Ultra big, ultra expensive and ultra good, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G. It can fully convince in the test: An excellent, albeit oversized display, paired with top performance, great workmanship and excellent camera make the Ultra Samsung appear in the best light.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G Full Specification Review
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 very smoothly. All in all, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is a very good device that sets the bar high. Unfortunately, this also applies to the price of up to 1,549 euros.
- 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
Test data for Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus 5G Specification
|Processor:||Samsung Exynos 990|
|Random access memory:||12 GB|
|WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS:||802.11 n, ac, ax|
|Height x width:||162 x 74 mm|
|Display: Refresh rate:||120 Hz|
|Memory card slot:||Yes|
|Battery: Capacity:||4,500 mAh|
|Processor clock:||2,730 MHz|
|Benchmark: GFX-Bench:||50.0 frames / s|
|LTE: Supported frequency bands:||800, 1,800, 2,600 MHz|
|SIM slot:||Nano-SIM⧸Nano-SIM or eSIM|
|Processor cores:||2 + 2 + 4|
|Camera: Auto focus:||Yes|
|Camera: Megapixel:||12.2 megapixels|
|LTE: speed:||2,000 Mbit / s|
|Display: Size in millimeters:||70 x 155 mm|
|Camera: Optical image stabilizer:||Yes|
|USB port:||Type-C USB 3.1|
|Display: Pixel density:||524 ppi|
|Camera: Resolution:||1,573 lp / hour|
|Display resolution:||3,200 x 1,440 pixels|
|Tested with:||Android 10.0|
|Benchmark: PCMark:||12,657 points|
|Product:||Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus 5G|
|Battery: Charging time:||01:36 hours|
|Battery: Online runtime:||11:41 hours|
|Fast charging power supply included:||Yes|
|Battery: Battery charge after 30 minutes:||53 percent|
|Display: Contrast in ambient light:||67: 1|
|Free space:||465.8 GB|
|Camera: Noise:||1.9 VN1|
|Camera: slow motion (HD / Full-HD):||– / 240 fps (1,080p)|
|Loading time: PDF via WLAN:||4.5 seconds|
|Camera: Gross megapixels of the sensor:||12 megapixels|
|Display: Diagonal:||6.7 in|
|Front camera: Resolution:||10.0 megapixels|
|Camera: max. Video resolution:||7,680 x 4,320 pixels (24 frames per second)|
|Nominal memory:||512 GB|
|Display: Brightness:||969.9 cd / m²|
|Display: checkerboard contrast without ambient light:||162: 1|
|Dust and water protection:||IP68|
|Display: Diagonal (additional display):||–|
|Display: sRGB color space:||151%|
|Display: color space DCI-P3:||100%|
|Biometric unlock:||Fingerprint sensor, face recognition|
|Camera: Expert assessment Image quality:||1.2 (very good)|
Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G Review: Samsung’s top cell phone of 2020 – 2021
The Galaxy S10 is followed by the Galaxy S20: Samsung breaks with its name tradition and introduces a larger version jump – in line with the year 2020. And for Samsung connoisseurs there is another innovation: At the top of its portfolio this time there is no “plus” – Model, but even an “Ultra” version.
And as the test shows, there is indeed much about this device that is ultra namely, ultra good. In addition to the Galaxy S20 Ultra, the Galaxy S20 Plus and the standard model, simply called the Galaxy S20, will be launched at the same time.
The star of the lineup is the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. However, this mobile phone experience is not cheap: The model we tested costs 1,350 euros to launch, is it worth it?
Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G: huge camera module and great look
From the outside, the Galaxy S20 Ultra has changed a lot compared to the Galaxy S10 Plus, but there are many similarities that can be seen.
As usual, the workmanship is high quality: an aluminum frame paired with glass on the front and back make the Galaxy S20 Ultra not only very high quality, but also appear stable. No creaking, clean gaps and rounded edges 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, this is already extraordinarily large with the S20 Ultra. In addition, it protrudes very far from the case at 2.5 millimeters.
The giant display of the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G shines on the front, which is even larger than 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 on the previous year’s model.
This means that changes in contrast on the sides are no longer noticeable. The upper edge of the display has also 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.
What a display!
The fact that Samsung can build excellent cell phone displays is nothing new. And with the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, the manufacturer does not disappoint the very high expectations.
The screen measures a total of 6.9 inches almost the size of a tablet. However, Samsung uses almost the entire front for the display, which as with its predecessors and looks great.
However, due to its huge size, one-handed operation is no longer possible in most cases. Both hands are required, especially for use in the upper third of the touch area. 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 a sensational 1200 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 point under very bright simulated ambient light. In practice you will rarely see such a high value. Without direct incidence of light, almost 470 cd / m² are possible despite manual maximization of the display brightness.
We measure the display brightness at different points on the screen with a black and white checkerboard contrast. And in direct light, the screen boosts to a very high 970 cd / m² in this scenario. In addition, the contrast display under ambient light is great.
As in its predecessors, Samsung uses OLED technology for the S20 Ultra 5G, which primarily results in excellent black levels, great contrasts and a large color spectrum: In the vivid color mode, the screen covers a full 153 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, which is relevant for HDR videos. The Galaxy S20 Ultra can also handle HDR10+. In short: Much more display than here is currently not possible.
120 Hz mode: Particularly sharp or particularly fluid
As in the previous year’s model, Samsung is installing 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 activates this resolution manually. From the factory, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra “only” runs in Full HD +, which is still sharp enough for everyday use.
As an alternative to the higher resolution, the display can now also show 120 images per second (120 Hz instead of 60 Hz). For the user this means: much smoother animations and a much more responsive scrolling behavior.
The increased frame rate is only available up to a maximum of Full HD + resolution. Ultimately, the buyer can decide whether he prefers a razor-sharp QHD + resolution or an extremely smooth 120 Hertz.
We think the 120 Hz mode is great because its advantages can be experienced immediately. The high refresh rate is, however, at the expense of the battery life: the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G then goes out 2.5 hours earlier but the battery life is usually still good enough.
An ultra-large battery ensures a long runtime – partly
The heavy weight of the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is partly due to the massive battery: it holds a full 5,000 mAh. However, the device also needs this size, because the huge, lightning-fast screen and the powerful processor take a long time. All in all, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra lasted 9:18 hours in our test when the user activated the 120 Hz mode.
If you leave it at the default 60 Hertz in Full HD + resolution, the battery life increases to an excellent 11:26 hours. The latter is the runtime we rated because the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G achieved it in its default settings.
For our online runtime test, we dim the brightness to 200 cd / m², which is suitable for indoor use, and let the smartphone load and display videos and websites from the LTE network without interruption. A script also simulates scrolling and typing inputs.
Charging works quickly: thanks to the included 25-watt power adapter, the battery capacity increases from 0 to 100 percent in 89 minutes. After half an hour, 56 percent of the battery is charged and ready for use. But that’s not the highest of feelings: Samsung optionally offers a 45 watt power adapter, which is supposed to help the battery get back on its feet even faster.
Wireless charging is of course also on board again, but this time with a maximum power of up to 15 watts and an enlarged inductive surface. Wireless Power Share, i.e. the wireless charging of devices on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, works a little better.
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 can get the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G with Samsung’s own Exynos 990: an octa-core processor with up to 2.73 gigahertz Clock rate.
In other regions, the manufacturer relies on the current Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, a similarly performing 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 memory variant selected, the processor has between 12 and 16 gigabytes of RAM available. This amount of RAM is often only found in high-performance laptops or PC; the standard for smartphones is rather four to eight gigabytes. Here, too, the 5G Ultra Galaxy from Samsung lives up to its name.
The performance is great: Animations run smoothly throughout, the user can almost permanently enjoy the full 120 Hertz. Loading times are minimal, apps open constantly at a very high speed. So the good benchmark results are not surprising either: The top smartphone achieved a total of 12,021 points in the PCMark for Android.
Samsung spikes at Huawei: The camera setup opens with a new lens
According to its own statement, Samsung attaches great importance to the subject of cameras when developing the Galaxy S20 Ultra. This is also noticeable from a purely visual point of view: Instead of a simple, horizontal arrangement of three camera lenses as in the Galaxy S10 Plus, a huge camera module 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. This guides the light through a prism around the corner, which increases the focal length and thus the zoom factor.
The result: a fourfold optical zoom. A 10x hybrid zoom is also available, which combines optical magnification with a digital zoom. However, the “100x” lettering next to the zoom lens reveals that there should be more in it. A purely digital zoom factor of up to 100 times can be used.
Samsung calls this function “Space Zoom”. However, the test shows that the quality leaves a lot to be desired in this case. The zoom levels between 10x and 100x are calculated exclusively digitally by the system.
Accordingly, you could just as easily take the picture in its entirety and then enlarge the corresponding part on the computer. No wonder, then, that details and contours are completely lost at maximum zoom.
Very good image quality, strength in the twilight 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 also what is known as 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 with 12 megapixels. With the pixel binning, Samsung promises a better display, less noise in night mode and a generally higher image quality.
The laboratory test shows: Recordings under bright light conditions are great, but the software sharpens a bit here and there. The slight oversaturation known from Samsung is again on the agenda with the S20 Ultra – some like it, others it may be too unnatural.
Overall, however, the Galaxy S20 Ultra shows a very commendable image quality that can compete with the best competition on the market. The same applies to the front camera: Thanks to an integrated autofocus, images with the front camera are constantly sharp and are very useful.
For low-light photography, the Ultra Samsung is head-to-head with the Huawei P30 Pro. If the device lies on a quiet surface or if it snaps out of a tripod, the final results in the laboratory test are equivalent.
When taking photos from the free hand, the competition doesn’t fool the S20 Ultra, the photos in the twilight 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 images, but also a blurring effect in videos.
However, this function did not prove to be particularly reliable in our test. For the first time, the user can record 8K recordings in 24 FPS on a smartphone.
So far, however, only users of an 8K television have been able to take full advantage of the results. 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, all you need to do in the camera app is click the shutter release button, and the smartphone will record the scene continuously 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: better than the Huawei P30 Pro?
We want to know exactly and take the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra outdoors with us. Here it has to prove itself in various scenarios against the Huawei P30 Pro. In bright daylight, we examine the details 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 grumbling at the highest level. Nevertheless, it is noticeable that the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra usually captures a few more details. On the other hand, the colors are a bit over saturated and white areas often appear a bit bluish.
This also applies to recordings under difficult lighting conditions. After the sun has completely set, the night mode of the respective device has to prove itself. The pictures of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra are still a bit too cool, but still look very strong. In addition, a clear result is shown here than under laboratory conditions.
Because the Huawei P30 Pro has to admit defeat in part. We took the night shots on a tripod. Our photo gallery shows you the best photos and you can also download them there in full resolution.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 5G is standard equipment, one connection has to give way
Samsung is following two major trends in the smartphone industry with the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The topic of 5G is now considered so relevant in the mobile market that the manufacturer installs a corresponding module as standard to support the network. With a suitable SIM card and 5G tariff, the network technology can already be used in the currently six cities with 5G.
How practicable this feature actually is in practice at the moment remains to be seen: especially in Europe, the 5G expansion is progressing very slowly and can only be used with two out of three providers at the moment.
The customers have not yet heard of 5G. In addition, the range of the few active 5G is very small and the battery life is significantly shorter with active 5G use.
The second trend, which is now reflected in all three Galaxy S20 models, is the lack of a headphone jack. While Samsung has always made fun of criticizing the missing jack socket at 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 ultra-good equipment
If you leave out the missing headphone jack, there are hardly any criticisms of the S20 Ultra 5G in terms of equipment.
- The latest Android 10 is already preinstalled on the new top Samsung. In addition, the manufacturer decorates the operating system with its in-house OneUI 2.0 interface. Judging by 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 in accordance with 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. However, this can also be expanded by up to one terabyte via a microSD card.
- Even with an additionally inserted micro SD card, 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 comes with dual speakers that offer an excellent sound in the test. A clear sound and good bass make the sound experience pleasant even without headphones.
- NFC is on board and thus enables mobile payments via Google Pay or Samsung Pay, among other things.
- 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 the download and up to 210 Mbit / s in the upload. VoLTE is also installed, but not in 5G mode.
- The dedicated Bixby button is no longer necessary. If you miss the service, you can now call it up by holding down the power button. The language assistant has also been speaking in european since last year, but continues to lag behind the Google Assistant in terms of 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, 1,349 euros are due.
If that’s not enough, you can get 16 instead of gigabytes of RAM and 512 instead of 128 gigabytes of ROM for a whopping 1,549 euros. That is definitely a hefty price tag 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 + worth 169 euros for free. But even after the pre-order campaign, headphones are included in the packaging, but with a cable and USB-C connector. A screen protector is also pre-installed.