Hands-on with AR Emoji on the Galaxy S9: hey look, I'm Mickey Mouse!

At MWC 2018 in Barcelona, Samsung announced its latest flagship smartphones: the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. They come with a whole bunch of new features, including a number of camera upgrades, and without a doubt, the most... peculiar of them is AR Emoji. We didn't miss the chance to take these for a spin – using the powers of augmented reality to generate e virtual avatar of yourself doesn't sound like that bad of an idea. Alas, we walked out of the demo room with mixed feelings about the feature.

First, the good stuff: Samsung's AR Emoji are made to be open and compatible with any phone. They work not only in text messages, but also in third-party apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, so when you send them to your friends, they will see them, whether they have an iPhone or an Android phone of any brand. How did Samsung achieve this? With GIFs, of course! Once your AR Emoji is saved, a set of 18 animations expressing various emotions are created, so sending one over is no different than sending a picture from your gallery.

AR Emoji are customizable and easy to make. The front-facing camera is used to take a scan of the user's face, and the process takes less than a minute. Curiously, if you take a closer look, you will notice your own facial features on the avatar, but you can customize it: you can go for a more cartoonish look or change the hairstyle and clothing. And if you don't want to use your own face, there are several characters to pick from, including no other than Mickey Mouse!

But it seems like AR Emoji may need some extra work. We don't want to draw a conclusion at this time since the Galaxy S9 demo unit we tried them on wasn't quite a final product, but they did appear to lack the precision of Apple's Animoji when it comes to tracking face expressions. We hope we see better results from the Galaxy S9 review unit that is on its way to our office. 

What do you think of Samsung's AR Emoji? Do you think you'd actually use them on a regular basis? Let us know in the comments! 

Related phones

Galaxy S9
  • Display 5.8" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(31h talk time)
Galaxy S9+
  • Display 6.2" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh(35h talk time)



1. Ciro1900

Posts: 591; Member since: Dec 17, 2017

Who have 3 years of samsung users? Seriously Mickey mouse?

2. Subie

Posts: 2428; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

But I thought Samsung was no longer interested in flashy gimmicks. As per this article: https://www.phonearena.com/news/samsung-innovations-steady-meaningful-user-experience_id102838 IMO though. If you find animoji/disneymoji or whatever an oem wants to call it useful... all the power to ya.

4. skips

Posts: 489; Member since: Oct 04, 2015

people obviously CANNOT and MUST DEFINITELY NOT have a bit fun in their lifes once they hit the adult stage. lighten up? all this arguing about PHONES have made yall.....stale, to say the least. *cough*

5. gamehead unregistered

I prefer animoji

6. japkoslav

Posts: 1552; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Hey look! I don't care! But really I see hands and fingers. Is middle-finger emoji possible? I have to know!

7. dazzmichael

Posts: 71; Member since: Sep 15, 2014

Anyone know if this would be available for S8+?

8. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

Nope. They will never include AR emoji in S8.

9. japkoslav

Posts: 1552; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Unless some clever XDA developer will get bored and port it to every Android device out there :-D

10. vikasoz

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 28, 2018

Come on guys. Be realistic. Smartphones have reached their peak. Now, only areas where they can take first steps are like - Animoji, spontaneous translation using camera, Desktop experience etc. We are adults so what? Are we not fun anymore? Do we not send fun clips to our niece or nephew? Samsung, Apple, Huawei spend a lot in R&D to come up with something like this, and we just sit and abuse them. These all new innovations (some may still say 'gimmicks') should be appreciated if not used at least.

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