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Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review

Samsung's shot at the ultimate cameraphone is off the mark

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As you probably could have predicted before you started reading this review, the K Zoom is a decent smartphone that sacrifices some style and weight in return for a few extra camera capabilities.

Pick up this handset and you're not necessarily buying better pictures: just more flexibility and polish for your shots. This far down the line Samsung isn't going to drop the ball in terms of hardware or software, both of which are fine, but its biggest problem is going to be finding a market.

We liked

It's great to be able to play around with manual settings, zoom in and actually rely on the flash on a smartphone. You could spend a long time experimenting with all the modes and features Samsung has packed in here.

As a smartphone the K Zoom is decidedly mid-range, but in a market where mid-range hardware is good enough for the majority that's not a huge problem. The screen is bright and crisp and the handset does a decent job with movies and music.

We disliked

There's no getting away from that bulky chassis, even if it is an improvement on the Galaxy S4 Zoom. It doesn't make the phone unusable but to my mind the quality of the snaps aren't quite worth the compromise in the size and shape of the handset.

Other than that there are actually very few niggles with the Galaxy K Zoom. If it was just a phone with a standard camera module you'd expect a lower price, but it's snappy and comfortable in use, and there are no major drawbacks to put you off purchasing it.

Verdict

The K Zoom makes sense for someone who wants to get a bit more serious about photography - with zoom settings, ISO control and the rest - without having to carry two devices around. That's a very small amount of buyers though, between those who just want to point-and-shoot and those who are ready to invest in a DSLR or top-end compact.

You wouldn't have to spend much money at your local camera shop to get a device that could take better pictures than the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, so it's up to you whether you want a bulky mobile or the inconvenience of having to take two devices around all summer.

To Samsung's credit, it's a step up from the S4 Zoom, and if you specifically want zoom, flash and manual settings on a phone-and-camera combo then it's pretty much the only game in town.

That said there are several smartphones capable of taking pictures that are just as good, albeit with a higher price tag, which leaves the K Zoom struggling to justify its existence.

First reviewed: June 2014