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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Battery life

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review

There is one benefit to having internal specifications that are some way short of the very best on the market, and that's superior battery life.

The Galaxy K Zoom does very well in this regard, particularly when it's used just as a phone: a few calls and a bit of web browsing and you'll get well over a day's use out of it, if not two.

The traditional TechRadar 90-minute HD video test knocked the phone's battery level down from 100% to 88% - compare that to the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5S (84%) or the HTC One M8 (77%). Impressive, especially considering it has a middling 2430 mAh battery installed.

When the camera and the flash start strutting their stuff, battery performance is less stellar. If you're going to disappear for an all-day photo-taking expedition then it's likely that you'll be out of juice and hunting for a power socket by the time you get back.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review

It's not a disaster, but it's worth bearing in mind if you're considering the K Zoom as your next purchase.

I went out for an hour's worth of photo and video capturing, and when I came back the battery level was down to 78%. Multiply that by four or five hours and you'll start having problems, but to be fair to the K Zoom, the camera is a big battery drain on all smartphones.

Other intensive tasks, such as watching movies, listening to music and gaming didn't seem to use up too much juice.

Presumably that lower resolution screen and the CPU speed management present in the K Zoom helps in this regard. It's another area where there's substantial improvement over the S4 Zoom.

Media and the essentials

With hardware that's solid and software that's been refined over many years, the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom has no problems when it comes to fulfilling its duties as a standard smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review

Making and taking calls is a breeze, with both incoming and outgoing volume levels nicely balanced, and as we've already mentioned Samsung's contacts management system is one of TouchWiz's best features.

Elsewhere there are no surprises good or bad. There's the usual Android and Samsung medley of media apps: Photos, Play Movies & TV, Play Music and YouTube from Google, plus Gallery, Music and Video from Samsung. As far as your music goes, both Samsung and Google apps alike offer playback controls from the notifications pull-down and the lock screen.

Whether you're using the supplied headphones or integrated speaker (sitting at the top of the rear of the phone when held in portrait mode), audio quality is decent without being spectacular, which is more or less par for the course for the majority of handsets out there.

If you're anything like me, you'll want to switch off Samsung's pop, whizz and crackle system sounds at the earliest opportunity, but this is easily done.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review

Watching movies on the 4.8-inch screen is about as good as you'll get from a mobile phone handset. Colours are crisp, sharp and vibrant, and high definition video (whether 720p or above) looks great based on the film trailers I browsed through.

It's not the biggest or highest resolution screen on the market, but the video watching experience is a good one thanks to the Super AMOLED technology installed by Samsung.

As for the Samsung apps themselves, they're functional and friendly: as noted in our Galaxy S5 review, the Gallery app pulls in pictures from a variety of sources, while the only notable innovation in the Music app is a Mood Square that lets you queue up tunes based on tempo and feeling.

On to gaming, and a quick ten minute blast of Dots barely troubled the battery level meter, while the same amount of time on the more demanding Real Racing 3 saw a drop of 4 percent - not great but not wildly out of line from what you'd expect from other handsets.

The special hexacore setup inside the K Zoom doesn't seem to have too many difficulties with games that demand higher frame rates - perhaps due to that lower resolution screen. However, trying to control a game with a chunky camera lens around the back of the device isn't always easy.

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.