When the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge were launched, they became the prime focus for all discussions as Samsung took a break on their traditional design philosophy and opted for something that their flagship lineup hadn’t seen before. But along with the design, a lot of Android enthusiasts were also impressed by another aspect of the flagship duo: their camera.
Even traditionally, the primary camera on Samsung’s flagship lineup has been one of its stronger points as compared to other Android rivals of its time. Right from the first Galaxy S, camera performance on the flagships has been consistently good, at the very least. Depending on the specific flagship and its rivals, you could expect the S lineup to deliver one of the best Android camera performance of its time.
But no matter how well its flagships performed on this end, Samsung eventually does end up being compared to its main rival, Apple. Critics have been unanimously agreeing to the fact that the camera performance on the iPhones have been surpassing the Galaxy S lineup in every iteration, which shouldn’t be a surprise seeing as how the camera is still one of the more relevant strong points of the iPhone. With the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, Samsung seems intent on dethroning Apple as the King of the Smartphone Camera. While other rivals have been popping up to claim the throne for themselves, Samsung is keen on giving the S6 flagship duo its best effort yet.
Even out of the box, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge delivered one of the best camera performance amongst smartphones, thanks to the 16MP Sony IMX240 sensor, OIS and its blend of ease-of-use and granular controls. The performance received wide praise from all quarters, with all “shootouts” between the Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 6 declaring the S6 as the clear winner by a decent margin. Samsung had a winner in its hands, until others came along to heat up the competition at the top.
Surprisingly, in the beginning of May 2015, reports emerged that Samsung planned to push an update to the camera adding more features. Sammobile reported that the Android 5.1.1 update to the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, scheduled for June 2015, was to improve the camera prowess of these devices even further, with possibilities of adding in support for RAW image capture and shutter speed controls. This is surprising as these features were missing from the Galaxy devices on launch, but were present in competing rival flagships like the LG G4 and the HTC One M9.
Now, new reports have emerged that along with the above mentioned features, the new update will also bring along iPhone-like manual exposure control. While manual exposure control is not a new thing for the Galaxy lineup, the new update would make it as simple and easy as the iPhone’s, by allowing adjustments by dragging the finger across the viewfinder in the required directions. More than anything else, this new report looks like a clear attempt to win over customers from the opposite side of the river, rather than compete against other Android contenders.
There is something about the imminent 5.1.1 update that pokes at my hunch that Samsung has more cards up its sleeve. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are firsts for the Galaxy lineup in terms of design, but they are also getting their fair share of attention when it comes to adding “new” features through updates, much more than previous flagship Samsung models. This can also be seen as Samsung’s attempts to maintain relevancy amongst competition by bridging over gaps in the software and play “catch up”. Afterall, the hardware is well endowed enough to make you wonder why something as significant as RAW image capture was left out on launch day. Instead of an out-of-the-box feature, this has to be pushed out as an update two months in the product’s release cycle, thereby prompting the tinfoil bearing cynics in us to question whether this update could be considered a result of “unfinished software“.
Whatever be the reason, it is good to see Samsung at least responding to the competition by increasing functionality of existing hardware. Such feature additions only serve to enhance the end user experience and we at XDA would rather have them than not. Now, if only Android 5.1 came sooner on these.
What do you think about Samsung’s increased focus on camera performance? Do you believe such “features” should come out of the box on such premium handsets, or is it alright to add on such improvements over the release cycle at the risk of losing ground to competition? Whatever your thoughts, let us know in the comments below!