The smarts of a phone and the image quality of a compact digital camera combined: could it be possible? Believe it. The long-speculated Samsung Galaxy Zoom is real, and it's pretty damn impressive.
It's a weird kind of frankenphone, the Samsung Galaxy Zoom: it has all the specs of a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, combined with everything great about the Samsung Galaxy Camera.
The Galaxy Zoom is packing a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage (5GB available), expandable memory, a 4.3-inch qHD SuperAMOLED screen and a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, complete with an infinite manual focus ring, mechanical shutter, Xenon flash, optical image stabilisation, low-light enhancement and a 24mm wide-angle f/3.1 lens. Crikey.
The Galaxy Zoom also has a tripod mount, camera-style grip and strobe flash for a bit of versatility.
Under the hood of the Galaxy Zoom's camera portion is a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, similar to what you might find in a lot of compact or prosumer cameras. It's built in-house by Samsung and back-light illuminated for better shooting at night. Also, because Samsung has opted for the mechanical shutter rather than the electronic shutter, you'll be able to get better shots.
On the downside, because of the awesome camera it's packing, the Galaxy Zoom has a giant lens protruding from its back, which can make it kind of awkward to hold, but that's a sacrifice I'd be willing to make for great photos.
Samsung is also throwing a bunch of its bespoke S-technology at it, most notably, Smart Mode 2.0. It offers 25 preset lighting conditions and suggests three of them when you half-press the shutter button with Smart Suggest. Another feature called Photo Suggest aggregates data from Panoramio, Tourist and TripAdvisor to guide you to a great photo opportunity spot when you're abroad. Creepy, yet excellent.
Essentially, the Galaxy Zoom is the other side of the coin to the Galaxy Camera we saw a year ago: it's a phone/camera hybrid, however, this time we have more of a focus on the phone aspect than the camera aspect.
No official launch date for Australia just yet, but we think it's hitting our shores in Q3.
Tune in later on for a detailed hands-on.
Luke Hopewell travelled to Samsung Unpacked in London as a guest of Samsung.