We’ve reviewed the Galaxy S10 2.5 months ago now. Amongst one of the discoveries of besides the differences between the Snapdragon and Exynos models was the fact that Samsung’s low-light capability really didn’t compete with Google’s Night Sight processing capabilities or with Huawei’s combined hardware and processing advantage.

A few days ago Samsung started pushing the newest May firmware update to devices and in this new update we’re seeing the introduction of a brand-new night mode that has new processing abilities, and an overall large change in camera processing quality.

In the Galaxy S10’s release firmware, the low-light computational photography mode was a feature that was automatically triggered through the camera application’s “scene optimiser” mode. In an April software update this same mode was eventually moved to a dedicated Night mode switch in the UI. The new May update completely changes the algorithm behind this mode and also adds the possibility to shoot it with the wide-angle camera. Other additions to the new camera include taking panorama pictures with the main camera sensor instead of just the wide-angle lens, majorly improving panorama picture quality.

The main interesting topic of this short news post is the new Night Mode. I’ve updated the firmware on my Exynos S10+ to test the new feature. Unfortunately whilst Samsung has already started updating the Snapdragon S10+ as well, until now this has only happened to Hong Kong variants of the phone and US users including my unit I have here hasn’t yet received the update.

Update: Read our most recent full camera comparison in our OnePlus 7 Pro review

Whilst not directly a before-and-after comparison, the comparison between the Snapdragon S10 on the April firmware versus the Exynos S10 on the May firmware are still striking when it comes to the Night Mode shots:

Click for full image
[ S10+ (E) May Update  ] - [ S10+ (S) April Update  ]
[ P30 Pro ] - [ Pixel 3 ] - [ iPhone XS ]

Click for full image
[ S10+ (E) May Update  ] - [ S10+ (S) April Update  ]
[ P30 Pro ] - [ Pixel 3 ] - [ iPhone XS ]

Click for full image
[ S10+ (E) May Update  ] - [ S10+ (S) April Update  ]
[ P30 Pro ] - [ Pixel 3 ] - [ iPhone XS ]

The new algorithm is a lot brighter, but most importantly is able to resolve a lot more detail. In fact I’d argue that Samsung is now on par with Google’s Night Sight mode, achieving better details and able to handle highlights better. Google’s results are still brighter and more saturated, but arguably that also not very representative of the actual scenes and it goes a bit too far. Samsung and Google however both continue to lag behind the raw hardware power of Huawei’s P30’s devices.

Besides the improved low-light capability, I also noticed that HDR processing and exposure in general has been significantly improved with the new update on the Exynos S10. In fact in my test shots, things have now notably improved with only some differences remaining to the Snapdragon’s results. Sharpness is one area the Exynos still lags behind the Snapdragon, but it seems the differences have been much reduced compared to what we saw in our initial release.

We’ll have a full blown-camera comparison again with our review of the OnePlus 7 Pro coming soon.

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