AR Emoji
Samsung has launched the Galaxy S9 flagship phone that comes with a new AR Emoji feature. Reuters/Sergio Perez

Samsung kept its word that it will launch the Galaxy S9 with a “reimagined” camera this Sunday. Part of the reimagined technology is the introduction of a new feature called AR Emoji that pretty much functions like Apple’s Animoji on iPhone X.

In a press release, Samsung said that it developed AR Emoji “to offer users a visual communication tool that allows them to express themselves in a way that’s unique to them.” According to the South Korea giant the feature’s machine-learning algorithm analyzes over 100 distinct facial features when generating a personalized 3D avatar or emoji. From eyes, nose, mouth, cheeks and just about any facial feature, AR Emoji copies everything to come up with an animated emoji version of the user.

However, some regard Samsung’s AR Emoji as a half-baked version of Apple’s Animoji. CNET editors had the chance to try the Galaxy S9’s new feature and they conveyed that the experience was “definitely subpar.” Some of their complaints were the feature’s inability to match their skin and hair tones and the fact that their emojis were unable to naturally smile when they did. They even felt as though the emojis that the feature created were “creepy.”

TechCrunch expressed the same sentiment. The news outlet said AR Emoji “straddles that uncomfortable line between cartoon and realistic 3D scan a bit uncomfortably.” The publication also labeled the 3D emojis “creepy,” but noted that the good thing about the feature is it offers up default cartoon options. Plus, the company’s partnership with Disney makes it possible for users to use animated emojis of well-loved cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

Another news outlet that’s not very pleased with Samsung’s response to Animoji is Tom’s Guide. The outlet bluntly stated that AR Emoji “needs some work” since the emojis that the feature creates look “bizarre.” Though Tom’s Guide gave Samsung credit for creating more life-like emojis, it was still disappointed by its implementation especially when talking about the GIFs the feature produces. The clips apparently looked “disturbing” because the emoji’s expressions seemed off.

However, it’s still to early to come up with a verdict. It’s possible that Samsung could be working to improve the feature prior or after the Galaxy S9’s release on the market. It would be a shame if it doesn’t, considering that it is currently promoting AR Emoji as an advanced feature that’s capable of mimicking the user’s visual appearance and movements.