Samsung Galaxy K zoom review: Zoom-zoom
Latest TouchWiz on KitKat
The Samsung Galaxy K zoom Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box, a couple of minor versions behind current, but it's heavily customized by the most recent incarnation of TouchWiz. It's essentially the same software that runs on the Galaxy S5 except for the features without the corresponding hardware.
The lockscreen shows the time (with a dual clock option), date and weather. There's a camera shortcut but no widgets. As we mentioned in the hardware section, the camera shutter key cannot be used to unlock the camera.
The homescreen features the My Magazine that displays both news articles and social networking updates. This is powered by Flipboard and you can enjoy your reads in a clean interface and send links to your friends or post social updates straight from the app.
Categories (e.g. News, Business, Travel) are displayed as tiles, each displaying its top article. Updates from social networks can also be displayed here and the Galaxy K zoom comes with support for popular photo sharing networks like Twitter, Fickr and 500px.
There are regular homescreens too, with shortcuts, widgets and folders. If you want just those, My Magazine can be disabled completely.
One widget in particular that caught our attention is called Camera Studio. By default it's a grid of shortcuts to camera features - it can launch the camera straight into Pro suggest mode, open the Pro Suggest market, the Gallery, Dropbox or any other shortcut you add.
The notification area has a line of toggles, then S Finder and Quick connect buttons and below that is the brightness slider. The slider can be hidden to save space, but you're stuck with the two buttons.
The notification area is also home to Recommended apps. It's an extra row of customizable shortcuts that appears when you plug in a pair of headphones.
The Toolbox is a floating icon that shows a list of shortcuts once tapped. This is a quick way to get to some of the most commonly used apps.
The Galaxy K zoom app switcher UI has slight visual tweaks from TouchWiz and two buttons - close all apps and task manager for more advanced controls. Multi window multitasking isn't available even though the screen is big enough and the chipset is fast enough.
Samsung has enabled two power-saving modes as well. The first limits the chipset speed. Optionally it can block background data too.
If you really need to make those last few percent battery charge last, you go to Ultra power saving mode. This one cuts off all advanced functions and even changes the homescreen to a simple one with big shortcuts (only 6 of them too).
This one also works with the Safety assistance feature. In case of an emergency, the phone will alert you to Geo News (e.g. extreme weather, earthquakes) and you get easy access to the primary contacts. There's a button to send you location to your emergency contacts. You can also tap the power key three times to send a message to your emergency contacts.
Finally, there's Easy mode, which shows only a handful of large shortcuts on the screen. The step counter is also visible on the homescreen, so this mode is meant for when you're out on a run and aiming for tiny icons is too hard.
Several Smart features imbue the Galaxy K zoom with a dose of intelligence - Smart stay will keep the display on while you're reading, while Smart pause will stop a video when you look away. There's also smart alarm that vibrates if there are missed notifications when you pick up the device (in case you didn't see the notification LED).