Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G Review
Ultra large, ultra expensive – and ultra-good
Conclusion from February 20, 2020
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G can fully convince in the test: An excellent, albeit oversized display, paired with top performance, great workmanship and an excellent camera let the Ultra Samsung appear in the best light. The runtime is no less great, but we had hoped for a little more from the 5,000 mAh battery. And also strong: at 120 Hz, the display works extremely smooth. All in all, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is a very good device that raises the bar. Unfortunately, this also applies to the price of up to $1,599 but 5G technology demands high quality and performance at the end of day.
- Very good display with 120 Hertz
- Top performance with huge RAM
- Excellent camera quality with the new “Single Take” function
- Battery life in 120 Hz mode could be better
- No more headphone jack
- Very high introductory price
The values in the article refer to the time of testing of the product ( 13.05.2020 )
The ratings below show how it performs compared to the other products in the leaderboard.
Test ratings (Compared to all tested products in this category)
- CHIP Rating: Very good
- Price: Expensive
- Price from $1,599.00
Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G in The Test:
Samsung’s Top Mobile Phone of 2020
The Galaxy S10 is followed by the Galaxy S20: Samsung breaks with its name tradition and introduces a larger version jump – suitable for the year 2020. And for Samsung connoisseurs there is another innovation: This time there is not a “plus” at the top of its portfolio – Model, but even an “ultra” version. And as the test shows, a lot is ultra about this device – namely ultra-good. In addition to the Galaxy S20 Ultra, the Galaxy S20 Plus and the standard model, which is simply called the Galaxy S20, are also coming onto the market.
The star of the lineup is the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. However, this mobile phone pleasure is not cheap: The model we tested costs $1,599 to launch – is it worth it?
Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G: Huge Camera Module and Great Look
From the outside, a lot has happened with the Galaxy S20 Ultra compared to the Galaxy S10 Plus , but there are also many similarities. The workmanship is, as usual, of high quality: A frame made of aluminum paired with glass on the front and back makes the Galaxy S20 Ultra not only very high quality, but also stable. No creaking, clean gaps and rounded edges at the back speak for the usual high quality from Samsung.
On the back, Samsung follows the design language of Apple and Google and places the individual camera lenses, which are now arranged in a kind of module, in the upper left corner. However, the S20 Ultra is already exceptionally large. At 2.5 millimeters, it also protrudes very far from the housing.
The giant display of the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G shines on the front, which even sits above the display size of the current Galaxy Note 10 Plus. The next generation of notes may therefore break the 7-inch mark for the first time. The side edges of the display are still slightly curved, but much less noticeable than in the previous model. This means that changes in contrast on the sides are no longer noticeable. Likewise, the upper edge of the display has shrunk again and Samsung continues to do without a notch. The camera hole from the previous year has now moved to the middle and is rather tiny here. The second front camera had to give way.
PRACTICAL ACCESSORIES FOR YOUR SMARTPHONE
What a display!
That Samsung can build excellent cell phone displays is not new knowledge. And even with the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, the manufacturer does not disappoint the very high expectations. The screen measures a full 6.9 inch screen diagonal – that’s almost tablet dimensions. However, Samsung uses almost the entire front for the display, which – as with its predecessors – looks great. Due to the huge dimensions, one-handed operation is no longer possible in most cases. Both hands are needed especially for use in the upper third of the touch surface. The Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G also weighs 220 grams and is therefore quite heavy – especially if you want to make longer calls.
In terms of brightness, Samsung promises up to a sensational 1,200 cd / m² – and we were able to understand this value with our laboratory measurements. However, the screen only shines so brightly under very special conditions: We needed an HDR image with a small white dot under very bright simulated ambient light. In practice, you should rarely see such a high value. Despite direct maximization of the display brightness, almost 470 cd / m² are possible without direct light. We measure the display brightness at various points on the screen when displaying a black and white checkerboard contrast. And with direct light, the screen boosts to a very high 970 cd / m² in this scenario. The contrast display under ambient light is also great.
As in the predecessors, Samsung also relies on OLED technology for the S20 Ultra 5G, which results in excellent black levels, great contrasts and a large color spectrum: in vivid color mode, the screen covers a full 150.8 percent of the standard RGB color space. Streaming fans will also get their money’s worth, because the Galaxy S20 Ultra fully covers the DCI-P3 color space relevant for HDR videos. The Galaxy S20 Ultra can also handle HDR10 +. In short: There is currently not much more display than here.
120 Hz mode: particularly sharp or particularly fluid
As in the previous model, Samsung installed a display with QHD + resolution in its Galaxy S flagship of 2020. A total of 3,200 x 1,440 pixels then light up. This gives the device a pixel density of sharp 508 ppi – provided the user manually activates this resolution. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra works “only” in Full HD + from the factory, which is still sharp enough for everyday use.
As an alternative to the higher resolution, the display can now also display 120 frames per second (120 Hz instead of 60 Hz). For the user, this means: significantly smoother animations and a significantly more responsive scroll behavior. However, the increased refresh rate is only available up to a maximum of Full HD + resolution. Ultimately, the buyer has the decision whether he prefers a pin-sharp QHD + resolution or extremely fluid 120 Hertz. We think the 120 Hz mode is great because its benefits can be experienced immediately. However, the high refresh rate is detrimental to the battery life: The Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G then turns off the lights 2.5 hours earlier – however, the battery life is usually still good enough.
An ultra-large battery ensures a long battery life – sometimes
The high weight of the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is due, among other things, to the massive battery: it holds a whopping 5,000 mAh. However, the device also needs this size, because the huge lightning-fast screen and the powerful processor are long on. Summa Summarum lasted the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 9:18 hours in our test when the user activated 120 Hz mode.
If you leave it at the standard 60 Hertz in Full HD + resolution, the battery life increases to an excellent 11:45 hours. The latter is the runtime we rated because the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G reaches it in its default settings. For our online runtime test, we dim the brightness to 200 cd / m² suitable for indoor use and let the smartphone continuously load and display videos and websites from the LTE network. A script also simulates scroll and tip entries.
Charging works quickly: thanks to the included 25-watt power supply, the battery capacity increases from 0 to 100 percent in 89 minutes. After half an hour, 56 percent of the battery is already charged and ready for use. But that’s not the greatest feeling yet: Samsung optionally offers a 45-watt power supply, which is supposed to help the battery get up even faster. Of course, wireless charging is also on board again, but this time with up to 15 watts of maximum power and an enlarged inductive surface. This way, wireless power share, i.e. the wireless charging of devices on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, works a little better.
PRACTICAL ACCESSORIES FOR YOUR SMARTPHONE
New chip and more RAM – the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is lightning fast
As every year, Samsung is also introducing a new high-end mobile processor with its new Galaxy S generation: In this country, you get the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G with Samsung’s own Exynos 990: an octa-core processor with up to 2.73 GHz Clock rate. In other regions, the manufacturer relies on the current Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, a similarly powerful eight-core. Samsung itself justifies the use of two different processors, among other things with different license costs, different regulations and patent rights.
Depending on the selected memory variant, the processor has between 12 and 16 gigabytes of RAM available. This amount of RAM is often only found in high-performance laptops or PCs; the standard for smartphones is four to eight gigabytes. Here, too, the 5G Ultra Galaxy from Samsung lives up to its name.
The performance is great: animations run smoothly, the user can enjoy the full 120 Hertz almost permanently. Loading times are minimal, apps open constantly at a very high speed. So the good benchmark results are not surprising: the top smartphone achieved a total of 12,671 points in the PC Mark for Android.
Samsung spices up at Huawei: The camera setup opens with a new lens
According to its own statement, Samsung attaches great importance to the camera issue when developing the Galaxy S20 Ultra. This is also noticeable optically: Instead of a simple, horizontal arrangement of three camera lenses as with the Galaxy S10 Plus, a giant camera module now protrudes 2.5mm from the housing. Similar to Huawei with the P30 Pro , Samsung also uses a telephoto zoom lens in a so-called periscope design. It directs the light through a prism around the corner, which increases the focal length and thus the zoom factor.
The result: a fourfold optical zoom. In addition, a 10x hybrid zoom is available, which combines the optical magnification with a digital zoom. The “100x” lettering next to the zoom lens, however, reveals that there should be more in here. In this way, a digital zoom factor of up to 100 can be used. Samsung calls this function “Space Zoom”. The test shows, however, that the quality leaves a lot to be desired in this case. The zoom levels between 10x and 100x are calculated digitally by the system. Accordingly, you could just as well take the full picture and enlarge the corresponding part on the computer afterwards. No wonder that details and contours are completely lost at maximum zoom.
Very good image quality, strength in the dim light segment
In addition to the new telephoto lens with 48 megapixels (aperture: f / 3.5), the main camera with a whopping 108 megapixels (aperture: f / 1.8) ensures great image and video recordings. The Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is the first smartphone ever to use not only quad-pixel binning, but so-called non-pixel binning. It combines nine individual pixels to form a pixel with a size of 2.4 micrometers. Computing professionals have already found out: The final results are output at 12 megapixels. Thanks to pixel binning, Samsung promises a better display, less noise in night mode and a generally higher image quality.
The laboratory test shows that recordings under bright lighting conditions are great, but the software sharpened a little here and there. The slight oversaturation familiar from Samsung is also part of the program for the S20 Ultra – some like it, others may find it too unnatural. On the whole, however, the Galaxy S20 Ultra shows a very commendable picture quality, which it can compete with the best competition on the market. The same applies to the front camera: Thanks to an integrated auto focus, images with the front camera are constantly sharp and are very easy to use.
For low-light photography, the Ultra Samsung is racing head-to-head with the Huawei P30 Pro. If the device lies on a calm surface or snaps out of a tripod, the final results in the laboratory test are equivalent. When it comes to taking photos from a free hand, the competition does not fool the S20 Ultra – the photos in the dim light look great.
The other two lenses, an ultra-wide angle with 12 megapixels (aperture: f / 2.2) and a time-of-flight sensor, are also available on request. The latter not only enables better portrait pictures, but also a blurring effect in videos. However, this function was not particularly reliable in our test. For the first time, the user can record 8K recordings in 24 FPS in a smartphone. So far, however, the results can only be fully exploited by users of an 8K television. Alternatively, HD, Full-HD and UHD, each with 30 and 60 FPS, are of course still available. In UHD at 30 frames per second, you can also record videos in real HDR with a higher color depth and a larger color space.
New: the single-take camera mode. In this mode, a simple click on the shutter button is sufficient in the camera app, after which the smartphone continuously records the scene for up to 15 seconds. The device then sorts the results and at the end spits out a selection of photo and video recordings under various filters, in slow motion or with a boomerang effect.
Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is better than the Huawei P30 Pro?
We want to know exactly and take the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra outdoors. Here it has to prove itself in various scenarios compared to the Huawei P30 Pro. Under bright daylight, we look at the detail and color reproduction of the ultra wide-angle lens, the main camera and the zoom lens. One thing is certain: Both smartphones do an incredibly good job, all criticism here is complaining at the highest level. Nevertheless, it is striking that the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra mostly captures a few more details. But the colors are a little oversaturated and white areas often appear a little bluish.
This also applies to shots under difficult lighting conditions. After the sun has completely set, the night mode of the respective device must prove itself. The images of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra are still a bit too cool, but still look very strong. In addition, there is a clear result here than under laboratory conditions. Because the Huawei P30 Pro has to admit defeat in some cases. We took the night shots on a tripod. Our photo gallery shows you the best photos – you can also download the photos in full resolution.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 5G is standard equipment, a connection must give way
Samsung is following two major trends in the smartphone industry with the Galaxy S20 Ultra. 5G is now so relevant in the mobile market that the manufacturer has installed a corresponding module for supporting the network as standard. With a suitable SIM card including 5G tariff, the network technology can already be used in the currently six German cities with a 5G mast. How practical this feature is in practice at the moment, however, remains to be seen: Especially in Germany, the 5G expansion is progressing very slowly and can currently only be used by two out of three providers. Telefonica customers have never heard of 5G. In addition, the range of the few active 5G masts is very short and the battery life with active 5G use is significantly shorter.
The second trend that is now reflected in all three Galaxy S20 models is the lack of a headphone jack. While Samsung has always had fun criticizing the missing jack socket from many other manufacturers in recent years, Samsung fans will also have to switch to USB-C headphones or a wireless alternative in the future.
A brilliant achievement: The Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G with an ultra-good configuration
If you leave out the missing headphone jack, there are hardly any criticisms of the S20 Ultra 5G when it comes to features.
- Android 10 is already preinstalled on the new top Samsung. In addition, the manufacturer decorates the operating system with its own OneUI 2.0 interface. Based on experience, the smartphone is provided with at least security updates for at least three years, if not longer.
- Like its little brothers, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is protected against the ingress of water, dust and other dirt according to the IP 68 standard.
- Depending on the version selected, either 128 or 512 gigabytes offer enough internal storage space for apps, media and other personal data. Via microSD card, however, this can also be expanded by up to one terabyte.
- Even with an additional micro SD card inserted, the device is still dual SIM capable, even if only with a 5G SIM. The second network remains on the 4G standard.
- The Galaxy S20 Ultra features dual speakers that offer excellent sound in the test. A clear sound and a good bass make the sound experience pleasant even without headphones.
- NFC is on board and thus enables, among other things, mobile payments via Google Pay or Samsung Pay.
- Bluetooth is installed in the current version 5.0.
- USB with type C socket in 3.1 standard.
- WLAN transmits at 2.4 and 5 gigahertz and also supports the ac and the latest ax standard. LTE runs at up to 2,000 Mbit / s in download and up to 210 Mbit / s in upload. VoLTE is also installed, but not in 5G mode.
- The dedicated Bixby button is dropped. Anyone who misses the service can now call it up by holding down the power button. The language assistant has also been speaking German since last year, but continues to fall behind the Google Assistant when it comes to functionality
In terms of price, the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G ranks at the top level of the smartphone market. For the basic model with 128 gigabytes of internal storage space and 12 gigabytes of RAM, $1,399 will be charged. If that’s not enough, you get 16 instead of gigabytes of RAM and 512 instead of 128 gigabytes of ROM for a whopping $1,599. This is definitely a hefty price that Samsung is charging for the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Pre-orderers who order the Galaxy S20 Ultra by March 8, 2020 will receive the new Galaxy Buds + with a value of $188 for free. But even after the pre-order campaign, headphones are included in the packaging, but then with a cable and USB-C connection. A screen protector is also pre-installed. So get the latest cutting edge technology help your life make more comfortable and better.