Samsung Launches Galaxy S4 Zoom with 16MP Camera and 10X Optical Zoom

It's often discussed how smartphones are starting to negate the need for dedicated point-n-shoots, but Samsung's latest handset takes things a step further and actually looks like a digital camera. It also looks like a smartphone. How so? Dubbed "Galaxy S4 zoom," the handset looks like a regular Galaxy S4, but it quickly transforms into a high-end compact camera when engaging its 10x optical zoom.

Samsung also equipped the Galaxy S4 zoom with a 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, optical image stabilizer (OIS), and Xenon flash. According to Samsung, the Galaxy S4 zoom excels in all light conditions, and with the built-in OIS, you needn't worry about blurry pictures ruining those spur-of-the-moment photo sessions.

Galaxy S4 zoom

"The Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom represents yet another step forward in the way Samsung is working to enhance the lives of our customers around the world," said JK Shin, President and CEO, Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division, Samsung Electronics. "As communication continues to become increasingly visual in nature, people wish to capture and share their moments in the highest quality possible, but often do not have the space or inclination to carry a dedicated camera for this purpose. The Galaxy S4 zoom changes this forever, combining the industry leading functionality and connectivity of the Galaxy S4 with the high quality photographic experience you’d expect from a compact camera. The result is truly the best of both worlds, without compromise."

Galaxy S4 Zoom Camera

To take advantage of the improved photo taking capabilities, Samsung created a new Zoom Ring feature to activate certain key functions. If you're in the middle of a call, for example, a twist of the Zoom Ring will activate the In-Call Photo Share feature, which allows you to snap a pic and send it to the person you're chatting with.

Outside of the improved optics, the Galaxy S4 zoom is a mostly familiar device (to the Galaxy S4 mini) with a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB RAM, 8GB of internal memory + microSD card slot, and various other odds and ends.

No word yet on price or availability.