Thursday, July 3, 2014

Samsung Galaxy K zoom - a camera-specialized smartphone

In a digital world where the smartphone is used more and more for selfies and photo uploads on social media, not all smartphone cameras cut it anymore.

Samsung has now launched a camera-specialized smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy K zoom that blends advanced digital camera technology with a Galaxy smartphone.

How the Galaxy K zoom looks with lens recessed

Opening the Camera app automatically activates the zoom lens' protrusion

With selfies becoming the trend these days and with smartphones becoming cheaper, more and more netizens love to take photos and upload these on the fly. Problem is, most smartphones really do not have great lens. Sure, high end smartphones now sport double-digit megapixels but when it comes to zooming in for a closer shot, most of them fail.

That has really been my frustration. In many events, I often find myself far from the stage and I try to zoom in for a closer shot. But the moment I zoom in digitally, any slight handshake renders my photo blurred. And even if I don't shake, the shot itself looks very grainy. Another frustration of this amateur photographer is trying to make the background and foreground light enough to be seen. Many times, I have to adjust the exposure AFTERWARDS using my computer.

These concerns and more seem to have been addressed by the Samsung Galaxy K zoom smartphone. At the blogger event, we were divided into teams. I partnered up with my good friend Noemi and we had a unit to play around with. Here are the features we used and the shots we took.

Feature #1: 10x optical zoom

Not digital. Optical. That makes a lot of difference. With a 10x optical zoom, you can get as clear a shot as you can with a DSLR. Imagine. We were on the 71st floor of 71 Gramercy, looking out into the whole of Makati. We zoomed in on St. Andrew Parish Church which was all the way in Reposo St. and we still got this shot.

Doesn't this look like we are just a block away?

Feature #2: AF/AE Separation

AF/AE stands for Auto Focus/Auto Exposure. The AF/AE Separation feature was so cool. When activated, a square appears in the center of the screen. When you touch it, it separates into 2 squares, one for auto focus, the other for auto exposure. Drag the auto focus box anywhere on the screen to focus that area. Drag the auto exposure box to another part to brighten up that area. I took a profile picture of Noemi by the window and this is how it came out.

On a very rainy day, both Noemi and the background Makati skyline look so clear...

Feature #3 - Pro Suggest

Pro Suggest gives live optimized filter settings depending on how the camera sees you frame your shot. We saw Jonel and Marjorie Uy in a romantic pose by the window and decided to see how they would look if we followed Pro Suggest's Cinematic filter. This is how it came out.

There are two more features that I did not try out but which look very interesting. Selfie Alarm allows users to take timed selfies with ease. Object Tracking allows you to position a box on the screen over a moving object to get a clear, focused shot of that object.

For those interested in some tech specs, here are a few:

Display: 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED
Processors: 1.3GHz quad core and 1.7GHz dual-core processors
OS: Kitkat 4.4
Cameras: 20.7 megapixel (rear) and 2.0 megapixel (front)
Memory: 2GB RAM
Internal Storage: 8GB with microSD slot (micro SDSC-up to 2GB guaranteed; micro SDHC-up to 32GB guaranteed; micro SDXC-up to 64GB guaranteed)
Battery: 2,430mAh
Weight: 200g

The Galaxy K zoom not only feels ergonomically comfortable with one hand but it also has features of a flagship Galaxy smartphone such as LTE connectivity, Ultra Power Saving Mode, S Health Lite for personalized fitness and lifestyle coaching, and a Studio app that lets you edit pictures and videos on the fly.

The Samsung Galaxy K zoom is now available at all Samsung authorized dealers nationwide. It retails for PhP 24,990.

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