Samsung I9103 Galaxy R review: Riding shotgun
Above average 5MP camera
The Samsung Galaxy R comes with a 5MP camera and an LED flash. It captures photos at a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels.
Its interface looks pretty familiar with two shortcut bars on each side of the viewfinder. On the right you get the still camera / camcorder switch, virtual shutter key and the gallery shortcut (which is a thumbnail of the last photo taken).
On the left, you get the front/back camera switch and the flash control. You can replace those two and add two more (for a total of four) shortcuts to any option in the Settings menu.
In terms of image quality, the Galaxy R really impresses with some great image sharpness while keeping colors at an acceptable level of saturation. In some scenes we even noticed lower noise levels while keeping the same level of resolved detail, which is commendable. The Galaxy R photos also have good contrast and accurate white balance. Here are some camera samples shot by the Galaxy R:
We also saw commendable performance at the macro level.
Photo quality comparison
The Samsung Galaxy R I9103 enters our Photo Compare Tool alongside other 5MP shooters. The tool’s page will give you enough info on how to use it and what to look for.
In the first chart, there are slight traces of a pink spot that the processing software attempted to remove. The Galaxy R shows far superior image sharpness when compared to the more expensive Galaxy S Plus—when comparing the grass patch in the second chart the difference is almost night and day. Finally, the third chart shows the aforementioned acceptable saturation levels, as well as a white balance that doesn’t stray towards any particular hue, as seen in the black and white photograph.
720p video recording is sans focus
The video camera interface is identical to the still camera. You get the same customizable panel on the left with four shortcuts. You can use the front camera to record video too, but at a lower resolution.
The front camera shoots 720p video at 30fps in .MP4 format, with at a bitrate of 10.1Mbps.
The videos themselves, like the camera, have some great color saturation and white balance, but unlike the camera, leave something to be desired in the sharpness department. We also see a small amount of aliasing.
More importantly, the video camera does not attempt to focus the image automatically, nor does it feature the ability to focus the image manually. The sound quality is a bit low; mono @ 96Kbps bitrate and only a 16.0kHz sampling rate.
Here's a sample we uploaded to YouTube for your viewing pleasure.
Also, here's an untouched 720p@30fps sample (13.8MB) straight from the phone.
Video quality comparison
The video quality compare shows how much the lack of autofocus hurts the Galaxy R. While the colors are richer than the Galaxy S Plus and the Galaxy W, we see a noticeable lack in sharpness. This is particularly apparent when comparing the lights of the Ferris under low-light conditions. The ISO chart also shows how the Galaxy R underperforms the less expensive Galaxy W in this regard.