Is The Samsung Vibrant Night Mode A Worthwhile Replacement To Flash?

The Samsung Vibrant has undoubtedly been one of the most discussed phones in the history of TmoNews. One of the most prevalent discussion topics was the lack of flash as so many of you described this as an egregious error on Samsung’s part and a huge mistake in general for a device of this magnitude. Since the time the Vibrant has come out however, “night time mode” has been put through its paces and been shown to be equal to the task for its purpose. Is it a direct flash replacement? Not really. Is it a viable alternative? That’s argumentative at best. What we have seen however, combined with what we have heard from Vibrant users is that the add on of nighttime mode has proven to be quite handy for nighttime shots and has for some, made up for the lack of a proper flash. Some of you may very well stay away from the Vibrant because of a lack of flash, or a front facing camera or simply because its Samsung, but for those of you on the fence, a few Vibrant users wanted you to see what nighttime mode can do.

For Vibrant users who are as of yet unfamiliar with this feature, Camera, Sidebar ( the arrow), Settings, Scene Mode, Night.

Along with the below shots, our friends at Droiddog have posted a large gallery of videos and images that will give you an even better idea of what one can expect from the Vibrant camera. Also, XDA-Developers has a forum thread with a few images.

I take no credit for the below images, you can all thank two TmoNews readers who were kind enough to put it together and send them in…






  • mjcl987

    ITS not that I dislike the vibrant, it’s just that I think HTC have better to bring this year.

    • tmo employee

      I agree. I work for tmo and I’m gonna wait to see what HTC can bring us next!

      • Dashi

        As Of August 1st I Will Be An Ex T-Mobile Employee… :( damn store is shutting down

  • TMO_Dolphin

    The T Mobile Vibrant takes very good photos and videos for a phone. My sense is that in the majority of situations with normal amounts of existing light you can get a good image. Certainly in normal daylight situations inside or outside you should get good useable shots. Regarding LED or any other types of flash, they are pretty limited. It takes a serious flash/strobe to pump out enough light for use beyond six to eight feet. A standard built in flash on a camera is probably effective out to six and no more than ten feet (at 100 to 400 ISO). These little LED flashes I would expect are good at no more than three to five feet. Still where there is little to no light they can get you something, and they offer fill light capability in other situations. I wish it came with a flash, and think it was a poor decisions to not include one. Still having played with a Vibrant, I left with the impression that this is one phone where you could probably get away without a flash in most cases.

  • ScuroRaven

    Anyone have info on the next HTC phone coming out? I have read all kinds of things but the last phone anyone was sure of was Vibrant..and that was confirmed months ago.

    • Kris

      @ ScuroRaven

      There will be “Project Emerald” coming out later this Fall(Is being reported as end of September).

      One will be The G2-which will have a QWERTY Keyboard, a 3.5-3.8 inch screen, Android 2.2, at least a 1 GHZ Processor, and be HSPA+ Capable(Which can reach speeds of up to 21 MBPS).

      The other(Which for me will be either this or the vibrant)- will be the HTC Desire HD. This phone has some great features. These include a 4.3-inch touch screen, Google’s Android 2.2 operating system and a Snapdragon processor. The rather-snazzy Desire HD will reportedly also come with an 8-megapixel camera with 720p high-definition video recording capabilities, Xvid support, Auto Face Tracking and SRS Surround Sound. Support for Adobe Flash 10 is also expected.

  • quikzilver

    Lol, The Evo screen is terrible. It has the worst screen of all smartphones.

    No Android can hold, Samsung’s GPU, screen, or 16gb memory.

    • Davidohio

      Yeah Evo is WAY overrated but don’t let mailman hear that because he is in love with Sprint and the Evo and has settled for it.

      • Dashi

        “waiting for mailman to come in here and wipe his bloody vag all over this topic”


      • pimpstrong


  • David Washington

    Those r incredible results

    • pimpstrong

      Incredible or HTC Incredible? Jk

  • jpb1972

    The Vibrants Night Mode easily surpases the benefit of the flash on my old blackberry 8900! Have had mine since it released on the 15th ,the phone is AWESOME!

  • just some dude

    When the Samsung vibrant can do this call me.

    • john

      When you figure out your kid can turn 180 degrees to face the light, then you’ll able to adapt not just depend on technology, retard.

      • just some dude

        Well lets just pretend that the sun is not there shall we. Then what would you do. I guess you have no answer for that.

    • jpb1972

      It can do just as good if not better, but im not calling you!

    • Reece

      uhhh… the picture samples does seem to validate that this is possible lol

    • WM123

      ITS a phone retard get a camera if you want pictures

    • Mark

      I don’t think my Vibrant can make a kids head look like a golf ball sitting on a tee. My God, the melon on that kid is huge.

  • Deals… i love em’

    DAMN!! ima get one

  • comparison guy

    Yeah I have the evo and compared it to the vibrant since i have 2 seperate accounts. and i’ll tell you one thing the evo might have a better camera and flash and stand and hdmi port but the touch response and processor on the vibrant with the hummingbird processor blows away HTC snapdragon. I even found out that the hummingbird is a dual core processor. we even compared it to my friends nexus one and WoW!!, the vibrant is so fluid. I have been using android since it was developed and none of the phones or apps for the phones put out great sound and when we checked out the vibrant, it has a built in equalizer and effects like concert hall with 5.1 surround sound. it was awsome listening to it in my freinds car. Oh and have you seen the avatar on the super amoled screen? Its like having 1080p in your hand. Last but not least for those running low on memory for apps, worry no more, the vibrant has an internal 16gb memory with external optional memory. now thats what i have been looking for.

    • pimpstrong

      FYI only 2GB is reserved for Apps

      • pantlesspenguin

        This is personally music to my ears. I’m coming from a BB 9700 which I thought was a great phone, but only allowed for about 130mb for apps! I had to be very selective when downloading apps, but now I’m enjoying everything the Android Market has to offer :).

      • Jimbo

        Dude, thats what the external memory card is for. You can finally store apps on external memory. My only Q is whether the phone supports the larger micro-SD cards (32 GIG)?


    I just got a Vibrant and yes I was apprehensive about the decision with it not having a flash. I have taken pictures inside and outside with this phone and will have to say, with the nightmode and the settings that are available…it does not need one. JMO I love the phone.

  • ItsMichaelNotMike

    Fact is it childish to get all caught up on one feature or another and to say all other phones are POSs because it does not have the feature or in one’s opinion your favored phone has the better of the same feature.

    Let’s face it folks, ALL these phones are great. Some people are losing sight of that fact, that if a phone pleases the user then it’s a great phone, FOR THAT PERSON.

    Look at this pic, on the left if the first touchscreen phone that Apple copied when making the iPhone (the concept of a touchscreen phone). And that little silver phone is a Sanyo that in its day was uber cool because it was so small and thin.

    Oh, that the phone on the left is a Toshiba 2032SP (the “SP” standing for Sprint). I paid over $800 for it in 2002! The little Sanyo was about $350 in 2001-02 also.

    Can’t we all just enjoy our phones and quit with the pissing matches.

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      Oh… forgot to mention, the reason I put the T-Mobile Vibrant next to the Toshiba is to compare how far we have come, we should be happy for that instead of nitpicking this and that.

      That Toshiba 2032SP (that cost $954 in today’s dollars) had a “dual-scan STN” passive display. Compare that with the Vibrant’s display, that I put on minimal brightness for the shot.

      And of course the specs on the Toshiba were nothing. I still have the SD card that came with it. Back then it was a big deal that it had an 8MB SD card! (Note: that’s correct, it’s megabyte, not gigabyte). Now, the Vibrant comes with 16GB of storage soldered on to the motherboard!

      • JustMe

        Why does the phone on the right say HTC HD3 Bet?

      • JustMe

        Why does the phone on the right say HTC HD3 Beta?

      • Kris

        The phone industry is RAPIDLY moving. These are not even phones- they are mini computers with a calling function built in.

        If I buy a phone now- come December- it is outdated. Sad but SO very true.

        Everybody ALWAYS wants the current “Greatest” thing- but that changes- and very quickly at that.

  • pantlesspenguin

    I did my own comparison tests w/ regular mode vs night mode & I’m really blown away by the results. I’m eager to try this in more settings, such as dark bars & restaurants where I like taking pics of my friends.

    One question: I have it in anti-shake mode, but some of my pics still come out a tad blurry. Any way to fix that? I think I give it ample time between the time the shutter clicks & I move the phone.

    • TMO_Dolphin

      You can adjust the ISO to a higher speed (which will increase noise and reduce quality). It seemed to me the default setting is “Auto ISO”. I have always found it takes a little practice to get the feel of the best way to hold a phone still while recording an image. This phone from the little I have used it seems to me to have one of the better cameras and image quality. Until you offload images onto your computer and compare them and or make prints, it’ll be hard to tell how much of that quality is due to the superior screen and it’s excellent color and contrast.

  • http://. Mike

    Night mode forces the camera into using higher ISO. This makes it very grainy – pixelated. The shutter will be slower and you would have to hold you camera still for longer. If you can’t than you’d end up with more shaky shots.

    Night mode works for subjects when the flash’s light is not powerful enough to reach but it can’t replace a flash.

    Those test comparison landscape shot are a joke.

    Why are they a joke? You see, when you’re shooting landscape, you shouldn’t be using a flash at all. In fact when you do, it makes the photo even darker. So that wasn’t a good test at all. You can’t use landscapes to test your flash.

    If they wanted to, they should have had someone or something stand within flash distance. That would have been a proper comparison.

    A flash is useful only if you know how and when to use it. A lot of people don’t understand the uses of flash. You can even use a flash during daytime as a fill in. The night mode can never replace this feature.

    So I guess I’m saying here is that the flash is a useful tool to have. At least you have choices.

    • watbetch

      You aren’t talking about a camera phone’s flash because they do no do what you mentioned.

      There are more than just landscape shots here. If you can show off some amazing shots with a camera phone’s flash we need to see some of them.

    • TMO_Dolphin

      Again I have not done formal by the numbers test measurements. However to my eye relative to my impressions of other phones the Vibrant takes very good photos, and video (as noted some subtle stuttering of fast moving objects). As the Vibrant’s image quality relates to Flash Fill, the Vibrant seems to have better dynamic range than I have seen in other phones. One would have to do side by side comparisons and compare the output on screen and in print like I said, but all in all I would say this phone does very well.

    • just some dude

      could not have said it better my self.

  • Scritz McGritz

    Shut Up! That is amazing! (white girl voice) lols. Samsung galaxy phones are way better than HTC! That night mode is friggen amazing!

  • remixfa

    i dont think any manufacturer is better than another in totality. everyone has their good phones and their flops. You have the HTC incredible (very well named), and the HTC Touch pro 2 (bad), the samsung GalaxyS (incredible) and Behold (sux).

    judge each phone individually and quit being a fanboy. In the end companies care about ur money, they are not your friend.

  • joe

    the night mode is really awesome on this phone.
    yes, one phone can’t meet everyones needs but this phone wins hands down when it comes to gaming and watching vids. the screen is the best i’ve seen yet on a smart phone, yes, even better than the iphone 4 ( sorry Apple Cheerleaders ).

  • stressed

    Very solid device, too bad it will be obsolete in a few months. Didn’t you guys get the memo, htc is bringing us a dual core phone running gingerbread. Gingerbread is the perfect treat to eat under the “christmas tree”

  • remixfa

    if ur always worried about the phone being outdated in 6 months, u will never buy a phone because they will ALWAYS be out dated. OI.

    And the galaxyS will have gingerbread too anyways. :)

  • Isaac

    If these photos are accurate then the nite mode on the viprant is awesome. I may be a repalcement for the flash.

    I still would like to get my hands on the vibrant my self before I can absolutely believe it though.

    • Shawn

      I officially now own the VIBRANT! I love this phone. However, to set the record straight.


      The night mode only works if there is some background light, for taking a pic around sunset, or maybe you are in a room with a small 40watt bulb.. it will amplify the light available. However, it will NOT take pictures if the setting is too dark.

      The photos published in this article are misleading. Go back, scroll up..Look at each pic carefully, each photo is taken during the day. The drapes…day time. The dog photo.. day time… the camp photo…looks like sunset.

      Take the pictures of the drapes at night, the dog photo at night with no background light… or the camp photo with moonlight only, and you will get a black picture.

      Night Mode does not truely replace a flash, you still need some light available for the function to work. Meaning if you are in a true dark setting, your photos will come out black.

      • just some dude

        I just dont get why they would leave a simple thing as a flash out.

      • analog spirit

        I found this to be true with my Vibrant as well. It can’t amplify the available light if there isn’t any light available. They really should’ve just put a simple LED flash on there; it wouldn’t have been hard to do. At least allow us the option one way or the other…

      • Jsun

        Seriously… How can you take a picture in the dark if you can’t see what it is that you are taking a picture of anyway? Or do you just like taking random “shots in the dark”? (hehe, Ozzy pun)

      • CoCoChanel

        I second that. It has to be some light in the room already.

      • CoCoChanel

        I second that. It has to be some light in the room already.

  • http://TMobile AndroidMembr

    T-Mobile didn’t get this phone with a flash because it would cost them more. Instead of putting out great phones and fixing their wireless service…they are to busy paying celebrities and sponsoring the NBA and the World Cup.

  • Mark Clotfelter

    It’s better than a flash…

    It basically digitally lightens each pixel BEFORE it’s presented to the screen, and before stored as an image after the picture is “shot”

    (That’s something that has always been possible with images taken from digital cameras…But, building it into the camera itself, as a feature, was a good idea.

    Subsequently, because it pre-lightens before it stores the image as a file, you can the affect on ALL your photos.
    That makes it BETTER than a standard flash. The lighting affect will work on even distant objects and/scenery where a standard flash would have a chance of reaching.
    Notice that the photos with far removed scenery where also benefited, in the photos above.

    • Mark Clotfelter

      Please delete the above post and leave the MODIFIED one below this…

      Mark C.

      • Mark Clotfelter

        (That’s what I get for posting when I’m dead-tired :-P)

  • Mark Clotfelter

    It’s better than a flash…

    It basically digitally lightens each pixel BEFORE it’s presented to the screen, and before stored as an image after the picture is “shot”

    (That’s something that has always been possible with images taken from digital cameras…But, building it into the camera itself, as a feature, was a good idea.)

    Subsequently, because it pre-lightens before it stores the image as a file, you can experience the affect on ALL your photos.
    That makes it BETTER than a standard flash. The lighting affect will work on even distant objects and/scenery where a standard flash would NOT have a chance of reaching.
    Notice that the photos with far removed scenery where also benefited, in the photos above.

  • Jolie

    Well, I guess I am now stuck with the Samsung Vibrant for two years. :o/ I’m going through Blackberry withdrawals. I don’t like the apps for the Vibrant. They’re just awful. I don’t know how I am going to make my peace with this phone.

  • Vera

    Samsung Vibrant… my first phone was defective. I returned it and got another Vibrant! I LOVE IT!!! Everything works beautifully! Great phone T-Mobile.

  • Vera

    Oops, forgot to add functions that I know how to use; after 2 weeks of phone of having phone.