One function in particular stands out on Samsung’s flagship smartphones: “Space Zoom”, which is said to be able to take crystal-clear photos of the moon. A user has now found out: The function is not real photos at all.

A lot of work is needed to stand out with new smartphones in 2023: high-resolution displays? Every competitor has. 5G? Anyway. Wireless charging, face unlock, spectacular portrait photos? Everything is now standard.

However, where Samsung still recognized a gap: when taking photos with spectacular zoom rates. Due to the design of smartphones, it is not possible to keep increasing the focal length using real lenses – especially since the trend in smartphones is towards slim construction. If you still want to get objects even closer than possible with a double or triple zoom, you have to rely on a digital zoom and algorithms.

Samsung relies heavily on these techniques and sometimes delivers impressive results. The shots of the moon in particular are currently not matched by any of the competitors. Both the iPhone and Google’s pixel smartphone lag far behind the clear shots of Samsung’s cars.

So far, users had assumed that the Samsung photos were digitally sharpened photos, but still real photos: the smartphone would get the best out of the real circumstances and only show sharply what is really there is.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case, as the experiment of a Samsung user shows: He recreated a blurred moon by downloading a photo to his laptop, significantly reducing the resolution and then photographing it with his smartphone. The result: although physically no detail could be discerned in the original image, even with the best camera or the human eye, the Samsung photo displayed a crystal clear moon.

How does it work? Only Samsung can explain that. One assumption, however, is obvious: The algorithms on Samsung smartphones do not really sharpen the moon, but only recognize the size, rotation and illumination of the moon – and then replace the real photo on user photos with a “photo” generated by AI.