The year 2013 will be know as the year of the smartphone camera. Why so? Because the year has seen the debut of some of the biggest smartphones with extremely powerful cameras and imaging technology. The Lumia 1020, Sony's Xperia Z1 and many other handsets are a part of this trend. Feeling left out of the party, Samsung come out with the Galaxy S4 Zoom earlier this year.
The handset has been designed with a strong focus on imaging and photography, something that's rather obvious when you look at the S4 Zoom. You'll notice that its massive zoom lens on the rear stands out.
It happens to be a 16-megapixel sensor behind a 10X Samsung Zoom lens. The outside of the lens ring can be rotated to access a camera shortcut menu and Zoom in and out as well. To protect the shutter and lens while it's stowed in a pocket or bag, Samsung has added a plastic layer in front of both.
The phone looks bulky, is bulky, but fits into your pockets without any trouble. But pulling it out of your pockets might prove to be a bit awkward.
Since its rather heavy and bulky, the device might give you the impression that its well built. But the truth is that it follows Samsung's usual design schemes, which involves nothing but all-plastic bodies. Owing to its bulky form, the phone is a little hard to hold for reading and viewing videos every now and then.
The handset has a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen with a resolution of 540x960 pixels. It churns out a pixel density of 256ppi. Since Samsung has used up so much space with the Zoom lens in the rear, the move will bring in some serious consequences. What are they? It has given the phone a great zoom lens by sacrificing the phone's display. All other flagships use at least 720p displays, but the Galaxy S4 has a much shabbier qHD display.
What is the result? Images and videos look bland on the phone. There is no sharpness. Visibility in sunlight was poor and viewing angles were mediocre. All in all, a bad display at this price point. What's worse is that the display isn't even good enough to display images clicked by the phones wonderful camera in full resolution. So you're going to have to go to a computer to view the images at their best.
However, the S4 Zoom's display was not very reflective and under sun visibility was good. The viewing angles on the phone are also mediocre.