Samsung Galaxy s20 ultra review: 108 megapixels, 8K and 100x zoom

We are testing the most interesting camera phone of the beginning of 2020 – the new Galaxy S20 Ultra, which was the first to be able to shoot video in 8K.

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Last update was on: February 24, 2021 8:59 am

The main features of the model

The S20 Ultra is the oldest model of the new Samsung Galaxy line, which was released earlier this year. Its main features are a cool camera with a 108 megapixel sensor and 100x hybrid zoom, a unique ability to shoot video in 8K, a display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz and a super-powerful processor.

It is also the most autonomous and most expensive model in the line – officially the S20 Ultra costs 99,990 rubles. However, if you take a “white” smartphone, you will receive new Samsung Galaxy Buds + wireless headphones as a gift.

Design and display

6.9 ”, 3200 × 1440, Dynamic AMOLED, 20: 9, 60/120 Hz, HDR10 +
Glass housing (Gorilla Glass 6 on both sides), aluminum frame, IP68

Despite the large diagonal, the smartphone turned out to be surprisingly compact – the display has minimal frames, and the selfie camera is inscribed in a small round hole in the screen, and not in bangs. In the previous Galaxy S10 lineup, the front camera was installed in the corner, and now in the center. We consider this design change right: the angle when shooting a selfie has become more convenient.

The display itself is one of the advantages of a smartphone. Firstly, it is large and crisp (thanks to 3K resolution and density above 500 ppi). Secondly, it’s super bright, so it’s convenient to work with it even in direct sunlight. And thirdly, this is the first Samsung with a 120 Hz sweep.

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By default, the smartphone uses a frequency of 60 Hz, but it can be increased in the settings. Be prepared that then the gadget will spend a charge faster – but in some scenarios it is worth it, especially in games. The picture becomes very smooth even in dynamic scenes and just pleases the eye. We do not recommend using 120 Hz on an ongoing basis – spare the battery.

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The case of the smartphone is made of glass protected by Gorilla Glass 6. In theory, minor scratches should not appear on it, and indeed this coating is considered very durable. But in practice, when you pick up a device with such smooth edges, you’re still afraid to drop it from your hands. Therefore, it is best to use the new Galaxy with a case – and there are plenty of such models in the new model.

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Immediately in the kit is transparent, and separately you can buy leather, silicone, protected by military standards or a smart book with an LED display on which clocks and icons of incoming outputs are displayed. It is interesting that the case has its own application (what? Yes!) – in it you can configure icons for contacts that will be displayed during calls. It is proposed to choose a finished one or draw a custom one and save it in the gallery.

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Main camera: 108 MP (f / 1.8) + 48 MP (x10 zoom) + 12 MP (f / 2.2) + ToF
Front camera: 40 MP (f / 2.2)
The main highlight of the smartphone is its main camera with a 108 megapixel sensor. The gadget uses a new technology for combining 9 pixels, creating clear pictures with excellent shadow detail even in low light conditions. The final resolution for this processing is 12 megapixels, but you can also use the “real” 108 megapixels.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra features 10x hybrid optical zoom and 100x Space Zoom. This is what the company calls technology that uses AI to reduce quality loss when shooting high-resolution photos. It is most convenient to switch between the six main modes: x0.5, x1, x2, x4, x10, x30 and x100. In practice, a 100x zoom is of little use – you can take such photos only with a tripod, since even the slightest trembling of the hands can ruin the frame.

Another thing is the 30x zoom. Look at the photo below: it’s hard to believe that it was shot without a tripod with a 30x zoom.

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Features and performance

Samsung Exynos 990, GPU Mali-G77 MP11
12 GB (LPDDR5) / 128 GB (UFS 3.0)
NFC, eSIM, Wi-Fi 802.11ax, 5G, Bluetooth 5.0, stereo speakers
The smartphone runs on the new Exynos 990 processor – in terms of power it can be compared with the top-end Kirin 990 or Snapdragon 865. The new processor is also equipped with a chip for working with 5G – Exynos Modem 5123. In Russia, this standard is software-disabled, but when the 5G network starts officially, the manufacturer roll out the update to activate the modem.

The S20 Ultra is equipped with as much as 12 GB of RAM, which are redundant for a smartphone, but come in handy in Dex mode, which turns the gadget into a desktop computer. Needless to say, all the programs on it just fly – even in multi-window mode. S20 Ultra benchmark results set new records: more than 501,000 points in AnTuTu!

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The internal memory here is only 128 GB. Given that photos and videos on a 108-megapixel camera weigh like a mammoth, and a 10-second clip in 8K takes about 150 MB, this is not so much. The slot for memory cards (up to 1 TB!) Is combined, so for the sake of expanding the storage you will have to sacrifice one SIM card. This is not as critical as in other smartphones, because the S20 Ultra also supports eSIM.

The novelty runs on Android 10 in the shell of One UI 2 – this is Samsung’s proprietary system. It is beautiful, comfortable and supports a lot of useful features. For example, there is a dark theme and a separate mode for synchronizing with a PC on Windows, as well as additional Knox protection and the ability to create secret folders. The model also has an Edge side menu where you can add applications and tools to your taste.

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5000 mAh
USB-C, 45W fast charge, wireless and reverse charge
The S20 Ultra has the largest battery in the lineup: 5,000 mAh versus 4,500 for the S20 + and 4,000 for the S20. But the smartphone’s screen is the largest, so we can assume that the autonomy of the new plus or minus is the same. During the test, we had a full charge for one and a half days of active use: including frequent camera work and video shooting, surfing, a couple of short calls and constantly active messengers. Half an hour of watching Full HD video on YouTube with an average brightness and Wi-Fi turned on “ate” 4% of the charge. Half an hour of Yandex.Music playback via wireless headphones is only 2%.

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If you play Balls, your smartphone will hardly notice it. But the “Tanks” and similar heavy games will rapidly reduce battery power – by 9% per half hour. As we already said, at a frequency of 120 Hz the smartphone discharges faster – about one and a half times.

S20 Ultra charges very quickly: just over an hour from the complete charger. Also, the back of the smartphone can become a platform for wireless charging of other gadgets – for example, a TWS-headset or another smartphone.

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Should I buy the Galaxy S20 Ultra?

If you want to have one of the most advanced smartphones of 2020, it’s certainly worth it. On the other hand, its main features – shooting in 8K and 100x zoom – are of little use in everyday life. We really liked the quality of the photo on a 108-megapixel camera, but if you rarely print pictures and take them just for the sake of memorable posts on social networks, you can take the younger model S20. It is also worth noting good autonomy, a cool screen, eSIM support (which is already working in Russia) and a high power model – all this fully pays for its price.

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