The line continues to blur between what constitutes a smartphone with a built-in camera versus a camera with smartphone functionality. I'd argue we're still entrenched in the former category, though Samsung's Galaxy S4 Zoom isn't playing games when it comes to taking pictures. This thing wields a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera and is the first smartphone for feature a 10x optical zoom, which is assisted by a spin-to-focus manual control ring.
AT&T will become the first wireless carrier in the U.S. to offer the Galaxy S4 Zoom starting November 8, at which time you'll be able to grab the device for $25 per month on an AT&T Next installment agreement, or $200 with a two-year service contract.
"Customers need more and more from their smartphones," said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president – Devices, AT&T. "With powerful, best-in-class optical zoom, in addition to easy access to day-to-day functions like email, social media and more, we’re able to offer customers the qualities they want and need all in one device with the Galaxy S 4 zoom."
While on the topic of camera performance, the Galaxy S4 Zoom boasts a dedicated shutter button, optical image stabilizer, 25 pre-set camera modes (Sunset, Best FAce, Drama, Panorama, and more), and the ability to record video at 30fps in 1080p or 60fps at 720p. There's also a built-in Xenon flash and 1.9MP front-facing camera to play with.
Other specs include a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, 4.3-inch qHS Super AMOLED display, micro USB, microSD card slot, 2330mAh battery, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and a few other odds and ends.
It's kind of ho-hum as far as modern smartphones go, but for those who value camera performance over all else, the Galaxy S4 Zoom is one to keep an eye on.