Opinion

The Galaxy S11 must be Samsung’s flagship ‘camera’ phone

After the announcement of Huawei’s P30 series, I’ve come to one conclusion: The Galaxy S11 must be a camera-focused flagship. The gap between Samsung’s and Huawei’s camera tech is getting a bit too big. While Samsung led the industry a few years ago, Huawei has begun to steal the Korean giant’s thunder in the last couple of years. With the Galaxy S11, it’s a must for Samsung to close the gap or even do better and retake the lead.

You might think it’s crazy to be talking about the Galaxy S11 when the Galaxy S10 has just been released. And yes, you’d be right. It’s not that we are jealous, but we see Samsung is becoming complacent when it comes to camera technology. Samsung is mainly focusing on aspects like display and memory technology while improvements to the camera experience aren’t happening at the same pace.

When Samsung discontinued its NX lineup of cameras, we expected the company would integrate the talent behind the NX cameras into its mobile team. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to have really happened, and now that the Huawei P30 Pro is official, we feel Samsung has missed a major opportunity and has fallen behind.

Is Samsung in trouble?

Not yet. Most consumers are still shooting pictures on their phone in auto mode and sharing their images on social media. Only the pros truly need the spectacular camera on the P30 Pro, what with its 10x zoom capability and the ability to take superior night shots.

Still, the gap between Samsung and Huawei shouldn’t be this big on the camera front, especially when you consider the fact that the Huawei phones are using mostly software wizardry for the superior night photography, much like Google. It’s like owning a Lamborghini. You won’t use all of its power all of the time but it would be nice to know you have plenty of it in the boot.

I doubt most Galaxy S9/S9+ owners gave a hoot about the variable aperture camera. They were the first smartphones to have both a variable aperture and optical image stabilization. It really did set the 2018 flagship apart in the camera department compared to its rivals. Samsung’s supposed answer to Huawei and Google’s dedicated night camera modes with the Galaxy S10, meanwhile, is pretty much a dud. Thankfully, at least with hardware, there is some good news. Samsung is said to have acquired the company that supplies the optical zoom sensors to manufacturers like Oppo and Huawei, and we can expect to see those sensors on its future flagship devices.

And with Samsung mostly using the same smartphone design for two years before mixing things up, we also expect the Galaxy S11 will use a form factor similar to the Galaxy S10, so the company could focus on making the Galaxy S11’s cameras its biggest highlight and hype it up through the millions it spends on marketing and advertising its flagship smartphones. It would also be great to see some hints of those camera improvements on the Galaxy Note 10. Samsung tends to use the same camera sensors for its flagships in a particular year, which means no big improvements, but we can hope Samsung receives a wakeup call and changes that.

If not, Samsung has a year to make a comeback and show Google and Huawei who’s boss. Otherwise, the company may get into deeper problems, like losing considerable market share or losing the innovation tag that many still associate with the Samsung brand.

Should you buy a Google Pixel or Huawei P30 Pro?

Well, that’s up to you, but I believe you shouldn’t. Yes, Google’s update policy is excellent and gives you clean, unadulterated Android, but its design isn’t great. Yes, Huawei’s cameras are great, but will you use all the functions? I wouldn’t, and let’s not forget that the P30 Pro doesn’t have things like a 3.5 mm headphone jack, stereo speakers, or even mainstream microSD card support. Basically, the complete phone doesn’t exist yet, but we have our fingers crossed Samsung will do something about that with the Galaxy S11 or even the Galaxy Note 10.

30 Comments

Sign in »

30
Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Gunter2
Gunter2

My first Samsung phone is my present one, the S9 plus with the best camera on any phone that I have owned. This article is absolutely senseless. I have checked! Right back to the S4 and every year since then right up to an including the S10 Samsung has been in the top two best mobile phone camera every single year since then AND it got the number one spot again in 2019 with S10. How in heavens name can they be better than number 1? Totally unwarranted criticism. N.B. I know this is my second comment on this article… Read more »

stondec
stondec

Misleading article.
Samsung bests Huawei in all aspects in the camera department except for zoom and night mode and wipes the floor with the Pixel except in night mode and arguably portrait mode so it’s inaccurate to state that these phones have better cameras than Samsung’s.

For the nth time, the Pixel’s “faster software updates” is not an advantage as these updates are still years behind Samsung’s version of Android and they always, always come with bugs.

Vania Android is the least intuitive and feature packed version of Android and Pixels lag with time unlike other Android flagship.

locarno
locarno

Night photos from P30 or Pixel are to bright. S10 have more natural photos.

locarno
locarno

Keep calm. Samsung bought Corephotonics.

locarno
locarno

This is comment for “Best Five Wireless Chargers”. I don’t know why you disabled comments in this articles.

So.

“PLESON Fast Wireless Charger”

Does it have LED or no ?

gtone339
gtone339

Still using my S8, haven’t decided to upgrade to the S10 yet. Will wait & see what the Note 10 offers, if it doesn’t have what I need then next year S11 will do.

Jarmokan
Jarmokan

New camera UI is laggy and horrible. Please bring the old camera UI back! Please!

gtone339
gtone339

Looks good to me!

karelnovak
karelnovak

It’s not only the camera, but also I’m personally disappointed with my S10+ as not improved fast charge (via cable) and missing ToF camera, but what makes me angry that Samsung is capable to do it as they will release it on S10 5G. What I’m also missing is single Wireless Fast Charge 2.0 charger as I don’t need two charging pads next to each other. Still believe and hope that camera will get better by coming firmware updates and especially the night mode. Overall I’m happy with S10+, but just expected a little bit more from 10th anniversary’s device.

shezkhan123
shezkhan123

i will say samsung camera is always best but it depends on the software recently just checked out the gcam on s10 night mode photos that was amazing
samsung needs to improve cam software

zlobster
zlobster

You can’t fix what is a sensor/lens limitation. You can only mask the inherited flawas of the aforementioned.

Gunter2
Gunter2

I don’t think Samsung has to beat Huawei at cameras. Samsung just needs to be the best overall device,an accolade it has won every year since the S7. It could do with a software update for a night mode, though in pro mode you can get unbelievably good night shots that kill any other phone camera. You can find excellent Youtube videos about it. It’s not difficult to do. Samsung is not a follower, it’s a leader. I certainly don’t want to see them follow the likes of Apple and Huawei. They’re on top because they do it their own… Read more »

PookiePrancer
PookiePrancer

Well…they just removed Pro mode capabilities from video recording, and several editing features in Photo Editor Pro, so photography doesn’t seem to be their focus any more.

I agree with you, Pro mode is awesome, and gives far better control than any auto mode, which is why it’s sad to see them start to remove it.

jcompagner
jcompagner

isn’t this just a matter of software for the most part?
besides the 10x zoom which is really hardware are the lenses or sensors that much different?
So are those really better on the P30 pro?

Biransahin
Biransahin

Samsung should not follow Huawei. Already there is far too much emphasis on cameras often to the detriment of the phone itself. Despite Huaweis new cameras, the S10 is a better phone. Just look at the camera on the Pixel. It’s very good but the phone is rubbish Samsung is getting the balance right. It doesn’t need to be a DSLR. It needs to have the right combination of good cameras, top class UI, fast operation, quality build AND the most important thing, that component we spend 99.9% of our time interacting with, the SCREEN! Samsung has the best screen… Read more »

parshakov
parshakov

“Huawei phones are using mostly software wizardry for the superior night photography” – that is not true. The main sensor on the P30 Pro is way bigger than the one on the S10 (1/1.7″ vs 1/2.55″, or 1.5 times larger diagonally), and so can capture a lot more light. Samsung is still trying to avoid camera bumps, which were not cool a couple of years ago, but no one cares about camera bumps anymore.

Biransahin
Biransahin

I disagree. Camera bumps look bad. A phone should be able to lie flat on your desk for stable use. A camera bump is ugly and ergonomically bad.

eduardornelles
eduardornelles

Samsung must release a decent night mode to compete with Pixel and P30. The current night mode on S10 should not even exist, it’s total trash.

zlobster
zlobster

More so, S10+ (and the ones before it) have totally unacceptable low-light performance.

In low or mixed light conditions the dynamic range, color accuracy, detail – all is trash. I really hate the bad detail resolution on the Samsung phones.

All I care is good detail, dynamic range and low-light performance. Stuff you can’t currently find on a Samsung.

SAMgalaxyXXX
SAMgalaxyXXX

Naah. I wouldn’t even change my Note 9 for the P30 pro or any other phone in the market right now but yes, Samsung needs to stop focusing on stupid things like buttonless or bezeless phones (oh God I hate that pill shaped cutout!!) and focus more on the camera especially the front facing camera indoors with or without artificial lights.
Also bring back the old camera UI which is far better and intuitive than the current iPhone like introduced with the S9.

PookiePrancer
PookiePrancer

This article almost nails it. Samsung isn’t fallING behind in camera tech; they ARE behind. The removal of pro features in the UX is a slap on the face that only makes the sting more painful. I remember when they started to regress with the Galaxy S4, and they lost this customer until the S8+. It seems history is repeating itself. The Note 10 design is already locked in, and Samsung IS complacent, so there’s a snowball’s chance in hell we’ll see anything significant in it. It’s going to be embarrassing to see them push the S10 cameras on the… Read more »

ProdByEchelon
ProdByEchelon

Samsung just doesn’t care about the camera anymore. They are focusing on design now.

DaVinciDevice
DaVinciDevice

Please increase the Megapixel and night mode capabilities. And please fired Samsung software department for camera and hired google pixel staff for camera software.

maherk22
maherk22

Why not hope that Samsung will respect and reward us for paying 1000+ dollars for their flagship and release an update that brings a dedicated night mode and fixes their terrible image processing. Google did it with the Pixel 2 this year, brought all the software goodies of the Pixel 3 to it’s predecessor, yet we are hoping that Samsung improve their software for next year when their latest flagship has been on the market for less than a month? I love my S10+, but I’m giving Samsung one month before I move from it if they don’t address the… Read more »

CRappleSuXorZ
CRappleSuXorZ

I will pass on a Chinese made phone, no matter how good it may be. I don’t want the Chinese government spying on me, sorry. You know they are.

maherk22
maherk22

Flash news, the moment you surf the web, you’ll be spied on by tons of companies that want your data.
And no one is asking you to switch, we are simply asking Samsung to give us a propper night mode.

Saranan Majilya
Saranan Majilya

I will definitely buy P30 pro for it’s camera, battery, ir blaster, quality service and intuitive smart ui. Now one ui is sore my eyes, Samsung Grace UX was best and clean. 3.5 jack and unbalanced stereo speakers aren’t essential for me.

o0MHJ0o
o0MHJ0o

I don’t fully agree with this. I agree with a better primary sensor and a higher optical zoom. But people choose Samsung flagships because its the best all round device. That’s Samsung’s place in the market. And it’s been unbeaten year on year as the best all round, phone of the year. And tbh, I’m not going out travelling every weekend or partying every night that I’m taking pictures constantly! – the only people doing that are students! And they don’t make up a majority population, whereas Samsung phones, are actually good for literally everyone. Becoming a camera focused phone… Read more »

Bobbingalong
Bobbingalong

Fully agree with the fact Samsung is falling behind in the camera area and really rehashing existing modules from previous phones. This is a way to reduce cost.

Really happy with my s10 but do wish for more details in the camera like upping the mgp and fixing the night shots to be more competitive. The later hopefully can be done with software

CroGamer1
CroGamer1

I find the periscope camera quite usefull during lectures if I sit far away. My S10+ still gets the job done but the photos aren’t that sharp.