Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Review

For months now my old cell phone has been giving up on me at the most inconvenient times… the memory was fading fast, I couldn’t do updates. Instagram and Twitter both stopped working (quite critical for someone in social media!) I was sending out lots of prayers for a new phone as it really wasn’t going to go the distance until my upgrade in December! (Word to the wise – don’t make the same mistake I did by choosing a phone that was on it’s way out already for the sake of a cheaper contract – It won’t last the length of your contract)

So, when I managed to WIN a new phone I really was over the moon – ask the other attendees at the event – I literally screamed! Anyway after a very patient wait my new phone has finally arrived in the country! My new cell phone – The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – was certainly worth the wait.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is a thing of beauty. It is one of the very first phones with a professional quality camera. Along with the usual features and apps of the stylish S4 it also comes with additional camera features such as 16MP, 10 x Optical Zoom, Optical Image Stabilizer – basically the IDEAL phone/camera for me as a blogger who works in social media and needs to take pictures on the run at events, shops or launches!  

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At first I was a bit concerned that the fixed zoom lens and hand grip of the camera aspect of the phone would be big and bulky and heavier than I was used to, but considering I am usually carrying my phone in my bag this hasn’t been too much of a problem for me – but it might not work for men who prefer to keep their phone in the pocket (btw this is a bad idea for health reasons!)

As a non-techie it’s taken me about a few weeks to adjust and teach myself how to use the settings (and I’m still learning) but now I can’t imagine using another phone. The phone itself is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (a 540×960 qHD touch screen of 4.3 inches, 1.5 GB Ram, and 8GB of on board storage. There’s also support for a microSD card for extra storage for all those photos you are going to be taking) It is super user friendly! The phone feels solid, and the screen is coated with Gorilla Glass and a polycarbonate casing which should protect it from too much damage – even if it can make it feel a bit slippery to hold.

The camera has a built-in tripod mount and a great optical zoom which allows you to zoom in on objects for crisp, detailed close-up shots, without the fuzziness and blurriness that usually comes with smartphone cameras. There are several different shooting modes available, including Auto, Smart and Expert. Smart mode easily let you select a mode such as HDR or nighttime rather than having to fiddle with the complicated settings found in Expert mode, which lets you tweak settings such as shutter speed and aperture. Some of my favourite modes are Kids shot which plays a sound to attract the child’s attention, Continuous which shoots 4 pics in quick succession so you can get the best shot and Best face which allows you to merge the best faces from a few different pics to ensure everyone in the pic looks great!

And you won’t believe the quality of the pics. To show you the comparison the pics shown above were taken on Instagram using my iPad and below is one of a poppy I took recently using the Macro setting on my S4 Zoom… I had first been using the camera via Instagram and only just realised the clarity that is available to me when first shooting via the camera and THEN uploading to Instagram. I probably won’t need to use filters anymore!!

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(Look out for more pics from this little poppy photo shoot soon – so pretty I just have to share them all!)

Obviously as with all smart phones the battery life is an issue and although I can’t compare the hundreds of other phones on the market as I haven’t used them all it is a lot better than my previous phone – I can get away with charging it every second night but every night would probably be better. It does come with battery saving mode which reduces the brightness of the screen for example so that does help although this is the aspect of the phone that I do struggle with – taking photos or trying to read text while in bright sunlight is virtually impossible unfortunately. You need to position yourself so that the screen is out of the sun in order to see what you are doing!

Despite the minor negative aspects to the phone I am still very happy with my Galaxy S4 Zoom. Having EVERYTHING in one place and avoiding carrying my iPad and SLR with me everywhere has transformed my life! And although I’m not a gadget geek by any means, having one of the latest phones on the market is really quite fun – so many people have stopped to ask about it!

So, I know you are probably hating me for winning such an awesome prize – I do fear I might be losing friends and readers due to my very lucky ways… Let’s hope not! I do try to share my luck around as best I can….. which means you might want to come back here tomorrow (hint, hint!)

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

14 Comments
  1. Very cool phone. Quite intersting review. I was acctually dreaing about phone like this, since I love taking pictures, but carying the point ad shoot camera plus the phoe seems a bit much at a times…. Enjoy your phone! I hope it will last you a long time and you will love it more and more.

  2. WOW! That close up of the poppy is remarkable! I don’t know if I will be able to stop taking photos! <3 #LoveAtFirstSight

  3. This phone would be perfect for me as it is a phone and a camera in one. I currently do not own a camera and my doesn’t allow me to take any photo’s either.

    This means that i cant take any photos of my daughter who is 2 years old, so it means that i cant capture those first moments or those cute funny moments in her life. #FeelingSad.

    The Samsung Galaxy S4 camera phone would be the greatest thing to allow me to keep in touch with my family as well as to capture those all important moments in my daughter’s life.

  4. This phone would be perfect for me as it is a phone and a camera in one. I currently do not own a camera and my phone doesn’t allow me to take any photo’s either.

    This means that i cant take any photos of my daughter who is 2 years old, so it means that i cant capture those first moments or those cute funny moments in her life. #FeelingSad.

    The Samsung Galaxy S4 camera phone would be the greatest thing to allow me to keep in touch with my family as well as to capture those all important moments in my daughter’s life.

  5. I would love to capture the milestones of my 3 gorgeous children! Those moments are priceless!

  6. Read this review and all I can say is WOW! The quality of that picture on the macro setting is unbelievable! I have entered your current competition because I honestly do not know how I have been living without this baby!!! #MustHave !

  7. Hi 🙂

    WOW this really is a must-have phone.
    the phone i was using just decided to give up and no longer function so I had to find a temporary non-Smartphone to use in the meantime.
    I love nature and beautiful things and reading about this phone just excites me because this is EXACTLY what i need for my busy, fun and adventurous life so that i can capture every moment. 🙂

    Nay Maphalala

  8. It looks like a real class leader in phone/camera market and with the Nokia lumia 1020 that has come out with it’s 41 megapixel camera, Samsung need to be at the top of their game. I am a die hard Samsung supporter. I believe everything they produce is of the best quality and always seems to have great new innovations. They never get stale in what they do and this is the same with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. They have pushed the boundaries again of what is technically possible. It is awesome to see.

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