Samsung launches Galaxy K zoom, its selfie-aware camera smartphone

Samsung launches Galaxy K zoom, its selfie-aware camera smartphone

Summary: Samsung slims down its zoom lens camera smartphone and brings selfie-features across from its camera line.

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The Galaxy K zoom. Image: Samsung

Samsung is taking another shot at the camera-centric smartphone with the Galaxy K zoom, a handset that packs both a zoom-lens camera and high-end phone specs into one device.

Nokia's Lumia 1020 might have a 41-megapixel sensor, but what it doesn't have is Samsung's retractable zoom lens, which features in its second "camera specialised" smartphone.

The Galaxy K is a thinner, lighter "camera specialised" smartphone than its predecessor, last year's Galaxy S4 Zoom. The devices sit alongside Samsung's Android-powered wi-fi camera range, which includes the Galaxy NX and Galaxy Camera 2.

The new smartphone-cum-camera addresses some of the complaints about the S4 Zoom — chiefly about how thick and heavy it is, which made it a good camera but a clumsy-to-handle smartphone.

Samsung has kept the 10x optical zoom it had in the S4 Zoom, but has equipped the Galaxy K zoom with a new retracting lens in a body. However, at 200g, the device is still heavy compared to the Galaxy S5, but it's still 8g lighter than the S4 Zoom and nearly 1cm thinner.

The Galaxy K's main rear camera comes with 20.7-megapixel camera and 1/2.3 BSI CMOS sensor combination compared with the 16 megapixel camera on the S4 Zoom, which had the same sized physical sensor.

The new device also runs Android KitKat, has 3G and LTE support, 2GB RAM, a 4.8-inch display at 1280 x 720 pixels and comes with Samsung's Exynos hexacore application processor, which is made up of a combined 1.3GHz quad-core and a 1.7GHz dual-core.

Comparing the S4 Zoom and Galaxy K, the main improvements are the newer device's larger screen, more powerful processors, higher pixel density and larger capacity battery. Reflecting the timing of its release, the device also comes with the perforated backplate seen on the recently-launched Galaxy S5.

Given the 20.7-megapixel camera is the main draw for the Galaxy K, Samsung has also included a number of features to enhance photography, including auto-focus and auto-exposure separation as well as its optical image stabiliser.

The device also employs a Xenon Flash instead of the usual LED set up in most smartphones and brings across a feature from the Galaxy Camera 2 called Selfie Alarm for easier timed selfies.

Read more on Samsung

Topics: Mobility, Android, Samsung

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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5 comments
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  • Why the low-res screen?

    I simply can't understand why Samsung would create this device, which is clearly aimed at those people who believe that the camera is one of the most important, if not THE most important features of their cell phone, with a lower resolution than the 1080P screen that has been standard on both the S4 and the S5. Do they think that people who value photography want lower-resolution screens on which to view their photos (and all of the other content, like videos)? I take many more pictures with my phone than I make phone calls, and I would be a potential customer for this device and willing to pay the premium, but only if they give me the same screen as I have in my S5.
    HaknGolfer
    • So what you are saying is

      once you take a picture with your phone that is the only place it will ever be seen. With that kind of logic what good is the little screen on the back of an expensive SLR camera. After all you won't be doing anything with the pictures you take except let people squint at the little screen.
      As my daughter says 'A picture isn't really a picture until it is printed'.
      nabcoengineer
    • Low res?

      I bet that if I had 2 equal screens except one was 1080p and the other was 720p and they were 5 inches, at a comfortable length you couldn't tell the difference. 1080p in my opinion is pointless.
      Brock Jones
  • Why the low-res screen?

    I simply can't understand why Samsung would create this device, which is clearly aimed at those people who believe that the camera is one of the most important, if not THE most important features of their cell phone, with a lower resolution than the 1080P screen that has been standard on both the S4 and the S5. Do they think that people who value photography want lower-resolution screens on which to view their photos (and all of the other content, like videos)? I take many more pictures with my phone than I make phone calls, and I would be a potential customer for this device and willing to pay the premium, but only if they give me the same screen as I have in my S5.
    HaknGolfer
  • Great idea down the drain?

    Knowing how quickly the use of the camera drains the battery on my iPhone, I wonder what sort of battery life one could expect from the K Zoom, with those moving parts to power on top of the screen, sensor, etc. You'd probably have to lug an external power pack around with you to get any sort of realistic daily use out of it. Heck, you may as well buy a proper camera? Or build phone functions into a camera, rather than the other way around?
    stuart.elder