Tag Archives: Samsung S4 Zoom

Samsung launches new version of the S4 Zoom

Hang on, Samsung only a few months ago released the S4 Zoom.

Now its just announced the Zoom again but with LTE  across Europe, and has named Deutsche Telekom, Tele2, Telia Sonera and Orange as some of the networks that’ll carry it.

Just wonder how owners of the non LTE version will feel having only just bought it!

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – Camera Review – Waterfall Mode

The aspect I like about the S4 Zoom is the mode descriptions. It takes the guess work out of adjusting the camera settings. So it you see moving water or a waterfall, you switch to waterfall mode. And below is the end result. Stunning in my book.

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If you click on photo, you can save it full size.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom versus Nokia Lumia 925 – photo comparison

Firstly, the Lumia 925 does not have an optical zoom, so zoomed photos will be difficult to compete with. So with this in mind, I took the same photo in perfect lighting conditions to see which phone took the better shot. Auto mode was used for everything.

S4 Zoom

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And now the same shot with the Lumia 925

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So what do you think? Can you tell the difference. The Lumia 925 looks better, more vibrant colours, but there is more detail in the S4 Zoom shot. The S4 Zoom shot allows you to zoom in on photo and captures more detail at a higher magnification than the photo by the Lumia 925. But I actually prefer the overall shot from the Lumia 925.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – camera review part 2

In the second part of the camera review, I am going to look at one of the multitude of preset modes available on the S4 Zoom. Today it is the turn of food mode. Food mode turns photos of food, into more vibrant, appealing and adds some zing. So first up is the plate of baked beans shot in auto mode.

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And now photographed in food mode. Don’t those baked beans and toast look so wow now 🙂

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Whether or not you prefer the food mode is personal choice, but if you were uploading to twitter or Instagram it would certainly help make your food shot stand out more. Just remember baked beans aren’t that much of a wow food!

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – Review Part 7

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Shot taken at weekend with the S4 Zoom, no editing. View of the morning fog, Princetown, Dartmoor, Devon, Uk.

To recap on the earlier review sections click here.

Using a device as your main daily driver, with no other option to fall back on really does focus on the weakness and strengths of any device. I have discovered all sorts of nuances, strengths and weaknesses but overall this is a wonderful piece of kit, even with its limitations.

So, if you recall I mentioned the low resolution Panoramic mode photos. I discovered that if you take the panoramic photos holding the S4 Zoom vertically instead of horizontally, the quality jumps from 200kb to about 700kb. I am waiting for Clove Technology to get feedback from Samsung as to whether this is the maximum quality or a fault. But I imagine based on my testing it is not a fault but the maximum quality. Is this a deal breaker for most people, probably not. Other nuances as mentioned before include low internal memory of 8gb, even with apps to SD card supported out of the box, this does not move the app data so not ideal for gamers. Also, worth remembering that it has a smaller processor than the standard S4, low resolution screen and in speed tests is not lightning fast, but more runs along at an average pace. I think I have been spoilt by the speed of the HTC One. But here is the crazy thing, despite my previous cravings for a powerhouse device with the best screen, processor and tons of on board memory, a thin and fairly lightweight device, I am enamelled by the S4 Zoom. I just love it.

Other little things I have noticed is connecting the S4 Zoom to the Mac in camera mode brings up 700 plus photos, so totally useless. I am going to have to remove the micro SD card and import that way in future. Another oddity, I emailed some photos from my Mac to myself, opened up the photos on the S4 Zoom in the Gmail app, saved the photos, but when going to view them in the gallery app, they are not standard jpg or png and cannot be renamed etc. So I am now using the Samsung email app.

I have been using the S4 Zoom out and about this week. I was in a bank, and the cashier said “did you just reply to a text message on your camera”. I passed across the S4 Zoom for her to have a look and she was fascinated. As I was leaving, I heard the cashier tell the others how clever the camera was with a phone built in. Next, I was in a tech type store, and a young sales assistant asked is that the S4 Zoom. I said yes and let him have a look. His colleagues then gathered around and it caused quite a talking subject. Clearly the S4 Zoom piques interest.

So what has it been like to use? Well brilliant to be honest. The weight and overall size is not now a problem whatsoever. As it is based on the S4 Mini, it fits easily in the hand as it is not an oversized 5 inch plus disaster. The S4 Zoom is 2.8cm deep if you include the camera lens, but the depth is not an issue. The S4 Zoom handles all my internet, email, messaging, rss news feeds, forums and blog updates, social networking, replaces my TV and DVD remote using the built in infra red blaster, podcasts, and gaming. I added gaming. The builtin loudspeaker is excellent too, loud and clear.

I have been very selective as to the games installed, but they are mostly all games that work with my Mogo Pro Game Controller which connects via bluetooth. This works really well with the S4 Zoom. Games installed include SuperGNES emulator, R-Type, AlphaWave, Meganoid 2, Canabalt HD, Doodle Jump, Submarine Attack, Final Freeway 2R, Sonic, Pac Man, Asphalt 7 and many more.

I must admit, it does look strange using what looks like a camera to operate a TV, in fact making a phone call is even crazier looking, as it appears as if you are talking into a camera. Going back to the point that it is based on the S4 Mini, you get the Samsung experience and without too much of the useless memory hogging features found in the standard S4. The camera module has loads of different modes, to take the guess work out of what settings you need to change to take a particular shot. So if you went to a fireworks display, you would use the fireworks mode. I keep a cheap full size tripod in my car, and love being able to connect it to the S4 Zoom as simple as ABC, and without the need or fuss of finding an adapter first to connect to my phone, which would then connect to the tripod.

And then there is using the S4 Zoom as a camera. You have the great feeling, that whatever you throw at it, you will get a decent photo. With night shots or indoor, the xenon flash makes a remarkable difference. And then there is the lens which has 10 times optical zoom. Now I have a quality zoom option on my phone, I tend to use it a lot more often. I look at a shot and think, I will just zoom in a bit more to get a closer shot. I used it last week, when it was lashing down with rain, to take a photo of a crow from inside my car. I simply lowered the passenger window, and zoomed right in to the bird. I am still exploring all the different options, but so far have been impressed with all the results.

Case options for the S4 Zoom are limited, but last week I posted details of a silicone case I received that came with a screen protector. The silicone case added extra grippy parts too. I also bought from a SuperGrip Universal Case Compatible Car Mount which works a treat with the S4 Zoom. The Zoom makes a great GPS too.

Finally, the S4 Zoom has a removable battery and micro SD card. So if you knew you were going to be taking thousands of photos, you could carry additional micro SD card and a spare battery (not available yet). Another benefit of the removable spare battery is when the old ones starts wearing out, you can simply change it for another.

If photography is your thing, or you always want to take a decent photo, the S4 Zoom could be right up your street.

Available from Clove Technology

To recap on the earlier review sections click here.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – Review Part 6 and panoramic mode update

Over this weekend, I am going to try and start putting the S4 Zoom camera to task.

But before I list all the items, I thought I would mention the dreadfully low resolution panoramic mode photos. I have discovered that if you take them holding the phone vertical the 173kb file size is increase to about 750kb. Still totally unacceptable, but a start in the right direction. Both Samsung and Clove Technology are now investigating this matter urgently so hope to have an update by the end of next week. A quick thanks too for Clove being so helpful in trying to resolve this for me.

As a heads up, here is a list of the features/options I need to test –

– Zoom ring, Camera Voice Commands, 12 filters from Vignette to Fish Eye
– Optical Image Stabiliser
– Face detection, smile shot, blink detection,
– Focus lock, Auto mode, Expert mode – Program, Colour Wizard and Manual options
– Smart mode, smart mode suggest, beauty face, best photo, continuous shot, best face, kids shot,
– Landscape, dawn, snow, macro, food mode, party/indoor, action freeze, rich tone HDR, panorama, waterfall
– Animated photo, drama shot, eraser, sound and shot, silhouette, sunset, night, fireworks, light trace
– My modes
– Options in settings for EV (brightness), ISO, WB, Metering,
– Drive Mode – continuous normal, continuous high, Auto exposure bracketing
– Flash – Auto, OFf, Red Eye, Fill in, Slow Sync, Red Eye Fix
– Focus Area – Centre AF, Multi AF
– Photo size, quality, auto contrast options
– Adjust images for colour, saturation, sharpness or contrast
– Timer
– Video – movie size, motion speed, sound and windcut,
– Sharing options
– Camera volume, beeps, guidelines, descriptions on or off, auto screen off, review, date/time imprint,
– GPS tag, Voice options, Contextual filenames tags, AF lamp, start mode, storage options, reset

That certainly makes for some heavy testing. Wish me luck!

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – silicone case

This is the first case I have been able to find for the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, which also included a screen protector.

I bought it from eBay, click here for link to eBay.

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The eBay seller also has the case available in black. No idea on long term quality, but for now I feel a bit more comfortable knowing my device is protected a little more against the elements. I must admit when I viewed the photos on eBay I was sceptical, but actually its rather good as it has special grippy parts.

The case does seem to fit fairly well, and for £3.90 I am rather pleased.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – Review Part 4

Welcome to part 4 of the Samsung S4 Zoom. Earlier parts and first impressions can be read here.

Today I am going to look at Easy Mode on the S4 Zoom.

Easy Mode is a simpler launcher for people not that familiar with smartphones or just want a non complex operation.

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As you can see from the above screen shot you get nice large icons. That is carried across to the other 2 pre configured screens.

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Where possible, tapping deeper into the apps and settings reveals just as simple and easy to read options.

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Ironically, I quite like the simplicity of easy mode. But it only allows 3 home screens and no widgets. What you see is what you get so clearly isn’t for everybody.