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The camera app on Samsung’s Galaxy S21 phones is frustratingly laggy

Opinion
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Last updated: May 12th, 2021 at 16:35 UTC+02:00

There’s no denying the fact that the cameras on Samsung’s flagship phones offer an amazingly versatile photography experience. From high-resolution zoom to 8K video recording and other fancy stuff like dedicated Night and Pro modes in between, you get it all if you buy a modern Galaxy flagship, even if the best stuff is reserved for the costliest and largest models (the Ultra variants, that is).

Samsung’s camera app is also one of the most intuitive out there, but there is one thing that the Korean giant really, really needs to fix, and that’s the performance of the camera app when you’re capturing important moments.

Take a look at video below showing Samsung’s camera app in action on the Galaxy S21+. Notice how there’s crazy stutter and lag when I switch between the different zoom levels, both while zooming in and while zooming back out? The Galaxy S21 Ultra is guilty of this as well, and so is the Galaxy S21.

If you showed that screen recording to a random person and asked them to guess if it is from a flagship phone or a budget device, there’s a good chance most, if not all, will say it’s the latter (though some will likely point out that a budget phone wouldn’t have all those zoom levels, but that’s besides the point).

3x zoom, 3 seconds to get there?

Sadly, the Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra are three of Samsung’s most high-end phones you can buy right now, and while their imaging capabilities are amazing, the experience of using all those cameras is anything but. All that lag can often prevent you from getting the right shot on time. Some lag here and there would be okay, but I see it happening all too frequently on the Galaxy S21 series phones.

It’s not just zooming in and zooming out that doesn’t happen as smoothly as it should. Quite often bringing up the list of shooting modes and then selecting one can take a lot of time as well. Surprisingly, the slowdowns in the camera app seem to be more pronounced on the Galaxy S21 series than previous flagships – I’m using the Exynos variants, but I would wager the same slowdowns are a problem on the Snapdragon variants as well.

It's a shame, to be honest. Samsung's latest flagship line is super fast in general, which makes the camera app's jittery nature feel all the more jarring. Samsung needs to fix this, and fix this soon. It needs to bring out a software update that optimizes the camera performance on existing flagships and make sure future flagships don't ever have the issue in the first place, because nothing is worse than buying a $1000+ smartphone with top-of-the-line cameras only to find that the picture-taking experience is more akin to what you would find on a $200 device.

Do you see similar slowdowns in the camera app on your Galaxy S21 series phone or another of Samsung's flagship devices?

Opinion Galaxy S21Galaxy S21 PlusGalaxy S21 Ultra
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