Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G - the most in every inch. Review

6.9-inch screen, 5000 mAh battery, 5G connectivity, 108 megapixel camera, 8K video. This is not a concert of wishes, but a specification of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, with which I spent the last two weeks. I invite you for a review.

Let's start with the biggest obvious: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is a huge smartphone. I write these words on every review of the new Samsung Galaxy S and Note, but this time it's different. As a rule, after two weeks of testing, I got used to the large body of the new smartphone, but in the case of the S20 Ultra I can't break up to this day. This smartphone is simply too big.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra

The block is powerful. The front is up to 6.9 inches diagonal of the screen. The side frame in place of the camera exceeds a centimeter thick. Added to this is a very fair weight that weighs in your pocket. If S20 Ultra, then rather in a bag or backpack, or possibly in a jacket pocket. Rather not in pants, and certainly not in a jacket.

I started complaining, but let's get down to the positives. There are many more.

Appearance and build quality Galaxy S20 Ultra is the highest league.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

I really like the fact that the side edges of the screen are only curved in a light, symbolic way. In fact, they are flat and the glass above the screen is de facto curved. This is a step in the right direction. The smartphone has retained the spirit of the S series and is more convenient to use.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

I like the bottom edge with a headphone jack a little less. It is not necessary in 2020, but so far it has been a nice distinction for Samsung. In the box with the S20 Ultra we will not find a minijack adapter, and instead Samsung adds quite good AKG in-ear headphones with a USB-C connector.

Let's move to the screen, the best feature of the Galaxy S20 Ultra. It has a diagonal of up to 6.9 inches and is phenomenal.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

Almost seven inches of the beautiful Dynamic AMOLED panel is a feast for the eyes. The frames around the screen are extremely thin. The lower one is almost twice thinner than that of last year's Galaxy S10 Plus model, and this is impressive.

In addition, there is a much smaller, less invasive indentation on the selfie cam. Instead of an island with a double lens we have a small circle, like in the Galaxy Note 10. It is a much better, more elegant solution.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

The screen itself is mastery. It is impossible to say a bad word about him. Samsung has accustomed us to great AMOLED panels, but this time it's even better because of the refresh at 120 Hz. In this setting, the smartphone gives the impression that it works twice as fast as in reality. When we get used to such fluidity, returning to the standard 60 Hz is painful.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra out of the box has a resolution of 1080p + and a refresh rate of 60 Hz. Probably Samsung wants to extend the work time on one charge in this way, but unnecessarily, what to do next. We can decide to change the parameters, but to a limited extent: you can set either a higher 1440p + resolution or a higher refresh rate of 120 Hz. I recommend the second choice, because FullHD + is fully sufficient, and 120 Hz makes a huge difference in the quality of service. Unfortunately, we can't have 3200x1440 resolution and 120 Hz refresh at the same time.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

I also have the impression that the Galaxy S20 Ultra reproduces colors better than its predecessors. As usual with Samsung, we can choose between "live" and "natural" screen modes. Even in S10 Plus I had the impression that the intermediate mode would be optimal, because in "vivid" some colors were so saturated that the whole seemed sometimes to be over-saturated. In S20 Ultra I don't have that impression for the first time. It's perfect.

The big screen also means ... better stereo. The speakers are spaced a long distance from each other, which enhances the impression of two-channel sound. In addition, the quality and volume of the audio are sensational.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra reminded me that I wasn't and I'm still not a fan of ultrasonic fingerprint readers.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

The fingerprint reader in the S20 Ultra is located under the screen pane. It's extremely fast ... if it works. And unfortunately it often happens that it does not detect your finger. I see the message "Cover the entire sensor" or "No match" several times a day.

The problem arises when the finger is even slightly damp. You just washed your hands (and now it is appropriate to wash them often)? The reader probably won't work. I estimate effectiveness at around 80-90 percent. In theory, this is a lot, in practice definitely too little for this class of equipment.

About the specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra will be brief.

What is there to write about? That it has the best Exynos 990 processor made in 7 nm lithography? That it has 12 GB RAM, which is more than an average computer? Indeed, a smartphone for PLN 5999 should have a top specification, which is what the Galaxy S20 Plus has.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

In the version I tested, the device has 128 GB of built-in memory, which is the weakest point of the specification, especially in the context of photos in 108 megapixels and movies in 8K, which take a terribly large space. However, you can buy the 512 GB variant. In both, you can expand the memory with microSD cards.

In addition, the smartphone supports 5G connectivity, which exists purely theoretically. We know well how much time it took to introduce and disseminate the 4G LTE network. Coverage in cities is already really good, but outside of cities often there is not only 4G, but even 3G. At this stage, the 5G network would not bother me. Before it becomes popular, you will have to replace your smartphone and probably more than once.

The huge battery is impressive, but how does it handle the 6.9-inch screen with 120 Hz refresh rate?

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

The cell in Galaxy S20 Ultra has a huge capacity of 5000 mAh. In practice, this is enough for six hours of work with the screen on. The smartphone is sufficient for the whole day of work in 120 Hz mode. Switching to 60 Hz extends the operating time by about 2-3 hours, but in practice I didn't use it at all, because there was no such need.

The more that the included charger - in the margins, unusual in black - supports fast charging of 25W and charges the battery from 0 to 100 percent. in less than an hour. If you have about 30 percent charge level and you have 20 minutes to charge your smartphone, you can easily reach the level of 80 percent. or more. This is enough until the end of the day.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

Of course, we also have wireless charging as well as wireless feedback.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra camera is probably the most versatile smartphone camera.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

A lot is happening here, so let's start with the most important. Galaxy S20 Ultra is equipped with four main photo modules:

  • main: 108 MP, f / 1.8, 26 mm (wide angle), 1 / 1.33 "matrix, pixel size 0.8 µm, PDAF, OIS;
  • periscope lens: 48 MP, f / 3.5, 103 mm (telephoto), 1 / 2.0 "matrix, pixel size 0.8 µm, PDAF, OIS, 10x hybrid zoom;
  • ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f / 2.2, 13 mm, pixel size 1.4 µm, Super Steady Video;
  • depth sensor: 0.3 MP, TOF 3D, f / 1.0.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

Let's start with the main lens. The 108 megapixel matrix in the default mode is used to generate photos with a resolution of 12 megapixels, because 9 pixels are combined in 1. And it is the pixel merging mode that is the best . It is quite annoying, because in this mode you cannot change the lens to another one (even if it would involve a restart of settings), which is a significant limitation.

In addition, 108 megapixel photos don't make much sense. You can zoom in a lot, but it is pointless, because we have a great telezoom that will give better quality than a digital crop from a photo. 108 megapixels also mean larger files and longer recording time, and in many cases also poorer image sharpness. I strongly recommend that you trust the algorithms and limit yourself to 12 megapixels. You won't regret it. The photographs are beautiful and very sharp.

It is worth noting that the matrix of the main camera not only has a huge resolution, but also a very large physical size. What is the conclusion? In addition to better image quality, this also translates into a smaller depth of field. We can really get real (lenticular) background blur. It is so clear that sometimes it is hard to believe that such a picture comes from a smartphone.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

The ultra-wide angle is good, but it is the weakest element of the camera. Pictures are not as sharp as the other two modules. Still, the presence of the ultra wide angle is a great addition.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

What about a telephoto lens? It's great as long as you don't overdo it with zoom. Samsung's 100x mode is only a marketing slogan. Pictures at this magnification have very, very low quality. They are almost unusable.

What is different at lower magnifications. 30x generates an image that looks great on the smartphone screen, but a lot worse on the monitor. In turn, the hybrid x10 zoom is sensational, and such a magnification on a smartphone makes a great impression.

For this we have a useful night mode that works with any lens.

An interesting fact: in the camera application you will find the "one shot" mode, which does everything at once , i.e. a series of photos with different lenses, movies and video timelapse. The mode is completely unpredictable and in practice I have not found application for it.

However, there is one thing that I lacked in my camera.

We are talking about the variable aperture mechanism that has disappeared from the Galaxy S20 series. I realize that not many people could use it, but the variable aperture was a great distinguishing feature of Samsung. In such a top, refined design like the Galaxy S20 Ultra, I would really see such a mechanism. It opens up many new creative applications for the most ardent mobile photography fans. And yet the Galaxy S20 Ultra wants to be "the best" from every angle.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra records videos in 8K, but this involves several trade-offs.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra records in 8K. Even when I write these words, it still sounds abstract, but it's true. We are not dealing with an image scaled from 4K to 8K, only real, native 8K recording. Thus, it is the first and only smartphone on the market with such possibilities.

Being a leader has consequences, and as you can guess, recording in 8K is fraught with a series of compromises. The first is a strong cropping frame relative to 4K. The second is the lack of a high stability mode, which works superbly in FullHD and 4K recordings. Problem number three is the occasional focus search. Autofocus is slower. Problem number four is a clear rolling shutter, i.e. the effect of skewing vertical lines. During recording it is downright monstrous, but during recording it is quite effectively eliminated by the software. It is not always eliminated completely. Added to this is a problem with really large files. One minute is about 600 MB.

All this means that filming is definitely better suited 4K mode, without all the above-mentioned disadvantages. 4K movies look great and are perfectly stabilized.

Interesting fact: when watching and recording an 8K movie, we can cut 8 megapixel (4000 x 2252 px) frames from it. They look surprisingly good as photos.

And when it comes to software, we have (not so) old, but good One UI 2.1.

The new Samsung overlay is sensational and greatly improves the use of a smartphone with one hand. It is a pity that external applications do not do the same, and after all we spend most of their time in them, so in practice the operation of the Galaxy S20 Ultra with one hand remains impossible. On board we also have Android 10. We have a ton of settings available, including the Edge Screen, which remained, despite the lack of curved edges of the display. One UI is in my opinion the best version of Android.

Bottom line: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is the smartphone that in every inch is the best .

Is it worth buying the Galaxy S20 Ultra for PLN 5999? If you pose such a question to yourself, of course, it's not worth it. This is not an investment. If you analyze the value for money even to a small extent, this is not a smartphone for you.

Galaxy S20 Ultra wants to be and is the smartphone's best . If you can afford to spend 6,000 PLN on smartphone, buy it. You won't find anything better right now. And if you want to justify your purchase a bit, I have a good argument for you: a year ago it was more expensive. The top Galaxy S10 Plus Performance Edition cost 1000 PLN more.

samsung galaxy s20 ultra 5g review

Galaxy S20 Ultra is a show of strength. And this was what this smartphone was supposed to be. Huge, with powerful specifications, with an extremely extensive camera and many groundbreaking, though not always sensible functions. In many categories, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is an absolute pioneer. There is everything here that can reach mobile technology in 2020 ... except for the bent screen. However, we will tell you more about it with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review, on which I change directly with the S20 Ultra. So far this change looks insanely exciting.

And back to the Galaxy S20 Ultra: it is currently the best Android smartphone. Is it perfect? No, but there is no real ideal. However, I know one thing: Galaxy S20 Ultra is a device that owners of new iPhones can look with envy. Apple will not see such a combination of possibilities and design for a long time.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G - the most in every inch. Review


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