If you've got any one of Samsung's many Galaxy S10 models, you're going to be able to do more with your phone after it gets a software this week. And you'll have Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 to thank for your phone's newfound camera and productivity features.
Samsung announced today (Oct. 28) that some of the camera and productivity features introduced with the Note 10 this summer will be making their way to the Galaxy S10 lineup. The software update will be available starting this week, Samsung says, and it's coming to the Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus and Galaxy S10 5G.
So what will these new and improved features mean for your S10? Here's a closer look at what Samsung is delivering with this software update.
Native video editor
The Note 10 introduced an improved video editing app, and those capabilities are coming to the S10. The features in the video app are pretty simple, but effective — you can trim clips, stitch video segments together, adjust playback speed and add subtitles and background music.
When we we reviewed the Note 10, we found the video editing features to be a breeze, particularly when it came to trimming down clips. However, that was with the Note 10's S Pen, which had been optimized to support the phone's video editor. Since the S10 has no companion stylus, we're interested to see if the video editor is as compelling on Samsung's other flagships.
Live Focus in video
The Note 10 gained the ability to add background blurs to videos, similar to the bokeh effects you can apply to photos shot in Portrait Mode. Samsung calls this feature Live Focus, and while it wasn't perfect in our testing — it faded in and out at times — it does add a nice effect to videos viewed on a smartphone's smaller screen.
This another Note 10 feature tied to the S Pen that's making the move over to Samsung's other flagship phones. With AR Doodle, you can draw on top of people in the camera view, and whatever you draw will end up following them around through the magic of augmented reality.
The Galaxy Note 10 AR Doodle feature is cool and creepy! Watch this. #ARDoodle #SamsungEvent #samsunggalaxynote10 pic.twitter.com/XU3Ih3KeZJAugust 7, 2019
Is this the most essential addition to the Galaxy S10? Not by a longshot. But it's a fun enough feature that shows off the AR capabilities of Samsung's phones. And users with an artistic flair will get some use out of AR Doodle, though we're interested to see how easy it is to sketch without an S Pen.
Expanded Night Mode
The most straight-forward addition to the Galaxy S10's camera is probably the most interesting. Samsung says the S10 will gain the Note 10's expanded Night Mode capabilities, which include the ability to shoot low-light photos with the phone's front camera.
We found Night Mode to be a big improvement in the Note 10, though it didn't quite surpass the low-light photography capable with the Pixel 3. Google has since come out with the Pixel 4, which further improves that phone's Night Sight feature, while Apple has added a Night mode to its latest iPhones. Put another way, Samsung has a lot of catching up to do with low-light photos, so this is an important step for the S10.
Windows integration and Dex Mode
It's not all camera improvements with this promised software update. Samsung says to expect a boost in productivity, too, as the S10 will now have the ability to use their smartphone as a mini PC just by connecting the S10 to a PC with a USB cable.
The Galaxy S10 gains the Note's Link to Windows feature to, so that users will be able to wirelessly connect their S10 to a Windows 10 PC. That allows them to see notifications, send messages and look at photos without having to glance at the phone.
More features on the way?
Samsung holds its annual developers conference tomorrow (Oct. 29), so it's likely we'll hear about more software updates. The company's already launched a beta program for its updated OneUI interface that incorporates Android 10, and we're expecting to get our first look at that during the Samsung Developers Conference.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.