While the world awaited with bated breath for Samsung’s next big announcement, we were busy laying our fingers on Samsung’s newest Galaxy range a day earlier.
Enclosed into a secret room, at a secret location in San Francisco, we were itching to get our hands on those new smartphones, just to know what’s new and different from Samsung this year. While speculations were already around, the final day came and and a lot was revealed in person.Three new shiny objects took centre stage that day – the Samsung Galaxy S20, the S20+ and the S20 Ultra. While the S20 and S20+ were powerful enough with good incremental upgrades to the previous generation of the S series, the limelight was stolen by the elder brother, the S20 Ultra. It packed features that were crazy, yet expected by Samsung this year around, only to make the competition feel worse. The S20 Ultra is a pièce de résistance once you hold it, and trust us, you won't let it go as easily.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: Design and build
As usual, the Galaxy S series is built with beautiful bodies. And this one, though it feels very comfortable to grip, is a good 222g in weight. Sandwiched between Gorilla Glass 6 panels, this one too is protected by a strong metal frame. The rear shouts out a very classy camera layout in a raised rectangular shape towards the left. Built with three cameras and an LED light that forms a good-looking array, the fourth and primary camera is placed just below them.
The Ultra is a pleasure to hold –– slightly taller, this handset is not as slippery as one would expect, but is a lot glossy and a huge fingerprint magnet. Unless you prefer another colour instead of black, we would advise keeping it safely in the silicone case that is included in the package. It’s comfortable to use and not as heavy, too.... unless you have little hands. Yes, the 6.9in display (bigger than Asus ROG II gaming smartphone) will force you to use both hands, but this device is purely meant for media consumption, unless otherwise.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: Specifications
Under the strong glass protectors are the powerful guts. The Ultra buzzes around a Qualcomm Snapdragon or their own home-brewed Exynos chipset (depending on which region it’s available), supported by 12/16GB RAM and 128/512/256GB of storage, which is further expandable using a microSD card. If your sole requirement is video capturing, then we would advise the higher storage variant, else stick to your said budget.
Moving upfront, the selfie camera is a 40MP sensor placed in a punch hole cutout in the 120Hz Dynamic Amoled QHD+ 6.9in display panel. It also has a 240Hz touch sensing, meaning your gaming experience will be flawless and daily scrolling through an unending list of followed social streams will be easy on your eyes.
In short, the Ultra seems like a great package for media makers and serious gamers.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: Cameras
Speaking of media makers, vloggers of tomorrow and short movie professionals have some good news here. The rear sports the main business end that you may be interested in. The array of rear cameras consist of a 12MP (ultra-wide), 48MP (telephoto) and a depth sensor, while the main focus is the 108MP (wide-angle) camera that boasts of 100x Space Zoom (as termed by Samsung) and pro-grade video stabilisation. The sensor is ideally a 108MP silicon, but incorporates ‘nona-binning’ technology (12MP by combining 9 pixels into one pixel) to give you superior details and excellent night shots. Additionally, this camera now sits at a 90-degree angle below the surface to incorporate multiple zoom lenses (remember what Huawei did with their flagship?)
Samsung also introduces some new wonders these cameras can do –– like simultaneous video recording using multiple cameras. Simply shoot a quick video and all four cameras will record their own view and store it so that you as a vlogger can use and combine various angles of the same shot, or as a casual user choose to share the best one. However, these are limited to one sad area –– time. The quick video feature is restricted to a 10 second video only. But you have to cut them some slack because the S20 Ultra has a crazy combination of sensors (12+48+108), which kind of makes processing all of that data a bit stressful.
The primary camera can also record a stunning 8K video (@24fps) too. So if you are thinking of recording your precious moments in the highest possible quality and keeping it future-ready for generations ahead, the Ultra makes up for an ultimate portable equipment today. And while you are on that 8K video, you can also shoot stills from the video grab, with each photo churning out a good 33MP in terms of quality. So maybe you can now relax and let go of the photographer –– simply take your videos and grab your best pictures while viewing it.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: Performance
While the design managed to keep us busy in that secret demo room, we did take a shot at the performance. As usual, the user interface is Samsung’s very own One UI. Fluid and smooth, the initial experience was lag-free. While we cannot comment on the performance throughout the day and into the week, we are sure it won’t let us down during the final review.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: Initial verdict
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra seems like a promising new smartphone with plenty of new hardware bits to keep the casual buyer busy for months before getting distracted by the next Android or Apple smartphone release. But given its steep $1399 price tag, it appears to cater mainly to professionals and the creative crowd. Vloggers, video artists and pro-gamers may want to give the Ultra a shot as the guts are powerful enough to help you with your requirements.
2020 appears to be a tough year for smartphone manufacturers to bring in new innovations in the premium smartphones space. So Samsung, so far, appears to have done a good job. There are a number of new features here that Samsung brings to the smartphone world in general. From a whopping 108MP camera sensor, to the 100X Space Zoom and that 120Hz QHD+ Dynamic Amoled display, we will have our hands full when putting the Ultra through its paces for our review. So stay tuned.