As well as launching two new flagship smartphones for 2018 in the shape of the Galaxy S9 and S9+, Samsung also revealed a new way to express your emotions and share with your friends. It’s called AR Emoji, and yes, it is a bit like Animoji that debuted on the iPhone X.

Is it a gimmick? Probably. Will you like using it? Of course you will. It’s a fun new thing to use on your brand new phone.

The core experience of AR Emoji is the ability to create an animated digital version of your face. Once you’ve created your own likeness in 3D animated form, you can then record your facial expressions, and watch them animate the little character on the screen.

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For those familiar with Snapchat and Instagram filters, it’s essentially a more advanced version of that. Instead of just having weird accessories adorn your face, whatever face you’ve chosen will be fully animated and copy all of your expressions and movements, even if you turn your head to the side.

While you can create your own likeness with AR Emoji, you can also choose one of the many pre-made characters that Samsung designed.

To start with, the front-facing camera of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ takes a picture of your face. Using numerous data points, it automatically detects where key parts are, like your eyes, eyebrows, mouth, nose etc.

After it’s performed this quick scan and analyses the image, it creates a digital version of you which then appears on the screen. It might not immediately look just like you. But you can customise it.

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You can change the hair colour, skin tone, hair length and add facial hair if it’s not quite right. You can also add accessories, or clothing and even create numerous different characters with different outfits.

Once you’ve created your character, you can then use the front-facing camera to record your facial expressions and voice, then use the resulting animation to send to your friends.

If you don’t want to animate your own expressions, there’s a collection of 18 pre-set reactions for you to choose from that the phone creates automatically for you as soon as you’ve made your character.

It’s simple, to create one you just open up the camera app as normal, then tap the little AR Emoji icon in the bottom corner of the viewfinder. Now you can go through the process of creating your character, or choosing a pre-existing animal/creature.

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Once you’ve filmed your facial animation, or chosen a custom reaction, you can then save it and/or send it as a GIF using almost any popular messaging app, to anyone on any phone.

At launch, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are the only devices that have the feature built into the camera app.

Samsung hasn’t said whether or not it will make its way to other devices yet, although, considering that it only uses a front facing camera and no additional 3D depth sensors, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that other Samsung phones will get it too.

The best news is, you’re able to send them to virtually anyone, regardless of platform. Because the animations are saved in GIF form, you can share them anyway you want to.

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