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NE PLUS ULTRA Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

T3 Magazine|April 2020

NE PLUS ULTRA Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
A bludgeoning hammer blow to Android rivals – that comes with a hefty price tag

Processor Samsung Exynos 990 Screen 6.9-inch OLED, 120Hz, 1440x3200 HDR10+ Memory 12GB/16GB Storage 128GB/512GB Battery 4,200mAh Cameras 108MP, 48MP, 12MP, Time-ofFlight camera rear; 40MP, PDAF front OS Android 10.0, One UI 2.0 Dimensions 167x76x8.8mm Weight 221g

From £1,199 samsung.com

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is, technically, the best Android phone on the market today. It is a phone with an impressive, versatile camera system, hyper-premium internal hardware suite, futureproofed, next-gen 5G connectivity and a huge and immersive screen.

How it achieves its dominance, though, is quite base. These tech weapons are wielded in a rather unrefined way, and in some cases feel powerful but a bit rough round the edges and/or complete overkill. The price of this tech is also incredibly high, making it a bit of a niche proposition to our minds.

The S20 Ultra’s camera system is probably its biggest unique selling point, and so we will begin our analysis of the phone here.

Samsung speaks about its rear camera array as a “signature design element” – something that helps make the phone’s overall look and allows it to be easily identified. And, when you flip the phone over, the one thing it does is stand out.

The noticeably pronounced rectangular array (which will have to be protected by a case to avoid scrapes and nicks in our opinion) houses a seriously powerful quad-camera system, with a 108MP wide-angle main snapper joined by 48MP telephoto, 12MP ultra wide and time-of-flight DepthVision lenses.

And, while we’re talking about the rear array’s selection of lenses, the phone’s new Single Take shooting mode makes use of them all. In this mode all the lenses are used when a shot or video is taken and then, post shot, the user is presented with a variety of differing options (10 shots and mini-videos), which sit all under one entry in the phone’s image gallery.

The S20 Ultra also comes with some pretty impressive zoom functionality. From the furthest out ultra-wide setting to 1x, through 5x, 10x, 30x and up to 100x, you have plenty of range at your disposal when shooting. And fidelity remains decent at most zoom levels aside from 100x, which seem to take on a soft-focus water colour finish. With a proper tripod, we’re sure you could get some half-decent images from it, but we question its everyday usability.

Elsewhere, though, the S20 Ultra’s camera system really does flex its muscles. The amount of shooting modes on offer is quite remarkable. As well as a maximum freedom Pro shooting mode, you’ve got a strong panorama option, as well as dedicated settings for food, nighttime and live focus. As you would expect, you can shoot in a variety of aspect ratios, too.

In terms of video, you can shoot at a wide variety of resolutions up to 8K, while the Ultra also delivers a Pro video shooting mode, as well as slow-mo, super slow-mo and hyperlapse options. But while the 8K video shooting is a technical achievement, and very nice to have, the vast majority of people will not get to enjoy it, as you’d need an 8K screen to play it back at full fidelity – though creating 4K video from this 8K source looks just excellent.

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April 2020