Galaxy S20 Ultra ongoing review: Camera, battery and design tests so far

    The Galaxy S20 Ultra is essentially the most superior of Samsung’s new telephones.
    Sarah Tew/CNET
    The Galaxy S20 Ultra is right here and testing is underway. Over the approaching days, I’ll be throwing every little thing I can at Samsung’s new beast of a tool, which is designed to face out from the gang with its 6.9-inch display, huge 5,000-mAh battery and utterly redesigned digicam system. The specs are spectacular on paper — however I wish to share what the S20 Ultra is like to make use of in actual life.This is an ongoing overview, so I’ll replace it continuously with new observations as they come up. It takes time to get used to a brand new system, and for the perfect and worst options to settle in. These are on no account my last ideas, so I hope you may stick round for the ultimate, rated overview and particular shopping for recommendation.Remember, too, that the Galaxy S20 is essentially the most superior of Samsung’s new Galaxy S20 telephones. There’s additionally the Galaxy S20 Plus and customary Galaxy S20, each cheaper and smaller than the Ultra, with totally different digicam sensors and smaller batteries. The core software program, nonetheless, is similar throughout all three S20 telephones.Now, let’s get this present on the street! Read additionally: Our first pictures with the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s new cameras
    The digicam bump makes me nervousIn redesigning the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s cameras, it gave the cellphone the largest digicam array of the S20 units. The module is inescapably massive, about an inch by an inch and a half if I eyeball it, and it rises from the floor. It’s unpleasant, however extra importantly, I fear about defending the glass over the sensors.When I set the cellphone down on its again on a tabletop, or reposition it, I can really feel and listen to the bump scrape throughout the floor. If this cellphone had been to fall out of my fingers and hit the pavement, that module would most likely be the very first thing to crack. Unfortunately, I do know this state of affairs firsthand. The identical factor occurred when the Galaxy Note 10 Plus took a nosedive out of my pocket after I completed reviewing the cellphone.I’m relying on a case to make the digicam module really feel extra flush, and higher defend it throughout drops. Broken glass throughout the sensors can downgrade picture high quality.The S20 Ultra’s digicam bump is loud and proud.
    Sarah Tew/CNET
    Galaxy S20 Ultra: Heavy, large, not a fan of the design The very first thing you may discover concerning the Galaxy S20 Ultra is how large and heavy it’s. The 6.9-inch display is vivid and sensible, with Samsung’s Dynamic AMOLED 2X tech. Ironically, the display’s pixel density is a tad decrease than on the opposite S20 telephones, however with out having these overview models from Samsung, I can not but examine them aspect by aspect.The cellphone itself is heavy — over half a pound — and I really feel that heft. Since the large battery and digicam module are doubtless accountable for the added weight (along with the glass front and back), it is a trade-off that I may be prepared to make for battery life and phenomenal pictures… if the picture high quality proves to be value it (I’m nonetheless testing!).Samsung gave the Galaxy S20 curved screens on either side, however dialed down the radius of the curve, making the edges extra squared off than in previous designs just like the Galaxy Note 10. Oddly, this design makes the sting of the included display protector really feel scratchy in opposition to my thumbs once I use the cellphone. It’s noticeable, and barely jarring. You can pull off this display protector if you happen to like, or substitute it with one other one in all your selecting. The S20 Ultra solely is available in black and grey, not cloud pink or cloud blue like the opposite S20 telephones. I received the grey overview unit, and it may be my least favourite colour in a cellphone. It jogs my memory of modeling clay. Not the top of the world, however I positively desire a case to cowl it up.
    How about that 108-megapixel digicam and 100x zoom?I instantly started testing the Galaxy S20 Ultra digicam, however it’s only the start. The Galaxy S20 Ultra’s essential digicam has a 108-megapixel sensor, however that does not imply that each picture you’re taking will mechanically be 108 megapixels. Those pictures simply take up twice the house of a photograph taken with the digicam on customary mode.In order to snap a 108-megapixel shot, you could choose the choice. I observed that pictures taken on this mode look brighter and extra saturated than the identical picture I absorb customary mode. They’re not at all times my favourite, and in some methods appear much less distinct as a result of the shading seems to be flattened out, not less than in my take a look at pictures to date.What is spectacular is the element you see when cropping in to a selected a part of the picture, like the middle of a flower or a small element on a shot. I have to maintain testing totally different situations, however I like what I see to date. I believe that there are particular instances to make use of the 108-megapixel possibility in all its glory, not essentially each day.One take a look at picture of many. (This is a 12-megapixel picture.)
    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
    The identical goes for the 100x hybrid optical zoom, a mix of optical and digital zoom, which Samsung calls Space Zoom. I took some faraway pictures of architectural options at 10x, 30x and 100x zoom. It’s neat to see the development, however at this level I wrestle to think about a time I’d actually need the full-fledged 100x zoom. At this vary, the digicam will get too shaky for handheld pictures. I do see a profit to taking 10x and 30x zoom in locations the place you’ll be able to’t bodily shut the space between your place and the topic — like at a rock live performance — however for these 100x zoom pictures, a monopod, tripod or different stabilizer is a should.A deep crop on a flower middle utilizing the 108-megapixel digicam setting.
    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
    Battery life: A powerhouse within the makingIf the sound of a 5,000-mAh cellphone battery sounds superior, you would be appropriate. It makes the S20 Ultra heavier, however already I’m reaping the advantages of 100% confidence that my cellphone will be capable to face up to most issues I throw at it. At least over 4G information.5G speeds are recognized to empty battery reserves sooner than 4G, however that is not one thing we have been capable of quantify but. At this level, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is not fairly calibrated to AT&T’s 5G community, and I’ve been testing on an AT&T SIM. AT&T and Samsung guarantee me that by the point the Ultra arrives on retailer cabinets, 5G might be good to go.In the meantime, the S20 Ultra was totally charged yesterday at 11:37 a.m. I used it to add over a dozen pictures and a brief 8K video I shot (170MB). I’ve hotspotted my laptop computer for greater than three hours (the largest drain by far), and left it unplugged in a single day with no cost. I nonetheless had 50% reserves left once I awoke. Battery testing will take time, however to date, it is clean crusing.

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    Next up in Galaxy S20 Ultra testingBattery toll on streaming videoPhotos, pictures, pictures120Hz display refresh feeBattery life lab drain testsDay to day usabilityProcessing efficiencyGalaxy S20, S20 Plus, S20 Ultra specs

    Samsung Galaxy S20

    Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

    Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

    Display measurement, decision

    6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X

    6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X

    6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X

    Pixel density




    Dimensions (Inches)

    2.72 x 5.97 x 0.311 in

    2.9 x 6.37 x 0.30 in

    2.99 x 6.57 x 0.35 in

    Dimensions (Millimeters)

    69.1 x 151.7 x 7.9 mm

    73.7 x 161.9 x 7.8mm

    76.0 x 166.9 x 8.8mm

    Weight (Ounces, Grams)

    5.75 oz; 163g

    6.56 oz; 186g

    7.76 oz; 220g

    Mobile software program

    Android 10

    Android 10

    Android 10


    12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)

    12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), time-of-flight digicam

    108-megapixel (wide-angle), 48-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), time-of-flight digicam

    Front-facing digicam




    Video seize





    64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5 GHz + 2.0 GHz)

    64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5 GHz + 2.0 GHz)

    64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5 GHz + 2.0 GHz)



    128GB, 512GB

    128GB, 512GB




    12GB, 16GB

    Expandable storage

    Up to 1TB

    Up to 1TB

    Up to 1TB


    4,000 mAh

    4,500 mAh

    5,000 mAh

    Fingerprint sensor








    Headphone jack




    Special options

    5G enabled; 120Hz refresh fee; waterproof (IP68)

    5G enabled; 120Hz refresh fee; waterproof (IP68)

    5G enabled; 120Hz refresh fee; 100x zoom; waterproof (IP68)

    Price off-contract (USD)




    Price (GBP)

    £799, £899 (5G)

    £999 (5G)

    £1,199 (128GB), £1,399 (512GB)

    Price (AUD)

    AU$1,349, AU$1,499 (5G)

    AU$1,499, AU$1,649 (5G)


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