Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy A7 hands-on: What can its three rear cameras do?

Among the best midrange camera phones out there

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Last month, Samsung launched the Galaxy A7 in India, and the phone will soon be coming to more Asian markets. While the company is known to have a wide product portfolio, the A7 has managed to stand apart and create ample hype, something we usually see happening only with the S and Note series.

This year, Huawei’s P20 Pro has been a raging hit thanks to its triple rear camera setup. Not only are sales booming, but it has managed to set a new benchmark for mobile photography. Samsung joined the trend and introduced a triple rear camera setup on the Galaxy A7, but at a significantly lower price.

At first, we’d all assume it to be a gimmick. It isn’t new to see companies take a dig at each other, but this where we’d be wrong. I’ve been using the phone for a week now and the A7 has managed to surprise me. Let’s have a closer look at how the camera works and whether this one forte of the phone is sufficient to sell it.

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To start off, the three lenses on the rear are located vertically and are very well integrated with the frame. They do protrude slightly, but not enough to actually wobble the phone on a flat surface. The primary camera is a 24-megapixel sensor that does all the heavy lifting, the second lens has an 8-megapixel wide-angle unit, and the third is a 5-megapixel depth sensor.

The depth sensor along with the primary lens create the bokeh effect that Samsung calls Live Focus. Samsung’s camera software lets you manually adjust the amount of blur you want in the picture, even after you’ve clicked the picture. The bokeh effect is above average, but not the best. In good lighting conditions when the subject is clearly visible, it does an excellent job in distinguishing the borders. But often gets confused when any headgear like a cap is worn.

But, Samsung has hardly marketed the bokeh effect as far as the A7 is concerned, and that’s because the wide-angle lens is the real deal here. In the given price range, there are no phones that offer this feature. And, Samsung calls this lens “ultra wide,” coming in at 120 degrees field of view.

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With just one toggle, you can shift to the wide-angle lens from the default camera app. Keep in mind you can only use this mode via the Samsung Camera app and third-party apps like Instagram and Snapchat are not supported. The first time you toggle and see the wider frame, you’ll fall in love with it. Compared to conventional setups, wide-angle pictures are able to capture a larger scene, and the fisheye effect has its own sporty feel.

The wide-angle lens is built for scenic landscapes and large group pictures, it can also capture clear and crisp images of objects that are just a few feet away. Though it has to be noted that this camera is not built for macro shots and lacks selective focus. It’s very similar to using a GoPro — just point the camera and hit the shutter.

Samsung has optimized the software very well and hence the output is well saturated and dynamic range is balanced. In low-light, the pictures are low on noise and manage to capture an overall good picture, though it heavily compromises on detail. Even in slightly dim areas, details are lost very quickly.

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While most people may use the wide-angle lens most of the time, this isn’t recommended, as the primary sensor is able to capture highly detailed pictures, something the wide-angle camera isn’t built to do.

In a nutshell, yes, the trio does an amazing job in taking beautiful pictures. I’ve shot all of them on auto mode, and completely let the phone decide what’s best for me.

I’m glad to see Samsung trying to bring high-end innovation to the midrange segment. The company’s non-premium offerings have been somewhat underwhelming this year, and with increasing competition from players like Xiaomi and OnePlus, they definitely need to up their game.

Galaxy S10

Instagram photo challenge with the Samsung Galaxy S10

Hands-on with all three versions!

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Samsung’s newest Galaxy S devices have just been announced and we’re blessed with three versions: The Samsung Galaxy S10e (small), the Galaxy S10 (big), and the Galaxy S10+ (big big!).

Each phone is equipped with a number of cameras so you know what that means: IG photo test!

In our Her GadgetMatch video, we check out what’s so cool about the new Samsung phones and test what the cameras can do. Spoiler: They do a lot!

In case you’re having trouble viewing, watch HERE.

SEE ALSO: Samsung’s new LED light cover is the phone case we’ve always wanted

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Galaxy S10

Samsung Galaxy S10 Hands-On

Does it live up to the hype?

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Infinity-O Display, five cameras, in-display fingerprint reader, next-generation wireless charging: these four features define Samsung’s new Galaxy S10.

When you take its features apart like this, it makes it seem like what we have is yet another underwhelming phone with no new groundbreaking feature. But to look at the S10 that way does the phone an injustice. It’s one that needs to be taken as a whole, not a sum of its parts.

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Galaxy S10

Samsung Galaxy S10 Hands-on: A refinement of everything

A decade of Galaxy S phones

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Samsung‘s latest installment of flagship phones is now official. Instead of just two phones though, we were immediately given three choices. Interesting move, but can they keep Samsung on top of all the great Android phones in the market?

As mentioned, there are three Galaxy S10 phones: the regular Galaxy S10, the bigger and better Galaxy S10+, and the supposedly budget-friendly Galaxy S10E.

Without further ado, let’s dive into our hands-on the Galaxy S10 series.

Nothing new, just polished

The Galaxy S10 series is a testament to Samsung’s leadership in Android phones for almost a decade, despite the decline. How so? Everything there’s to want in a smartphone in 2019 is present here, with some reservations for the Galaxy S10E, of course.

The first thing you’ll appreciate about the Galaxy S10 phones is their displays. All three models come in different sizes. The display of the Galaxy S10E is the smallest at 5.8 inches followed by the regular version with a 6.1-inch screen. The Galaxy S10+, being the Plus variant, has the biggest at 6.4 inches.

All three phones still use vibrant and splendid Super AMOLED panels. Samsung likes to call them Infinity-O because they have O-shaped holes to house one or two front cameras. The displays are also slightly taller than before and have slimmer bezels all around.

Aside from the screen sizes, what are the differences between the three? The Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ share a lot in common. Both have curved displays, which is what you’d expect from top-of-the-line Samsung phones, but have squarish bodies like the Galaxy Note 9’s. They have a similar triple rear camera setup, but the Galaxy S10+ has an extra sensor in the front. The two also sport the fastest in-display fingerprint readers I have ever tested.

The Galaxy S10E, on the other hand, has to cut down some of the unimportant features to keep its price lower than its siblings. It doesn’t have a curved display and the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. Instead, the fingerprint reader is built into the power button on the side. The smaller Galaxy S10E is also noticeably more rounded than its siblings.

What Samsung didn’t sacrifice on any of the Galaxy S10 phones is the quality craftsmanship. With a metal and glass body, no one will ever hold a Galaxy S10 (any of the three) and call it cheap.

Beauty matched with power

Enough about the looks; let’s now talk about specs. As always, newly released flagship phones get the best processor available. In the case of the Galaxy S10 family, it’s rocking either a Snapdragon 855 from Qualcomm or Samsung’s very own Exynos 9820, depending on the region.

The difference between the two chipsets are quite intriguing, but end users won’t feel the difference in daily use. The Snapdragon 855’s 7nm process has a slight edge over the Exynos 9820’s 8nm, but both are capable octa-core chips with dedicated AI brains.

With a minimum of 6GB memory, no member of the Galaxy S10 family is a slouch. If you want, you can have the limited edition Galaxy S10+ with an insane 12GB of memory and 1TB of storage. If you get that, you’ll have a phone that has more memory and storage space than most laptops today.

When it comes to battery, the Galaxy S10E has the lowest capacity at 3100mAh. In the middle is the Galaxy S10’s modest 3400mAh, and of course, the Galaxy S10+ is blessed with a huge 4100mAh battery. The phones support fast charging through wired and wireless means, but Samsung is also introducing Wireless PowerShare, which is essentially reverse wireless charging similar to what the Mate 20 Pro can do.

Samsung’s new One UI is pre-loaded out of the box. It’s already based on the latest Android 9 Pie version. This means you’ll get to experience Samsung’s newest take on Android with its own customization.

Three cameras are better than two?

Apart from having three Galaxy S10 models, Samsung also put in three rear cameras on the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+. Samsung calls this “True Vision Multi-Camera,” which is a mouthful but you don’t have to call them that. Basically, the triple camera setup has all the mobile shooters you’ll need.

The Galaxy S10 has a main camera sensor, an ultra wide shooter, and a 2x telephoto lens. The main sensor is a 12-megapixel Dual Pixel camera with optical image stabilization (OIS) and dual aperture mode (f/1.5 to f/2.4). The fun-to-use ultra wide-angle shooter uses a 16-megapixel sensor with a fixed-focus lens, while the telephoto camera has a 12-megapixel sensor and OIS as well.

Aside from the hardware, Samsung also bumped up the software side of things. Thanks to improved AI capabilities, the Galaxy S10 can now recognize up to 30 scenes and can even automatically help you compose the perfect shot.

Check out these samples using the phone’s main camera:

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Since the Galaxy S10 phones are equipped with multiple shooters, they’re fun to use. Each scenario calls for a different camera, so it’s nice to have both wide-angle and telephoto cameras. Here’s how each camera takes a photo from the same distance:

Keep in mind that the Galaxy S10E has just two rear cameras. It can only shoot a normal and ultra-wide photo, but the megapixel count and image quality remain the same as with its more expensive siblings.

As for selfies, the Galaxy S10+ has a slight advantage with its depth sensor for Live Focus, although all three phones can shoot portrait selfies anyway. Like with most phones, there’s a built-in beauty mode to liven up your selfies.

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Let’s not forget about the improved AR Emoji. It’s still subpar when compared to Apple’s Animoji for iPhones, but it can at least detect if your tongue is sticking out this time. There’s also the option to superimpose over your face like Memoji.

Which is your GadgetMatch?

Which of the three Galaxy S10 phones is your GadgetMatch? While I wanted to have more time with the phones to give an elaborate conclusion, I have a general idea on where each one fits.

The Galaxy S10E, which is the cheapest among the bunch, would be best for people who like to have the best specs but in a smaller package. Much like the compact versions of Sony Xperia phones, the Galaxy S10E offers just about everything its bigger siblings offer in a pocket-friendly size.

The regular Galaxy S10 is ideal for the general population with its perfect balance, while the Galaxy S10+ is for those who want (and need) all the features a modern smartphone can offer. Also, the Galaxy S10+ is similar to the Galaxy Note, but without the S Pen.

I wish Samsung had given the prices for each phone while I’m writing this to give a better perspective. After all, the pricing will be a big factor. To be honest, there’s nothing uber-special about the Galaxy S10 family. We already saw most, if not all, features on other devices. Samsung will be selling these phones because they are reliable and trustworthy — not because they are revolutionary.

Samsung wasn’t able to create “the next big thing” here, maybe because we have reached the limit of candy bar-style phones. It’s time to move on to foldable devices, which is something Samsung is also working on. That for sure will be revolutionary; for now, we’ll just stick to what we have.

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