Samsung recently launched their new Galaxy S20 series and while we had the usual small and big versions of the new phone in the S20 and S20 Plus, Samsung also decided to throw everything they could at a newer, more expensive model–the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Now, one may say that the S10e was replaced by the S20, the S10 replaced by the S20 Plus, and the S20 Plus was replaced by the S20 Ultra, but honestly, I don’t think that’s how it works. You see the S10 and S10 Plus were, for the most part, the same device just meant for people who want “smaller” or larger screens and that’s very much what the S20 and S20 Plus seem to be.
But this time around, Samsung seems to have decided that the arguably smaller market of spec-crazed techies, creators, and the like should get an option that they’d be hard-pressed to nitpick, at least on paper. Minus, of course, the price. But, we’ll get to that in a sec.
Firstly, let’s go through everything there is to go through on the new S20 Ultra in this complete walkthrough.
If you aren’t familiar, a complete walkthrough on my channel is where I try and go through every feature I can on a new device so you guys are better prepared should you be in the market to actually go buy one.
With that said, there is a lot to go through so let’s get started with the hardware.
Firstly, the Ultra has a 6.9″ AMOLED Infinity-O Display (as Samsung calls it) with a 3200×1440 resolution and curved edges that are actually slightly less curved than the S10’s were (which I appreciate actually).
That display is also HDR10+ certified and has a refresh rate of 120Hz (which the system has set to 60hz by default but you can turn on in Settings > Display).
Above that screen (err in it?), we have a 40MP PDAF .7-micron sized pixels 80-degree FOV f2.2 aperture selfie camera. By default, the 40MP are binned down to 10MP and that gives you 1.4-micron sized pixels. If you want to get a full 40MP you can select it from inside the aspect ratio section of the front camera settings (just know it’ll have a higher resolution by perform worse in lowlight).
The phone itself is made our of an aluminum frame with Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and back and is IP68 rated for water and dust resistance.
Moving around the device, we have our power button and volume rockers on the right.
Our SIM card and MicroSD card slot at the top.
Nothing on the left.
And one of our AKG tuned dual speakers that support Dolby Atmos (the other is the earpiece above the screen) and the USB-C port cable of using up to a 45W Samsung adaptive fast charger and comes with a 25W one in the box to help charge up the 5000mah battery in a reasonable amount of time.
We also have Qi Wireless Charging and that supports 15W fast charging and we also have reverse wireless charging to charge things like the Galaxy Buds+, for example, on the back at 9W.
Under the hood, there is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset in the US at least (and is what I have here) and that is paired with 12GBs of LPDDR5 RAM and 128 or 256GBs of UFS 3.0 storage or 16GBs of RAM and 512GBs of storage.
For security, we have an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor in the display that feels a bit more responsive than the one on the last model, but only just. And we have Samsung’s face unlock using the front camera.
For connectivity, we have Wifi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 (with dual device simultaenous connectivity available), NFC for use with Google and Samsung Pay and, somewhat surprisingly, 5G built in instead of a 5G specific model.
The unlocked version for example will work on 5G with any US carrier regardless of whether they use low, mid, or high-band frequencies for their network (more info on what 5G is and what all those frequencies mean in my Decodr series episode on it here, and for more info on which versions of the Ultra will work in what countries, here’s an article Sasha Seagan did on that, as well).
Either way, buying this phone in your country means that you get 5G connectivity whenever it’s ready. Some people are complaining that they don’t need 5G in their phone so take it out and make the phone cheaper, but honestly, considering the prices here it’s more like the devices are just getting 5G for free. And also considering how smart it would be for companies like Qualcomm/MediaTek/Huawei etc. to try and make their 5G offerings as closer to LTE pricing initially to gain marketshare early on, I imagine it’s probably looking more that way anyway.
Moving around to the back, we have the very noticeable camera collection that isn’t without reason.
Breaking down the cameras on the back here, we first have a main 108MP f1.8 PDAF OIS camera with .8-micron sized pixels.
Now, just like with the 40MP front camera, be default you aren’t shooting with 108MP instead it bins them to get lower resolution but much better low-light sensitivity. Now, most phones bin the pixels by four to get double sized ones, but because of the sheer number of pixels on this sensor, Samsung performs a nona-binning aka bins together 9 pixels. Because of this, we end up with a default 12MP 2.4-micron sized pixel image. Which is nuts honestly.
The other impressive thing about this camera is the fact that the sensor itself is 1/1.33″ in size making it the largest camera sensor I’ve ever used in a phone. This combined with those large pixels in binned mode means much better low-light images, but also means you can get a lot more bokeh (the blurred separation between a subject and the background) without using the software-enabled live focus mode. Ah, nothing like natural bokeh, amirite?
In addition to that main sensor, we have a 12MP ultra wide camera with 1.4-micron sized pixels a 120-degree FOV and an f2.2 aperture.
And we have a 48MP telephoto camera with a 24-degree field of view, an aperture of f3.5 with .8-micron sized pixels that by default are binned to 12MP to get 1.6-micron sized pixels.
Now the one thing interesting about the telephoto is that it’s folded zoom lens that actually sits sideways in the phone and uses a set of mirrors to get the length needed without protruding out the back of the phone like a traditional mirrorless camera lens would need to (physics yay).
You undoubtedly seen the 100x zoom feature being advertised on this phone (maybe even on my Instagram/Twitter/Facebook). The way this works though is that the lens is a 4x optical zoom then it crops the sensor to push in up to about 10x and then from 10x onward it is using AI to duplicate pixels etc to get a zoomed in image.
It’s because of this, that you can tell a pretty big quality difference after 10x that gets worse as we get closer to 100x. Personally, I’d probably only realistically want to use 5x and occasionally 10x but even that is still impressive and useful and anything beyond that is more of a gimmick but still clever they were able to add it at all.
For video, we can record in 8K at 24fps and even grab 33MP stills while recording in that resolution if needed. If you want higher frame rates you can do 4K up to 60fps or 1080P at 240fps.
Moving on to the software, the Galaxy Ultra is running Android 10 with Samsung’s own UI on top called One UI 2.0. Because of this, it’ll have very similar functions to any Samsung Android device but for someone who isn’t familiar, let’s just touch on a few of the more standout features that Samsung has added.
Firstly, we have Edge Panels. This is essentially a floating icon you can move the location of along either edge of the device that when swiped across can bring up any number of customizable floating menus.
They range from shortcuts for apps, to a way to take a screenshot with some added functions, to quick access to tasks, weather, contacts, reminders, etc.
Along the same lines, Samsung also added Edge Lighting which allows you to use the edges of the device to be a sort of notification light since they can be seen from not just the top but the sides slightly thanks to that curve on the screen.
Also, these can be customized pretty extensively actually. From changing what color it lights up and what apps it’ll notify you for (and even using the app’s icon color to show the effect so you can know at a glance what the notification is for), to the duration, transparency, etc.
Samsung also introduced an AirDrop-like feature called Quick Share on the S20 series that you can select from the quick panel, give your device a name and so long as this is on you and any one else that has a Samsung device that also has this feature can share much easier/faster between one another when nearby. Long overdue frankly.
And there you go guys, went a bit more in-depth in this one than I have been lately and want to know if you guys prefer them like this? Want as much information as possible? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!