CNET First Look
Samsung Galaxy K Zoom squashes 10x zoom into a smartphoneThe Galaxy K Zoom is a 4.8-inch Android phone with a 20-megapixel camera and a whopping 10x optical zoom lens. Hit play on our video review to see if it's the ultimate photography phone.
[NOISE] Struggling to decide whether you want a shiny new phone or a brand new camera? Well why not combine the two with Samsung Galaxy K Zoom? It's a 4.8 inch Android phone with a 20 megapixel camera, and a whopping ten times optical zoom. From the front, the K Zoom looks like any other Galaxy phone. It has a crisp white body, metallic edging, physical home button, and the chrome speaker grill. Turn it around, though, and the huge camera lens and xenon flash make it indistinguishable from a regular compact digital camera. It's lost the awkward battery home from its predecessor, the S4 Zoom, although it's still a very chunky beast. It's 20 mil thick and it weighs 200 grams, making it far more cumbersome than the Galaxy S5. It may not be the ideal device for everyday use. The Galaxy S5 has one of the best cameras available on a phone, so the K Zoom has some very big shoes to fill. Even with its physically larger sensor and higher megapixel count, I still found the K Zoom shots to be less impressive than the S5's. This was mostly due to its auto-white balance, which erred on the cold side more often than not, and a less even exposure than the S5 was able to achieve. Its trump card comes in a form of a 10 times optical zoom, however, that lets you focus in on distant objects without losing quality. Unlike the digital zoom on the S5 which, essentially, just crops into the picture, heavily reducing the quality. If you're heading out to see lions in Africa and don't want to risk losing a limb, optical zoom like this will come in very handy indeed. There's a range of scenes and features like panorama and burst shooting, while the pro suggest mode will recommend what it thinks will give the best results for your shot. Although in my time, I didn't find this particularly useful. Camera stuff aside, the K Zoom acts just like any other Galaxy phone. It runs Android 4.42 Kit Kat. It's powered by a 1.3 gigahertz quad core chip, with a lower powered dual core chip as well, to use for less demanding tasks, in theory, helping save batteries. The Galaxy K Zoom may seem like the photography enthusiast's dream device, but it's far from perfect, as its chunky size makes it very awkward for everyday use. And its images are generally less impressive than the Galaxy S5. And thus, if having an optical zoom on your phone is of the utmost importance for some reason, you'd be better sticking to a regular phone for your snaps, and just taking a good compact camera away when you go on holiday. I'm Andrew Hoyle for c|net, and this is the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. [MUSIC]