What makes a good camera good? Is it the clarity of the images it produces? Is it the smoothness and stability of its videos? Surely, image quality is a make-or-break factor in a camera, but being fun to use also matters as far as the average consumer is concerned.
This brings us to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9
. The phone doesn't just have the best camera on a Samsung phone yet. It also offers a neat little extra feature that we genuinely enjoyed testing. As some of you may know, the new S Pen that comes with the Note 9 is Bluetooth-enabled, which allows the two to communicate with each other from a distance. And pressing the S Pen's button with the camera app open will – snap – take a picture. Neat!
"But what's the point?"
you may ask. Well, the S Pen's remote shutter abilities let you take photos while up to 10 meters away from the phone, without relying on self timers, and you can more easily take group photos with everyone
in the picture. Or you can snap selfies from epic angles without having to reach for the on-screen shutter button. Here are some photos that the guys and I took with the help of the Note 9 and the S Pen:
Photos taken with the Note 9 using the S Pen as a remote shutter key
Alas, this new level of creative freedom comes with its hurdles and oddities. One is that unless you have a tripod designed for use with smartphones, positioning the Note 9 can be tricky. You need some sort of support to rest the phone against, and you may often have to improvise – for some of the pictures above, for instance, I used my camera bag to keep the Note 9 upright. In certain situations, cases with a built-in kickstand could be of help.
Another problem we encountered was that using the main camera for S Pen shots of ourselves was difficult, primarily because we couldn't see the viewfinder displayed on the other side of the phone. Shooting such photos with the front camera is a lot more convenient – you can frame the shot more easily when you can see what the camera is pointed at. Of course, the images will not look as good as those out of the main cam, but they're definitely shareworthy, and having autofocus on the front cam surely helps. All of the six photos above were shot with the Galaxy Note 9's front-facing camera.
So, are the S Pen's remote shutter abilities a gimmick or is this a feature you truly see yourself using? Let us know in the comments below!