The best feature of the Samsung Galaxy S10 isn’t even a new thing
Ultrawide angle camera lenses have been on smartphones for years.
Okay, listen up. Yes, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is probably the best Android phone you can buy (inside the USA). Yes, it’s shiny, that glass casing is stunning and Samsung’s AMOLED screens are so good the competition uses them too. That in-screen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is pretty nifty (when it works) and we all know the internals will be plenty speedy.
Except for the internals, those examples are mostly bling, more style than substance. One new addition to the Galaxy S10 isn’t, and it’s one you might not expect. The camera module on the back has a new lens, with an ultrawide lens joining the telephoto and wide lens cameras from the S9. That enables it to take more of a scene in a photo than the standard smartphone cameras.
Alas, for a company that loves to be first at everything/anything, Samsung wasn’t the first to put ultrawide lenses on a smartphone. That medal goes to LG, who first pioneered the feature back in 2016 with the LG G5 and V20. Those two flagships didn’t sell that well, and of those that did, many got caught in the LG bootloop issue that plagued their phones.
Anyway, back to the big picture – the ultra-big picture
That ultrawide camera lens makes Samsung different from almost any other smartphone maker. Okay, we’ve seen four or five lens clusters, but not from any manufacturer that has a sizable presence in the U.S. With all those lenses at its disposal, the Galaxy S10 should be crushing it in the mobile camera game.
As you can see in the photo examples below from Business Insider, the ultrawide lens gives a huge field of view. The only real issue is that due to the constraints of the lens size, it gets fairly noticeable barrel distortion around the edges of the picture. The AI Samsung has put into its camera app tries to correct valiantly, but there’s only so much that it can do.
With Google’s Pixel range still squeezing every last enhancement out of a single 12MP camera lens, Apple getting in on the two-lens game and Chinese brands such as Huawei and Oppo all increasing the camera number, adding the supremely useful ultrawide lens to the Galaxy S10 was something needed for Samsung to try and keep its top spot.
I just wish Samsung would put an ultrawide selfie cam in as well.
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