technology

Galaxy S21 is the only Android phone to keep up with Snapchat

Snapchat on Android has historically proven to be pretty awful when it comes to camera image quality. For years, the app simply took screenshots from the camera’s viewfinder and used it directly. It was effective (and perhaps necessary given the sheer number of Android phones and the software differences between them), but it didn’t look very good. Now, with the new S21 series, it seems like Snapchat is finally playing well and giving us some of the best quality snaps we’ve ever seen.

In my testing of Snapchat on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the images and videos look really, surprisingly great. It was so shocking because we had heard for years that Snapchat on Android should improve, but we hadn’t seen any real improvements other than the Google Pixel series with Pixel Visual Core.

Below are a few photos and videos captured on Snapchat on my Galaxy S21 Ultra. And while you won’t be comparing them below, I also noticed very similar camera quality improvements with Snapchat coming out of the S21, with the S21 looking better than the S21 Ultra in some situations.

So how was this miracle accomplished? This is all thanks to Samsung’s partnership with several app developers to bring camera artificial intelligence (and thus quality) into third-party apps, presumably by including the use of the Android CameraX library. This is most noticeable in apps like Snapchat and Instagram, where the camera looks really good on the Galaxy S21. If you own a Pixel phone, you’ll probably notice this in a few apps too, but in my experience, the difference between the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 5 is much smaller compared to previous generations.

It’s great that Snapchat works well with the Galaxy S21 series, but for the app to be really viable with good quality on Android, other device OEMs need to start supporting the CameraX library more. Google provides tools – now OEMs can use them. Until then, if you want great Snapchat on today’s flagship Android, the Galaxy S21 series is your best bet.

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