a long time ago, even during the reign of the Symbian operating system. We are talking about the Nokia N93 / N93i and Samsung G810 models, released in the middle of the "zero". However, no one began to develop this direction: in all of the following devices, the developers focused on increasing the number of megapixels. Of course, they worked on optics, and improved the image development algorithms (which naturally led to an increase in quality), but the notorious megapixels were mainly upgraded. It is, in principle, understandable: in the head of the average consumer, it is this parameter that is associated with the quality of images, which, of course, is incorrect.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom

In 2013, Samsung suddenly remembered the optical zoom and released the Galaxy S4 Zoom. This ... um ... smartphone didn’t resemble a smartphone, it was more correct to compare it with a digital camera. I would venture to suggest that this work of engineering did not have huge sales, since at the start it cost a lot for 20 thousand rubles, photographed like a soap dish for 5 thousand rubles, and it was not suitable for the role of a smartphone.

A year later, in the summer of 2014, the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom appears on sale. Apparently, Samsung was too often blamed for the fact that the Galaxy S4 Zoom (except for the camera) was much weaker in characteristics than the Galaxy S4. Therefore, the "photonovel" of this year was called Galaxy K Zoom, so that it is less compared with the Galaxy S5. Avoid this, however, will not work: even in the process of developing a new hybrid camera and smartphone made it look like a "five" in appearance. In particular, the back panel here is the same in design - it simultaneously resembles a band-aid and a ceiling in the cars of the Zhiguli family developed in the early 80's. Plus, the software is about the same - I mean the OS version (Android 4.4.2) and the TouchWiz shell.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom (left) and Samsung Galaxy S5

I will give the main differences between these devices with a list with explanations.

- Unlike the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy K Zoom does not have a waterproof case. This, of course, is a minus. But there is a plus: the microUSB port is not covered by a plug - in the Galaxy S5, in two months of operation, it managed to get me by the very fact of its existence.

- The Galaxy K Zoom does not have a fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor. Given that the level of implementation of these functions in the Galaxy S5 does not seem to me high, I did not feel much regret because of their absence. And another thing: in a press release that accompanied the announcement of Galaxy K Zoom, it was said that there was a certain S Health Lite. Well, I don’t know, I didn’t find anything like it. My device is made for Ukraine, maybe in versions for other regions it is.

- The Galaxy K Zoom does not support USB 3.0. Sad but not scary.

- The Galaxy K Zoom has a previous generation screen. And this concerns not only the resolution (4.8 inches / 720p versus 5.1 inches / 1080p), but also something else. Thus, there are no color profiles available in the Galaxy S5 in Zoom, and the picture on the Super AMOLED screen is somewhat acidic. In the Galaxy S5, it is more natural, but if desired, it can be made noticeably juicier using these same profiles. Plus, the Galaxy K Zoom features notches in fonts from PenTile. I do not consider myself to be a “sect of PenTile witnesses” (c) Eldar Murtazin, but I can’t warn about this effect. The Galaxy S5 also uses PenTile on the screen, but due to Full HD resolution it is not noticeable.

- The Galaxy K Zoom's Exynos processor is no longer 8-, but 6-core. But the scheme is the same - ARM big.LITTLE, that is, two Cortex-A15 cores and four Cortex-A7 cores can work in clusters, but not in parallel. For games, the model is poorly suited - due to its weight and thickness it is not very convenient to hold it in a horizontal position for a long time. At the same time, it is inferior in performance to the Samsung Galaxy S5, largely due to the lower screen resolution.

- A battery for 2,430 mAh instead of 2,800. There are a number of tricky functions to save energy, including the ability to make the screen black and white. My Samsung Galaxy S5 lives on for about a day, although I don’t take pictures of it at all. Meanwhile, Galaxy K Zoom worked for a day and a half, and I took pictures of it with all my heart. Perhaps weaker iron affects, or maybe the Galaxy S5 just has a slightly “dead” battery (I bought the device from my hands, and what the previous owner did with it for two months - God knows).

These are the main differences, and everything else applies to the camera. Before proceeding with the description of the latter, I note that in nature there are at least two versions of the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom: C115 and C111. The first is shipped to Russia and supports LTE. The second one can be bought in Ukraine, and she is not friends with LTE. By the way, it is very difficult to find the Galaxy K Zoom in Ukraine, it is not available in stores, although it is still possible to order a model in some places. The reasons for this situation are simple: the device is too non-standard and at the same time expensive. Few people need it. Serious photographers will never take it because of the modest part of the photo part, and ordinary consumers do not care about the zoom. In general, they poorly represent the difference between optical and digital zoom, and if so, you can treat yourself to a more elegant device from Samsung or another company.

So, about the camera. Samsung gives the following characteristics: 20.7 megapixels, 1 / 2.3 BSI CMOS Sensor, 10x optical zoom, OIS, 24-240 mm, F3.1-6.3. I will not talk about which camera you can buy for 25 thousand rubles instead of the Galaxy K Zoom - everything is clear. A smartphone for 25 thousand can also be bought much more serious than the hero of this review. So really, Samsung turned out a device for very big connoisseurs. Moreover, this same device with a comparable (more precisely, almost the same) image quality has been simplified compared to the Galaxy S4 Zoom. Namely: the tripod socket and the ability to zoom using the ring around the lens were removed from the new model. Now the last operation can be performed with the volume rocker. Also, as they say, an option, but I personally liked the ring in the Galaxy S4 Zoom,

Of the unpleasant moments, I highlight the absence of a protective shutter: the lens is covered with glass from the outside; if you do not wipe it before shooting, then the picture will turn out, roughly speaking, defective.

Of the pleasant ones - the ability to start the camera from a locked state: just press the top of the volume button and the camera key at the same time. This is not mentioned in all reviews.

The quality of images can be estimated by examples in this archive.(about 300 MB) and a few frames below. Not being a professional photographer even close, I can say the following: Galaxy K Zoom corresponds to inexpensive “digital dust boxes” in terms of image quality - thousands for 5 rubles, maybe a little more expensive. And in some ways it is noticeably inferior to them: for example, the xenon flash is rather dim, it is not always possible to take the photograph with which it was counted at night with its help.

The list of modes available in the device is as follows:

There is also a catalog of ready-made, so to speak, settings options. If you download and install such a file, you get a picture with color reproduction, as in the example.

Contradictory, in general, it turned out to be a smartphone. Yes, unlike the Galaxy S4 Zoom, which was more like a camera, the Galaxy K Zoom is a smartphone. There is an opinion that this is a kind of “test site” for Samsung - to work out some ideas and, possibly, collect feedback for the future. On the other hand, frantic mobile photographers of the level “I have already learned how optical zoom is better than digital” can also draw attention to this model. True, there are very few such people, and obviously you should not expect gigantic sales to the Korean vendor. So would you buy such a "push-pull"? How much?

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