Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review

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

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review
A decent camera in a larger phone

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Samsung has kitted out the Galaxy K Zoom with the S5 version of TouchWiz, sitting atop Android 4.4.2 KitKat, and there's nothing new of note to report here. We covered Samsung's newest software release in our comprehensive Galaxy S5 review, and you can find all of the main details there.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

The TouchWiz UI is also found on the S5

The geometric layout and circular icons ushered in with the S5 are all present and correct, giving the software a pleasant and premium feel that earlier editions of TouchWiz lacked.

If you're used to a stock or HTC version of Android, be prepared for plenty of Samsung branding: that Calendar app you're looking for is actually called S Planner, for example. Speaking as a long-time Nexus user, the My Files app is a welcome addition, making file management much more straightforward.

Overall I found the switch from stock Android to TouchWiz less problematic than I'd feared. Samsung likes to pack a lot of stuff in there certainly, but for the most part it's well laid out and intuitive enough. I wouldn't be tempted to switch from stock Android, but it's perfectly fine.

The likes of S Voice and Dropbox come pre-installed (link your Dropbox account for an instant 50GB boost for two years) but there was no sign of S Health Lite, despite the phone's press information suggesting they'd be there. It's possible that this was just a glitch with our review unit - I've contacted Samsung and will update this review when it replies.

Contacts does a great job of syncing information about the people you know from various disparate networks, while Samsung's own messaging app is still here despite the onward march of Google Hangouts.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

As usual, music playback can be controlled from the notification screen

One of the newest features in this section of the company's OS is the addition of a space for 'priority senders' at the top of your inbox. If you have contacts you really, really like keeping in touch with, then you can pin them here.

The Galaxy K Zoom achieved a GeekBench single-core score of 868 and multi-score score of 2051. That's a long way south of the S5's 2909 and the HTC One M8's 2899. Even the Galaxy S4 managed 2325, so you get some idea of the level of power we're talking about here.

Does it matter anymore? I didn't notice any major performance problems with the K Zoom, even on demanding games or with several apps open - certainly no more issues than I usually get with the Nexus 5. Performance is perfectly acceptable. But be warned; if you want the latest and most powerful tech inside your smartphone, this isn't the handset for you.

Finally there's a pre-installed Studio app for getting creative with your photos and videos, presumably designed to take on the built-in editing capabilities of the iPhone. It sticks to the basics, but it's slick and friendly, and definitely a welcome bonus.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.