A Singapore-first: Sneak peek at Samsung’s GALAXY S4 zoom with LTE

The Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom with LTE is being launched in Singapore, a first for the region. (Photo credit: Sam …

Calling all Android-aficionados, the wait is finally over. The Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom with LTE hits stores today. This is a first for Southeast Asia, and if you are a fan of hybrid devices that offer bang for buck, you might want to give this a gander.

First, let us address the elephant in the room. This is not your average ergonomic smartphone that you slip into your backpocket as you set out for a night out on the town. Some might say it’s a little heavier than would be expected for smartphones today, and a surprising segue from its slimmer predecessors. Weighing in at 208 grams, it is a little hefty. But there is a method to the madness here, because the device is not for the uninitiated. While it offers all the traditional specifications of a phone, another strong ‘sell’ comes in the form of the integrated camera.

Double-take: The GALAXY S4 zoom is both a phone and digital camera. (Samsung photo)Double-take: The GALAXY S4 zoom is both a phone and digital camera. (Samsung photo)

Part of the GALAXY S4 family, the phone is a culmination of Samsung’s bid to create a single device that fulfills the dual roles of smartphone and high-end compact camera at the same time. This addresses a niche in the market that has been largely untapped to date: for the user who wants to document facets of his life on camera, without having to carry an additional device on his person. The product is a foreseeable heavy-hitter for snap-happy fans who want access to the Ethernet stratosphere as well. Melding the worlds of technology and delivering on both ends, Android fans will likely be happy with this latest offering.

The super-sensitive 16-megapixel BSI (back side–illuminated) sensor allows you to zoom 10x and still take clear shots. (Saumsung photo)The super-sensitive 16-megapixel BSI (back side–illuminated) sensor allows you to zoom 10x and still take clear …

What you see is what you get

The big draw that sets it apart from counterparts is the 24-240mm optically-stabilised lens. Powered by Android Jelly Beal 4.2, it is also equipped with Touchwiz, for an intuitive, tailor-made mobile experience. Users can enjoy the typical easily-navigated Samsung interface, while capturing precision images with the 10x optical zoom and built-in image stabiliser combined. Adding to that, the 16 megapixel imaging sensor helps you capture pictures from afar, or up close and personal, in different lighting conditions. Resolution is on-point here and the cameras ability to pick up intricate detail is a strong suit as well.

The Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom with LTE also connects users to extensive libraries of images taken by fellow photographers, with ‘Photo Suggest’. This will direct them to an ideal nearby location, for the optimum vantage point – all-important for those Instagram uploads, of course.

Irene Ng, Vice President of Marketing, Samsung Asia Pte Ltd, says the impetus behind this release was clear.

“The Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom With LTE is a true showcase of our efforts to understand what our consumers most need to enjoy the best things in life. As communication becomes increasingly multi-faceted, people are looking for devices which can complement their lifestyles, without having to worry about the inconvenience of bringing multiple devices.”

Super-light yet comes with 1.5GB RAM and 8GB MicroSD. (Samsung photo)Super-light yet comes with 1.5GB RAM and 8GB MicroSD. (Samsung photo)

A marriage of technological convenience

Ergonomic, and offering many easy-to-use features, this is a product that will appeal to novices and current customers alike. However, while it will fit comfortably in the palms of most hands, it is a little ‘clunkier’ than you would expect of a device that delivers on other fronts as it does. In addition, it has beveled sides all around, making it next-to-impossible to stand the camera up on its own – so if you are looking to take a quick picture this week, you are out of luck. An interesting oversight, considering the focus on the camera here. Perhaps a little tweaking is ahead for Samsung, with the next generation of this device.

In the meantime, the Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom with LTE offers go-to options that integrate convenience with being on-the-go. For example, when in the midst of taking a call and you come across something you absolutely have to take a picture of and share, that is not an issue. A quick twist of the camera’s ‘zoom ring’ will activate the in-call photo-sharing feature. This is an intuitive addition that users will find circumvents the traditional, more cumbersome options on the market.

Ultimately, this is a solid smartphone-camera marriage. But whether it is one that will go the distance and find resonance with potential users remains to be seen. However, hit or miss, for the good folks at Samsung, this is another one in the can that delivers more than it falls short.

The GALAXY S4 zoom with LTE will be launched at COMEX on Thursday. It will also be available at all telecommunication operators, major consumer electronics stores and Samsung Experience Stores at $798, without contract. For more information, please visit www.samsung.com/sg.

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