Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review

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

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Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom

Weighed against last year's predecessor the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, the K Zoom is undoubtedly a step or two in the right direction. If all you're asking is whether this year's model beats last year's then it's a four-to-five star verdict: absolutely, yes.

The camera specs have been upgraded but it's the phone specs that have received the biggest boost, and the device looks a lot more stylish as well. It's faster, with more RAM and better battery life, and a much better screen, and on top of all that the price has dropped a little as well.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom

Ultimately, despite a largely positive review, James Rogerson concluded that the S4 Zoom "commands a premium price tag... despite not being a premium example of either [a phone or camera]" and this still rings true for the K Zoom even with the progress Samsung has made.

It's possible that the 2015 version of the K Zoom will be right on the money but even with the extra bulk of the lens and optics, you're still getting internal components inferior to most dedicated cameras out there, which negates the point of having this handset in the first place.

Nokia Lumia 1020

Then there are the smartphones with the very best cameras, such as the Nokia Lumia 1020. With Nokia's PureView technology, a Xenon flash and 41 megapixels to play around with, it's a superb option if you can put up with Windows Phone and all that it entails.

Nokia Lumia 1020

Like the K Zoom, there's some additional heft around the lens that you'll have to live with in return for superior shots, though you don't get the large optical zoom range than Samsung's offering has - the Lumia 1020 effectively has a 3x optical zoom rating.

The screen isn't quite as big, and you don't get all of the Samsung and Android apps of course, but the Lumia 1020 is available for much less if you hunt around on the web. A big saving for a comparable camera, but there are pluses and minuses as far as the smartphone half of the equation is concerned.

Sony Xperia Z2

The Sony Xperia Z2, meanwhile, offers both a great smartphone and a great camera. You'll need to pay for the benefits it brings, but it has specs to drool over with 3GB of RAM and a quad-core 2.3GHz processor.

There's a huge 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 pixel screen, better internal components and Sony's lightly skinned version of Android - it lacks the bells and whistles of the TouchWiz UI but whether that's a good or bad thing is up to you and how attached you are to Samsung's take on Google's OS.

Sony Xperia Z2

As we mentioned earlier, the 20.7-megapixel sensor inside the Z2 looks likely to be the same one Samsung is using for its K Zoom model. That means unless you're using one of the K Zoom's special features (like zoom or flash) your shots will be on a par in many situations.

The K Zoom has its slew of manual settings of course, and is significantly cheaper, but the Xperia Z2 is ahead in terms of phone power and screen resolution. What the Sony and Nokia flagships prove is that you don't have to install a chunky camera lens to get good shots from a smartphone.