Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra Breaks New Ground In Smartphone Camera Capabilities Review
So far, Samsung has shown the potential of the latest mobile technology by developing outstanding smartphones that are one step ahead. Unfortunately, it’s too expensive for most people to reach.
Perhaps the most eye-catching Samsung product is the vertically foldable Galaxy Z Flip. But the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is just as packed with cutting-edge features, and you’ll never be disappointed.
Folding smartphones seem to be too fragile and can be daunting. Even if the Galaxy Z Flip’s use of “foldable glass” makes it different from competing models that use plastic film, it’s still anxious.
Related article: Hands-on Review: Why did Samsung dare to make the “Galaxy Z Flip” a vertical fold?
And the camera with 100x zoom function and the screen refresh rate is 120Hz. These are certainly spectacular, but looking at the Galaxy S20 Ultra, how Huawei was ahead of its time when it announced the HUAWEI P20 Pro and HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro in 2019. I understand well.
However, Google’s services are no longer available on the latest Huawei products. With that in mind, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is likely to be the new ultimate Android smartphone for the rich and those who don’t have to buy a smartphone on their own.
The power of the “100x zoom” function
First, let’s take a closer look at the camera of the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The camera is probably the most interesting feature of this smartphone. And the biggest feature is the zoom. This telephoto camera produces a transcendental effect that will make your eyes nailed.
Looking at the lens, it seems that it is sinking deeper than the body thickness of 8.8 mm. It is a periscope type design, and most of the image sensor is embedded perpendicular to the back surface. That’s why there’s plenty of seemingly empty space in the already huge lens housing.
However, even Samsung must face the reality. The first time you see a photo taken with the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s “Space Zoom” feature at 100x zoom, you might want to say, “Are you kidding?”
It’s like a toddler eating pea mash and pork beans mixed with a spoon saying he doesn’t want to eat it. It’s vaguely blurry, and it’s visibly clear that the image quality isn’t as good as the small images posted on Twitter and Facebook.
The 100x zoom slogan is like a slogan that describes the work in a sophisticated way in an attempt to attract the attention of the movie company’s eccentric executives. Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra has a great variety of cameras, making it one of the best smartphone cameras in the past. However, everyone knows that 100x zoom does not take beautiful pictures, and in any case, the optical zoom is 4x.
Excellent UI around the camera
The feeling of using the camera of Galaxy S20 Ultra is like Huawei’s “HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro”. The flexibility of the combination is extremely high, and you can set the focus as you like from 0.5 times to 100 times.
Samsung’s efforts to create a user experience in the camera domain are at an unparalleled level. If you look carefully (and preset) as you scroll through the zoom magnification on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, you’ll notice that the 1x and 4x cameras switch and the field of view changes slightly.
At 20x, a small window appears that shows the surrounding scenery at 5x. Therefore, the person who uses the telescope for the first time does not search for the subject like when he loses sight of the target.
It also makes good use of the practical software image stabilization feature, making it easy to take pictures with a 30x to 100x zoom. With a realistic optical zoom of 100x, it would be almost impossible to shoot without a tripod.
The only difficulty I found about usability was that my other thumb touched the screen. If you do so, you will not be able to use the preset zoom. This is probably one of the weaknesses associated with smartphones that have almost no screen edges.
The highest standard for smartphone cameras
The image quality is very good from 0.5x to 10x. Among the camera hardware that has been installed in smartphones so far, it will be named as the best.
The sensor of the main camera is the 108 megapixel (108 million pixel) “Samsung S5 KHM1”. This is a sensor developed for pixel binning (smoothing or adding multiple pixels into a single pixel), which typically takes a 12-megapixel photo. In short, the 9 pixels in the sensor are combined into 1 pixel in the final image.
There is also a much higher definition 108 megapixel mode (not all models have higher definition). It’s worth a try when you come across a beautiful, brightly lit place on your trip.
The ultra-wide-angle camera has a 12-megapixel sensor, but because it uses a sensor with a pixel pitch of 1.4 micrometer, it has a sensitivity that is well above average and an excellent dynamic range. Like the Galaxy S10 series, the ultra-wide-angle camera is also used in video recording mode with camera shake correction, and camera shake is suppressed at a level comparable to the “GoPro HERO8 Black”.
Excellent video recording function
The focal length that can be used when shooting movies with the Galaxy S20 Ultra is wide, and it seems to be even more impressive than when shooting still images. Of course, you can shoot any video at 0.5x to 20x, and you can freely switch between 0.5x, 1x, and 5x during shooting. The moment of switching isn’t very smooth, but it’s great that Samsung has made it possible to switch between three cameras almost seamlessly while shooting.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra can also shoot 8K video. 8K mode has a crop magnification of about 2x. Judging from the slight blurring due to movement, it seems that it relies entirely on the optical camera shake correction function.
For most people, 4K mode is better. However, if you fix it on a tripod in an environment with moderate light, or use a gimbal for smartphones such as “DJI Osmo Mobile”, you should be able to shoot pretty good quality videos.
In summary, it is at the highest level ever for a smartphone camera. But don’t believe in the phrase “100x zoom”.
There are also points that need to be improved in image quality
There are some points that Samsung should improve after its launch. Night mode image quality isn’t as good as Google’s Pixel 4 or Huawei’s HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro, but the main issue is inconsistency rather than image quality.
When shooting in the automatic mode instead of the night mode, the image quality is excellent, but there are variations due to the poor image quality. It can be noisy and blurry, or it can result in flat, unsharp photos.
Night mode, which exposes for a few seconds, gives much more consistent image quality than that. However, it is difficult in a very dark place. When shooting handheld, it doesn’t match Huawei’s highest image quality.
A few updates may solve the problem of image quality variation. That way, the Galaxy S20 Ultra could continue to outperform all major areas.
Well, I’ve only talked about three of the five cameras so far. There is also a 40-megapixel selfie camera that uses pixel binning technology. If you take a selfie with this, the pores will be scary and clear in places with plenty of light. On the other hand, in a dim place, the resolution of the target point is low, and you can take bright pictures without noise.
The last camera on the Galaxy S20 Ultra is a time-of-flight (TOF) sensor that measures depth, which measures and maps the depth of the background in real time for both still and video images. It’s a fun mode to use, but Samsung’s object shape recognition feature isn’t the best, and it looks unnatural for subjects with complex shapes.
Value that the screen refresh rate is 120Hz
Another feature Samsung is appealing for the Galaxy S20 Ultra is a display with a refresh rate of 120Hz. But rather Samsung itself is ruining its splendor. The standard display refresh rate is 60Hz. I have to wonder if there are quite a few people who don’t know there are other options and leave them as they are (60Hz screen updates images 60 times per second, 120Hz 120 per second). Updated once).
With a refresh rate of 120Hz, the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s menus are smoother and more responsive and responsive when scrolling. However, it is just an optical illusion. This is because the touch screen and display have different reaction speeds. With the Galaxy S20 Ultra, the touch sensitivity is 240 times per second, regardless of whether the refresh rate is set to 60Hz or 120Hz.
Samsung has also reduced the resolution at which Android is rendered. The Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 6.9-inch screen and a maximum resolution of 3,200 x 1,440 pixels, but with a refresh rate of 120Hz, the resolution is 2,400 x 1,080 pixels. If you don’t like the default settings, you’ll have to choose between maximum resolution and a high refresh rate. Both cannot be used at maximum.
The big difference is the higher refresh rate. The low rendering resolution of the display doesn’t mean the Galaxy S20 Ultra has to give up 2 megapixels. The screen is bright enough and 1,080p looks upscaled, which makes the battery last longer than staying at 1,440p all day, leading to cost savings.
However, the question is whether both are worth it. These high specs of the display are originally turned off due to battery life considerations. And just because it’s off, the 5,000mAh battery life isn’t as great as you might think.
Battery life is decent
In this review, I used the OPPO (Cantonese European Mobile Communications) “A5 2020”, until just before switching to Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra. Again, the battery capacity was 5,000mAh.
Why there are still punch holes on the screen
As for display technology, other smartphones are more powerful. The Galaxy S20 Ultra’s display is large, bright, with curved sides and vibrant colors (you can also choose the “natural” mode if you prefer more subdued colors). But the Galaxy S20 Ultra still uses an “Infinity O” display with punch holes. This is to enable Samsung’s voice assistant.
On the other hand, OnePlus, OPPO, and Huawei have all succeeded in making full use of electric front cameras. And, contrary to our most pessimistic predictions, we have never been in the tragic situation of a product recall.
Most electric self-portrait cameras operate quickly and can be easily unlocked with face recognition. The highest level electric SELPHY camera seems to be able to unlock as fast as the fingerprint authentication feature built into the display of the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
As for the authentication function, Samsung uses an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor instead of an optical sensor. Authentication speed may be faster than the Galaxy S10. But it’s inferior to state-of-the-art optical sensors and even rear scanners on cheap smartphones like the OPPO A5.
Let’s go back to Samsung’s own “Infinity O” display. Punch holes don’t get in the way when playing the game. When playing games, the thumb is often attached to the side of the screen.
However, the punch hole and the video are not compatible. Samsung has decided not to use the edge of the display when playing Netflix as a solution. For this reason, when viewing with the aspect ratio for movies, a wide black belt part remains horizontally. When you watch similar content on YouTube, the video fills the screen, but you’re always staring at the small black holes.
Samsung makes its own decisions about where to focus on the product. But it’s safe to say that a full-screen display is more important than ultra-high resolution and high refresh rates.
In 2019, Samsung experimentally installed an electric camera on the midrange Galaxy A80, which was also strange. With two mechanisms, the camera is lifted and turned inside out, it has the functions of both a front camera and a rear camera. Some people would have wondered what was wrong with the simple mechanism often seen on smartphones of other companies.
No surprises, but a sense of stability
Other than that, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is either familiar in the broadest sense, or nothing extraordinary. And that’s fine.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra could certainly be an ultra-luxury 5G smartphone. Whatever adjectives you put on it, it comes with a surprising price tag that used to be just a joke. That said, it’s a pretty familiar experience for anyone who has used Samsung models or Android. No surprises like with the Galaxy Fold or Galaxy Z Flip.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra has powerful stereo speakers, but it’s just a little better than the Android competitors that you can now buy for a fraction of the price. The OS is “Android 10”, and it is equipped with Samsung’s custom UI. The appearance and usability are almost the same as last year. Still, if you switch from the iPhone, it’s probably the most reliable smartphone alongside Google’s Pixel series.
The waterproof performance is IP68 like the previous model. The processor uses Samsung’s “Exynos 990”. However, some models of the Galaxy S20 Ultra sold in the United States are equipped with the “Snapdragon 865” instead. This may be one of the reasons for the dull battery life. The Exynos-equipped model of the “Galaxy Note 10+” didn’t last as long as the Snapdragon-equipped model.
I also noticed that the game performance of the Galaxy S20 Ultra also varied. The dinosaur survival game “ARK: Survival Evolved” doesn’t seem to have a more stable frame rate than it did on the previous Snapdragon 855 and 855 Plus flagships. Also, the racing game “Asphalt 9” became available only a few days after the trial started.
In our conclusion, the Galaxy S20 Ultra with Snapdragon 865 is better. Given that it’s a brand new CPU, it could be improved by optimization. However, apart from that, the reaction is fast and there are almost no bugs.
Is it worth the price?
Nowadays, impossibly expensive equipment has become commonplace. It’s much less likely to break within a week.
When asked, “Is the Galaxy S20 Ultra worth the price?”, Let me say no about the advertised 100x zoom “Space Zoom.” 5G support isn’t worth the attention until 2020. Especially because it is compatible with all S20 series models.
But the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s five-lined camera makes shooting with your smartphone even more enjoyable. It is also a dynamic video camera. The 10x zoom is high performance and all the built-in features are intuitive to use.
Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro and P30 Pro have similar appeal, and the P30 Pro costs about half the price of the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Still, now that Huawei smartphones are no longer recommended by British consumers, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is the number one for those who want to enjoy shooting to their heart’s content on the road (night mode shooting in certain situations). Although there are some points that need to be improved).
For those who love shooting on their smartphones, the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a genuine appeal that doesn’t exist on the S20 and S20 +. The S20 and S20 + have to use digital zoom technology, even when taking pictures with 3x zoom. It is unattractive because it has a small number of cameras. However, the price difference is not small. If you choose the Galaxy S20 Ultra, you’ll probably want to put a lot of value on the high zoom mag