Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is a crazy phone in many ways – crazy big, camera with crazy many megapixel, crazy fast 5G, some crazy UI decisions and a crazy price. See my review with pros and cons and three great and cheaper alternatives.

 

Review Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

If I have to describe myself in one word I a would say “modest” comes to my mind. I don’t need much in life – my family, books, concerts and maybe food, bread is fine and something to drink –  water taste nice – the S20 Ultra is the exact opposite of modest – it’s overly excessive in basically all aspects.

Design

Galaxy S20 Ultra is a big phone – and long . Almost one centimeter longer than iPhone 11 Pro Max – but it’s actually a bit lighter. It’s waterproof and protected by Gorilla Glass 6 – you don’t find a more tough phone than this in this category, at least on paper.

You only find buttons on the right side – volume and the Side key. The side key is by default dedicated to Bixby (press and hold) and to activate the camera (with double press).

You can decide to use it for other things when double pressing – start another app and you can also use it to show the Power off menu when pressing and holding it. It would have been nice if press and hold could be used for other features on the phone.

There are two speakers on the phone – at the bottom and at the top under the display. You will notice there is no headphone jack – but that’s no surprise.

But most people get surprised  – actually shocked – when they see the camera bump on the back. It’s – how could I put it in a polite way – humongous! But it’s also housing a 108 megapixel camera! + three other cameras.

In general its a well build phone -but huge.

Read more: Phones with great design

 

Display

The dynamic amoled display is  6,9 inch with 2K resolution and HDR10+. A great combination if you want a huge display with high resolution and great colour accuracy. But that’s not the most interesting part about the display.

The 120 Hz refresh rate is. This really makes a difference playing actions packed games but also in more normale phone usage. The display is simply sharper and more easy going for the eye to look at. But it drains the battery about 25 percent faster than when using 60 Hz refresh rate.

For gaming however, the display size and quality makes it a no brainer as a gamer phone – it’s amazing.

Read more: Smartphones with great display

 

User-friendliness & navigation speed

Yes, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra a big phone – too big for one hand use. I guess it’s okay because the display is so big – you want this kind of phone because you want to take advantage of other things.

But still – there are a few eye and feature poos in  One UI 2, Samsungs own user interface for Android. It’s stupid that I cannot reach the top number row when making a call without some akward fumblings – what’s the deal with all the empty space around the caller-icon?

When writing a message the area for the receiver is on the top half screen – I cannot reach it with one hand. The search field in both Samsung’s own browser and in the phone settings is at the very top of the phone – why not put it in the buttom of the phone?

There are some things I would like Samsung to change on these huge phones when it comes to user friendliness. One thing I have to praise – the in screen fingerprint scanner actually and finally works great!

I’m not gonna dwell much on the navigation speed on the phone – it’s fast and reliable, but a quick tip. Activate the feature “Reduce animations”. Even on a phone with the most powerful chipset and 12 GB RAM there is a visible effect reducing animations to tone down effects on the screen scrolling around or opening and closing apps.

I simply can’t get into my head how come animations are simply not just turned off by default.

Read more: User friendly smartphones

 

Battery life

The battery capacity is 5.000 milli amp hours – that’s a lot. iPhone 11 Pro max has less than 4.000 milli amp hour battery.  There are  several fine battery saving features and you easily get two days of battery. But be aware – the 120 hz display refresh rate reduces battery life with about 25 percent.

But it has impressive battery capacity and impressive is also the fast charger included in the box. From completely no battery to 100 procent takes just a bit more than one hour. That’s amazing – or to put it another way:

The phone also supports wireless charging with 15 watt and reverse charging with 9 watt – then it actually makes sense to use these kind of features.

Read more: Smartphones with great battery life

 

Antenna quality

Before I get to the camera – a few words on antenna quality. The sar value is low indicating great antenna quality – this will give you reliable connection to the mobile network, less battery drain, and better overall navigation speed.

Many premium phones focus on design and features – Samsung also focus on antenna quality – that’s nice.

Read more: Smartphones with great antenna quality

 

Camera

The rumours said that S20 Ultra would have a 108 megapixel camera – the rumours were correct. You can actually choose to take pictures that’s 108 megapixel big but the idea is to use all these megapixel to optimize the final result –  it takes all the data from the 108 megapixel and squeese all the details into 12 megapixel for a richer detailed image.

There are also a 12 megapixel ultra wide camera, a 48 megapixel telephoto camera with 4 times optical zoom and a time of flight camera for bokeh pictures.

Overall the camera takes great pictures, let’s see some examples here.

But when it comes to pictures shot in the dark it falls short of a model like Huawei P30 Pro from last year when you don’t use photo light.

Samsung also introduces Super Resolution Zoom with 100 times digital zoom and Hybrid optical zoom with 10 times lossless zoom. Unless you have a tripod on you the 100 times super resolution zoom is worthless. However a clever little feature is that when zooming 20 times or more a little window pops up on the display showing more precisely what you are zooming at.

“Single take” is a new function that lets you takes several kind of images and short videos at the same time and you can then choose which one or ones that you want to keep. You have to try for yourself to know when and how to use it – it’s great in some situations, and meaningless in others.

The phone can record video in 8K. 7 minutes recording take up 4 GB data on your phone so using this kind of resolution you should be carefull to do. When recording 8K video there is also no support for tracking focus and even though it might look like video stabilization is turned on in the settings it sure doesnt look like it when recording

Read more: Phones with great camera

 

Price

The price for Galaxy S20 Ultra starts from 1.400 dollars. It’s a great phone, no doubt, but this is simply too much. Even though there are only a few drawbacks on the phone.

  • The seize – on suited for one hand use or thight jeans
  • The user interface is not great for this big a phone
  • The camera is not as great as hoped, especially in the dark it’s a bit of a dissapointment.
  • No headphone jack
  • No FM radio (except in US and Canada)
  • The price

Alternatives to Galaxy S20 Ultra

Only a crazy person would pay 1400 dollars for a phone. I love crazy peoples so by all means buy it if you want to – but there are other fine cheaper alternatives.

  • OnePlus 7T Pro
  • Huawei P30 Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+

Conclusion

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is the temporary culmination in the smartphone world – tech wise. It’s an insane phone with insane features but it’s also shows that phones should stop getting any bigger – and more expensive. Price wise we have by far crossed the line. Apple did that a long time ago and Samsung is now doing it even more.

S20 Ultra is an amazing phone but basically there is no need for it – it’s too much of everything. It’s time for Samsung to choose the modest way… The Stein Jürgen way…

Read more: Smartphone reviews

Match smartphones to your needs

There are more than 300 different mobile phones and smartphones on the market and they come in all qualities and at all price levels. I am Stein Jürgen and I test and evaluate mobile phones for their functionality, quality and price. I have put together a tool that makes it easy to compare mobile phones and help you find the phones that matches your needs. Please use our comparison tool and specify which phone characteristics that are most important to you and see which phones best suit your quality requirements and wallet.

All phones ranked on Camera & Video
All phones ranked on Antenna Quality
All phones ranked on Data Speed
All phones ranked on User-friendliness
All phones ranked on Battery Life
All phones ranked on Display
All phones ranked on Voice Quality
All phones ranked on Gaming Experience
All phones ranked on Design & Materials
All phones ranked on Navigation Speed
All phones ranked on Mobile Radiation
All phones ranked on Price Level

Click on the button to find the smartphones that best suit your specified quality requirements and needs. When you click on the button you will see a ranking of the best mobile phones and along with their current prices.

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Test and evaluation of smartphone quality and prices

I test and evaluate most of the mobile phones that are available on the market. My tests focus on testing mobile phone characteristics, such as; Design & materials, user-friendliness, battery life, display, camera, user interface, data speed, gaming experience, conversation quality and antenna quality.

Tests are concluded with my assessment of each quality parameter, awarding a rating of between one and ten, ten being the best. The mobile phones are tested for all ten characteristics, so each telephone will have a total rating of between 10 and 100, 100 being best.

Mobile signal emissions and current prices are also added as filtering parameters, which makes it possible to look up mobile phones based on specific price ranges and SAR values.

I frequently update all mobile phone ratings as new phones come to market and as general technological developments impact the relative quality level of each phone. The best camera phone in 2015 may not necessarily (relatively speaking) be the best camera phone in 2018 etc.

Mobile phone prices are updated daily and are retrieved from telecommunications companies and web shops specialising in the sale of mobile phones, which also ensures a good basis for the comparison of specific, up to date mobile prices.

My tests and evaluations are typically based on phones received by our editorial team well before they become available on the market. Phone testing and reviews are independent, in that neither I nor the editorial team receives money directly from mobile phone manufacturers, telecommunications companies or other parties. Testing and reviews of new mobile phones and smartphones are at the sole expense of the editorial team. Tests and reviews are based solely on my ratings and how I, as mobile expert at SmartphonesRevealed.com, rank each individual mobile phone in relation to other mobile phones and smartphones.

Kind regards
Stein Jürgen

Before buying your next phone

Before you buy a new mobile, it is a good idea to think about what your actual needs really are. There is no reason to rush out and buy the newest iPhone, unless you absolutely insist upon and are willing to pay what they cost. Actually, there are many cheap mobile phones on the market that are better. A new mobile you never heard of can actually be surprisingly good, very cheap and cover all of your needs.

Your next smartphone does not have to be an Apple that costs a fortune for it to be the best phone for your needs. The market is still being flooded with new mobile phones that can and will do more than Apple phones and prices of really good new mobiles are constantly getting cheaper.

My testing and assessment of the mobile phones on the market reveals that you can find top quality phones that only cost half the price of the newest iPhones. So choose your next phone on the basis of your quality requirements and needs and not just because it’s an Apple. The problem with iPhones is that they are both very expensive and a relatively bad habitual purchase.

Smartphones does not need to be the smartest on the market

Why pay an unnecessary amount of money for the newest iPhone that is too smug for your needs? The newest Apple costs up to 1.900 USD or 1.600 EUR, but iPhones are not that smart, bearing in mind their price. An okay smartphone need not cost much more than 300 USD or 270 EUR and the top 30 best smartphones on the market all currently cost between 470 USD / 370 EUR and 1.100 USD / 1.000 EUR, which is considerably cheaper than the newest iPhones.

If you are looking for a new smartphone, it is therefore a very good idea to take your actual needs and quality requirements as a starting point and compare mobile phones on that basis. And people’s needs can vary greatly; You might personally be looking for a new smartphone with a long battery life, a good camera or a good quality antenna, or you may be looking for a new phone with low mobile signal emissions (SAR Value) that is suitable for children. You might be looking for a new mobile phone that satisfies multiple quality requirements at the same time.

Needs and quality requirements can vary greatly from user to user, depending on who is paying and who is using. I’ll just leave that there for you to ponder over. A new smartphone need neither be smart nor cost a fortune to be right for you, your children or your good old mum.

Mobile phones are still getting better and cheaper

What applies to Smart-TVs, PCs and most other tech products and gadgets, is also applicable to new mobile phones; They get better and cheaper all the time, so you therefore get much more mobile phone for your money today than you did just a year ago. There is evidence to suggest, however, that this rule does not apply to Apple’s most recent mobile phones.

An iPhone today costs up to 1.900 USD, which is three times more than it would cost to buy a PC or Smart-TV, or what you would pay for new mobile phones from competing mobile phone manufacturers. The Danes appear to have an almost religious fervour for iPhones, since 41 percent of Danes carry an iPhone in their pocket.

As a mobile phone tester, the rationale behind this completely escapes me. Or, if I was to be a bit more provocative, the sheer lack of rationale. New mobile phones arrive in Denmark as in the rest of the world every month, in a cascade of high quality products, but only the launch of the latest iPhones are able to create headlines and publicity all across the media. This is a real pity. There are lots and lots of new mobile phones that are both better and cheaper than the over-popular, over-priced iPhone. Comparing mobile telephones and matching them to your individual needs can be an eye opener and save you a create deal of money.

The difference between smartphones and mobile phones

Which phone you should choose and which mobile is really best for you? A smartphone or a mobile phone? There is a huge difference between smartphones and mobile phones. Smartphones are typically defined as being advanced mobile phones, packed with tech such as Internet, GPS and other features. Mobile phones are typically characterised as being simple and easy to use wireless phones that can do little more than make calls, send text messages and play simple games.

There are many phones available on the market, to suit every taste and every requirement. You can often get the impression that telecommunications companies only sell the latest and most advanced smartphones, but this impression is very misleading. A closer look at what telecommunications companies have on offer reveals that a good selection of simple, good quality mobile phones is still available.

Many web shops also sell traditional mobile phones that can do little more than make phone calls and send and receive text messages. There are over 300 different smartphones and mobile phones currently available on the market, at quality levels and prices for every need and every budget.

It is therefore a very good idea to start on the basis of your own needs and quality requirements and compare mobile phones that match your individual needs. You will certainly also be positively surprised how much money you can actually save.

Compare mobiles and mobile prices

As mentioned above, there are over 300 different mobile phones and smartphones on the market right now. It can therefore be very difficult to find the mobile phone that best suits your needs, quality requirements and budget.

It has therefore been my ambition to put together a tool that works as a simple and efficient guide to mobile phones and the best mobile prices, a tool that makes it easy to compare mobiles based on your personal needs, quality requirements and what you are willing to pay.

Mobile prices are updated on a daily basis and include current phone prices from many European and US based telecommunications companies and multiple web shops.

Each phone listed on SmartphonesRevealed.com has a price tag. The listed price for each phone is derived as the average price based on current prices from all the retailers that we monitor. Our price tags on phones are thus only guiding price levels.

Compare phones with and without subscriptions

The best mobile prices can easily be achieved, both with and without a corresponding mobile subscription. Using our tool allows you to compare mobile phones both with and without subscriptions, and to find the mobile phones that are the best match for your requirements.

  1. State your needs and quality requirements in the above tool and compare mobiles that match your requirements.
  2. If you buy your next mobile phone from a telecommunications company with a subscription, it is a good idea to buy the phone with a mobile subscription that matches your actual mobile consumption.
  3. If you purchase your next mobile phone without a subscription, it is also a good idea to make sure that your current mobile subscription also matches your mobile consumption.

Actual mobile consumption and current mobile subscription prices should therefore always be the starting point, regardless of whether you are getting a mobile phone with or without a subscription. The best mobile price for your favourite mobile could be either with or without a mobile subscription. By comparing the mobile phones which suit your requirements, you can also find the best price for your next mobile.