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Home News Samsung's Instagram Stories camera mode is bad and it should feel bad

Samsung’s Instagram Stories camera mode is bad and it should feel bad

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This could be amazing, but instead, it’s aggressively mediocre.

Samsung announced back with the Galaxy S10 that it had integrated an Instagram Stories shooting mode into the phone’s camera app. You can toggle over with a swipe and shoot straight to Instagram Stories, including video. I, like most, scoffed at the idea. I can just open the Instagram app to use all of the capabilities of Stories, or take photos in the camera and share them to my feed, so why would I bother with a separate Instagram mode in the camera itself?

I’ve been deep into Instagram Stories of late and using the Galaxy Note 10+, so I decided to give the dedicated Instagram mode a try — it turns out to have a few great advantages over shooting from the Instagram app, and I was immediately hooked. But it only took a couple of days for me to realize this conclusion was short-sighted; it is, in fact, quite bad. Here’s why … and how Samsung could do better.

lf you use Instagram Stories, the idea of having it built into the camera app is great.

I was so excited to experiment with the Instagram mode in the camera for a few reasons. First, it lets you toggle between the ultra-wide, standard and telephoto lenses, unlike the Instagram app, which is a huge deal. Also, every photo you take is saved to your gallery before being shared to Instagram Stories to edit, so you get a clean version without having to save manually (or forget and miss out completely). Finally, I was excited to take photos natively in the camera app because it would theoretically be higher quality than shooting in Stories directly, which has notoriously bad quality.

Well, it turns out only one of these things is actually useful — and there’s a lot of the experience that’s in need of improvement if I’m ever going to use it again. The benefit of being able to choose between all three cameras is legitimately the best reason to use the Instagram mode — switching perspectives with a tap is super useful, and once you get accustomed to that feature you miss it deeply when shooting in Stories natively. I really wish Instagram made some sort of API available to let phone makers surface their various cameras in the app.

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But apparently my expectations for higher quality when shooting in the camera app were completely incorrect. Shooting with the Instagram mode leads to the same terrible drop-off in quality. (This basically comes down to Instagram stories using a cropped-in video feed, and when you take a “picture” it’s just pulling a single frame, which is much lower resolution than a full-sensor shot.) And that pretty much negates any benefit there is to saving photos before sharing … because I don’t want to save bad photos. I suppose it’s also worth noting that the Instagram Stories mode doesn’t offer the various live filters and effects of the Instagram app.

Ironically, it’s the lesser part of the Instagram-in-Samsung-camera partnership that is much more useful: there’s a one-tap share option after taking a photo in any mode to send directly to your Instagram feed or Stories. This, ultimately, accomplishes most of what I want: you can take a photo with any of the three cameras, use all camera features, get the full-quality photo, have that photo saved locally, and also quickly share it to Instagram. You just don’t get the proper aspect ratio or quick access to video recording you want for Instagram Stories.

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Then there’s one other quirk that really rubbed me the wrong way. Every photo taken with the Instagram mode in the camera app receives a “#withGalaxy” sharing tag in the upper-left corner of the Stories interface, which when tapped doesn’t even lead to a search for the hashtag … it leads directly to the @samsungmobile Instagram account. Now call me old fashioned, but that feels rather slimy — there’s zero reason why Samsung should be forcing this sort of advertising on people who want to use the Instagram mode in the camera. Sure, there are companies like Huawei and OnePlus (and others) that offer an optional watermark in the camera app, but this is both on by default and unable to be turned off. It’s the simplest reason for me to never use the Instagram mode in the camera app, even if all of my other complaints were addressed. C’mon, Samsung, think about this one and realize it doesn’t make you look good.

Samsung’s failures with the Instagram mode are numerous — but also fixable.

So the annoying part of this whole experiment is that I’ve eventually landed right back where I started: taking photos with the camera app, and sharing them to Instagram manually, and using the Instagram app for most of my Stories. For the former, the quality is dramatically higher, and I get to use all three cameras as I see fit; and for the latter, I just put up with the lower quality of Stories knowing I won’t care to save those photos. Plus, most importantly, I don’t get forced into advertising for Samsung’s Instagram account.

Samsung’s failures with this Instagram camera app integration are frustrating because I really want to use this mode. If Samsung could provide higher quality when shooting directly to Instagram Stories, while letting you switch between cameras, and removed the stupid #withGalaxy forced tagging, it would easily make Samsung phones the best choice for Instagram Stories. Perhaps Instagram isn’t willing to offer that sort of deep access into its platform, but it would be a win-win scenario for Samsung and Instagram both.

New Notes

Galaxy Note 10

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From $950 at Samsung

Samsung’s Note flagship is back for 2019.

The Galaxy Note is back for 2019, but it looks a little different than usual. Samsung is selling three different models, removed the headphone jack, and is starting to phase out the microSD card. However, with gorgeous AMOLED displays, faster performance, and an S Pen that does more than ever before, these new Notes are certainly worth a look.

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Verizon announces Samsung Galaxy A71 5G UW

Back in May, Verizon announced the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G UW, a phone compatible with Verizon’s 5G Ultra-Wideband and lowband networks.Now Verizon has come back with the Samsung Galaxy A71 5G UW, a far more affordable smartphone than the flagship S20 while still bringing 5G connectivity.SpecsThe A71 5G UW features:A 6.7″ Super AMOLED Infinity-O DisplayA quad-camera rear array with a 64MP main module, a 12MP Ultra Wide lens, a 5MP Macro lens, and a 5MP Depth CameraA 32MP front cameraA 4,500mAh battery8GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storagePricing and availabilityThe Samsung Galaxy A71 5G UW has a retail price of $649.99, which breaks down to $27.08 a month for 24 months on Verizon Device Payment.However, if you activate a new line on any Premium Unlimited Plan, you can get the device for $15 a month or $20 a month online.Preorders for the Galaxy A71 5G UW start tomorrow, July 9 here. The phone will be available in stores starting July 16. During the preorder period, users can get 25% off cases and screen protectors.Verizon also launched three additional phones, the Samsung Galaxy A11 and A21 and the Orbic Journey L.

How to create and share WhatsApp QR code for groups

WhatsApp recently released a feature that allowed you to share contacts using a QR Code. This allowed for users to share their own and scan other QR Codes, saving users the trouble of exchanging mobile numbers or contact details. A new feature lets you share WhatsApp QR Code for groups, allowing you to invite others to join your private groups.The feature is currently in beta, but once it becomes public will maintain the same steps.A pre-requisite to this step is being the Admin of a group. This helps prevents members of the group from abusing the feature.In addition, the QR code is static. Anyone with access to the QR code can join the group, so be careful who you share it with.Step 1.If you are the admin of a group, tap on your group settings. You can quickly access this by pressing the header of your group.Alternatively, you can also press the three dots at the top right of the group window, and tapping on Group info.Step 2.Tap on Invite via link. You’ll see a lot of options here, but there will be a new option for QR Code, tap on that.WhatsApp will generate a QR code for that group.Step 3.If you’re looking at scanning the code, go back to your main screen on WhatsApp (where all your chats are located).Press the 3 dots at the top right of the screen and choose Settings. Look to the right of your name and status to see a QR Code icon.Once you tap on it, swipe to the right and you’ll get the option to scan a WhatsApp QR Code.If you’re looking to share the code, you can take a screenshot of the QR code and send it to the person for them to scan via their computer screen using their phone.Alternatively, if the person is in physical distance, they can also scan the code directly from your phone screen.The feature is currently in Beta, and might not be available to all users. You’ll have to wait patiently for the feature to become public.With the help of QR codes, adding people to a group is now further streamlined. You no longer have to add a person as a contact to add them to a group.Errors, omissions? Be sure to let us know what might be wrong and we’ll make an adjustment.

Just $89.95, the MagiMask is the future of AR

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are two topics which have been kicking around for quite some time, with the former dating back decades. And thanks to the advances in phones and consoles, they both continue to get better. And cheaper.Augmented Reality really took off with the launch of Pokemon Go, ushering in an exciting and fun way to blend the real world with collectible characters. Over on the retail front, places like IKEA and Amazon are making AR an instrumental part of their shopping experience.What does the future hold for AR technology? It looks an awful lot like what MagiMask is doing today.Whereas most conventional AR accessories have an image that’s viewed via split-screen, the MakiMask is a singular full-screen experience. What’s more, it’s four times the resolution as compared to today’s common experience. That means fewer headaches and less eye strain.Beyond the AR aspect, the MagiMask is a fun way to enjoy movies and games on your handset. Paired with a Bluetooth controller, you’ll have more fun gaming with popular such as Fortnite. Or, simply take in a cinema-like experience from the comfort of your hammock.As we’ve seen time and again, innovations like these get their start on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It should come as no surprise to learn that the MagiMask was successfully backed on both outlets (Kickstarter, Indiegogo).Magimask BundleMagiMask: Full resolution 4x higher than split-screen VRsMagiTools: Physical tracker objects that allow you to easily interact w/ the digital worldUniversal phone mount: Adjusts to your AR-compatible smartphoneRecommended Portable Cinema Viewing Apps: Netflix, HBO, Hulu, VLC, YouTube, YouTube 360, & Amazon PrimeRecommended Augmented Reality Apps: Sketchfab, Augment, Kubity, IKEA, Alone, Holo, Sketch AR, Geogebra AR, Jig Space, Civilizations AR, Visible Body AR, Dinopark AR, & Enter the roomGaming & Drones: Grand Theft Auto (With Bluetooth Controller), Fortnite (With Bluetooth Controller), DJI (Navigate Drone With Controller, Connect To DJI app)Ludenso Create: Create 3D models & view your masterpiece in AR on the MagiTile with your iPad.Buy it Today!Normally, the MagiMask retails for $129.99; however, AndroidGuys readers can snag the MagiMask plus a bundle of props for $89.95. That’s 30% off its regular price, plus the goodies.Best SellersEarn Credits!For every $25 you spend in the AG Deals Store you get $1 credit added to your account. And, if you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.First Time Buying?If this is your first time buying, you are also eligible for 10% discount! Just be sure to subscribe for email updates.Free StuffNot looking to spend any money today? No worries. You can still visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and pick something anyhow.

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