Proving its love for hybrid devices, Samsung today offered some hands-on time with its new Galaxy S4 Zoom smartphone/camera, and we were happy to accept. This Android 4.2-powered device includes a 10x optical zoom, 16-megapixel CMOS sensor and Xenon flash in addition to many of the goodies you'd expect inside the Galaxy S4.
The S4 Zoom is not the sleekest phone. It weighs a hefty 7.3 ounces, compared to 4.6 ounces for the regular S4. The Zoom is also considerably thicker, but you do get a much more capable point and shoot camera.
The camera-half of the S4 Zoom offers some neat features. Photo Suggest connects the photographer to a library of images taken by others in that same spot to help you find compose better images. Smart Mode takes the guesswork out of the multitude of settings you can choose from. It takes into account options such as light levels, focal length and face detection. Or you can choose modes yourself, such as Drama Mode that merges continuous shots of objects in motion, and super-high action shots in Action Frees.
On the phone side, the S4 Zoom features a 4.3-inch display with a somewhat low 960 x 540-pixel display. Under the hood sits a 1.5-GHz dual core processor, 8GB of memory, 1.5GB of RAM as well as 4G LTE and NFC connectivity. The S4 has a little more power, sporting a 1.9-GHz CPU with 2GB of RAM. And the 2300mAh battery on the Zoom will likely fall short of the 5 hours and 25 minutes we got out of the 2600mAh battery on the main smartphone.
Overall, the S4 Zoom definitely isn't for everyone, but those who love to take and share photos will want to give this device a close look. We hope to learn more about pricing and U.S. availability soon.