Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+ & S20 Ultra Hands-On Review

The latest Samsung Galaxy S20 flagship smartphone collection has arrived and with it comes 8K video recording, up to 100x digital zoom and a pretty cool new camera feature.

|  Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra in Camera Phones
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Samsung Galaxy S20 Range
 

The Samsung Galaxy S20 flagship smartphone range has officially been announced, updating the Galaxy S10 range, and with it comes three new smartphones - Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+ and the Galaxy S20 Ultra. There's no 'lite' version but the introduction of an 'Ultra' version, which Samsung describes as a smartphone for those wanting the 'best of the best', will probably get more people talking. Even more so when you see it has a 108MP wide-angle lens built into the rear quad-camera with optical image stabilisation.

Before we get into the camera specs and other features of the Samsung Galaxy S20 range, some might be wondering why Samsung didn't go for 'S11' as the range name and it's basically all to do with branding and Samsung's vision for its smartphones. We've seen 10 years of smartphone innovation where the focus has been on certain types of technology appearing in smartphones whereas, going forward, Samsung sees smartphone innovation as been more about 'experiences' and how we interact with our devices and as this is the first Samsung smartphone range to be released with this vision in mind, Samsung's named the series the 'S20' to reflect that this is the start of a new 10-year innovation journey. 

 

Samsung Galaxy S20 Range
 

Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+ & S20 Ultra Features 

Of course, to do this, smartphones still need new hardware and clever technology building into them to improve their overall appeal and Samsung sees 5G as one of the main ways they can make all of our smartphone experiences better so the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+ and the S20 Ultra all support 5G. They also realise we want smartphones where the battery will last more than a few hours and that excellent camera technology is one of the main caveats for smartphone purchases nowadays. 

There's a new camera system that tackles several consumer issues and it also makes it easier to capture content than ever before. 

To address these issues, you see better batteries on all 3 devices, improved rear cameras, more zoom options, improved low light performance and videos with less camera shake. There's also a new camera mode that uses all of the rear cameras in one go to capture several photos with one click and 8K movie capture is built in. 

 

Samsung Galaxy S20
 

As well as focusing on what's inside the Galaxy S20 range, Samsung has worked hard to improve the overall aesthetics of the Galaxy S20 range, starting with basic adjustments such as making bezels smaller than ever before, reducing the space the front camera takes up in the screen and introducing a rear camera unit housing that's part of the S20's signature design. 

According to Samsung, more than 100 million photos are shared on Instagram every day and by 2022, they also expect 4x more video to be uploaded to social media than this time last year so getting the camera technology right is incredibly important. 75% of all content captured on smartphones is shared through social media so people are also wanting photos to stand out from the crowd (we all know how important 'like' counts are, right?). 

To ensure Samsung smartphone users are capturing the best photos they can, Samsung has introduced higher-resolution sensors (1.7x-2.9x larger than the sensor on the Galaxy S10) to the Galaxy S20 range and the image sensor technology has been improved. For example, on the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, 9 pixels are combined into 1 to allow more light into the camera which in-turn helps you produce better photos. You can also switch to a high-res mode which adjusts the position of the pixels on the sensor so more detail is captured in the image. 

 

Samsung Galaxy S20+
 

We'll look at the camera specs in more detail shortly but as we've mentioned 'higher resolution' it's worth noting that the telephoto lens on the S20 and S20+ is a 64MP lens with f/2.0 aperture and optical image stabilisation (OIS) while the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 108MP wide-angle lens (f/1.8, OIS) and a 48MP telephoto lens (f/3.5 OIS). 

Zoom reach has been improved with 'Space Zoom' combining hybrid optical zoom and digital zoom to give the S20 and S20+ up to 30x zoom and up to 100x zoom on the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. Plus, thanks to the higher resolution images the S20 range can capture, you can also zoom into an image you've already captured, re-compose the shot by cropping it and re-save the photo. 

Another handy feature is the 'Single Take' mode which uses all of the lenses on the rear camera, along with AI, to pick out specific moments and once the device has finished capturing all of the shots, you're presented with a portfolio of images (and video) to choose from. It's actually a pretty cool feature that's time-saving and can actually capture images you might not have thought of. We didn't get much time to test this out to its fullest but once we have an S20 smartphone in for review, we will, of course, give you a more detailed analysis.  

 

Samsung Galaxy S20
Samsung Galaxy S20 - Single Take Mode

 

Video is another area Samsung has improved on the S20 range by introducing cinema-quality 8K video but you can also capture video in 4K, FHD and HD should you need to. There's now a Pro video mode which gives you access to controls such as exposure and aperture while filming. Plus, you can capture Hyperlapse video and thanks to the sensor improvements, low light capture should be better. Low light footage, as well as all video capture in general, should also be a lot smoother as Samsung as worked on the Super Steady stabilisation, adding improvements to the AI and hardware. 

As we've seen on stills cameras, you can also capture images from the 8K video which you do by finding a frame you like and this is then saved as a 33MP image - handy for video thumbnails. 

All three Galaxy S20 smartphones are IP68 dust and water-resistant, feature fingerprint sensors, facial recognition and support fast wireless charging. 

The battery size ranges from 4000mAh on the Galaxy S20 to 5000mAh on the Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Galaxy S20+ sits in the middle with 4500mAh of battery power. 

Memory-wise, the Galaxy S20 has 8GB/12GB RAM & 128GB memory, the Galaxy S20+ comes with 128GB RAM/128GB or 512GB memory and the Galaxy S20 Ultra has either 12GB/16GB RAM and 128GB/512GB of memory. The memory capacity of all three smartphones can also be extended to 1TB with a microSD memory card. 

 

Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+ & S20 Ultra Handling

Samsung Galaxy S20
 

As you'd expect from a flagship range of smartphones from Samsung, they look great and fit well in the hand. Even the Ultra which has pretty big dimensions and a 6.9-inch screen doesn't feel huge This is probably down to Samsung working hard to reduce bezels to a minimum and the curved edges make all of the smartphones comfortable to hold. You can't quite operate the Ultra one-handed but when taking photos, we always suggest you hold a smartphone in both hands anyway to reduce camera shake. 

Volume/power buttons are where you expect to find them as is the USB-C port. 

The screens are bright and all are of a decent size with the Galaxy S20 having a 6.2-inch screen, the Galaxy S20+ features a 6.7-inch display and the Galaxy S20 Ultra, as you'd expect, has the biggest screen of them all measuring 6.9-inch.  All are Dynamic AMOLED 2X, HDR10+ certified. 

All three smartphones look modern, sleek and are certainly worthy of their 'premium/flagship' titles. 

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra & Samsung Galaxy S20+
 

We like the new positioning of the rear camera unit, which is more like the one seen on the Galaxy S10 Lite, as you're less likely to accidentally mark it with fingerprints and the front, in-screen 'infinity-O display' selfie camera is much neater, too. 

The camera app is easy to use/navigate and is very similar to camera apps we've seen on Samsung smartphones previously with just the addition of more zoom options and the 'Single Take' mode now appearing in the options. 

 

Samsung Galaxy S20
 

As there are quite a few camera details to talk about, we'll have a look at each smartphone individually, listing the specs as we go. We don't have any sample photos to share with you currently but once we've put the Samsung Galaxy S20 range through a full review, we'll be able to let you know what we think. This is particularly true for the 100x 'super-resolution zoom' found on the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra because, on paper, it sounds amazing but we've often been disappointed with smartphone zooms so it'll be interesting to see if Samsung has managed to improve this. 

 

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
 

Overall, the camera specs are impressive and as Samsung devices still sit at the top of our 'best smartphone for photography' lists, we're expecting big things from the new Galaxy S20 range. 

 

Samsung Galaxy S20 

Galaxy S20
 

  • Rear Triple Camera: Ultra-Wide: 12MP, f/2.2, Wide-Angle: 12MP, f/1.8, OIS, Telephoto: 64MP, f/2.0, OIS. 
  • Front Camera: 10MP f/2.2 
  • Space Zoom - 3X Hybrid Optical Zoom and up to 30X Super Resolution Zoom 

 

Samsung Galaxy S20+

Samsung Galaxy S20+
 

  • Rear Quad Camera: Ultra-Wide: 12MP, f/2.2, Wide-Angle 12MP, f/1.8, OIS, Telephoto 64MP, f/2.0, OIS and DepthVision 
  • Front Camera: 10MP f/2.2 
  • Space Zoom - 3X Hybrid Optical Zoom and up to 30X Super Resolution Zoom 

 

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
 

  • Rear Quad Camera: Ultra-Wide 12MP, f/2.2, Wide-Angle 108MP, f/1.8, OIS, Telephoto 48MP, f/3.55, OIS and DepthVision 
  • Front Camera: 10MP f/2.2 
  • Space Zoom - 10X Hybrid Optical Zoom and up to 100X Super Resolution Zoom 

 

The big differences in the cameras are that the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 108MP wide-angle lens and a 48MP telephoto lens so you get more zoom when compared with the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20+ with their 12MP wide-angle lens and 64MP telephoto lens. You also get the DepthVision lens on the S20+/Ultra versions to help with bokeh. All three smartphones have the same 10MP f/2.2 selfie camera with AF. 

That's pretty much it when it comes to 'what's new' on the Samsung Galaxy S20 range which will be available from 13 March 2020 at the following RRPS:

  • Galaxy S20 £799
  • Galaxy S20 5G £899
  • Galaxy S20+ 5G £999
  • Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G 128GB £1199, Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G 512GB £1399

 

Until we get our hands on the S20 range for a full review, have a look at our other Samsung Galaxy smartphone reviews or check out our 'best smartphone for photography' top suggestions. 

 

Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+ & S20 Ultra Spec Comparison: 

  Galaxy S20 Galaxy S20+ Galaxy S20 Ultra
Rear Camera  Ultra-Wide,12MP, f/2.2 & Wide-Angle, 12MP, f/1.8, OIS & Telephoto, 64MP, f/2.0, OIS, PDAF. Ultra-Wide, 12MP, f/2.2 & Wide-Angle, 12MP, f/1.8, OIS, Telephoto, 64MP, f/2.0, OIS, PDAF & DepthVision Ultra-Wide,12MP, f/2.2 & Wide-Angle, 108MP, f/1.8, OIS & Telephoto, 48MP, f/3.55, OIS, PDAF & DepthVision 
Front Camera 10MP f/2.2  10MP f/2.2  10MP f/2.2 
Zoom 3X Hybrid Optical Zoom and up to 30X Super Resolution Zoom  3X Hybrid Optical Zoom and up to 30X Super Resolution Zoom  10X Hybrid Optical Zoom and up to 100X Super Resolution Zoom 
Video  8K, 4K, FHD, HD 8K, 4K, FHD, HD 8K, 4K, FHD, HD
Display 6.2-inch Quad HD+ infinity-O display  6.7-inch Quad HD+ infinity-O display 6.9-inch Quad HD+ infinity-O display
Battery 4000mAh 4500mAh 5000mAh
Memory 8GB/12GBRAM & 128GB memory 128GB RAM/128GB or 512GB memory 12GB/16GB RAM and 128GB/512GB memory
Dimensions  151.7x69.1x7.9mm 161.9x73.7x7.8mm 166.9x76.0x8.8mm
Weight 163g 186g 220g
Other  Fast wireless charging, fingerprint sensors Fast wireless charging, fingerprint sensors Fast wireless charging, fingerprint sensors
IP68 Dust/Water-Resistant Yes  Yes  Yes 

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