Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – first early impressions

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My Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom arrived as promised from Clove Technology . Clove also had the S4 Zoom cheaper than Amazon, Phones4U and Carphone Warehouse. And with stock so limited, it was great they had some too.

I’ve never been so excited to open a phone box and be presented with a camera. But that is what you have. A phone and a camera. Samsung tout this as a S4. It isn’t in any form. It is like the S4 Mini with a camera bolted on. So below are my first impressions in no particular order.

So let’s get down to basics. It is bulky due to the camera lens but as it is not too wide, like a 5 inch phone, it feels ok to handle. But it is heavier than most phones. I’ve used it all day Saturday and the size never bothered me. The Zoom cannot be more different to my HTC One. From the menus, features and operation. After a day, I miss the ferocious speed at which the HTC One can launch the camera and take a photo. Also, the HTC One has a screen to die for compared to the Zoom. The HTC One has Zoe mode, video highlights, and fast sharing due to the small photo sizes. I am missing video highlights big time. But nothing else.

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I’ve spent the day setting up the phone, installing my apps and one game. Word of warning, you will need a micro SD card to use this phone as it comes with a 8gb memory with 5gb free. However, out of the box you can move apps to the micro SD card. With 80 apps installed to the main memory I have 3gb free. Games are going to be the challenge, but I imagine I will be taking more photos than anything else.

Setting up the Zoom is so different than the HTC One. Samsung include so many apps, menus and more. Anyway, this is what I have found so far.

– there is no notification led. So you don’t even know when phone is charging either.
– the usual Samsung motion controls but slimmed down, so just the essentials. Smart stay is onboard which is great. Touchwiz works a treat.
– if the phone is off, the camera button won’t switch the camera on
– with the phone on, press and hold the camera button to launch it, is not as fast as using the screen camera icon
– photo quality is off the charts versus any other phone
– audio or music quality is very good too. No audio clipping either. The loudspeaker is very loud, and appears louder than the HTC One
– voice control on the camera was a little flaky until I did a soft reset. Probably needed as I had been opening and setting up all my apps and the settings. Voice can turn the flash on or off, set timer for 10 seconds, take a photo, record video, switch to auto mode or beauty mode, or open the gallery.
– the Zoom connects to my tripod
– comes with a xenon flash
– optical zoom x 10 works really well plus stabilisation built in
– I’m loving the device
– the screen is lower resolution but that doesn’t matter too much
– the weather widget redraws when returning to the home screen, but I do have S Voice on and activated by the home button which slows down the phone

So far the honeymoon period is off the charts. The photos are fantastic. The phone is a competent device too.

More next week…..,

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