The past few years have been kind to Samsung, with their Galaxy S III really bringing in a lot of attention to the company two years ago. Although the Galaxy S III was the third generation Galaxy S device, it was probably Samsung’s most popular sale. Even now, in 2014, the Samsung Galaxy S III is the most popular Samsung smartphone in the U.S. according to Chikita. The Galaxy S III was so popular that Samsung decided to make a miniature version of the device for those who weren’t ready to make the jump to a 4.8-inch screen, or for people who wanted to get in on the Galaxy S III action but didn’t want to pay the premium price.
The decision for Samsung to make a miniature flagship didn’t stop at the Galaxy S III. When the Galaxy S 4 was released the next year, it was shortly followed by a Galaxy S 4 Mini as well. However, Samsung didn’t stop at a miniature version the next year. You might recall that there were two other Galaxy S4 variants to hit shelves as well: the Galaxy S4 Active and the Galaxy S4 Zoom.
I liked the Active, mostly because waterproof and dustproof phones were (and are) still something that manufacturers are working on. The Active was also a rather ruggedly built device, and at least looked like it could survive a decent fall. However, the Active was lacking in the spec department a bit compared to the flagship Galaxy S4 itself, especially when it came to the camera (8-megapixels vs. 13-megapixels). It was also an AT&T exclusive device, which limited which people could and couldn’t get it. The original Galaxy S4 was released on all four major carriers.
The Zoom, on the other hand, was a bit more perplexing to me. The Zoom looked to be the equivalent of duct taping a dumbed down Galaxy S4 onto the back of a point-and-shoot camera. Seriously. If you were to look at the front of the phone from an aerial view, it would look like an S4. If you were to look at the back from an aerial view, it would look like a camera. The problem with the device, in my opinion, is that it just wasn’t an optimal design for a smartphone at all. You have phones out there like the Nokia Lumia 1020 which manages to pack a 41-megapixel camera without taking away too much from the design of the smartphone. Yeah, you have a slight bulge on the back of the phone, but nothing as hefty as what the Zoom has.
It’s 2014 now, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 has already been announced. With the S5 being both waterproof and dustproof, I imagine this nixes any need for a Galaxy S5 Active (although I guess you never know); however, there are various reports and leaked images out at the moment that suggest that a second generation Zoom is on the way.
We only have one image to work with at the moment, but from what I’m seeing, it looks to be a similar design to the Galaxy S4 Zoom. However, already it does look to have some improvements; it doesn’t look nearly as thick, and the lens on the back doesn’t look to be nearly as protruding as it was on the original Zoom. Also, the megapixel count has been reportedly upped from 16-megapixels to 20.2-megapixels. It is also rumored to have a big step up in specs as well, which hopefully brings it closer to actually being worthy of the S5 moniker that will likely be associated with the device.
I’m not entirely fond of Samsung releasing so many phones under one name, especially given that the Zoom seems like it would be niche enough to stand on its own without the S5 name slapped onto it - it just makes things confusing. Names aside, however, if these leaks turn out to be true, the Galaxy S5 Zoom could be a phone worth checking out in the end.
What are your thoughts on the Galaxy S5 Zoom leaks, readers? Do you think the S5 Zoom looks like a device you’d want to check out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!