Samsung Galaxy S20 worth the upgrade? It depends on the camera and battery life

The Galaxy S20 Ultra’s digicam efficiency may make all of the distinction. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

“Whoa. This is the Galaxy S20 Ultra?” I used to be so shocked, I stated it aloud. Samsung’s Unpacked event was the primary time I bought my fingers on Samsung’s largest and baddest Galaxy S20 system. Due to unfortunate circumstances, I needed to skip the standard journalist briefing session, so it wasn’t till I held the S20 Ultra earlier this week that I used to be in a position to kind my first concrete opinion.

Here’s the primary, however least essential of the bunch: The S20 Ultra is an enormous, heavy phone with a hulking camera module that reminded me of The Rock. CNET Senior Editor Lynn La went even additional, calling the array “chonky” and grotesque”.

Picking by way of submenus searching for thrilling new instruments to leap out, it dawned on me. The Galaxy S20 Ultra’s MVP options distill right down to these utterly redesigned cameras, the longevity of the Ultra’s 5,000-mAh battery, and to a lesser extent, 5G. You cannot actually get a grip on any of those in an artificially lit demo room, regardless of how spacious. 

Understanding if the S20 Ultra is price shopping for or price upgrading from will take time, for positive, however I’ve opinions.


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Dissecting the S20 Ultra’s eye-popping digicam specs is straightforward sufficient in concept. There’s a 108-megapixel digicam, 100x “space zoom” and a 48-megapixel “folded zoom lens.” 

It was simple to level the extraordinary zoom digicam on the good props across the room, like a tray of fancy yogurt parfait and journalist buddies, to rapidly gauge how effectively every digicam characteristic carried out. That’s effective and crucial in a closed demo house, however you do not actually understand how good the pictures are till you begin taking photos of scenes in the true world.

Camera worth does not come right down to the picture high quality alone, both. You additionally need to think about how simple it’s to make use of the characteristic appropriately, edit pictures and share them. For instance, after testing the “Single Take” mode that captures as much as 10 pictures and 4 movies with a single button press, I used to be beginning to get the distinct impression that utilizing this mode means you would possibly spend loads of time deleting all the additional photographs you do not need. That was confirmed with some informal photographs I took with Single Take on the Galaxy Z Flip foldable phone.

Testing the zoom characteristic in actual life is very essential. As I pointed the S20 Ultra across the demo room and dialed in on 30x, 50x and 100x zoom, I wasn’t instantly impressed with what I noticed. But I additionally wasn’t pointing at something significant, like an ornamental cornice on a palace, an egret wading within the ocean or a blinding performer on stage. The profit to zoom at that magnitude is closing the space by way of know-how when you possibly can’t get your physique shut sufficient to border and take the shot.

Comparing the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s zoom capabilities to these of the Huawei P30 Pro shall be important, as effectively. That S20 Ultra’s periscope lens makes use of the same know-how because the P30 Pro to create 5x optical and as much as 50x digital zoom. I bear in mind being impressed by Huawei’s capability to seize far-off objects extra faithfully than not. The similar goes for the Pixel 4 and 4 XL’s “super zoom” sensors.

Battery life is the ultimate ingredient right here. 5,00Zero mAh is concerning the largest capability round, however we additionally need to think about what number of assets the phone’s huge display screen actually makes use of, how 5G would possibly change the battery equation (that may differ by community). Turning on the 120Hz refresh fee choice can be anticipated to significantly drain battery life in comparison with the usual 60Hz display screen settings.

I’m excited to study the solutions to those Galaxy S20 Ultra questions within the coming weeks when a overview unit arrives. Pretty quickly when somebody asks me if the Galaxy S20 Ultra is well worth the $1,400 worth, or price an improve from the Galaxy S10, I’ll be capable of give a transparent reply. For now, it is merely: wait and see.

Originally revealed earlier this week.


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