Samsung Galaxy S21 raises the bar with custom video effects

Samsung's jazzy effects revitalize the humdrum of Zoom and Microsoft Teams with neat integration

Samsung Galaxy S21
(Image credit: Samsung)

Video calling is crucial to our remote working hubs. Nobody knows this better than Samsung with the newly released Samsung Galaxy S21, which is now able to spice up your video calls with custom effects. Even better, the effects can be used in conjunction with Google Duo, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom. This means you can inject some zest into other video platforms with ease. 

Our socially distanced digital lives will become a lot more interesting thanks to Samsung, as it vyes for supremacy against the likes of the iPhone 12iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The feature lets users natively add a custom background to video calls on the fly, sapping up some of the power from the meaty Samsung Exynos 2100 processor. 

There's no word yet on whether it'll be introduced to other premium Samsung models, which encompasses several other highly capable models. Check out T3's best Samsung phones guide where we've rummaged through a whole bunch of Samsung devices, so you can choose only the best for what you need.

The ever-reliable tech tipster, Max Weinbach, drew attention to the feature, which is baked into Samsung’s flagship device. It's a nice way for Samsung to keep the little things exciting, alongside the punchy hardware upgrades that receive the most media coverage. 

Of course, there's a veritable selection of wonderful handsets you can choose from besides the Samsung Galaxy S21: this best phones guide is T3's pick of the finest handsets money can buy, helping you to choose the right model to suit your needs.

In terms of the custom video optics that Samsung has integrated with its device, you can pick your favorite. The blur effect works by pinpointing you as the subject, then blotting out the background; next, the solid color option will fill the outer screen with a hue of your choosing, whilst leaving you intact and in focus, with a jazzed-up background; last, you can transpose a specific image of your choosing onto the background, which is a fun way to confuse anyone you’re talking to on a video call.


It’s very simple to use; the camera trickery doesn't require any advanced knowledge to install, or even operate. The first port of call is to grab your Samsung Galaxy S21 handset: head over to 'Settings'. From here, you'll need to select 'Advanced features', and then 'Video call effects'. 

Once this is toggled on, you can then easily cycle between the different video customizations, opting for background blur, color, or image, as described. We'd recommend having a play around with the effects before introducing them to an important video call. Right now, let's say they lack visual finesse, but it's early days for the Samsung Galaxy S21 series. You can expect fixes and updates to smooth any issues. 

The Samsung Galaxy S21 achieves this technical wizardry from the core of the hardware itself. An incoming video call is detected by the Samsung handset: it automatically applies the custom video effect to the screen, and the overlay lets you tinker with the effect on the go without having to reach into the Samsung Galaxy S21’s settings. It doesn't require a specific app to control the effects. 

Needless to say, it's a feature that's very at home in a premium phone, such as the much-lauded Samsung Galaxy S21. Fear not, though: T3 has a best cheap phones guide, which is our budget-friendly buying tool for people who aren't keen on spending large amounts. Believe it or not, such devices do exist and offer a very capable experience. 

Increased emphasis on video calling is a hot topic at the moment. T3 recently ran coverage of an update for select beta users of the WhatsApp desktop interface, updating it with an option to make video calls from the desktop client. A simple feature that has been severely lacking for a long time. 

It shows that major characters in the tech arena are increasingly looking for ways to enrich their platforms, especially through the expansion of functions like video calling, that we increasingly rely on to stay in touch with friends and family.

T3 is a staunch advocate of video calling effects and – despite it needing some polish around the edges – it's a really fun way to video chat with people with a bunch of entertaining special effects to brighten up a rainy day. The jury is still out on how useful it is in a more formal setting for now – i.e. using the blur effect for a conference call – because the footage we've seen needed tightening. We do expect to see more video calling updates from different companies throughout 2021, as the pandemic lingers before easing up.

Source: Android Police

Luke Wilson

Luke is a former news writer at T3 who covered all things tech at T3. Disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors (when not indoors messing around with gadgets), Luke wrote about a wide-array of subjects for, including Android Auto, WhatsApp, Sky, Virgin Media, Amazon Kindle, Windows 11, Chromebooks, iPhones and much more, too.