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Samsung could bring a new 'AstroPortrait' mode to its high-end camera phones (APK teardown)

We found hints of a new "AstroPortrait" mode coming to the Samsung Expert RAW app. Here's what we think it does!
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Published onApril 3, 2024

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera housing
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • The latest version of Samsung’s Expert RAW app describes an unannounced “AstroPortrait” mode.
  • From the description, we think this is a way of taking astrophotography shots with a person in the foreground.
  • A similar mode — Astro Portrait — appeared on the vivo X100 Pro recently, so this could be Samsung’s response to that.

For Android camera phones, Samsung sits right near the top of the list regarding features, reliability, and quality. However, you can’t sit stagnant at the top, so Samsung always needs to figure out ways to make its offerings even better. On that note, today, we found a hint of what could be coming soon for high-end Samsung phones: “AstroPortrait.”

An APK teardown helps predict features that may arrive on a service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that such predicted features may not make it to a public release.

In the latest version of the Expert RAW app — an app exclusively for high-end Samsung phones to take professional advantage of the camera hardware — we found multiple strings referencing AstroPortrait mode. We can deduce what the mode does by the name and the strings. First, here are those strings:

<string name="astro_portrait_cancel_capture_wait_msg">Please wait to enable stop shutter to cancel picture.</string>

<string name="astro_portrait_capture_help_text">Ask the subject to leave the frame so the stars can be captured.</string>

<string name="astro_portriat_capture_guide">To take an astroportrait, press the Shutter with the person in the frame, then have them leave the frame after the flash so the camera can capture the stars.</string>

<string name="lab_features_astro_portrait_toast">AstroPortrait %s</string>

<string name="title_lab_astro_portriat">AstroPortrait</string>

The third string there gives away the mode’s usage pretty clearly. It looks like you place someone in the frame with the night sky visible behind them. You then press the shutter button and have them quickly exit the frame once the flash goes off. Then, the phone will capture the night sky and, theoretically, mash all this info together into a portrait.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because the vivo X100 Pro landed recently with a very similar feature called Astro Portrait. In our vivo X100 Pro review, we tried this out and got these shots:

While it’s likely Samsung’s AstroPortrait and vivo’s Astro Portrait are essentially the same, it’s very possible Samsung’s could be better (or worse). We’ll need to wait and see once the company formally launches it.

Another thing to note from these strings is the word “lab” in the last string. This likely means AstroPortrait will be relegated to the “Labs” section of the Expert RAW app. Currently, this section houses the traditional astrophotography mode (which Samsung calls “Astrophoto”) along with multiple exposure photos and a simulated neutral density (ND) filter mode.

The next phone launch we expect from Samsung that will involve support for the Expert RAW app is the Galaxy Z Fold 6, which will likely happen in late July or early August. It’s possible Samsung could debut AstroPortrait with those phones as a marketing tactic. However, it’s also possible Samsung could just roll this feature out whenever as a quiet update. Stay tuned!

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