Samsung is back in 2020 with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, this is a big powerful phone with some nice features and a hefty price tag. I will tell you everything you need to know about this phone in my Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra review.
Galaxy S20 Ultra Introduction:
The Galaxy S20 Ultra has a massive 6.9-inch display screen, 5G capabilities, and some great cameras. However, I think the price of $1,400 is too much for this phone, when I thought the price of flagship phones could not get any higher, Samsung proved me wrong.
Nevertheless, this phone comes equipped with the most advanced cameras that Samsung has ever put on a phone.
The cameras consist of a quad-lens stack which includes a 108MP main camera and a 10x lossless zoom camera that goes all the way up to 100x digital zoom.
The state-of-the-art cameras on the Galaxy S20 Ultra take great photos, this phone ranks highly on the list of the best camera phones that are currently available. However, the cameras on this phone are not perfect.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra has quite a few great things going for it such as a huge 6.9-inch display screen with a 120Hz display screen and it supports 5G for all the major carriers in the U.S.
This phone did not retain the 3.5mm headphone jack from its predecessors and there’s a large camera bump on the back of the phone.
Everything on the Galaxy S20 Ultra is supersized, from the 100x digital zoom to the display screen to the battery, it’s an overkill.
However, this phablet was specifically designed for people who enjoy using big phones with lots of features.
Galaxy S20 Ultra Specs:
- Display Screen: 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 3200×1440 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate
- Rear Cameras: Quad-lens setup: 108MP wide ƒ/1.8, 48MP telephoto ƒ/3.5, 12MP ultrawide f/2.2, time of flight VGA
- Zoom: 4x optical zoom, 10x hybrid lossless zoom, 100x digital zoom
- Selfie Camera: 40MP ƒ/2.2
- Video: I goes up to 8K at 24 fps
- RAM: 12GB, 16GB
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
- Storage: 128GB, 512GB
- microSD: Yes, it goes up to 1TB
- Battery: 5,000 mAh
- Dimensions: 6.6 x 2.7 x 0.34 inches
- Weight: 7.7 ounces
- Technology: CDMA2000 1X / GSM / WCDMA (UMTS)
- SIM Card Type: Electronic SIM card (e-SIM), nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Display Screen:
Samsung has a history of making phones with great display screens. The Galaxy S20 Ultra comes with a massive 6.9-inch display screen with an aspect ratio of 20:9 and a resolution of 3400×1400.
The display screen on the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 120Hz refresh rate and even though the display screen is a quad-HD display screen it cannot simultaneously show content on-screen at its full resolution while using the 120HZ refresh rate.
So if you would like to have a smooth animation while playing video games and scrolling. You will have to reduce the resolution to full-HD, Samsung implemented this to maximize the phone’s battery life.
On paper, this looks as though it would provide a less than spectacular user experience. However, that’s not the case, it’s very difficult to notice the difference because the display screen looks great.
One of the main problems with the 120Hz refresh rate is the fact that media and most games do not support it.
Apart from the refresh rate, the display screen on the Galaxy S20 Ultra looks amazing, the color reproduction and the dynamic range are great when viewing the display screen with the default settings.
The peak brightness for this display screen is 662 nits when it’s set to maximum brightness. However, it only reaches the peak brightness in bright ambient conditions.
So it’s not the brightest display screen on the market and it can be a little difficult to see text on the display screen when viewing it in direct sunlight.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Design:
The Galaxy S20 Ultra bears a resemblance to that of its predecessors it has a bezel-less display screen, curved edges, the Infinity-O hole-punch camera, and the look and feel of a premium Samsung phone.
The 6.9-in display screen on this phone is larger than the 6.8-inch display screen on the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, and the cameras at the back of the phone are housed inside a big rectangle that protrudes from the back panel of the phone.
This phone is available in two color variants which consist of Cosmic Grey and Cosmic Black which is a bit boring it would have been nice if there were more color variants available.
The back panel of the Galaxy S20 Ultra is made of glass and it has a tendency to collect lots of fingerprints.
The dimensions of this phone are 6.6 x 2.9 x 0.34 inches and it weighs 7.7 ounces, this is a big heavy phone which has an IP 68 dust and water-resistant rating.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Cameras:
The cameras on the Galaxy S20 Ultra are extremely sophisticated the 108MP camera captures lots of detail in photos and the 100x zoom camera can take photos of a subject from far away while capturing lots of detail that cannot be seen from far away with the naked eye.
The selfie camera that is housed in the hole-punch at the top of the display screen is a 40MP camera that captures great photos.
The 108MP camera is a bit extreme, it takes photos with lots of detail with rich and vibrant colors when you crop the photos you will get maximum detail.
However, you will not take the majority of your photos at 108MP. To use this camera you must go into the camera settings and select it.
When shooting photos with this camera, the photos occupy up to eight times the amount of storage space as the default photo would.
When shooting photos in Automatic Mode the camera shoots photos at 12MP. This is possible as a result of a concept called pixel binning.
In pixel binning, every nine pixels become a superpixel, the basic idea behind this is to make the photos sharper and brighter by making each of the 12 pixels larger which allows them to take in more light.
In general, more light means better photos but if there’s too much light then the photo becomes oversaturated which is bad.
I wouldn’t recommend using the 108MP camera for every photo because the photo and the file size are too big.
It’s best to use this camera when you have a photo opportunity to take some great photos but you know you’re too far away from the subject and you cannot physically get closer.
100x Zoom Camera (Space Zoom Camera):
Samsung refers to this camera as the Space Zoom camera this camera provides a mixture of optical and digital zoom, it works great when you need it but I wouldn’t recommend taking every photo with this camera either.
The 100x Zoom camera is used to capture photos of a subject that’s far away but the photo quality in these types of photos is not the best.
However, I don’t think this camera was designed to get you high-quality photos of a subject that’s far away from you.
I think the main purpose of this camera is to allow you to shoot photos that you normally wouldn’t be able to without the use of this camera.
In general, the quality of photos taken with the camera is better when photos are shot at 30x and below.
When using the 100x zoom camera you must be completely stationary if your hand shakes in the process this will negatively affect the quality of the photo. This camera is great, but is it absolutely necessary? I don’t know?
The quality of the photos taken with this camera will vary depending on the distance. In general, photos taken at 30x or below look great with lots of rich and vibrant colors.
The Night Mode feature also works well when taking photos in a darker setting and Samsung has added a countdown clock to let you know how long you have to hold the phone still after you press the shutter button before the photo is taken which is 3 seconds.
Macro Mode is used when shooting photos of small items such as insects and flowers. Macro Mode does not work as well on this phone, it seems as though the focal length has changed.
As a result of this, photos that are shot in Macro Mode do not have as much detail as they should. Maybe this is the reason why the 108MP camera was implemented, who knows?
Single Take Mode:
Single Take Mode is a new feature that has been added to the Galaxy S20 Ultra. When this mode is selected, the camera will shoot a set menu of up to 10 photos and 4 videos when you press and hold the shutter button.
I’m not a fan of this mode, I think the photos and videos shot in this mode are not the best.
Nevertheless, I think this mode comes in handy when you’re in a situation where you only have one opportunity to capture a special moment and you would like to get as much of it as you can.
All the Galaxy S20 phones have the ability to capture videos in 8K resolution. The file size of 8K videos is extremely large.
Samsung stated that every minute shot will occupy up to 600MB of storage, this is ridiculous.
You have to stand a bit further away from the subject to be able to fit it into the frame when shooting 8K videos.
The main problem with 8K videos is the fact that there aren’t too many places/devices that support it at the moment.
An 8K video is very similar to a photo that’s shot with the 108MP camera because it will allow you to retain lots of detail when you crop it, so it gives you the same effect as zooming in.
Nevertheless, you have the ability to edit the video without overwriting the original video that you shot.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G:
The Galaxy S20 Ultra supports millimeter wave (mmWave) technology as well as sub-6 GHz bands.
Sub-6 GHz gives you much more range but the data speeds are slower sometimes they don’t exceed the data speeds of LTE but mmWave is significantly faster but the signal does not travel as far.
T-Mobile and AT&T offer low-band networks, T-Mobile is available in 5,000 cities and AT&T is available in 20 cities.
The Verizon 5G network uses mmWave technology and it’s available in over 30 cities. Sprint has a midband network that offers faster speeds than T-Mobile but it’s not as fast as Verizon’s 5G.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra is compatible with all of the 5G carriers mentioned above. 5G technology is still relatively new and 5G networks are rolling out all over the country.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Performance:
The Galaxy S20 Ultra is the first phone on the market to feature the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor which Samsung says is faster and more efficient than that of its predecessors.
The Snapdragon 865 processor is a little controversial because it has a separate 5G modem instead of an integrated 4G modem.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra is extremely fast and responsive, however, this processor doesn’t feel significantly faster than the Snapdragon 855 processor from last year.
This phone also comes with 12 or 16GB of RAM and a 5,000mAh battery. The massive battery comes in handy when using the 120Hz refresh rate and the additional RAM keeps the phone fast and responsive when multitasking.
The Galaxy S20 phones have a new feature that gives you the ability to pin three or five apps to memory. When this is done Android will never close these apps when they’re running in the background.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra did not retain the 3.5mm headphone jack, this is something that many smartphone users appreciate having on a phone.
Nevertheless, this phone comes with 128 or 512GB of internal storage which can be expanded via a microSD card up to 1TB.
It’s easy to navigate the home screen, there’s a sidebar that you can swipe in from anywhere that can contain your clipboard history, calendar, weather, or other widgets, and there’s also a new screen recorder feature.
Samsung refers to the left of the home screen as Samsung Daily, which consists of some information widgets from companies that partner with Samsung.
Bixby is still a mediocre voice assistant which can be accessed by performing a long press of the power button.
The Quick Settings tray is filled with icons that most smartphone users are probably not familiar with.
With the release of the Galaxy S20 Ultra, it seems as though Samsung’s main goal is to prove that it could surpass every other Android phone that’s currently available.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Battery Life:
As I stated earlier, the Galaxy S20 Ultra comes with a massive 5,000 mAh battery. This is the biggest battery that we’ve seen in a Samsung Galaxy S phone thus far.
I think this battery was necessary due to the 120Hz refresh rate, the 6.9-inch display screen, and to maintain a fast 5G data connection 24/7.
When the refresh rate is set at 60Hz this phone will last for a little less than one day of moderate usage. When the refresh rate is at 120Hz the battery will die a few hours earlier.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra supports wired 25-watt charging with the adapter that came in the box, this phone also supports Samsung’s 15-watt Fast Wireless Charging 2.0.
However, you also have the ability to purchase a 45-watt brick charger to charge the phone even faster.
It takes 30 minutes to charge the Galaxy S20 Ultra from 0 to 63% capacity and 45 minutes to charge from 0 to 89% using the 25-watt charger.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Software:
The Galaxy S20 Ultra comes equipped with the Android 10 operating system with Samsung’s One UI 2 on top.
One UI 2 has some great new features such as notification controls, enhanced privacy, and Smart Replay.
Samsung has also integrated Google Duo into the Galaxy S20 phones, this is Google’s response to Apple’s FaceTime.
Google Duo is a video chat app that’s built into the phone dialer and contacts app, Google Duo gives you the ability to simultaneously chat with up to 8 people as well as the ability to video chat in full HD for the very first time.
There’s also a new feature called Music Share which gives you the ability to share your Bluetooth connection with your car and Spotify has been integrated with Bixby.
As a result of this, you now have the ability to recommend playlists based on contextual cues, such as the time of the day and your location.
My Final Thought On The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra:
The Galaxy S20 Ultra is a big powerful phone that has lots of features. Some of these features such as the 100x zoom and shooting 8K video are a bit of an overkill and this is a big part of the reason why this phone is so expensive.
Nevertheless, this phone has lots of great things going for it such as a big, beautiful display screen, great cameras, and 5G capabilities so you will be able to take full advantage of 5G when it arrives in your city if it isn’t there already.
This is an extremely expensive phone that has all the latest bells and whistles that an avid smartphone user would want and maybe a little bit extra.
People who want a great phone but aren’t willing to spend this much money should consider the Samsung Galaxy S20 or the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus.
After reading my Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra review, if you have any comments or questions about this phone, please feel free to share them in the comment section below.