The K zoom is the successor to last year's Galaxy S4 zoom. It now boasts a faster hexa-core processor comprising a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 1.7GHz dual-core processor and a higher megapixel count of 20.7 megapixels.
Its display has been upgraded to 4.8 inches with a higher resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels. The software also gets an upgrade to Android 4.4 KitKat.
Inside the K zoom is a system memory of 2GB, internal storage of 8GB with microSD card slot support for an SDXC card of up to 64GB.
While you may think the hardware improvements add up to more zippy performance, the truth is the K zoom still feels sluggish when compared with, say, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
The K zoom is also quite thick at 20.2mm because of that 10x optical zoom lens, though still pocketable.
Yes, you can call your best mate immediately with your "camera" to tell him you just shot a selfie with David Beckham.
But the K zoom sheds the bulging grip and the tripod hole of its predecessor. So, handling this camera is like using a smartphone when taking pictures with two hands. There are plenty of photo modes, such as Food, Sunset and Fireworks, to choose from.
Because of the Android OS, the K zoom takes 23sec to start up and 8sec to shut down. But if the display is unlocked, you can access the camera app in 1.5sec by pressing the shutter release.
Auto-focusing (AF) is almost instantaneous in bright light. In dim lighting, it takes between 1sec and 3sec to secure a focus with the aid of AF assist light. Shutter lag is less than 1sec.
Image quality is almost on a par with many flagship smartphones, such as the Apple iPhone 5s. But the K zoom lacks the sharpness and details at the edges. This softness is more evident at longer focal lengths.
Image noise performance is not very good. Noise artefacts are visible at ISO 400, especially in shadowed areas. Video quality is sharp and crisp with very little ambient or wind audio.
Battery life depends on how you use it. When I tested it with 4G Internet turned on and notifications for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram switched on, the battery life had dropped to 70 per cent by midday before I had shot a single photo. Taking 100 or so still images will quickly cut this to 50 per cent. But you can always buy a second battery.
If you need a smartphone with optical zoom lens, Samsung's Galaxy K zoom is one seriously convenient option.
Price: $798 (without contract)
Image sensor: 20.7-megapixel CMOS 1/2.3-inch
Display: 4.8-inch 1,280 x 720 pixel Amoled touchscreen
Lens: 24-240mm f/3.1-f/6.3
Shooting speed: Up to 3 frames per second
Processor: 1.3GHz quad-core processor + 1.7GHz dual-core processor
Weight: 200g (with battery and memory card)
Value for money: 3/5
Battery life: 3/5
This article was first published on July 30, 2014.
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