Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Review

Review posted 12/10/2013

Quick Take
  • Rarely found combination of mid-range point-n-shoot digital camera and full-feature smartphone
  • Improved photographic performance versus Samsung Galaxy Camera
  • Easily outperforms most smartphone cameras
  • 10x optical zoom lens sets S4 Zoom apart from most smartphone cameras
  • Smartphone-like operation and menu structure makes camera very easy to use
  • Works with both Wi-Fi and 4G cellular networks
  • Large 4.3-inch touchscreen display
  • Plenty of special effect shooting options available, making S4 Zoom fun to use
  • Many in-camera editing options
  • Minimal shutter lag and better than average shot to shot delays
  • Nice mix of automatic and manual control settings options
  • Price is high versus camera-only options with similar photographic capabilities (although price varies with smartphone contract options)
  • Only available through AT&T cell network initially
  • Very slow start-up to first photo performance
  • Quite a bit of noise in low light photographs
  • Small 1/2.3-inch image sensor limits camera's overall image quality
  • Zoom ring is a little awkward to use while shooting movies
  • S4 Zoom is significantly thicker than most smartphones and doesn't fit comfortably in most pockets
  • Fans of Apple iPhone may not adapt quickly to Android operating system
  • Camera will operate more slowly if you're running a lot of apps on the smartphone side
Bottom Line
Samsung has created an interesting smartphone/digital camera combination with the Galaxy S4 Zoom, which offers full operational capabilities in both areas. This model is quite a bit thicker than what you'd find with your typical smartphone, which makes it a little tough to quickly pull the S4 Zoom out of a pocket to answer a call. And the Galaxy S4 Zoom costs a lot more than mid-level point-n-shoot cameras with similar photographic features. However this combination of a fully functioning smartphone and digital camera is rarely seen, providing a nice hybrid for the person who needs more photographic power and image quality than the typical smartphone provides. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
With smartphones gaining on point-n-shoot cameras as one's means of capturing day to day snapshots, innovative manufacturers, like Samsung, are looking to create products that will give consumers the portability and functionality they seek; with some quality and performance to boot. Enter the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, the world's first smartphone to offer a 10x optical zoom lens.

This hybrid smartphone/point-n-shoot camera is the second model we've seen from Samsung in the Galaxy line-up. While it shares some of the same functionality we saw with the Samsung Galaxy Camera, the S4 Zoom has taken things to the next level. Not only does the S4 Zoom offer a fully capable Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) OS, but it's also a 3G/4G capable phone. Currently, only available via the AT&T network, the S4 Zoom operates like any of Samsung's popular Galaxy smartphones. However, this one packs a 16-megapixel digital camera with a 10x optical zoom lens. This combination gives you the functionality and versatility of sharing photos and videos with friends and family on the go, while still giving you the ability to capture pleasing still photos and full HD video; that are more in line quality wise with entry to mid-level point-n-shoots, versus your average smartphone.

Other features include a nice 4.3" OLED touchscreen display, Optical Image Stabilization technology, 8GB or internal memory, a microSD card slot, 1.5GB or RAM, and a plethora of exposure modes and special effects.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom core features:
  • 16-megapixel 1/2.3" BSI CMOS image sensor
  • 10x optical zoom lens covering 24-240mm equivalent zoom range
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 4.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen display
  • Combination smartphone and compact camera
  • Secondary 1.9-megapixel front facing camera
  • 25 pre-set camera modes
  • Runs Android's 4.2 operating system, aka Jelly Bean
  • Loads of optional apps thanks to the Google Play store
  • Full HD (1080p) video recording
  • Continuous shot mode of 4fps
  • 4G-LTE and 3G high-speed data and voice
  • Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
  • USB connectivity
  • microSD memory card slot
  • 8GB of internal memory
  • Rechargeable Li-ion battery

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is available in Black or White, with a street price of about $400-450. However, you can find them as low as $49.99 with a data and voice contract through AT&T.

What's in the box?:

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom body
  • USB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Quick Start Guide

Additional Product Views


Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.