Samsung

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra revealed with huge 108-megapixel camera

The Ultra is part of a three-member Galaxy S20 family of smartphones

Like GearBrain on Facebook

Samsung has revealed its new flagship smartphone family for 2020, aptly named the Galaxy S20, at a launch event in San Francisco.

Although all considered top-end handsets, the family consists of the basic Galaxy S20, which replaces last year's S10e. This is followed by the larger Galaxy S20+, and the range is completed by the flagship S20 Ultra.

Read More:

All three Android handsets are powered by the same Snapdragon 865 processor (or Samsung's own Exynos 990 in some regions), but they offer different screen sizes, cameras and other technical details.

Samsung Galaxy S20: Screen size

Every member of the Galaxy S20 family gets an AMOLED screen with a 120hz refresh rate, which is double that of what's used by most other smartphones, and means scrolling and animations will be far smoother, making the phones feel quicker.

The smaller Galaxy S20 has a screen size of 6.2 inches and a resolution of 3200 x 1400. The slightly larger Galaxy S20+ measures in at 6.7 inches, and the range-topping S20 Ultra is 6.92 inches. All models have the same resolution and 120hz refresh rate.

Samsung Galaxy S20: Camera

Another big differentiator between the three models of Galaxy S20 is the camera systems. The base S20 and larger Galaxy S20+ both have a 10-megapixel camera on the front, accompanied by a 12-megapixel primary camera on the back, alongside a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a 64-megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom.

These both sound impressive enough, but Samsung has really gone to town with the cameras of the S20 Ultra. Here, there's a 40-megapixel (yes, forty) camera on the front, and a three-camera system on the back. This includes an enormous 108-megapixel primary camera, alongside a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and a 48-megapixel 'periscope' telephoto camera with 10x optical zoom and...wait for it...100x digital zoom.

Called 'Space Zoom', the feature works by combining optical zooming with image processing, and the S20 Ultra's very high-resolution camera sensor. Samsung claims you can zoom up to 10x and take 'lossless' photos, meaning there will be no loss in quality compared to shooting at 1x. However, between 11x and 100x, the phone uses software (in other words, digital zoom) to get closer to the subject. While impressive, this will invariable mean a loss of quality the further in you go.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra The S20 will have 5G connectivitySamsung

We've seen periscope camera systems like this on other smartphones, where lenses are lined up inside the back of the phone. Light enters the lens, then is sent 90 degrees through a prism and down the length of the phone, through internal lenses, before reaching the image sensor. That way, more lens hardware can be fitted inside a slim smartphone.

All versions will have a so-called hole-punch selfie camera, which means the camera sits in a small circular hole at the top-middle of the display. This removes the need for a display notch, as seen on the iPhone since the iPhone X of 2017.

The S20 family are the first smartphones to have the option to record video in 8K resolution - perfect for the handful of you who have an 8K TV but can't find anything to watch on it...

More usefully, Samsung says it has improved the image stabilization of its cameras with the S20 range.

Samsung Galaxy S20: Battery capacity

With their three different sizes, the S20 family of course have different battery capacities. These are 4,000 mAh for the S20, 4,500 mAh for the S20+, and 5,000 mAh for the S20 Ultra.

All three phones have a USB-C port for charging (but no headphone jack) and reverse wireless charging. This means you can charge the phone from a wireless charging pad, but also charge accessories like Samsung's equally new Galaxy Buds+ wireless earphones by placing the case on the back of the phone.

Samsung Galaxy S20: 5G

One major different between the regular S20 and the other two handsets is 5G. All three models technically have 5G, but the cheaper S20 misses out on mmWave, which is the technology that offers the huge gigabit download speeds 5G is capable of. The S20+ and S20 Ultra get full-fat 5G with mmWave.

But there will be a version of the S20 that supports mmWave 5G later this year. This will be offered by Verizon, which is the only US network to operate its 5G service solely on the mWave spectrum.

Samsung Galaxy S20: Price and release date

The S20 family will be available to buy in the US from March 6, with prices ranging from $999.99 for the S20, all the way up to $1,599.99 for the flagship S20 Ultra.

Like GearBrain on Facebook
Show Comments ()