Apparently unwilling to dilute the Galaxy S brand anymore, Samsung took the wraps off an S5 subspecies called Galaxy K Zoom. I’ll be damned. But look, Sammy, just because you label a light bulb some fancy other way, it doesn’t mean we’ll view it any differently.
If it glows as a result of electric current passing through it, it’s a light bulb, and likewise, if the K Zoom is a logical follow-up to last year’s Galaxy S4 Zoom with a design overhaul making it look like the GS5, it’s a Galaxy S5 Zoom.
At the end of the day though, we couldn’t care less about branding strategies and marketing mumbo-jumbo. What we want is for this Galaxy S5 K Zoom to improve on an intriguing but poorly executed concept. Well, does it? Are we any closer to ditching conventional point-and-shoot cams in favor of a smartphone/camera hybrid that can do it all?
Only one way to find out – take the K Zoom and pit it against the Galaxy S4 Zoom. Here it goes:
Design and build quality comparison
However smart it may be, whatever tricks it might have up its sleeve, no one wants to carry around a brick. As such, it was back to the drawing board for Samsung after botching up S4 Zoom’s aesthetics.
Now, sure, the K Zoom shares quite a few common points with its predecessor (after all, the Koreans couldn’t have possibly reinvented the wheel), but make no mistake, the designers started from scratch. And they (mostly) pulled it off.
The K Zoom sports a much larger display (0.5 inch larger, to be exact), yet it’s 8 grams lighter. It’s also reasonably thin, measuring 20.2 mm at its thickest point. Most importantly, it doesn’t feel like Samsung conceived two separate gizmos, then blended them together with little sense anymore.
The K Zoom really gives off the vibe of a cohesive, close-knit crossbreed. Bottom line, you won’t feel bad when whipping the big guy out of your pocket and using it as a phone. As for the perforated pattern on the device’s back, it oddly works.
Build quality? Since the GS5 is sturdier, more robust than the S4, we expect the K Zoom to trump the S4 Zoom too.
Samsung Galaxy K Zoom vs Galaxy S4 Zoom – camera face-off
We clearly need to wait for real-life comparisons with Nokia’s PureView monsters and Sony’s 20.7 MP snapper-toting Xperia Z2 before concluding the K Zoom is the all-around best camera phone. For the moment, we can definitely assume it’s better than the S4 Zoom.
Both photographic powerhouses pack 10x optical zoom, Xenon flash and optical image stabilization and the sensor size is the same: 1/2.3″. Then again, the K Zoom ups the megapixel ante from 16 to 20.7 and adds a bundle of special, nifty features in the mix.
You’ve got AF/AE Separation, a Pro Suggest smart mode, Object tracking and Studio, plus better response times and 1080p video recording at 60 frames per second. Face, smile and blink detection, panorama, HDR, geo-tagging, Kids shot, Expert Mode, Beauty face, Virtual tour, Continuous shot, Selfie alarm, Landscape, these are all add-ons the S4 Zoom introduced and, presumably, the K Zoom revises and upgrades.
Enough about the camera part of the hybrid, let’s talk smartphone specs. Granted, K Zoom’s screen isn’t exactly spectacular. But when compared to S4 Zoom’s panel, it’s leaps and bounds ahead. Not only is it bigger and thus more comfortable for video playing and whatnot, it boasts 1,280 x 720 pixels resolution for a 306 ppi pixel density.
The poor, raggedy old S4 Zoom, meanwhile, comes with a shoddy 960 x 540 pixel count in tow and crappy 256 ppi. No extra comment necessary.
Processing speed, RAM and battery life
Once again, the K Zoom isn’t breathtaking when evaluated on its own. It’s no high-end contender, that much is obvious. But its on-board CPU has three times as many cores as S4 Zoom’s. Six in total, four of the Cortex A7 line and clocked at 1.3 GHz and a couple 1.7 GHz Cortex A15s.
The hexa-core Exynos 5260 chipset is paired with a Mali-T624 GPU and 2 GB RAM, up from 1.5 GB in 2013. As a result, multitasking and overall hardware performance should considerably and noticeably progress.
Autonomy? That’s a touchy subject for the time being, as the K Zoom barely boosts battery capacity by 100 mAh (2,430 vs 2,330). And with a higher-res display and more power-demanding processor, it’s entirely possible you’re looking at a downgrade instead of an upgrade. Oh, well, at least you get S5’s Ultra Power Saving Mode to make the best of the ticker’s final units of juice.
Software, storage, connectivity and others
Pre-loaded Android 4.4 KitKat comes as no surprise for a Q2 2014 upper mid-range smartphone, but I must admit, I wasn’t expecting the K Zoom to incorporate so many of GS5’s TouchWiz-specific goodies. There’s S Health Lite, the uber-useful Kids mode and, I’m guessing, plenty of other features Sammy didn’t get a chance to detail.
Storage-wise, the K Zoom and S4 Zoom are identical twins, with 8 gigs of space built-in and an additional 64 available via microSD cards. Not much has changed in the connectivity department either, with Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Wi-Fi and optional 4G LTE across the board.
That’s pretty much everything worth noting and, since K Zoom pricing and availability continue to be kept under lock and key, I’m afraid we’ll need to give it some time before passing a verdict. So far, so good though. Anyone care to disagree? The comments section is all yours.