Samsung, you don't need another Zoom or Active

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| February 5, 2014

The predicted showing for the Galaxy S5 is quickly approaching, with rumors pointing towards Mobile World Congress 2014 as Samsung's preferred grounds to show off their 2014 Galaxy S device. We've already discussed some of our thoughts on the Galaxy S5 here at PhoneDog, wondering whether a new version of TouchWiz will be shipped with it or whether the device will use metal or plastic backing (or possibly both). But there is still much to discuss regarding Samsung's Galaxy S5, even before we know much about the device itself.

Yesterday, I came across an article that talked about the possibility of Samsung doing things in a similar fashion as they did last year with the Galaxy S4. As many of you probably recall, the Samsung Galaxy S4 wasn't the only Galaxy S4 to arrive on the market. Shortly after the arrival of the original came other iterations of the device, known as the Galaxy S4 Zoom and the Galaxy S4 Active. Both shared similar elements with the Galaxy S4, but catered to two different "niche" markets. 

They were ideas that were good, but could have been put to better use, in my opinion.

The Galaxy S4 Zoom was a phone that also served as a point-and-shoot camera, which uses a physical zoom rather than most smartphones which use digital zoom. The main focus of the Galaxy S4 wasn't the software or the specs - it was the camera, if you can believe it. While I'm not saying that the Zoom was a bad phone, I do feel like it really had no business sharing the Galaxy S4 name because they are two completely different devices. Just because they were made by the same manufacturer or that they share the same-looking face (which most Samsung devices do) doesn't mean it needs to piggy back off of the Galaxy S4 name. Plus, I still don't think that the way the Zoom's design was executed will ever really catch on. It looks like a digital camera slapped on the back of a smartphone - a concept that the Nokia Lumia 1020 was able to pull off with more subtle design elements.

As for the Galaxy S4 Active, it was a device that I could see more people getting behind. A waterproof, dustproof smartphone is something that I think manufacturers across the board should be working more towards. Smartphones aren't exactly immune, and being electronically operated devices they don't exactly get along well with the elements of nature. The quickest way to kill a smartphone? Taking it for a swim will likely get you the result. Dust is another important feature to try and proof phones from, as the tiny open crevices and holes that smartphones have make them easy targets for tiny particles of dust to get stuck in. The problem with the Active was that it was specifically targeted for people who work outdoors, but I think that the tougher design of the Active could have been implemented in the original Galaxy S4 without much complaint from users. 

Which is kind of what I'm hoping Samsung does with the Galaxy S5. If you want to wow people with your new device, don't worry about implementing a whole suite of new software features. What I want to see from the Galaxy S5 is every iteration they created last year rolled into one device, and improvements on the features they already implemented. The Galaxy S5 should be waterproof and dustproof from the getgo. It should have good specs, it should be as durable and resistant as possible, and it should focus on improving the camera features. It's everything that a flagship smartphone should be. There is no reason that all of those features should be spread out across three separate devices. Instead of making people decide between the three, Samsung should focus on providing all of those features in one device, because those features are ones that people can use to convince others that this phone is the be-all, end-all of flagships this year.

"So, what does the Galaxy S5 have to offer?" a prospective customer may ask.

"It's waterproof, dustproof, durable, has a great camera and features the latest flagship specs. TouchWiz also just had a software revamp." If nothing else, this will at least intrigue people to check out the device.

That's what people want to hear. The phone needs to be great from a hardware and a software perspective, and I think Samsung could achieve that by rolling all three of the Galaxy S phones they made last year into one super device. I really hope that's what they end up doing, because I don't think another Zoom and Active needs to be created. 

But that's just my opinion; what are your thoughts on the subject, readers? Would you prefer that Samsung keep the Zoom and the Active separate models from the Galaxy S5, or do you think Samsung should try their best to include each phone's best features in one device? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

Images via Android Central, Geek