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Review Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Posted in Reviews on by Stein JürgenDownload .


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