Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, review: long-awaited changes to a beast that has yet to earn the Ultra name
Samsung has been playing with its lines for discharge as if they were chewing gum especially in the last year, and for this year's Galaxy S it has made it clear that one, and only one, is the jewel in the crown, however tight they are in some features. We have verified it in the analysis of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, a mobile that debuts a last name that is quite a declaration of intent.
It is the largest of the (currently) three S20s and the one that integrates a more complete photography set, reaching higher RAM configurations than the rest, as well as the same terminal being higher and larger than these and other Galaxy S. We tell you in detail how about the latest jewel in the crown of Samsung.## Data sheet of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Dynamic AMOLED 6.9 "
QHD +, 511 dpi
HDR10 +, 120 Hz
7nm, 64 bit
Octa-core (2.73 + 2.6 + 2 GHz)
12 / 16GB LPDDR5
128/512 GB + MicroSD 1 TB
Fingerprint sensor under the screen
Android 10 + OneUI
Ultra wide: 12 MP, 1.4µm, f / 2.2
Wide: 108 MP, 0.8 µm (12 MP, 2.4 µm), f / 1.8, OIS
Telephoto: 48 MP, 0.8µm (12 MP, 1.6µm), f / 3.5, OIS
Zoom: 10x hybrid optical, 100x digital
40 MP, 0.7µm (10 MP, 1.4µm), f / 2.2
Dimensions and weight
166.9 x 76 x 8.8 mm
LTE Cat20 up to 2 Gbps
WiFi ac 4x4 MIMO
S20 Ultra 128 / 12GB: 1,359 euros
S20 Ultra 512 / 16GB: 1,549 euros
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G - Smartphone 6.9 "Dynamic AMOLED (12GB RAM, expandable 128GB ROM, 108MP wide-angle camera, Octa-core Exynos 990, 5000mAh battery), Cosmic Gray [Spanish version]Today on Amazon for € 1,100.00
Design: goodbye horizontal module and hello huge module
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite did not come as a flagship but it did warn of something: the horizontal rear camera module was saying goodbye, and with it almost the last stronghold of the Galaxy S's own feature. That mobile Lite took a shape that already we had seen in previous average ranges such as the Samsung Galaxy A51 and it is what we see in all the Galaxy S20, and taking into account that in the last Galaxy Note it was already vertical everything points to the imposition of this orientation, either by photography or for aesthetics (or both).
And if we start talking about this part it is no coincidence: as we already saw from the official images and first impressions, the largest of the S20 is not only larger, but also has a notorious module for its four cameras. The telephoto lens, square and at the bottom, is only next to an inscription that recalls the digital zoom of up to 100x that was so prominent in its presentation.
The module stands out a lot, which usually makes it easier for dust and dirt to accumulate than more integrated solutions. It has a gloss finish like the rest of the back, leaving the fingerprints and greases of the fingers quite easily, although without being something out of the expected in a glass back.
Of course, it is a mobile that combines three properties that make it easier to slide a lot: it is elongated, large and the finish does not have grip or any friction. It almost forces you to use a case continuously, which by the way is delivered with the mobile (unlike what happens with the lower range).
Not surprisingly, it is the Samsung Galaxy S heaviest and most voluminous to date, although it also integrates the battery with greater capacity. In this case it is also higher, more elongated than the previous ones but without reaching the 21: 9 ratio of the Sony (it remains at 20: 9, when even the Galaxy S10 + had been at 19: 9 at most)).
They are 220 grams of mobile, something that perhaps is less surprising than a couple of years ago when the average diagonal was less, but that for practical purposes is still a high weight for a smartphone. Keep in mind that it has a practically 7-inch screen, average more than many large high-end, and that it integrates a 5,000 mAh battery, but although it manages to be compact in a way, it does not mean that it is heavy and can get tired if we hold it for a while (playing, watching videos, etc.)
Compared to other rough diagonal phones (especially high-end), the iPhone 11 Pro Max beats heavy by 6 grams, but the most voluminous is the recent LG V60 ThinQ whose battery is 5,000 mAh like that of the S20 Ultra . In this way, it does not win "big" seeing the figures, being more compact than the V60 including a screen of almost equal diagonal, but the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 includes a battery of greater capacity with slightly less weight and almost the same volume . It is, therefore, one of the largest mobiles of the moment in the high range.
Having already talked about comfort and weight, it is interesting to address the design lines. Literal lines that are now less curved in the front, something that is appreciated since the more pronounced curvature on the screen usually gives more problems in the interpretation of gestures by the device and the software. There will be those who see it perhaps less attractive and it really is "the Galaxy S minus Galaxy S" that we tested since the Galaxy S6, but this less curvature is appreciated in the experience.The decision to make the curves of the screen less exaggerated is appreciated at the level of use, although there may be someone who does not like it aesthetically
In this way, the mobile is not symmetrical when speaking of a coronal plane (if we split the smartphone in half to divide it into its rear and its front), which is far from being a reproach. On the contrary, the almost circular curvature that the rear draws helps the grip in conjunction with the thin, flat metal frame, making the construction well finished and ergonomic.
This metal frame integrates the tray for the SIM / s on the top and the physical buttons on the right looking at the screen. Volume and start, configured to be the physical key to call Bixby and without a specific button (thank you) as we are seeing lately in the smartphones of this brand. In the base, the main speaker and the USB type-C, without audio minijack but, Oh surprise, all aligned in the center.
Speaking of the front, Samsung seems to have abandoned the dual front camera for now and relegated the notch for lower ranges. In these new Galaxy we see the screen with a single front camera in the center, as it is inherited from the Galaxy Note 10. The frames are quite thin, keeping the chin and achieving according to GSM Arena 89.9% use of the front by part of the screen.
Something that also stands out but what does not seem to have been given much importance is the integration of a headset between the screen and the metal edge. The slit is so discreet that it is difficult to see it with the naked eye, still achieving that the sound comes out without problems as we will see in the corresponding section.
The integration of the earpiece in the front is amazing.
Display: loud applause at 120 hertz and minimal curvature
News talking about the panel of these Samsung Galaxy S20, although somewhat in quotation marks. The entire family maintains the WQHD + that has characterized the brand's flagships for years (with the exceptions of the Lite, the Galaxy S10e and the smallest of the Note 10), and the 120 hertz refresh rate is also incorporated.
Although enjoying this frequency implies paying precisely with the currency of the resolution, since with WQHD + we can only stay at 60 Hz (which is the standard frequency). Thus, we are talking about a 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1,440 x 3,200 pixels (511 pixels per inch), supporting HDR10 + and, as we have already mentioned, perforated for the front camera.
The panel gives a very good experience in terms of viewing content of any kind, especially when we have it in WQHD +. The screen density is almost higher than expected on such a phone, and HD content is especially enjoyed in addition to reading.
In favor is that reduced curve that we talked about before. The fact that it is less pronounced makes the natural shading caused by the glass much less than what we saw in the S10 +, which improves the viewing angles.
The shadow on the edge is now more discreet thanks to the lower curvature of the screen.
Very good contrast and factory calibration, although it may seem that it is somewhat supersaturated and it is true that it is rather warm. This has some fix going to the screen settings, since the intense color start mode is selected and it emphasizes this parameter too much, compromising the best experience that gives with less saturation. However, the natural mode is still somewhat oversaturated.
Of course, if we want to adjust the temperature or the white tint we will have to select the intense color mode to be able to select one of the temperature degrees (if we want less saturation, we will have to settle for a somewhat warmer panel). Again Samsung still does not provide a detailed and progressive adjustment, having to settle for one of the five points of the slider (some more for red, green and blue).
Among the screen adjustments we also find the Edge Screen, which we have talked about in other analyzes as it is something characteristic of One UI that has also been generalizing beyond the curved screens and the high-end of the brand. It is a quick access tab, being able to navigate between various options with swipes sides, which we can customize to integrate the icons we want.
It can be an incentive if we get used to it, but in general it slows down the workflow a bit more if we do not need to access more than three or four alternate tasks, since multitasking is more fluid. If we are not interested, we can deactivate it or move it to another side (if we have the Back gesture activated it can interfere), and what does compensate having it activated is Edge Lighting, since it makes visibility of notifications more visible.
Speaking of gestures, the system navigation can also be customized from the settings. It comes with the traditional virtual buttons, but we can rearrange them or choose the full screen gestures. In this second case, we can choose between three or a shooter along with backslides and multitasking, which is the way in which the screen is best used.
The gestures work very well and the sensitivity of the Back gesture can be adjusted, also as to whether we want it when the keyboard is deployed. This gesture is performed by pulling from one edge inward, similar to what we have previously seen in other layers, which is a better solution than pulling up from one side (something OnePlus opted for among other).
There are a series of screen settings that are in another section referring to the lock screen, where we find the options for Always On, or what we usually call ambient screen. One UI 2.0 has not brought many changes to it in terms of functions, allowing us to see what we have pending notifications and the time, what there are more watch models to choose from.
It has plenty of maximum brightness, the content looking good in broad daylight and the more the light hits. Automatic brightness does require a little more training, as it is sometimes too high and needs to be corrected manually.
No problems either at the level of tactile sensitivity, not even in the vicinity of the curvature of the panel. It is also appreciated that the screen can be awakened with a double touch or when raising it, although this second does not work as well as it should and sometimes it is done to beg, which interferes in the operation of the unlock by facial detection.
And what about the arrival of 120 Hz on this screen? That we take a joy and a jug of cold water, as with the OnePlus 7 Pro but for other reasons.
In the OnePlus 7 Pro we gave positive points for the 90 Hz, but these were automatically deactivated for certain tasks such as games (where the highest refresh rate is a real incentive). In the case of the S20 Ultra this does not happen, noticing a lot in the fluidity, but we will have to stay with FullHD + resolution if we choose this rate.
This resolution is not bad by any means, but it makes the quality of the screen drop at times in a way taking a value that is more typical of the mid-range. Leaving this aside (perhaps there are users who do not value or appreciate it either), this greater refreshment is quite noticeable in the scrolls and it mainly benefits the heavy One UI and its transitions, also seeing that the loaded menus of games like 'SonicDash' move much lighter.
Above the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and below the OnePlus 7 Pro. In the second, it is possible to take more advantage of the front by the camera module and the absence of a navigation bar, but its chin is higher and its refresh rate is up to 90 Hz.
Thus, in general it is a good screen that gives the expected experience, that is, quality at all levels (pity that oversaturation). As for the hole on the front for the camera, the software adapts to it so that it never interferes with any element (despite not adding a bar that "hides" it in games like 'PUBG'), and leaves a bar of about 4.58 millimeters.
So are the interfaces of 'PUBG' and 'Asphalt 9', the hole does not interfere with the elements.
This is somewhat less than what we saw in the S10 Lite and in mobiles such as the Honor View30 Pro and its island for the double front camera, even less than the bar of the OnePlus 7 Pro (6.17 mm) that does not have to include any hole. This speaks well of Samsung's design work, thus achieving a bar of normal height, without exaggeration and without the elements "getting lost in it", and looking more from you to you to the use that is achieved with the removable modules.With gestures without interface elements, this S20 Ultra would be giving a great lesson on how to make the best use of a panel
A pity that gesture navigation includes a bar and therefore remove a millimeter from the screen. Which is very little, but if not and having gestures without objects in the interface, this S20 Ultra would be giving a great lesson on how to make the best use of a panel.
Performance: 12 GB of RAM and a new processor that can with everything "without overheating"
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is in charge, like the other two S20s, of releasing a processor in a new year. The configuration for the EMEA market integrates this Exynos 990, accompanied by 12 or 16 GB of RAM (we have tested the 12 GB model). The type of RAM is LPDDR5, which in theory implies a lower consumption than LPDDR4, and in terms of storage, it maintains the UFS 3.0 that was released at the time by the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
12 GB is not a novelty per I know but it is still a considerable amount of RAM that is not common. Soon we will talk about more numbers and performance tests, but it is clear that when 6 and 8 GB give us good experience with demanding tasks, 12 GB were not going to be less either.
AND et voilà, with the highest resolution and opening demanding tasks such as games, the hardware responds well and we have not seen lag Or anything that indicates that it is not enough for a demanding use mode. In fact, One UI is a resource-demanding layer, and once again we see that when given enough motor, the layer flows (not the same with the A51).
In fact, we see that a good job has also been done at the level of design and heat dissipation. The phone hardly rises in temperature when we play or spend hours using it with the camera, so there is no noticeable increase in temperature or there are no closings of related apps. Curiously, when we have most noticed the warming, it has been sharing the network, and not so much with multimedia use.
On the right the temperature at rest or with low use, on the left after sharing the network for a while.
In this regard, for those who are curious, Samsung disassembled the S20 Ultra in a video, which shows the steam chamber that is used to dissipate heat. We also see a lot of antenna so that it is well prepared for 5G, but curiously the last Galaxy that we have tested has a somewhat shorter range than other mobiles for wifi (about 8 meters).
Turn then to speak of numbers. The nemesis (and at the same time fatigue partner) of the Exynos 990 is the Snapdragon 865, which we have not yet been able to test on a smartphone enough to do the usual benchmarks (we have tested it at the level of use in the touchdown with the Realme X50 Pro 5G, but for those who were able to get out of the processor after its presentation, we see that it may be more difficult this time. What we can do at the moment is compare the Exynos 990 and the 12 GB of RAM with the from other smartphones, and nothing is wrong on paper.
See complete gallery »Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, benchmarks (5 photos)
Software: customization by flag (and salvation by hardware)
Samsung continues stoic with its commitment to software as own as incisive. One UI 2.0 is based on Android 10 in this S20 Ultra, starting with its usual cascade of notifications, with its characteristic interface and giving us to choose which apps we want to be pre-installed within their own and some third party.
When you start them, the Samsung starts loaded with downloads and set-up.
So comes the factory desktop.
That is why we can start with a fairly tight app drawer if we do not select any of those apps, having to install Google ones.These can be uninstalled as we can also deactivate some of Samsung or those of third parties that we will have (Facebook and Netflix), but still there will be some root component that will keep us updating (and even notifying), so this would have to be corrected to avoid it and that the user has more control than what is on their mobile.
Samsung apps cannot be uninstalled or deactivated, Google and third-party apps can (although there will be some remnants that will allow automatic updating).
All these apps appear distributed in drawer and desktop, but we can change this to a single space if we wish. We will find it in the Home screen section of the settings, thus being able to achieve better space management in the interface.
Speaking of the settings, we find them distributed in more or less common and common sections to what we see in Android stock and many layers of customization, thus being quite intuitive and clear. If we do not find any option, we can pull the search engine, which works really well.
We have already talked about the screen ones, seeing that they are divided into three sections depending on whether they are possibilities for the panel in general or the lock screen. It is where we can adjust the dark theme if we prefer, which changes the white background to a dark one, with which the view rests a bit more (affecting compatible third-party apps).
Speaking of rest, there is the section on Digital Health, which as we have commented on the Samsung mobiles that we have already analyzed with One UI 2.0 has been completed with many options, including modes that restrict the use of certain apps and that we can configure to our taste, and can even add a toggle in the notification curtain.
We also find the maintenance tools, aimed at improving performance, memories and autonomy with actions such as eliminating background tasks or expendable files such as cache. As usual, it is not usually noticed much less on mobiles with this hardware, but it can help to see apps that do not restrict the demand for resources too much.
In the Game Launcher we find some options to avoid notifications and prioritize the game over other tasks. It does not change anything in relation to what we see in lower mobiles, without there being extra options related to the hardware (RAM or refresh rate). As we will see in the audio settings, there is a Dolby Atmos specific for games, and the truth is that it gives a pretty cool touch and helps make the game a more satisfying experience.
During the game we can open this menu if we have Game Booster activated.
As for Bixby, we find the possibility of configuring Bixby Home as an accessory desktop for information or shortcuts. It is still somewhat concise on cards, presetting many of questionable usefulness but that we can eliminate if we are not interested.
In practice, both Bixby Voice and routines are much more useful, which allow chaining actions so that when ordering a short phrase such as “good night” they happen automatically (open an app, activate a sound mode, etc.). Bixby also allows more and more requests and understands the syntax better, although it is difficult to hear the call.
Bixby's commands. Some come pre-configured, but we can edit them and sync between devices if we have a Samsung account.
Bixby is progressing and he hears us very well (as long as we are not listening to music). There are some commands that still fail (curiously, we understand when asking for the dark mode but not with the light theme) and there are actions that are still restricted to own apps, but in general evolution is observed compared to last year.
See complete gallery »Samsung Galaxy Ultra, examples with Bixby (4 photos)
In summary, One UI is becoming more complete and the customization possibilities make it easier for the interface to be used more in certain aspects, but it is still a very demanding layer. The fact that 120 Hz feels so good to you is no coincidence (or that the experience is so different between phones with different processor and RAM), that multitasking has some lag Sometimes loading (and deciding which task is placed sooner or later) or the fact that there is no horizontal mode for the desktop / app drawer (when there is one for the settings) do not let this own software shine what it should.
The S20s are up-to-date when it comes to unlocking methods, including fingerprint reading and facial recognition that have been around for a while. We do not see that there is a machinery such as Face ID or other advanced facial recognition methods in the small hole, but what they have maintained is the use of an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor.
This greatly favors the experience with respect to optical readers that we have tested in other models of the company. The error rate is minimal, without too much being demanded at the level of the footprint surface necessary for reading, being fast and allowing to register four fingerprints (yes, Samsung, without fudge).
The experience is therefore very good, better if we disable that there is a screen transition effect when unlocking (an option within the biometric data preferences in the lock screen settings). It would be interesting to do a you to you with an S10 to see if there is improvement and if it is noticeable, but what is clear is that this sensor and its implementation more than meet expectations.
Speaking of facial recognition, face registration occurs very quickly. The interesting thing is that there are many options for registering more than one profile, but it does not work in the dark or if it is directly illuminated and it has a fault if we alternate the use of glasses even though we have registered an alternative aspect with them.
In general, it works well saving these situations, being also very fast, but although the power to activate the screen when lifting the mobile is added, this does not work too well, having to exaggerate the gesture sometimes (it seems something related to the accelerometer and / or the gyroscope). ). It gives us an option so that once the phone is unlocked, the lock screen appears or the one that is active at that time, the latter being normally more comfortable.
Cameras: promising hardware that still doesn't shine the way it should
The South Korean manufacturer seems to like the headlines about camera aspects more than a child a candy and, although this year they have finally given up with the dual aperture, it seemed that they showed a certain glee with its 108 megapixel sensor and digital zoom of up to 100x. This is a thing of the S20 Ultra, since the configuration that integrates the largest of the Galaxy S20 is superior to that of the other two, consisting of the fashionable triplet together with a ToF sensor:
- Main camera with 108 megapixel sensor (0.8µm pixels) with an angular lens with f / 1.8 aperture and optical stabilization.
- Ultra wide-angle camera with 12 megapixel sensor (1.4 µm pixels) and lens with f / 2.2 aperture.
- Telephoto lens with f / 3.5 aperture and optical image stabilization with a 48 megapixel sensor (0.8µm pixels).
- Depth sensor.
On paper, more interesting almost than the number of megapixels is that this sensor is about 1.7 times larger than the one that integrated the main camera of the S10 +. It should also be noted that the cameras resort to pixel binning, this time called Nonacell when merging groups of 9 pixels (3x3) to obtain 12-megapixel photos, seeking to give more illumination and detail (with pixels that go from being 0.8 µm to 2.4 µm).
Speaking of pixel blending, it is something that incidentally is also done on the front camera. It integrates a 40 megapixel sensor (with 0.7µm pixels) and an f / 2.2 aperture lens, and in this case four pixels are merged into one to obtain 10 megapixel photographs with 1.4µm pixels.
As we already developed at the time, Samsung speaks of "optical hybrid zoom", a rather confusing term that does not make it clear at first what type of zoom is spoken. In the absence of focal lengths, what we saw is that the TV of this S20 Ultra should give a little less than 4x, although what stood out is that 100x zoom that is clearly digital and that is obtained with the joint work of the sensor 108 megapixel and 64, as detailed by the brand.
What also stands out about the capabilities of these cameras and their software is that in addition to having two stabilizers, the wide angle is still 123 degrees (having one of the widest fields in wide angle phones) and that we can record in 8K. But to see what we can do with each lens, we better take the usual walk through this app, already known but adapted for this terminal and its new functions.
Samsung software is one of the highest representations of personalization and is also very evident in the camera app as we have seen for a long time. This mobile is based on the same scheme with sections with tabs and shortcuts that abounds in Android and has characterized the app for a long time, with that welcome feature of being able to edit these sections (except for the basic modes) going to the More section.
We see that in the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra there are no specific shortcuts for the 108 megapixels or any specific function, but there is a full Pro mode (unlike the Lite) and a Night mode that has evolved as we will see when we talk about the results. . It does not allow manual adjustments, but it does have long exposure when the system deems it convenient, very similar to what we saw in iOS 13 and iPhone 11 Pro.
There is something that we always comment on the side of the aspects to be corrected is the fact that there is no shortcut for the HDR and activating it manually is somewhat tedious as it requires going to the settings each time. Here there has been a great change, but [roll] ... Not for the better in terms of the user taking the helm of the HDR: its activation will be automatic and at most we can deactivate it, but if the system does not consider it appropriate to activate it in a certain scene there will be no way to force it.
Beyond this, in the settings we have the option of choosing the resolution of the videos both front and rear, as well as choosing the type of saving allowing RAW. We also find other additions such as scene identification, that the QR code scanner is automatic or options for buttons and shooting.
The change of lenses has shortcuts on the interface for ultra wide angle (0.5x) and telephoto (5x), as well as gradual zoom or buttons for 0.5x, 1x, 2x, 4x, 10x, 30x and 100x. It is a change that works quite fast in photo mode and we will see what happens to the video mode later, moving forward since in not all resolutions or fps we can do it.
Then we will talk about the performance of the zoom, but there is something that we liked a lot about the app: when we reach 20 magnifications, the interface shows us a thumbnail of where we are framing, which is a very visual and useful guide when the digital zoom is So close that sometimes it is hard to guess where we are focusing.
We see that one of the modes is the Single Capture mode, which was one of the highlights in the presentation of the terminal and that when activated simulates that it makes a small clip, although as we will see later the result is several photos and clips depending on the scene and the time we leave. Interesting to note that both this mode, as well as dynamic focus (portrait, video and photo) and night mode also work on the front camera.
This will come by default with the beauty effect activated, so if we do not want it we will have to go to the magic wand icon in the shortcuts (which will appear in yellow) to deactivate it. The settings, which change according to which camera we are using, allow us to let the phone activate the wide angle for photographs with this camera if there is more than one person in the frame, in addition to activating the timer, there is an animation that surrounds the camera front and it is something that is appreciated when reminding the photographed where to look (if he wants).
Comment that the dynamic focus mode continues to work for any item, whether or not it is a person, on both cameras unless we activate some of the blur effects. And although its activation is automatic and depends on the mobile, we can manually regulate the degree of sharpness (in standard mode).
As for the own editor, it is quite complete and adapts to the types of photography or video that we have obtained. The gallery shows when it is a "single shot", selecting the favorite clip or photo, and with the editor we can change the blur effect in portrait mode, in addition to the usual editions.
In general, the app is doing quite well, we have not been blocked or closed and it works smoothly except when we go to the settings. This step is still somewhat slow compared to any other activation, something that can be relatively frequent due to the battle with HDR or if the video resolution is changed frequently.
There is some evolution in the global performance of the cameras of the Galaxy S and we see colors that are much more realistic than before with very good dynamic range in general, although we expected that the dependence on good light conditions would be somewhat less to obtain a clearly high result at have those big (virtual) pixels that were promised. As soon as we go to an interior environment with less intense lighting, a sunset or especially the night we will see how a certain drop in level is noticed.
From top to bottom, ultra wide angle lens, wide angle lens and telephoto lens.
In the end we have been left with the feeling of ups and downs that we had with the S10 Lite, with great shots and others that leave us to be desired, especially in an ultra wide angle that could have beaten the competition and that in the absence of a comparison does not seem having achieved it with what has already been seen. Yes there are improvements in the zoom and in the video, and we will see that there are scenarios in which it clearly stands out, but it has known little by little compared to what we expected after the theory.We have been left with the feeling of ups and downs that we had with the S10 Lite, with some great shots and others that leave something to be desired
Speaking of the main camera, we see images that, as we said, achieve a realistic colorimetry and there is usually a good dynamic range, with good work when interpreting highlights and shadows. With the magnifying glass it is easy to see lack of detail in the farthest planes, even in good light, still being the most important Achilles heel of Samsung: sharpness. But still in well-lit exteriors and interiors it defends very well.
The exception: macro photography. The house continues to achieve an excellent result in this type of shooting, especially in good light, which is also when the autofocus works best. Indoors it costs a little more than expected to focus, as we show you in a small clip.
The HDR is quite subtle and its activation is quite curious, without being able to activate it in situations where the automatic ones usually jump like a close-up with a sky behind or a backlight. We will see that there are not many changes with abundant light, seeing that there is a better work with shadows above all, but at night it will be able to get a little more definition in some contours that the automatic does not defend.
Of course, it is a slow shot and even more if we talk about night photography. This is where manual control is most missed, since shooting without HDR might suit us to get a little more detail in the backdrops (especially in scenes with plenty of artificial light, where the focus seems to work best too).
Here HDR helps define contours and there is no loss of sharpness, achieving a better interpretation of shadows.
In the ultra wide angle it can penalize the use of HDR at the definition level in the farthest planes.
Spinning with this we can speak precisely about indoor and night photography. This is where the extra clarity we were promised with the new sensor is most missed, although with somewhat more favorable lighting very good snapshots are obtained talking about the main lens, keeping the colors true to reality and without the extras Contrast that is seen in the ultra wide angle indoors.
At night it saves the situation quite well speaking of the angle, with a perhaps slightly higher loss of sharpness than expected but without being worrying, especially with well-lit scenes. When light is scarce the night mode is a good help, since it recovers a lot of information from the illuminations shooting with a lower ISO and thus obtaining greater definition in many cases.
This night mode manages to move into the league of those with long exposure with stabilization, although for lack of comparison, it may not yet achieve the results of the shooting (in car) of the Huawei or the night mode of the Pixel.The exposure time is always automatic and in our experience the maximum exposure we have achieved is 10 seconds, in complete darkness (and it can be said that for "the miracle" of recovering some forms you need at least a small halo of light).
As for the ultra wide angle, we give it a positive and a negative minipoint. Generally speaking of this type of lens on mobile phones, it usually suffers more with exposure and it is not uncommon to see changes in white balance, colors and dynamic range.
This is not something that we notice in this S20 (and we did notice in its predecessors), keeping quite the automatic adjustments for the standard, without excessive deformation and with very realistic colors. Yes it is true that in medium and / or interior lighting we will see that the contrast is excessive and the photos are a bit dazzling with respect to the automatic, but everything else remains and the deformation by the lens is quite well corrected and is not excessive considering count the field of view.
Photography with the ultra wide angle.
Photography with the ultra wide angle.
The negative minipoint is sharpness. It is true that we have not encountered haze like in previous mobiles of the brand, but the detail falls considerably with respect to the standard lens, even during the day, talking especially about distant planes.
The waves remain, but the dunes are not drawn on the ultra wide angle.
With the zoom we also have a little of everything. Although we have the possibility to automatically jump to 2x or gradually to wherever we want, the telephoto is activated from 4x. Hence, we see that in the remote planes the detail is greater with the 4x telephoto lens than with the standard 2x lens.
In general we see photos with little loss talking about the telephoto (especially up to 5x). Hybrid zoom (or whatever you want to call it Samsung) defends itself and also has little loss of day, but digital is almost testimonial: shots at 100x are smudges and requires such stabilization that we rarely resort to it expecting something minimally defined.
The zoom applied in the photos on the right is 4x.
Selective focus mode works quite well when it comes to cropping and maintaining sharpness. The approach works well in this case and normally does not require much for its activation, which depends on the distance to the subject but that we can "trick" sometimes so that even without respecting it, it activates.
Photography with selective focus mode.
It should be noted that by default it will always be activated at 2x, so to have the frame at 1x we will have to press the wide angle icon in the interface. The depth sensor does a good job having achieved a bokeh More natural than that of previous occasions, the cut is quite successful, without smudges and dealing very well with that feared and famous enemy for mobile portrait modes: hair.
Above a photo taken at 2x, down at 1x (both with selective focus mode).
As for the unique capture, it is a function more of entertainment than of photographic value so to speak. It is quite fun to test and see what the system considers the best of a certain scene, obtaining between eight and ten elements which vary in framing, processing and type (video or photo), but for this reason it is better to do it if we are not looking for a shot specific.
In addition to these photos there are a couple of clips, both standard and type "Boomerang" or GIF.
In addition, due to the consistent processing of some shots, they lose some quality (speaking as objectively as possible, since it may fit what certain users can look for to share on social networks).
A photo of a single Capture set.
Curious the performance of this lens and the pixels of its sensor, also hand in hand by software. The result is very natural, with realistic colors and good overall white balance.
The one that fails is still sometimes the focus, making the face not come out completely clear shooting in automatic. Curiously, it is something that changes with the dynamic or portrait focus mode, achieving shots with a high degree of sharpness, interpreting lights and shadows well and without excessive contrast or exaggeration of contours, even in backlight.
This mode of dynamic focus works well enough, being able to make the same changes and adjustments as with that of the rear cameras. The cut is somewhat less discreet and sometimes we will see smears in the hair, with a bokeh somewhat flat but saving the situation in general very well.
Dynamic focus photography.
The night mode for the front camera is an excellent incentive. We will see that it manages to obtain a relatively defined selfie in conditions of almost darkness, achieving an extra considerable detail if we test it in dim light.
Here perhaps the Single Capture mode makes a little more sense looking at what is usually shared on social networks. Give to capture fun moments with video clips and there will be those who appreciate that you already give photos with filter and in a 1: 1 ratio.
Photos in a single Capture moment on the front camera.
See complete gallery »Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, photos (60 photos)
Normally the virtues and sins of photography are transferred to video and in the three (four) cameras of the S20 we do not see an exception. The shots will be highly favored if they are taken outdoors and in broad daylight, which will be when 4K and 8K are especially enjoyed giving very good definition.
The white balance is usually correct although we can see that it is sometimes too warm (not too much). But what is very successful is stabilization, speaking of which can be activated by default and is independent of resolution.
The superstabilization gives a very good result, giving videos closer to what is obtained with a gimbal (saving the distances). With good lighting it will compensate to activate it if we want maximum stabilization, since at 1080p or full screen (2,400 x 1,080 pixels) the S20 Ultra solves very well at the definition level.
This changes when it gets dark or at dusk, that is, when light is scarce. There is more noise and loss of sharpness than expected, even speaking of 4K.
Speaking of changing lenses, in 8K shots we can only record with the main lens, being able to zoom up to 4x (without the telephoto lens). In 1080p and 4K resolutions we can use all three lenses, either at 30 or 60 fps, and super stabilization uses the ultra-wide-angle lens (although we opt for the 1x).
What may interest us the most is how it does it. In the interface the same three buttons for wide-angle / standard / zoom are arranged as with the photograph, corresponding to 0.5x, 1x and 5x, so that when pressed it gradually goes up to the magnifications that we indicate.
It can be relatively smooth if the jump is short: from 1x to 0, x or 2x is somewhat more fluid and natural, but if we press the zoom button the jump to 5x is too sudden, even if it is progressive.
The audio capture is very good and there is a good job with the audio zoom function. The entrance is not hindered by the grip and there is a good catch even if there is wind.
If we resort to the Unique Capture function we will see that there are different types of clips, both standard and small GIFs or Boomerang style. For its part, the super slow-motion camera records at 1,280 x 720 pixels and only allows small automatic clips to be made, with a result that is highly dependent on light (indoors, it is quite improvable).
The front camera gives very good results. In fact, the manufacturer not only allows you to make 4K videos, but we can also choose to record at 60 fps and dynamic video.
The colors are very realistic and there is a very good interpretation of highlights and shadows. The detail is very well preserved and there is also a very good stabilization work (electronic), and the blur effect of the dynamic video is applied very successfully even if we move.
Sound: this is how a flagship should sound
In the high-end Galaxy we expect a careful and quality sound, as we have failed to do this in successive models for years. On paper they promise it with stereo audio and the signature of AKG and Dolby, the first in the USB type C headphones that are delivered with the terminal and that allow you to resort to the analog source if the user does not have an adapter to this port, since It does not have a 3.5 mm jack as we have already introduced.
Does the wind blow the words in this case? No, what it takes is an avalanche of power with these stereo speakers that with its maximum of 112.8 decibels at the output of the main speaker (80 decibels ambient) we have to have it more or less 50% if we use it as a multimedia center and we have it close. A power that does not exempt from the loss of quality that this usually causes, so that we will always have a better experience with the speakers if we at least go down to 75% of the total volume.
The quality is high, it is a sound with nuances and a very good dynamic range emitted by these speakers and as is from the factory. The design favors that the dual output gives a surround sound and very well distributed and compensated that is especially appreciated with video games, although we will notice that the mobile vibrates quite a bit when using the speakers (something "maraca edition" like that iPhone 7).
Speaking of the modifications that we can apply to try to improve the listening experience, the system adds, as we have commented, the Dolby Atmos, which together with the equalizer is the only thing that we can adjust in the case of speakers. Now we will talk about the possibilities with headphones, but the Dolby Atmos gives an extra volume and surround sound that is greatly appreciated and provides a more satisfying experience, which we can sharpen if we remember to select if it is music, voice or video each time in the Dolby menu, but it also works fine in automatic.
Speaking of headphones (and testing with these included AKGs), the extras we found are the UHQ optimizer and the Adapt Sound. In the first one we can leave the bit enhancement that is selected by default, or expand with the bandwidth that tries to give more clarity, noting it very slightly (the sound is somewhat more enveloping).
The Adapt Sound allows us to select a sound profile based on our age or our hearing. Passing a simple test with beeps the system sees what to compensate with a little more amplification as needed, and in this case the truth is that it gives us a better experience than the predefined ones. Thus, we are left with the Dolby Atmos, the UHQ optimizer in bandwidth and the custom sound profile.
Autonomy: about 5,000 mAh that can show off or not
The demand on batteries is increasing by certain components, but so is the volume available to them now that the average screen diagonal accommodates around 6.5 inches. In this case, the bulky chassis The Galaxy S20 Ultra houses a 5,000 mAh battery, a figure that remains remarkable on paper, although it is not a record one.How long a charge lasts will depend in the first place on how we have configured the mobile at the refresh rate level
How long a charge lasts will depend in the first place on how we have configured the mobile at the refresh rate level; the brand already warns it in the configuration itself, since the energy consumption with 120 Hz is higher. The difference can be more or less three hours, depending a lot on the use we make (especially on screen hours).
With the PC Mark battery test it is seen that the figure it gives with 120 hertz is low for said battery (the 5,620 mAh of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 gave more than 19 hours).
At 60 hertz a better figure is obtained, although as we commented it is not a spectacular autonomy either.
With this, the average autonomy of the S20 Ultra does not give bright figures or what a priori we can expect from a 5,000 mAh battery, but considering that they are 6.9 inches of panel and said refresh rate is not bad either. The average autonomy is about 21 hours, with just under 6 hours of screen.
As we say, they are not remarkable figures and they are well below what we had with the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 (6.47 inches, 60 Hz and 5,620 mAh), which indicates that here there may be work to be done to achieve some improvement . But despite this, the day-to-day experience is good, being able to leave the house with 100% or something less from the charged battery without worrying about carrying an external battery, enduring without problems 17 hours of medium-intense use.
What it does stand out for is fast charging. With the charger that comes with the mobile, an entire charge from 0% (and with the mobile off) is completed in 1 hour and 1 minute, which is quite striking and partially compensates for the fact that it does not have a better autonomy or closer to the day and a half that these batteries come to have on Android mobiles.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, the opinion of Xataka
In the Samsung Galaxy S series we have seen the proposals that more or less have settled in the high-end of the brand seeing the effect on the Note, and also splashing the competition in aspects such as the curvature on the screens. But what we have also seen is that sometimes the differentiation with these rivals has seemed somewhat forced and not so much a blow on the table, seeing that at the sales level the Galaxy S have been losing steam in recent years.
The Samsung Galaxy Ultra gives us various feelings in this regard. It has not convinced us in an absolute way nor has it seemed to us that it fulfills 100% that feeling of “brown beast” that brings its surname and its technical file, but it seems the materialization that certain good decisions have been made, that they have been put the cobblestones in a new path in what seems like a better direction.
The 120 hertz screen is a great attraction. A pity that you have to give up the maximum resolution and that affects autonomy, but it is a fluidity that a hungry layer like One UI greatly appreciates and greatly improves the experience for those of us who value this aspect in the user-interface interaction.
The reduced curvature is also a very positive thing, a lot. The "back" gesture is very comfortable, the natural shadow of the curvature is much less and it remains one of the hallmarks of the Galaxy S, with which in principle we all win. In addition to that, as we have said, despite having that extra saturation, the screen gives a very good overall experience.
Audio is another strong point of this mobile. Something that is common in this line of smartphones and that has room for improvement in terms of the vibration that is perceived using the speakers, but gives the feeling that it will be the rival to beat in this aspect in 2020.
Speaking of vibration, the vibration motor is quite rough, which is surprising in a high-end. Perhaps the component could be improved or add a vibration control as we see in iOS, with which a lesser degree can be selected.
In relation to the cameras, we see some improvements and especially a configuration and functions with much more sense, except for that questionable HDR so automatic. The final quality is not as expected, but it can lay a good foundation for its successors to achieve the expected performance, perhaps with better processing to take better advantage of that great sensor and with an ultra wide angle that can be a reference or what Huawei has managed to be. with the zoom.
In general, it is a complete and competent mobile, with an interesting configuration and performance that meets expectations at various levels. We will see how it is with respect to its future opponents in a comparison that after testing this mobile we have even more desire to do.
9.1Design9.25 Screen9.5 Performance9.5 Camera9.25 Software8.75 Autonomy8,25
- Welcome the 120 hertz: it is a noticeable improvement and very beneficial for interaction with the software (not so much for autonomy).
- The audio is of quality and contributes to give a very good multimedia experience.
- It is very large, something as inevitable as perhaps negative for some users (because it tires), although considering that they are almost 7 inches of screen it is not surprising either.
- Autonomy is quite regular taking into account precedents and competition, although it has its logic.
- The cameras perform somewhat below expectations considering what they offer on paper.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G - Smartphone 6.9 "Dynamic AMOLED (12GB RAM, expandable 128GB ROM, 108MP wide-angle camera, Octa-core Exynos 990, 5000mAh battery), Cosmic Gray [Spanish version]Today on Amazon for € 1,100.00
The terminal has been loaned for testing by Samsung. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises.