Groundbreaking Or Gimmick? Experimenting With The Dual Aperture Of The Galaxy S9

The most interesting thing about the new Galaxy S9 is its dual aperture. Here it is in action:

In theory it's a really great idea. But how useful is it in the real world? 

To find out I shot a few comparisons. One image with an open aperture (1.5), one with a closed aperture (2.4), and a final image where I let the auto-mode choose the aperture.

What do you think? Do you see a notable difference? Let me know on Twitter

f/1.5 1/100 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/2.4 1/50 4.3 mm ISO 64

Auto: f/2.4 1/100 4.3 mm ISO 80

f/1.5 1/1164 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/2.4 1/546 4.3 mm ISO 50

Auto: f/2.4 1/350 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/1.5 1/260 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/2.4 1/123 4.3 mm ISO 50

Auto: f/2.4 1/130 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/1.5 1/516 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/2.4 1/254 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/2.4 1/267 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/1.5 1/9 4.3 mm ISO 1600

f/2.4 1/4 4.3 mm ISO 1250

f/1.5 1/7 4.3 mm ISO 1000

f/1.5 1/192 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/2.4 1/100 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/2.4 1/100 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/1.5 1/25 4.3 mm ISO 500

f/2.4 1/10 4.3 mm ISO 800

f/1.5 1/14 4.3 mm ISO 320

f/1.5 1/179 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/2.4 1/100 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/2.4 1/100 4.3 mm ISO 50

f/1.5 1/4 4.3 mm ISO 1000

f/2.4 1/4 4.3 mm ISO 1250

f/1.5 1/6 4.3 mm ISO 1250

Galaxy S9 vs. iPhone X: Real World Camera Comparison

Today I took the new Samsung Galaxy S9+ and the iPhone X to the local botanical garden. All images were shot in full auto-mode, handheld and no post-processing was done afterwards.

Which look/style do you prefer? The one from the pictures on the left/on top or the one from the pictures on the right/at the bottom?

Solution: The pictures on the left/at the top were shot with an iPhone X. The pictures on the right/at the bottom were shot with a Galaxy S9+.

Let me know on Twitter which you like better. 

Footnote: I encountered a small focus problem with the Galaxy S9+. Sometimes I just couldn't get it to focus correctly at close distances. I tried my best to still get sharp shots. But sometimes I just had to give up. Here's an example: 

Smart Home: I Connected An Ikea Tradfri To My Philips Hue Hub

Ikea recently lowered the prices of WIFI light bulbs. That allone didn't intrigue me much. Since I had already bought more than enough Philips Hue bulbs over the last two years. But when someone on Twitter mentioned that you could connect Ikea Tradfri bulbs to a Philips Hue Hub I couldn’t resist. 


Connecting the Tradfri bulb to the Philips Hub wasn't as easy as I had thought. It didn't work at first. The new bulb didn't show up in the Hue app. 


Since I didn't have an Ikea Hub and therefore no way to communicate with the new Tradfri bulb I tried a factory reset. I turned the bulb on and off six times. Lucky me it worked. And the Tradfri finally showed up in the Hue app.


Now that the Tradfri blub showed up in the Hue app I conducted a little experiment:

It turns out there isn't any noticable delay between the Philips and Ikea bulb. But the Ikea bulb takes a little longer to turn off. But that’s not bothersome at all. 

The only downside: The Ikea bulb doesn't show in Apples Homekit app. Apparently that only works with an Ikea Hub. But that’s not something I'm going to try anytime soon. I just use my Ikea bulb in a lamp connected to a motion sensor. So I don't need Siri or Homekit to control it.     

Recommended App: Bring You Home

Tiny Thief is one of my all-time favorite games. Too bad the publisher dropped it and it‘s no longer in the iOS store. You can still get it for Android though. Lucky me, I still have it on an old iPad.

The guys behind the game later started their own company called Alike Studio and launched the equally cute and smart Love You To Bits.

Now they launched their second game called Bring You Home. I bought it over the weekend without reading any reviews. That‘s how much I trust the team behind those games.

I wasn‘t disappointed. Even though the game looks similar the mechanics are completely new. Instead of controlling one character you have to control and adjust the level itself.

I’ve already finished the game. But there is so much replay value and so many hidden details. Highly recommended!

Proposals and wishes for watchOS 5


Matt Birchler has published a very interesting wishlist for the Apple Watch and watchOS 5. I couldn‘t resist to comment on most of his proposals and add a few of my own.


Third-party apps for Siri watch face
Every proposal with Siri and third-party apps in it has my full support. Since I don‘t use many Apple services and apps Siri isn‘t very useful in my life. I only use it to set timers and turn the lights off. For the same reasons I never use the Siri watch face. It‘s just not useful to me - yet. I‘ve been hoping for a Google-Now-like watch face since day one. The watch should know what information is useful at which moment and adjust accordingly. With third-party support, the Siri watch face would be a step in that direction. 

Always-on watch faces
From a practical point of view, I fully support that proposal as well. Turn to wake usually works flawlessly. But still, there are situations when it doesn‘t. That‘s when I sometimes have to use my nose to activate the screen. Always-on watch faces would solve that problem. From an aesthetic point of view, I have to admit I like the Reverso-like empty watch face. It‘s black, quiet and only turns on when I want to. An always-on screen might be a bit of a distraction or an eye catcher. 

Third-party watch faces
Having seen some of the ugly or copyright infringing third-party watch faces on Android Wear or Tizen I see why Apple is very cautious in that regard. As a watch nerd, I love new watch faces and can‘t get enough of them. But I‘d rather see third-party developers come up with decent complications first. As a second step, I could see myself paying for new watch faces or maybe a digital version of the hands of a famous mechanical watch. By the way, did you notice the Apple Watch uses the same hands as the famous Nautilus from Patek. Update: I wrote a whole article about this topic. 

Automatic workout detection
That's dearly needed. I really don‘t want to tell my watch, that I‘m going for a run. It has plenty of sensors and smarts to know it.

Winter activities
Living in Switzerland I fully agree. Shoveling would be especially helpful.

More seasonal activity badges
I love earning badges! 

„Rest day“ function
I have asked for that quite a few times in the past. I have a suspicion that‘s very high on many users list. You could even make it fun by letting users earn rest days by completing certain goals or tasks. 

Sleep tracking
I really don‘t know what Apple is waiting for. It‘s one of the best features of wearables in general. Thanks to apps like AutoSleep I‘m already tracking my sleep with an Apple Watch. But I‘d prefer a built-in and therefore more secure version for such an important function.

Can‘t happen soon enough.

Always listening to „Hey Siri“
I really don‘t like always listening microphones. Maybe I‘m a bit old-fashioned. 

Custom notification sounds for third-party apps
That’s a smart (and maybe a bit annoying) idea! My watch is always on silent though. 

Improve Dock with some sort of grid system
I‘m really happy with the new Dock. I just wish all the Apps would open faster and not just the ones that have been automatically or purposely placed in the Dock. 

Improve Breath app
I used the app quite regularly when it was new. But soon forgot about it. 

Read full Apple News articles on Apple Watch
Apple News isn‘t working in Switzerland yet.

Display iPhone battery life
That has been on my list since the very first watchOS. Back then I used an Android phone. To use the Apple Watch I always carried an iPhone in my backpack. The iPhone often ran out of battery because I forgot about it. A little warning on the watch would have been helpful. Today I would like to know on my watch when the phone is fully charged and ready to go.

Custom colors for flashlight
I would really like that. I use the flashlight a lot. Usually white. But sometimes white is too bright. So I use red. But it looks really scary. The option to pick a friendlier and less bright color would be very welcome. 

Theatre mode should activate „Do Not Disturb“
Absolutely! Whenever I go to bed I have to swipe up and press these two buttons. Coupling these two buttons would be very helpful. But I have an even better solution in my own suggestions below.

Ability to watch Youtube
This is indeed a rather crazy request. But hey, why not? Don‘t think I would use it much though.


Now for my additions I already mentioned in my review of the Apple Watch Series 3:


More brightness options and Night Shift
In direct sunlight, the bright screen of the newer models is very handy. At night it's way too bright. I would love to have more options in the brightness settings. Whenever I go to bed I activate Do Not Disturb and Theatre Mode. The Apple Watch should do that automatically and dim the screen. It should either be possible to set a certain time to activate this Night Shift mode or even better the Apple Watch should use sleep tracking and all its other sensors to activate it automatically when I go to bed. 

Gesture control
It happens at least once a day: The Apple Watch displays a red dot to tell me there’s a notification waiting for me. But I can't open it because my other hand is occupied with carrying an umbrella for example. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to turn your wrist twice to open notifications? Some kind of finger tracking with radar like Googles Project Soli would be even cooler. But that's still a few years in the future. It might eventually end up in watches as the Android Wear boss recently hinted at in an interview with me. Can't wait for better control/input options for smartwatches.

I would really like for the Apple Watch to become completely independent from an iPhone so you could use it even with an Android phone. I doubt though that Apple likes that idea as much as I do. But what about the iPad? Wouldn't it at least be great if the Apple Watch would work with an iPad? Just like it does now with the iPhone. Having an iPad in your backpack could replace the need for a connected smartphone. If you need the big screen get the iPad. For everything else, you have your watch and Airpods.

Recommended App: Civilization VI for iPad

I still remember reading about and later buying the very first Civilization in the early 90s - on floppy disks. I followed the sequels via reviews and Youtube but never bought another one. Until now. 


Xcom already proved that you can bring full PC games to the iPad. Just as Affinity proved the same for PC grade software. In that regard bringing the full Civilization VI to the iPad isn't revolutionary but it’s still impressive and very welcome. 

The app isn‘t cheap. With around 60 Dollars/Euros/Franks it‘s about the same as you pay on Steam for the PC version. But there is a launch sale right now and you can get it for half the price. Plus: You don‘t have to buy the game right away. You can play the first 60 turns for free.

Portrait Mode: iPhone X vs. Galaxy Note 8 vs. Huawei Mate 10 vs. Sony A7

My last camera comparison clearly showed all top-smartphones have top-cameras - even in low light. But what about portrait mode? Let‘s find out.

Sony A7 vs iPhone X vs Galaxy Note 8 vs Mate 10

To add a little extra challenge to the comparison I once again took the same shots with my Sony A7. I cropped all the images so that focal length or the aspect ratio don’t give the camera away too easily. By the way I took all the pictures on a rainy day with less then ideal light and of course without a tripod. 

So let's compare! Can you spot the picture shot with the full frame camera?

Curiously the comparison with the truck turned out to be a challenge for all three phones. With the Mate, only the second picture turned out to be useful. With the iPhone and the Note, I had to switch off portrait mode completely to get the shot. Below you can see the failed attempts from all three phones. The wheels were apparently especially difficult for the software to get right. 


1st picture: A (iPhone X), B (Sony A7), C (Note 8), D (Mate 10) 

2nd picture: A (Mate 10), B (Note 8), C (Sony A7), D (iPhone X)

3rd picture: A (Note 8, portrait mode didn't work), B (Mate 10), C (Sony A7), D (iPhone X)

4th picture: A (Mate 10), B (Note 8), C (Sony A7), D (iPhone X)

5th picture: A (Mate 10), B (Note 8, portrait mode turned off), C (Sony A7), D (iPhone X, portrait mode turned off)

6th picture: A (Note 8), B (iPhone X), C (Mate 10)  

Once again I leave the conclusion to you guys. How difficult was it to spot the full frame camera? Which smartphone camera do you like best? Do you even have a favorite? Let me know on Twitter

Low light: iPhone X vs. iPhone 8 Plus vs. Galaxy Note 8 vs. Mate 10

I love non-scientific real world camera comparisons. This time I took the newest and best phones into our dimly light cellar. 

I tried the Galaxy Note 8, the iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone X and the Huawei Mate 10. Please note: Google doesn't sell the Pixel 2 in Switzerland. So, no Pixel. Sorry!

All four phones have double cameras. But the Huawei is at a slight disadvantage. It doesn't have a zoom lens and uses digital zoom. The second lens is the same focal length but with a black and white sensor. The zoom lens of the iPhone 8 Plus is the only lens in the comparison that isn't optically stabilized. 

All photos were taken with the standard camera app. No special settings. And no flash. 

iPhone X: 1x.

iPhone X: 2x.

iPhone 8 Plus: 1x.

iPhone 8 Plus: 2x.

Huawei Mate 10: 1x.

Huawei Mate 10: 2x (digital zoom).

Galaxy Note 8: 1x.

Galaxy Note 8: 2x. 

The Note 8 obviously produces the brightest images. But what happens if you turn up the brightness of the iPhone X picture? Let's have a look:

Galaxy Note 8: 2x (no editing).

iPhone X: 2x (brightness adjusted).

And finally a comparison between the zoom lenses of the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus. What a difference the optical images stabilization makes!

iPhone X: 2x with optical image stabilization. 

iPhone 8 Plus: 2x without optical image stabilization.

In the end, I think it's amazing how smartphone photography improves with every new generation. A few years ago all these images would have turned out downright terrible. 

What do you guys think of these comparisons? Let me know on Twitter

P.S. The top and bottom pictures with all four phones were shot with my Sony A7 fullframe camera. It took a 30s exposure and a tripod to get these pictures at f/5 and ISO 100. Translation for non-photographers: It was quite dark. 

iPhone X: Where did the HDR option go?

Yesterday I took the iPhone X out to shoot some pictures. As with the iPhone 8, I like the camera a lot. But I'm still working on my final review.

When reviewing the pictures on the new OLED-screen I noticed something I hadn‘t on the iPhone 8. In the camera app, the HDR-option is gone. And HDR is always on. 

 The camera app without the HDR-option (left) and after activating it.

The camera app without the HDR-option (left) and after activating it.

Don‘t get me wrong. I like HDR. Just not always and without the possibility to easily turn it off. Luckily there is an option hidden in settings/camera. To get full control over the HDR-function back, turn Auto HDR off. 

how to deactivate auto-hdr in ios 11

The best thing about the iPhone X? The new swipe gestures

Only had the iPhone X for two days. I‘ve already written a first impression article for the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger and I‘m working on a big review now.  

The more I use the iPhone X the more obvious it gets. My favorite feature isn‘t the new design (It's beautiful!), the big screen (It‘s also beautiful!) or FaceID (It‘s super comfortable, fast, reliable and made me forget TouchID.).  

My favorite feature is the new swipe gestures.

Have a look:

P.S. You have to activate Reachability in the settings. You find it under General / Accessibility. 

iPhone 8 Plus vs. Sony A7 Part II

With all the feedback I got after I published my comparison between the iPhone 8 Plus and the Sony A7 I had to do a follow-up. 

Since the first comparison was a spur-of-the-moment thing over lunch break, I put a little more thought into it this time. Now I used a focal length (55mm) similar to the portrait lens of the iPhone (56mm).

This time it's also easier to spot which is which. The iPhone shoots 4:3 and the Sony 3:2. Let's have a look.

I'm constantly amazed how good the new iPhone camera with portrait mode is in good lighting situations. Can't wait to try the iPhone X in more difficult lighting situations.

Recommended App: Yoink improves Drag & Drop on iPad

Whe Federico Viticci released his iOS 11: iPad Wishes and Concept Video I obviously liked the idea of Drag & Drop. It has been on my personal wishlist for years. What I never thought about and therefore didn‘t get in the video was the shelf. Who needs that?

Well, it turns out I do.

Sometimes an App doesn’t support Drag & Drop and when you try to drop something into it nothing happens. You then have to go back and find another way to get that thing into the app you want or find another app. Happens to me way more often than I would like.

Sometimes I know I want to do something with a photo later. But I’m not sure yet what exactly. When I finally do I have to find that photo again.

All these problems are solved by shelf apps. They work just like a Desktop or a clipboard on a PC. You can drag all kinds of stuff into them for later uses.

I started using Yoink (3 Dollars) by an Austrian developer whom I discovered by chance on Twitter after he had problems getting his app approved by Apple and wrote about it.

Now the app is finally in the Appstore and on my iPad. I use it daily.

It‘s so useful I'm convinced Apple is gonna release something similar in the near future as an integral part of the next big iOS update. Until then I’m perfectly happy with Yoink.