The Galaxy S20 Ultra unboxing was a pleasantly fun experience as I have never expected a huge camera hump. Although it does has 100X space zoom(which in reality is just 10X optical zoom coupled with 10X digital zoom), Samsung has crammed a 10X zoom lens into this beastly smartphone.
Now, the first thought I thought when unboxing was how ugly the camera hump was. In fact, I would actually rather go with the regular Galaxy S20 or S20 Plus, both which have much shorter camera humps. Aesthetically speaking, the Galaxy S20 Ultra just looks ugly with the camera hump. I would never dare to use this phone naked anyways but with a nice case, you will not notice it much after the first minute or so.
Samsung has really done nothing in terms of improving their design. I feel like they are simply sticking with original design they came out with the Galaxy S8 about 4 years ago. While they do look pretty good, I think it’s time for Samsung to try to dig into a new design or at least offer the new Galaxy series at heavy discount since design hasn’t really changed much(and they are probably not spending a ton of money every year).
The highlight of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra over its smaller brothers S20 and S20 Plus is that it has much bigger 108MP camera sensor and also 10X optical zoom along with 100X Space Zoom. Upon trying the 5X through 100X zoom, they are not great for close-ups. While the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 series both had excellent close-up focus using its 2X optical zoom, it’s literally impossible to use the new zoom feature unless you are at least 3 feet away.
Also, the 2X zoom has gotten worse compared to my Galaxy S10 and Note 10 as now Galaxy S20 Ultra uses digital zoom for 2X. In reality, most important 2X zoom has gotten worse and you no longer get the benefit of optical zoom either, just digital zoom that has more artifacts and blurs than Samsung’s previous models.
The worst feature on the Galaxy S20 Ultra is that the zoom feature is absolutely useless unless you use it in clear, bright sunlight. In fact, even just normal indoor setting, you will get lots of noise and artifacts even at 5X zoom. I think Samsung really try to hit the sweetspot but the fact is, the new zoom feature is nowhere near acceptable levels for a $1400 smartphone. I am sure they will make it much better next year but for now, the Galaxy S20 Ultra zoom feature is nothing more than a gimmick that’s going to give you half-baked, noisy photos. I expected more from Samsung based on their previous camera performance but this year is definitely the most disappointing of them all.
Now, Samsung should have try to improve the front camera performance yet it’s identical camera as the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 Plus. They have done ZERO improvements to the front camera, this is sad actually as every iteration before they have improved upon it. This for $1400? Not sure what I paid for this year, I am pretty disappointed.
Samsung has finally got rid of the curved display, now it is actually flat display coupled with curved glass on top of it. I really like that they did this as now there’s much less glare and curved display was only good for edge swiping, which I stopped using many years ago.
Another huge problem with Galaxy S20 Ultra is its front-facing camera auto focus. It takes an average of 2 seconds or more to get focus. This has never been the case with older Samsung phones. I think this is easily fixable through a firmware update but they definitely botched the launch with auto focus that does not work out of the box for the front camera.
I hate to leave a bad review about a product because I usually end up not making a review about such bad products but I really feel Samsung botched the Galaxy S20 Ultra this year with half-baked, barely working features like the ugly 100X Space Zoom. Sometimes, less is more, perhaps as a consumer I rather pay $1000 for the S20 Ultra without all these gimmicky new zoom camera that doesn’t work well at all.
I should have full review and more coverage of the Samsung Galaxy S20 series but for right now, I am hugely disappointed that I spend $1400 of my hard-earned money on something that has a LOT of bugs.
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