Credit: Florence Ion
If Samsung’s learned anything this year, it’s that it’s not only a smartphone’s camera sensor that’s important, but the software you use to interface with it. I had become so used to dealing with an overwhelming amount of camera modes and a confusing interface, but then Samsung started cutting out all the extra fluff and opting for useful features instead.
Both the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ adhere to this new principle. Rather than needlessly boosting the megapixel count, Samsung stuck with the same sensors you'll find on the Galaxy S6. Instead, it focused on software, adding a few special features into the camera apps you don’t normally find on a smartphone, like live broadcasting mode and new manual controls. These new features are fun to use and let you do more within downloading a third-party app.
Broadcast yo’ self
I have fantasies of filming my very own “haul” videos every time I get an Amazon package in the mail, but I don’t have the wherewithal to set up my Mac, turn on Photo Booth, and then upload the finished video to the web. Now I can just do it all with the live broadcasting mode, which syncs up to YouTube.
Setting up YouTube streaming was a bit of a hassle. I had to log in with my Google account and then get it verified, though it didn’t work at first. This entire process takes place in a smaller dialog window on top of the camera’s view finder, rather than launching separately in the YouTube app. But after I figured it out, starting a live broadcast was as easy as hitting the shutter button.
I did most of my live streaming through Wi-Fi and it worked great. You can choose whether to make your broadcast public to all YouTube users, or private to those whom you’ve personally invited. There was no buffering or freezing, though I did have a whopper of a time trying to macro focus during the broadcast. There’s a delay between what your phone is recording and what’s on the YouTube page, and when you stream through your mobile network, the delay is much longer.
When you’re finished broadcasting, the video is saved to YouTube for those who missed the stream to catch later. By default, videos do not save to the Note 5’s local storage, so you don’t have to worry about particularly lengthy streams taking up space. You can also choose to dial down the video size to 426x240 if you’re worried about bandwidth or your data allowance.
Admittedly, I thought the built-in live broadcasting ability was a bit useless at first, but it grew on me when I realized I didn’t have to use Meerkat or Periscope to make silly videos on the fly. Most of my friends don’t use those apps, anyway—they use YouTube.
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