Samsung wasted a glaring opportunity with the dual selfie camera on the Galaxy S10 Plus

The Galaxy S10 Plus has a dual-lens selfie camera. Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider
  • The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plussmartphone has a dual-lens selfie camera, but only one lens can actually take photos.
  • The second selfie lens is for depth sensing to help with things like portrait mode and Samsung’s AR Emoji.
  • The thing is you don’t need a dedicated lens for those things, which can be achieved artificially, as the Galaxy S10e and S10 do with their single selfie-camera lens.
  • But an ultra-wide-angle selfie can’t be faked, and it’s what Samsung should have gone for with the secondary lens.

The Galaxy S10 Plus has a dual-lens selfie camera, but only one lens actually takes photos – and it’s a wasted opportunity to offer something better, like an ultra-wide-angle selfie camera.

The secondary selfie-camera lens is designed for depth sensing, and its only benefit is to help with better portrait mode, or “live focus,” selfies where you get that blurry background “bokeh” effect.

It’s also meant to help with adding filters and creating a hideous augmented-reality version of yourself (AR Emoji) that will probably look nothing like you. Seriously. Here’s my AR Emoji and the selfie it’s based on. Does the AR Emoji below look anything like me? I think it looks more like Justin Timberlake’s AR Emoji.

Galaxy s10 ar emoji BS

That’s an entire camera lens – and a larger punch-hole selfie-camera cutout that interrupts the display – for better portrait-mode selfies and an utterly pointless AR Emoji version of myself. I don’t have data on how often people actually use portrait mode for selfies or use AR Emoji, but the secondary selfie-camera lens on Galaxy S10 Plus is, in my opinion, a waste of space.

Read more: Samsung’s Galaxy S10 Plus has a total of 5 cameras. Here are photos taken with each lens to show you what they do.

Even if a ton of people use Samsung’s live-focus portrait mode for selfies or AR Emoji, the feature doesn’t warrant a separate, dedicated lens. Live focus and AR Emoji are still available on the Galaxy S10e and the regular Galaxy S10, both of which have a single selfie camera and artificially create a blurry background in portrait mode or AR Emoji with a neural processing unit.

Some will argue that an NPU isn’t as good as a dedicated depth-sensing lens. That might be true, but the depth-sensing selfie lens on the Galaxy S10 Plus isn’t exactly perfect either. In the selfie below, it failed to properly outline the headphone cup on the left. The cup’s edge is as blurry as the background.

Galaxy s10 secondary selfie camera portrait mode

What the secondary selfie lens should have been is an ultra-wide-angle camera that lets you include more of the surrounding scenery or your friends and family in a selfie.

There is a slightly wider-angle selfie option in the Galaxy S10 Plus camera, but it’s very slightly wider. And you also get that slightly wider option on the Galaxy S10e and S10. It’s nowhere near as wide as the ultra-wide-angle selfie camera on the Google Pixel 3, which proposes a meaningful difference.

Here’s the Galaxy S10’s wide selfie mode versus the Pixel 3’s:

Everything the secondary depth-sensing selfie camera does can be faked – Samsung proved that with the Galaxy S10e and S10.

The Galaxy S10 Plus is a great smartphone, but it could have been even better had Samsung given people the option of a feature that can’t be faked: an ultra-wide-angle selfie camera.