First Look

New Galaxy Note10 may replace the video camera

Much like how the smartphone has replaced the compact camera for many amateur photographers, Samsung's new Galaxy Note10 and Note10+ phones may be the answer to the video camera for casual videographers, thanks to the devices' host of advanced video-shooting and editing features.

These features were unveiled at Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked 2019 event in New York City last week.

The two phones boast similar capabilities, except that the more expensive Note10+ has a larger screen of 6.8 inches, compared with the Note10's 6.3 inches, as well as features such as a bigger battery, more memory and an additional camera.

Video content creators, however, can be assured that both phones have similar innovative video tools.

One feature is the zoom-in mic function, which allows users to select a specific portion of the frame where they wish to amplify the sound, while pushing background noise to the side. This comes in handy when one would like to highlight a single person's speaking voice while situated in a noisy and crowded place.

I tested this feature for a few minutes at a media launch before the Unpacked event and it appeared to work, even if the location was not ideal - the hotel room was too quiet.

I asked someone to stand about 10m away from me and speak quietly, while I zoomed in on her face. In video playback mode, her voice did get a little louder during the zoomed-in part.

Another feature, the live focus function, gives users the ability to add depth-of-field adjustments to videos so that one can blur the background and focus on the subject in the forefront. This was pretty nifty and worked smoothly, and made videos look more dynamic.

But no videographer would get by without video editing and he can do so on the Note10 using the new video editor function.

Who needs to transfer video clips to the laptop when he can do everything, from trimming clips to speeding them up to even writing notes on the videos, all on the phone screen?

Fans of the Note will be happy to know that the Note10 has kept the iconic stylus pen, or S Pen.

Here, it has been upgraded to perform new tasks, such as acting as a remote control of sorts for various functions, such as zooming in and out of a photo frame, as well as changing camera modes. All you have to do is wave the S Pen in certain directions - these can be customised - to perform different tasks.

However, I found this quite difficult to master. If I waved my hand too quickly, the S Pen would register an entirely different movement than what I had intended. Or, it would not register my movement at all.

A public relations person at the event admitted that it took him half a day to do it properly. I guess every witch and wizard needs practice.

The Samsung Galaxy Note10 and Note10+ will be available in Singapore from Aug 24, with prices starting at $1,398. Pre-orders are now available.

Yip Wai Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2019, with the headline 'New Galaxy Note10 may replace the video camera'. Print Edition | Subscribe