Samsung’s K Zoom camera phone hits Australia

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Smartphone cameras are improving, but almost all of them lack optical zoom, one of the things you need if you want to get close. A new Samsung phone could fix this, however, bundling 10x optical into something that has more in common with a phone than a camera.

Launched just over a month ago, Samsung’s alternative to the Galaxy S5 for people who want a proper camera experience inside their smartphone is here, which didn’t take long at all.

It’s called the Galaxy K Zoom, and is the follow-up to Samsung’s 2013 attempt at this style of cross-over product that attempts to bring together a compact camera and a smartphone.

Last year, that product was the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, a handset that was essentially a Galaxy S4 Mini with a compact camera slapped onto the back, but it’s not the first time Samsung has experimented with this category.

In fact, in late 2012, Samsung played with the idea of a camera phone with the release of the Galaxy Camera, what was essentially a Galaxy S3 with a 21x optical zoom camera on the back, although the phone’s voice functionality was removed in that release.

But the K Zoom isn’t the Galaxy Camera, nor is it the S4 Mini.

Rather, it’s a Category 4 4G smartphone that takes advantage of one of Samsung’s Exynos processors combining a quad-core chip and a dual-core processor, providing a 4.8 inch 720p (1280×720) Super AMOLED display, Android 4.4, WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC. 2GB RAM, and 8GB storage plus a microSD slot to expand on the storage.

And then there’s the camera, because Samsung hasn’t taken the camera from it’s S5 and moved it over to a different body. No, there’s a 20.7 megapixel sensor with 10x optical zoom, making the range roughly 24-240mm.

Low-light sensitivity runs from ISO 100-3200, with 3 frames per second for its high-speed shooting, and a 2430mAh battery keeping both the phone and the camera up and running.

Interestingly, we’re seeing that Samsung has kept some of its Galaxy S5 features around on this model, with Android 4.4 “KitKat” included, as well as the ultra power saving mode, as well as a similar back texture to make everything look close to the same.

It’s not the same, however, and the thickness doubles here, with the slim 8.1mm edge of the Galaxy S5 jumping to 16.6mm on the Galaxy K Zoom.

That said, it’s a camera and a phone merged, so we can’t say we’re surprised at all.

“Australians love taking photographs and sharing their experiences online using their smartphones so we’re extremely excited to be able to deliver a product that meets the demands many of us have for a great mobile and photographic device,” said Craig Gillespie, Samsung Australia’s Business Unit Manager for Digital Imaging.

“Samsung continues to offer Australians great choices to match their needs when searching for their next smartphone and digital camera. The Galaxy K Zoom addresses both their smartphone and digital camera needs in one sleek and stylish device, making capturing, sharing and storing important moments easy with its 10x optical zoom lens.”

Pricing for the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom comes in at $749 recommended retail price, with an availability of, oh, now.