Samsung’s camera phone updated with the K Zoom

Last year’s Galaxy S4 Zoom was one of the more intriguing camera phone prospects out there, delivering a proper camera with a proper phone, and not just the middle ground we’re used to. This year, though, Samsung is improving the formula.

For Samsung’s second smartphone with an actual camera inside — not just a sensor and a lens with digital zoom, but an actual camera with optical zoom — the company is turning to its recently launched Galaxy S5 handset, evolving the design, but keeping the look, operating system, Android overlay, and even adding a new sensor.

First are the important bits, and that would be the camera inside, with Samsung switching out the 16 megapixels sensor from the Galaxy S5 and replacing it with a 20.7 megapixel sensor supporting ISO from 100 to 3200, JPEG (no RAW here, sorry), and Full HD video.

Unlike the Galaxy S5, there’s no 4K support on this camera, though you can get a lot closer to your subject thanks to the optical zoom.

Yes, there’s a 10x optical zoom with an actual protruding lens, covering the 24-240mm range when compared to a 35mm camera. That lens runs f/3.1-6.3 over the barrel, so it may not be suitable for low light, but with a flash built into the phone-camera, you’ll still be able to get some night shots out of it.

Controlling the camera side of things will be performed through a 4.8 inch HD (1280×720) screen, relying on Super AMOLED technology, with Android 4.4 “KitKat” running here with Samsung’s TouchWiz overlay.

Inside the phone — remember, it’s still a phone — is a hexa-core processor, made up two parts: a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, which will likely be built by Samsung and labeled as part of its Exynos range, similar to the chip used in Samsung’s Chromebook.

As a phone, it supports 3G and 4G, with WiFi taken care of over 802.11a/b/g/n (no ac here), Bluetooth 4 with LE, Near-Field Communication, and GPS, while the internals will also include 2GB RAM and 8GB storage, with more provided over the microSD slot.

The weight of the phone will be a little heavier than the S5, chiming in at 200 grams, which is still lighter than HTC’s One Max.

And there’s the battery, which is rated at 2430mAh, lower than the S5, though with a smaller and lower resolution screen, may make up the difference. Samsung is even including the “Ultra Power Saving Mode” from the S5, capable of providing extra charge from even the smallest amount of life left.

Unfortunately, there’s no firm release date for Australia, since the K Zoom was launched internationally in Singapore. That said, an Australian representative for Samsung has chimed in to tell us that it will be coming, with Samsung’s Business Manager for Digital Imaging, Craig Gillespie, telling GadgetGuy that “the Galaxy K Zoom will be launched in Australia in the coming months.”

“For many Australians, their smartphone is their primary camera,” said Gillespie. “The Samsung Galaxy K Zoom is our latest pioneering device, equipped with the features that a smartphone user needs to stay connected while also providing an outstanding camera. Information regarding local pricing and retailer availability will be announced closer to the Australian on sale date for this product.”

We can’t imagine the K Zoom will encroach too much on the pricing territory of the Galaxy S5, and expect this to be around $700 to $900, though we can always be proven wrong.

We hope we’re not, though, so stay tuned for the price and availability details in, as Samsung says, “the coming months.”