Samsung Galaxy 20 Ultra 5G : Easy to love, not easy to afford

Pros

  • Versatile camera system that can smash other flagships
  • 120Hz Screen done well
  • Huge 5000 mAh battery pack with 45W charging
  • SingleTake is NOT a gimmick

Price

128GB/12GB : RM 4,999

Cons

  • High cost for adoption over the S20+ 
  • Camera bulk might turn people off
  • Doesn’t come with 45W charger out of the box

Colors

Cosmic Black

Cosmic Gray

Box Contents

  • Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
  • USB C to USB C cable
  • 25W 3-pin fast charger

==========================

  • SIM ejector tool
  • Quick start guide
  • Transparent Rubber Casing
  • AKG Earphones

The Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is the strongest, meanest, all-powerful device Samsung has ever created. The specs are strong, the cameras huge and versatile. At this present moment no competitor comes close, and it can suit any kind of end-user’s lifestyle. However, it’s still not for everyone, as the price tag it commands is rather high where few can afford. If you have the gold, then get this phone already. If it’s too out of your reach, going for the S20+ would be the more conscious choice.  

Design Highlights

  • Familiar design language to Note 10+
  • 6.9-inches of dynamic AMOLED goodness
  • Display fingerprint scanner

YEET

  • Large and bulky camera array
  • Acceptable 221g weight

The Galaxy S20 Ultra retains a lot of its design language from the Note 10+, and even more so the Note 10 Lite. It’s definitely curvier and heavier, weighing in a 221 grams, a pinchy 25g heavier than my Note 10+. 

I get it, it’s a subtle device that packs a lot of power. I honestly can appreciate that, as I don’t need my phone to look intimidating anyway. The only intimidating thing here in terms of design would be the bulky rear camera array that makes the device uneven when placed on a surface. The front camera is in front (obviously), pin-hole style. Easy and straightforward.

Button placements are familiar, with both the volume rocker and power button on the right side. The sim-tray’s on top, letting you slide in either 2 nano-sims or 1 nano-sim and a microSD card up to 2TB.

Apart from the conventional security methods like patterns, pins and face, there’s a quick ‘n easy ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner.

Overall, the design of the S20 Ultra is not leaps and bounds away from the previous Galaxy S10 and Note 10 series. It’s simply just more subtle and that’s something a lot of people would appreciate. I do suggest to slap on a case (whether it’s the provided one or a nice little Spigen), as the glossy back tends to attract a lot of fingerprints.

Display

  • WQHD+ (1440 x 3200) Dynamic AMOLED 2X Panel
  • 120Hz (only for FHD+. WQHD+ runs only 60Hz)
  • 511ppi
  • Gorilla Glass 6

Now here’s the jump. The Galaxy S20 Ultra packs a menacing display. Going straight for a 120Hz capable panel, you’re not only getting the eye-pleasing benefits of a Dynamic AMOLED panel, but also a buttery-smooth experience of a constantly-optimized OneUI 2. It may take hits on battery life, but you can always tone it down to 60Hz whenever you feel like it. Here’s the possible configurations based on typical needs:

  • Best Display Experience : WQHD + @ 60Hz
  • Best of Display and User Experience: FHD+ @ 120Hz
  • Everyday simple usage with long battery life: FHD+ @ 60Hz

Personally, I have been using the FHD+ resolution set at 120Hz as I feel that’s the median setting to enjoy what the device has to offer to adopters. And no, just because I set the refresh rate as such, I didn’t have to charge it twice as much as compared to 60Hz. In fact, I only charge the device once, at the end of my day. I never seem to run out of juice before I reach home. 

Colors are great, with the color profile set to ‘vivid’ right out the box. I loved doing everything I do with the S20 Ultra. I barely watch videos on smartphones but this time, the S20 Ultra had given me some encouragement with a large battery and a gorgeous display. 

Performance

  • Exynos 990 (2×2.73 GHz Mongoose M5 + 2×2.6 GHz Cortex-A76 + 4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55).
  • Mali-G77 MP11
  • 128GB + 12GB RAM

There is no shadow of doubt that the S20 Ultra is a performance beast. With their latest Exynos 990 chipset out in the wild, the user experience was nothing short of flagship-worthy. There’s a generous 12GB of RAM and a decent 128GB of internal memory that can be expanded up to 2TB via the microSD slot. Playing (compatible to 120Hz) games for nearly 90 minutes had no slow-downs whatsoever, with the battery discharging at a moderate rate.

Arena of Valor : 3-5% per 25 minute game

Warhammer 40K: Freeblade: 7% per 40 minute grinding session

Shadowgun Legends: up to 2% per level

All games were run on highest possible settings, it’s easy to conclude that if you wanted to play your favorite pastimes on the S20 Ultra, it will deliver with very decent power management. However, it does get a little hot for my liking but it’s not hot enough to be a major turn off. (It’s obvious that long gaming sessions on any smartphone will tend to build heat up, so do take little breaks every now and then)


Battery

There’s a beefy 5000mAh inside, a cool 700mAh bigger than the Note 10+. They’re not playing the ‘bigger size, longer battery life’ game. It’s to simply facilitate the 120Hz refresh rate and 5G connectivity. On typical daily usage of social media, light edits of my writing work, snapping photos and nearly all-day Spotify using bluetooth, I managed to push the S20 Ultra to its last legs of 8% in nearly 2 days. This includes the fact that I have 2 active sims and no 5G (Malaysia not ready lah). Display brightness was in the middle and the refresh rate was set to 120Hz. 

Setting it 60Hz however made things better, like, 3 hours better. Which means you can seriously push the S20 Ultra to last you over 2 days if set as such. I usually start my day early and go home late, so other than for testing purposes, I left it at 120Hz for the better experience and not usually landing myself in a scenario where I had to sit and charge at any time of my day. 

Charging Speed (from 1% with 25W charger)
  • 30 minutes – 63%
  • 1 hour – 100%

Camera and Video

Rear Camera

  • Main: 108MP f/1.8; PDAF, OIS
  • Periscope: 48MP f/3.5; PDAF, OIS, 10x hybrid optical zoom
  • Ultra-wide: 12MP f/2.2
  • 3D TOF Depth sensor

Front Camera

  • 40MP f/2.2 pin-hole front facing camera

This is where the S20 Ultra shines brightest. The camera system is a class of its own, starting with the Isocell Bright HM1 sensor. It combines 9 pixels into one, called a Nonacell, so the total output you’re getting is effectively 12 megapixels. That on its own should produce images that are of upper quality with minimal noise. 

Zoom levels are straightforward, from the furthest ultra-wide setting to 1x, then onward 5x, 10x, 30x and up to 100x. At 100x zoom level, you’ll begin to notice that images look dramatically soft, almost like a painting. Some may not like it, but I honestly pick this over too much noise. If you want my advice, get a steady tripod and some good weather conditions and you’ll be able to get some decent 100x photos out of it.



Outdoor 12MP 1X
Outdoor 12MP 1X

108MP
108MP

30X Zoom
30X Zoom

100X Zoom
100X Zoom

Selfie Cam
Selfie Cam

Indoor Daylight
Indoor Daylight

Indoor Warm
Indoor Warm

Indoor Daylight Cold
Indoor Daylight Cold


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Taking selfies on Samsung devices was something I was no stranger to, even with the beauty filters on out of the box. You’re getting a huge 40-megapixel sensor that can capture great images and videos. I personally enjoyed video-taking with the S20 Ultra’s front camera on 4K 60FPS. The processing and output quality is a big jump, even from my Note 10+.

The versatility and quality output of the S20 Ultra’s camera systems definitely broke the mold this time around. It may not be an immediate full-frame camera replacement but it’s definitely leagues closer from previous generation attempts. 

Single Take debuts with the S20 series, an AI assisted camera mode that captures several photos and videos in a single take over seconds. The outcome is a mini gallery of your shots where you can choose the best shots and share ’em directly. I see it being used thoroughly by people who go to parties or activities with plenty of commotion to leave people wondering whether they should take a photo or video instead.

Verdict : Easy to Love, not Easy to Afford.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is an excellent device. It’s able to deliver a top-notch user experience that showcases the very best features Samsung has to offer. You’ll find daily use of this device to be pleasant and features like Single Take might slowly be part of your life. 

Performance is good, capable of playing games, watching movies and taking excellent photos and videos with ease. The cost of adoption is high, coming in at RM4999. If that’s your only gripe, then the S20+ and S20 are better alternatives with the only difference being in camera sensors among other things.

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