After spending more than three months with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, there are a couple of reasons I keep putting my T-Mobile SIM back into it after testing other new phones. One reason is the new Bixby Voice support and the other is the complete camera experience and performance.
Reviewers typically rate the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus about the same as the other top smartphones, including the HTC U11, Google Pixel, and LG G6. After using all of these phones, and the Apple iPhone 7 Plus, it is clear that Samsung provides users more than the others.
The Google Pixel and Apple iPhone have basic camera software, which appeals to some folks who just launch a camera and take photos. Samsung offers this functionality too, but also so much more. Devices from Huawei, HTC, and LG offer advanced camera software as well, but I feel that Samsung's has evolved to be one of the most user friendly with some simple gestures to navigate the software:
- Swipe up/down: Switch between front and rear camera
- Slide the shutter button: Zoom in or out
- Swipe from the left: Choose your preferred shooting mode
- Swipe from the right: Select from various filters, stickers, and stamps
Shooting modes include auto, pro, panorama, selective focus, slow motion, hyperlapse, food, virtual shot, animated GIF, dual camera, sports, and more. You can add more modes or remove others as well as move the launch shortcuts within the mode selector.
Some camera tips and tricks that may help you optimize your experience, include:
- Enable quick launch: Double press the power button to quickly launch the camera app to capture the perfect candid moment.
- Add a home screen shortcut: While viewing the modes, tap the three dot upper right button and choose to add a shortcut to your home screen. You can then jump right into your preferred shooting mode from the home screen.
- Enable voice control: Sometimes when you tap the display it moves the device. In settings you can turn on the option to simply say cheese, smile, capture, or shoot to capture an image.
- Add a floating camera button: If you are trying to be creative, it may be inconvenient to tap the default capture button. Add a floating camera button for auto and selfie modes and put the capture button where you want.
- Try Bixby Vision: There is a small button to the left of the camera viewfinder and tapping it enables Bixby Vision. Capture an image to then enable shopping or check the image online.
Most Android devices have taken out the custom gallery apps in a move to streamline the Android experience. This means that most when you capture photos, you are usually taken into Google Photos to view them. I don't know about you, but Google Photos does not offer as much as gallery apps from HTC, LG, and Samsung used to offer.
Thankfully, Samsung still includes a gallery app on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Within the gallery, you can view pictures, albums, and stories. Pinching and zooming lets you quickly zoom in and out of your image thumbnails with ease.
While browsing your pictures, tapping the upper right menu gives you the options to edit, share, animate, create a collage, view a slideshow, and access gallery settings. You can create a collage in Google Photos, but the utility in Samsung's app gives you the ability to fully customize the collage while Google does things automatically. You can also select an image to serve as your Always On Display image, which is a customization not seen on other devices with this display support.
Like HTC did a few years ago with the first HTC One M7, the stories functionality in the gallery automatically creates fun videos with images, music, titles, and animations. Tap on the video as it plays to then edit the theme, effects, music, and timeline of the images. This is a fun way to enjoy and then share your memories with family and friends.
After opening a photo in the gallery, tap the edit button at the bottom of the display to enter the image editor. Within the editor, buttons appear for transform, tone, advanced, effects, and decoration.
Transform options include rotate, flip horizontal/vertical, ratio, perspective, and lasso. Tone tools include brightness, exposure, contrast, saturation, hue, and white balance. Advanced options include tone curve, color, and backlight modifications.
There are a number of effects you can manipulate with even more available to download. These are similar to the type of filters you see on Instagram and Snapchat. Decoration options include adding images, stickers, labels, covers, and drawings to your photo.
As you can see, the entire camera, gallery, and editing experience on the Samsung Galaxy S8 is easy to use while offering a plethora of options to make your camera experience the best it can be on a smartphone.