How to get these cool Galaxy S21 features on your non-Samsung phone

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How to get these cool Galaxy S21 features on your non-Samsung phone
The Samsung Galaxy S21 series is exciting for many reasons, including the awesome software features One UI 3 brought to the phones. However, you can easily enjoy some of the coolest Galaxy S21 features on any smartphone, if you know how to get them. Interested?

Jump to a feature:

Get Samsung's Object Eraser (and people remover) feature on any phone

This is a popular one, as most of us will often find the need for a feature like that. Maybe someone in the background "photobombed" your group selfie, or there's an embarrassing stain on your sleeve you'd like to remove? You can even zoom into the photos and remove tiny little details you're not fond of, such as birthmarks or moles. Here's how to make it happen for free on any smartphone:

Step 1: Download the free Snapseed app

So, you want to learn how to remove objects from photos for free, on any smartphone? It's actually really easy with Snapseed!

Snapseed is a fantastic photo editing app made by Google, available for both iPhones and Android phones. Among its many features is one called "Healing", which we'll focus on for the purpose of this tutorial. But first:

Once you have Snapseed installed on your phone or tablet, simply open it.

Step 2: Select the photo you'd like to edit

Snapseed will immediately prompt you to select a photo – pick the one that has something you'd like to remove. Ideally, you'd want to remove something small that the algorithm will easily be able to mask over. For example, we have this photo of the cutest Shiba puppy below and we want to remove its collar.

Step 3: Tap on "Tools", then "Healing"

When you tap on "Tools", you'll see a big list of fun features, but we're only interested in the "Healing" one right now, as it is the one that lets us remove objects from the photo.

Step 4: Brush over an object with your finger to remove it

Optionally you may want to pinch to zoom into the object you'd like to remove, before starting. In any case, simply use your finger as a brush and glide it over the object, then lift your finger off the screen. Whatever you brushed over, Snapseed will attempt to remove from the photo.

For removing tiny details, such as the new whisker the dog received after I removed the collar (shown below), just lightly tap over them once.

As you can never know exactly the results you'll get on the first try, use the "Undo" arrow at the bottom of the screen if you need to try again. It's important to understand how this tool works – the area you select will be filled with whatever surrounds it. In our case here, the algorithm simply replaced the collar with the fur surrounding it, but in some instances getting good results may be difficult.

Tap the check mark symbol at the bottom right when you're finished.

And voila, with very little effort, we removed the puppy's collar, and whoever sees this photo will be none the wiser that it's been edited. When you're happy with your results, tap "Export" to save your photo. Don't worry, this won't overwrite the original picture.

Get Portrait Mode photos with a blurred background on any phone

Portrait Mode photos taken on the new Galaxy S21 series can look really cool. Essentially what Portrait Mode does is blurring the background of your photos while keeping the subject in focus. We have some great S21 Ultra Portrait Mode photo samples in our Galaxy S21 Ultra review you can check out, if interested.

In any case, you can get exactly the same Portrait Mode effect on your phone even if it has only a single camera. And on both selfie photos and main camera shots! It's all possible with photo editing apps that implement machine learning. The one that we'll use is called Snow.

Step 1: Download the free Snow app

Like Snapseed above, Snow is a photo editing app, but it's more centered around filters, beauty effects and the likes. In my experience, it also has the most effective Portrait Mode of any app, which, as we covered earlier, should work perfectly on any photos that aren't overly-cluttered with foreground objects or people.

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Anyway, simply download and run Snow on your phone or tablet:

Step 2: Select a photo where you want the background blurred

When you run the Snow app you'll be prompted to take a selfie, but instead, tap the "Gallery" button on the bottom left, as shown here:

Then select your photo. Ideally, you want a photo of one person at a reasonable distance from the camera – not too close that most of the body is cut, but not too far either. In good conditions like that, the app shouldn't have any issues separating the person from the background.

Step 3: Scroll the bottom menu to the left and tap "Portrait"

When you select your photo, you'll see a list of optional features and effects at the bottom of the screen. The list continues to the right, so press and hold any of its items and scroll to the left, until you reach the "Portrait" option at the end, then tap it.

There we go! You can now select the amount of blur you want and proceed to save your photo by first tapping the check mark on the bottom right, then "Save".

Issues with hair, hats or glasses getting blurred aren't out of the question though, but then again, even smartphones with dedicated Portrait Mode camera systems often have trouble with such details. Even so, this effect can really enhance some photos by adding focus to the subject.

Multi-camera video recording (Director's View)

A cool feature called Director's View can let Galaxy S21 users film a video with both the main and selfie cameras simultaneously. And yes, once again we'll use an app for that, but there's a catch – it's only available on iPhone. The app's multi-camera feature won't work on older iPhones such as the iPhone 8 either, as those are limited to single-camera capture, so you'll need a more recent iPhone.

Step 1: Download the free DoubleTake app

Download the free multi-camera video app DoubleTake, launch it and give it camera and microphone permissions, as requested.

Step 2: Tap the camera icon and select which cameras you'd like to record with

In the DoubleTake app, tap the icon on the bottom left. In the menu that will appear, you'll see all the available phone cameras you can use. Tap two of them, for example the selfie camera and the main camera.

Then tap the button on the top right (see screenshot below) to select how you want your two cameras to share screen space during video recordings. For example, you can have dual-camera split-screen recording, or one camera in a pop-up while the other fills the rest of the screen.

Step 3: Tap "Confirm" and start recording!

Tap "Confirm", which will bring you back to the main recording screen, then tap the recording button on the bottom right to start capturing a dual-camera video!

Get an S Pen alternative

The Galaxy S21 Ultra is compatible with Samsung's S Pen stylus, even if it doesn't have a storage area for it like the Galaxy Note series do. If you love the idea of having a stylus, but don't wish to spend big on a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra or S21 Ultra, you can buy a cheap generic capacitive stylus. It will work with any of your smartphones and tablets.

For example you can get this stylus, which even has interchangeable rubber tips:

Alternatively, you can get an affordable smartphone with a built-in stylus. In our recent Moto G Stylus (2021) review we found it to be a fantastic affordable option for anyone who wants a phone with a slot-in stylus.

Keep in mind that a generic stylus won't be as precise as the S Pen, as the latter has a much finer tip. You also can't have any palm rejection with a generic stylus, which can make writing with one a bit frustrating.

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