Remote Control Galaxy Note 3 Camera with Another Android 

In this video, we look at a very cool but a not well-known feature called Remote Viewfinder found inside the Galaxy Note 3 and S4's camera app.  This app will give another Android device the ability to remotely control the camera app on the Note 3.  What is interesting is that Apple just recently filed a patent for this feature although this feature has been on Galaxy devices for a year now since the S4.


One requirement to using this feature obviously is that you need another Android device.  And reading the reviews for this app, it won't work on all android devices, and it probably works best with most Samsung devices.  The app is called Remote Viewfinder, and you will have to install it on the device doing the remote controlling, which will be the  note 2.

There are many ways to activate this feature however, the easiest way in my opinion is first check to see if NFC is enabled on both devices.  Then start the camera app on the note 3, tap this arrow to expand, tap on the share icon, select remote viewfinder, and select Easily connect via NFC.  Touch the devices together and once you hear that sound, tap on the Note 3 to beam to the Note 3.  Then you will see that it establishes a wifi direct connection and the remote viewfinder app will launch automatically on the Note 2.

Near Total Control of All Camera & Video Functions

You will see that you have total control of the note 3's camera app, and there is almost no lag.  You can change any camera or video setting, tap to focus, and capture videos and images.  It's  as if you were touching the screen of the note 3 directly.  However, there are a few things you can't do.  You can't select the mode button to access any special features of the camera.  The picture in picture option is also grayed out.  And last, you can't preview pictures you've taken on the remote device.  On a side note, there is a feature called share shot that will automatically transfer all the pictures you've taken on your note 3 to the note 2 and other android devices, but you cannot use remote viewfinder and share shot at the same time.

What can I use this feature for? 

Well, say that you wanted to remotely control the camera settings such as the exposure, flash, focus, image resolution, then fire off the shot or video, it would be perfect for that.

Two good uses are, if you are not behind the camera or when you are in the shot, you can get a preview of the shot then take the picture.  Another good use may be for times when you are in a really cramped space and you want to push the phone as far against the wall as possible to get a wider shot, and still be able to have full access to the controls, this feature will definitely make that possible.

Usage Tips

A few things to point out.  The note 3's camera app will quit if there is no activity after a few minutes.  You can make it not fall asleep by giving it a quick touch every minute or two.  Another thing is when you've got the devices paired, the Note 3 is hosting a wifi connection, which will consume a lot of battery life when this feature is active.  And last, the Note 2 will be connecting to the Note 3 with the wifi antenna which means any internet you use will be through your cellular data connection until you end the wifi direct connection.

A few more tips.  Because wifi direct is already established, and the remote viewfinder app  on the note 2 and is still running in the background, you will see that if I simply go to remote viewfinder, it will launch the app on the note 2 automatically.

The communication range was surprisingly good for wifi communications between two portable devices, and in my testing it seemed to go through about half a dozen concrete walls when the devices were 50 feet away, but it soon lost the connection shortly after that.

Apple Patent Filed & Rewarded

As mentioned, Apple has recently filed a patent to do something very similar if not identical to what this feature does which has been available on the Galaxy Note 3 and even the one year old S4.  Let's hope someone researching this topic at the patent offices finds this feature before the patent is rewarded so Apple and Samsung can avoid any unnecessary disputes.  Update: Apple has been rewarded this patent.


It is probably not going to be a feature that you're going to be using all the time, but there may be a time when this feature might come in very handy.  Speaking from personal experience, trying to take a self portrait worthy of a passport photo is harder than it seems.  If you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and a compatible Android that you can use to control your camera, you can take your selfies to a whole another level.

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