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First impressions: Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

SINGAPORE: Samsung is trying to break into the camera market with its Android-powered cameras for the last two years. It had some success but not as much as it would have liked to. Combining a smartphone and a camera in single device is not easy and on earlier occasions when we reviewed cameras we found that often cons outweighed pros in these devices.

Galaxy K Zoom looks like a device that may have more pros than cons.

The biggest difference between K Zoom and earlier Galaxy cameras is the design. K Zoom is surprisingly light for what it offers. It weighs just 200 grams and that makes a big difference in how well it feels in hands. At 20mm, it is also quite slim. While it was possible to carry earlier Galaxy cameras into pocket, K Zoom is the first device in the series that we feel would easily slip into the pocket, almost like a phablet.

Earlier Galaxy cameras were awkward to use as smartphones. The lens bulge was too big on them. But K Zoom can be used as a smartphone without too many compromises. The lens bulge in the device is surprisingly flat compared to what earlier Galaxy cameras had. Samsung claims that in K Zoom it is using a different (and unique) lens that retracts to form a very compact module.

In terms of design, K Zoom borrows heavily from the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S3. The back cover of K Zoom uses the same matte finish plastic found on Galaxy S5. This feels good in hand. The overall design, with its rounded corners and a curved back, is similar to that of Galaxy S3. Ergonomically, the design is good and makes using K Zoom easier despite its bulk.

The device runs a modified version of Android kitKat. Unlike Galaxy phones, K Zoom has a hardware button for camera. When the device is locked and the screen is off, this camera button can be used to quickly access the camera app.

The device we checked out had good performance and we did not see any lag.

But the screen did not seem as nice as what users get on the high-end Galaxy phones. The screen shows vibrant and punchy colours (it is AMOLED panel) but the brightness and sharpness is not as good as what Galaxy Note 3 or Galaxy S5 screens offer. For the sharpness bit, the reason is simple: unlike the Full HD screen in flagship Galaxy phones, Samsung is using 720p screen in K Zoom.

We took some photos with K Zoom in the low light scene. The performance seemed acceptable, though not exceptional. But question on image quality is something that we can only answer properly after using the device for a while.

In the past, Galaxy cameras have offers decent image quality. However, they have also carried a rather high price for what they offer.

The design of K Zoom is definitely attractive and practical. The performance seems good. We will take a better look at the image quality offered by K Zoom and the price is something that Samsung would reveal when it launches the device in India. However, even if the Galaxy camera offers image quality similar to what earlier Galaxy cameras had managed but comes with somewhat better price, we feel it may turn out to be a good competitor for the conventional cameras.

(The correspondent has travelled to Singapore on the invitation of Samsung)


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