Home / Tech / Galaxy S20 worth the upgrade? That depends on Samsung’s camera and battery life

Galaxy S20 worth the upgrade? That depends on Samsung’s camera and battery life

Galaxy S20 worth the improve? That depends on Samsung’s camera and battery life

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

The Galaxy S20 Ultra’s camera efficiency might make all the distinction. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

“Whoa. This is the Galaxy S20 Ultra?” I used to be so shocked, I stated it aloud. Tuesday at Samsung’s Unpacked occasion was the first time I used to be capable of see Samsung’s greatest and baddest Galaxy S20 machine with my very own eyes. Due to unlucky circumstances outdoors of my management, I needed to skip the typical journalist briefing session. So it wasn’t till I held the S20 Ultra on Tuesday at Samsung’s Unpacked occasion that I used to be capable of type my first concrete opinion.

The S20 Ultra is a large, heavy cellphone with a hulking camera module that jogged my memory of The Rock. CNET Senior Editor Lynn La went even additional, calling the array “chonky” and grotesque”

And this $1,400 cellphone actually appears like a ton of bricks. The black shiny model I dealt with did not look almost as refined as the Galaxy Note 10 and even as final 12 months’s Galaxy S10 (now pleasantly discounted!). If I hadn’t recognized the backing was made from glass, I would not have instantly been capable of inform. I turned on the 120GHz display screen characteristic and famous the smoother scrolling. Nice, however for me, nonessential. I picked via the settings submenus, ready for an exciting new characteristic to leap out.


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It was starting to daybreak on me — the MVP options that may make or break the Galaxy S20 Ultra aren’t ones you’ll be able to take a look at in an artificially lit demo room, irrespective of how spacious. The high quality of these fully redesigned cameras and longevity of the Ultra’s 5,00Zero-mAh battery can solely be examined utilizing the cellphone in the actual world. And that may take time. (The similar is true of 5G speeds, however since these are solely nearly as good as the community energy wherever you reside, I am going to give it a cross for now.)

Dissecting the S20 Ultra’s eye-popping camera specs is easy sufficient in concept. There’s a 108-megapixel camera, 100x “space zoom” and 48-megapixel “folded zoom lens.” It was simple to level at the good props round the room, like a tray of fancy yogurt parfait and journalist buddies to shortly gauge how effectively every camera characteristic carried out. That’s wonderful (and crucial) in a closed demo area, however you do not actually understand how good the pictures are till you begin taking footage of scenes in the actual world.

Camera worth does not come all the way down to the picture high quality alone, both. You additionally should think about how simple it’s to make use of the characteristic accurately, edit pictures and share them. For instance, after testing the “Single Take” mode that captures as much as 10 pictures and 4 movies with a single button press, I used to be beginning to get a definite impression that utilizing this mode means you would possibly spend quite a lot of time deleting all the additional photographs you do not need.

Testing the zoom characteristic is very essential. As I pointed the S20 Ultra round the room and dialed in on 30x, 50x and 100x zoom, I wasn’t instantly impressed with what I noticed. But I additionally wasn’t pointing at something significant, like an ornamental cornice on a palace, an egret wading in the ocean or a stunning performer on stage. 

Comparing the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s zoom capabilities to these of the Huawei P30 Pro shall be important, as effectively. That cellphone’s periscope lens makes use of the same expertise to create 5x optical and as much as 50x digital zoom. I bear in mind being impressed by its capacity to seize far-off objects extra faithfully than not. The similar goes for the Pixel four and four XL’s “super zoom” sensors.

Battery life is the closing ingredient right here. 5,00Zero mAh is about the greatest capability round, however we additionally should think about what number of assets the cellphone’s monumental display screen actually makes use of, how 5G would possibly change the battery equation (that may range by community) and how a lot the 120Hz display screen utilization might additionally drain battery life in comparison with the customary 60Hz display screen settings.

I am excited to study the solutions to those questions. Pretty quickly when somebody asks me if the Galaxy S20 Ultra is worth the cash, or worth an improve from the Galaxy S10, I am going to have a transparent reply to inform them.


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