Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is First Smartphone with 10X Optical Zoom

So, the term “cameraphone” was all the rage in the ’90s and early ’00s, became irrelevant with the advent of smartphones and now, wouldn’t you know it, the term is making a comeback. That’s the best way we have, for now, to describe something like the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, a version of the S4 with a full-on camera lens stuck onto the back.

First thing we should probably get out of the way is that this isn’t an S4 with a camera on its back. The phone parts have been watered down a little, which means just a 4.3” 960 x 540 sAMOLED display and a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor. It’ll still run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and will have LTE support.

With that out of the way, we’ll get to that camera on the back, which is no slouch. The most eye-opening number is 10x optical zoom – none of that blur-inducing digital zoom stuff. It has a 16 MP BMI CMOS sensor and an optical image stabilizer, with a 24-240 mm lens with aperture sizes of F3.1 to F6.3. There’s also a 1.9 MP camera on the front.

There’s some extra software here to back up the new camera hardware, too. Photo Suggest grabs pictures others have taken of a particular scene or landmark, and gives you ideas on how to frame your shot. It’s apparently powerful enough to suggest nearby vantage points for better photos. Smart Mode is kind of like the dial you might find on a point-and-shoot or some DSLRs – it adjusts settings based on what kind of pictures you are taking, like portraits, landscapes, or night shots. The S4 Zoom will be able to suggest settings based on a number of factors in the environment, too. You’ll also have the Zoom Ring, which allows for sharing of existing photos within a call and shooting new photos and instantly sharing those, as well.

Samsung hasn’t given a specific release date or pricing details for the Galaxy S4 Zoom yet.

Press Release