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Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom officially revealed – 16MP sensor, 10x optical zoom lens

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom was thought to be lying in wait for Samsung’s June 20th Galaxy and ATIV event in London, but today the Korean company has made the Android smartphone official. Toting an optical zoom lens and a huge 16MP sensor, it’s like the S4 and the Samsung Galaxy Camera had a fling and this was the outcome.

‘Cameraphone’ might have been a popular phrase three or four years ago but Samsung has taken it to new levels and meanings in 2013. The Galaxy S4 Zoom looks like another of the company’s Android smartphones from the front but turn it over and you’ll think it’s a compact digital camera.

On the back of the phone is a 24mm 10x optical lens which physically extends outside of the camera for proper zoom action. Sat behind that lens is a large 16 megapixel CMOS sensor and slightly to the left, a Xenon flash to add plenty of light to those night time shots. The right edge of the phone features a prominent, round shutter button located in the exact place you would expect it to be when holding a point and shoot digital camera, along with power and volume buttons. On the other side there’s even a thread to attach the phone to a tripod!

Flip the phone back over to the front and you’ve got a 4.3-inch 960 x 540 Super AMOLED screen running Android Jelly Bean 4.2 along with the TouchWiz user interface we’ve become very familiar with. Inside is a 1.5GHz dual-core processor for power, but so far the RAM and storage specifications have not been revealed. We do however know that whatever internal storage the phone has – likely 16GB – there is a micro SD card slot ready to take on more memory.

As you might expect, Samsung didn’t manage to cram a 16 megapixel sensor and a 10x optical lens into a body the same size as its slim Galaxy S4 flagship. This particular spin-off is particularly thick and heavy, measuring almost twice as thick as the S4 at 15.4mm and weighing a hefty 208g. Although thick and heavy for smartphone standards these days, the Zoom is actually thinner than Samsung’s Galaxy Camera which is the first Android-running digital camera.

We’ll be bringing you more details on Samsung’s latest Galaxy S4 spin-off as we get it, so stay tuned. In the meantime we’d like to know what you think – awesome idea or terrible mistake?

UPDATE: We now have confirmation that the S4 Zoom totes 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of storage and a 1.9MP front facing camera. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and 4G LTE pack out the connectivity options, along with an IR blaster for using the phone as a remote for other gadgets.