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Home / NewTech / Samsung Galaxy S20 worth the upgrade? It depends on the camera and battery life

Samsung Galaxy S20 worth the upgrade? It depends on the camera and battery life



  Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

The camera performance of the Galaxy S20 Ultra could make the difference.


Sarah Tew / CNET

"Whoa. This is the Galaxy S20 Ultra ?" I was so surprised I said it out loud. Samsung's Unpacked Event was the first time that I got my hands on Samsung's largest and badest Galaxy S20 device. Due to the unfortunate circumstances I had to skip the typical journalist briefing session, so that I was only able to form my first concrete opinion this week when I held the S20 Ultra earlier this week.

Here's the first, but least important: The S20 Ultra is a massive, heavy phone with a huge camera module that reminded me of The Rock . Lynn La, senior editor at CNET, went one step further and called the array "chonky" and grotesque " The functions are limited to these completely redesigned cameras, the durability of the 5,000 mAh battery of the Ultra and to a lesser extent to 5G. In an artificially lit demo room, no matter how spacious, you can't really get these functions under control

It will take some time to understand whether it is worth buying the S20 Ultra or update, but I have opinions.


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Should You Buy the Galaxy S20?



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Disassembling the eye-catching camera specifications of the S20 Ultra is theoretically easy enough. There is a 108-megapixel camera, a 100x "room zoom" and a 48-megapixel lens with "folded zoom".

It was easy to point the camera with the intense zoom at the beautiful props in the room, like a tray with chic yogurt parfait and journalist friends, to quickly assess how well the individual camera functions performed. This is fine and necessary in a closed demo area, but you only really know how good the photos are when you take pictures of scenes in the real world.

The camera value does not only depend on the image quality. either. You also need to consider how easy it is to use the feature correctly, edit photos, and share them. For example, after testing Single Take mode, which took up to 10 photos and four videos with a single button press, I got the clear impression that using this mode means that you may be spending a lot of time the whole extra to delete recordings you don't want. This was confirmed by some occasional pictures I took with Single Take on the foldable phone Galaxy Z Flip .

Testing the zoom function in real life is particularly important. When I pointed the S20 Ultra through the demo room and dialed in with 30, 50 and 100x zoom, I was not immediately impressed by what I saw. But I also didn't point to anything meaningful, like a decorative cornice on a palace, a heron wading in the sea, or a dazzling actor on stage. The advantage of zooming in on this scale is that if you can't get your body close enough to frame and capture the shot, you'll reduce the distance by technology.

Comparing the zoom functions of the Galaxy S20 Ultra with those of the Huawei P30 Pro will also be essential. The S20 Ultra's periscope lens uses technology similar to the P30 Pro to produce 5x optical zoom and up to 50x digital zoom. I remember that I was impressed with Huawei's ability to pinpoint distant objects. The same applies to the Pixel 4 and 4 XL "Super Zoom" sensors.

Battery life is the last ingredient here. 5,000 mAh is roughly the largest capacity, but we also need to consider how many resources the phone's enormous screen is actually consuming and how 5G can change the battery equation (which varies by network). Enabling the 120 Hz refresh rate option is also expected to significantly reduce battery life compared to the standard 60 Hz screen settings.

I look forward to hearing the answers to these questions about the Galaxy S20 Ultra in the coming weeks when a test device arrives. Pretty soon, when someone asks me if the Galaxy S20 Ultra is worth $ 1,400 or upgrading the Galaxy S10, I can give a clear answer. At the moment it's easy: wait and see.

Originally published earlier this week.


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Hands-on with the Galaxy S20, S20 Plus and S20 Ultra



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