iPhone or Samsung? Tested Galaxy S20 Ultra

Once phones competed in thickness (thinner – better), screen size (bigger – cooler), performance and number of cores in the processor. Today we are in the middle of the era of measurement with megapixels and the number of cameras. New smartphones are more alike than ever, and only the possibilities of photo and video shooting can radically differ (or may not differ). Unless, of course, we are talking about unique models like the Galaxy Fold and Z Flip .

Enough to sort out the peculiarities of the arrangement of buttons, ease of placement in the hand, performance (“everything flies” – today it applies even to budget models) and autonomy (lasts a day, and if you try, two). All this plus or minus is the same for all smartphone manufacturers, and there is not much difference between the middle and high price segments. And you can and should look at the parameters with technical specifications in 

Do vendors focus on camera capabilities? Well, it’s them we are testing from and to, as well as comparable to competitors. And we will talk about the remaining impressions thesis, so as not to be distracted from the main thing.

Boring, powerful, rattling and eyes like

  • The design is habitually boring, the color without frills, the cover, like any gloss, is easily soiled.
  • The camera unit is impressive, and not to say so nice.
  • The lid, according to the manufacturer, is glass,but it resembles plastic to the touch.
  • The sensation of toyiness is enhanced by a strange sound, like from a baby rattle. You shake the smartphone a little bit, and the optical stabilization system is booming inside. When the camera is on, the sound is much quieter. In any case, this clearly should not be.
  • The live phone is really gigantic, only for two-handed use.
  • You can not think about a lack of performance for several years, even despite the fact that we have Exynos 990 here instead of the beloved Snapdragon. Very powerful!
  • The display is expectedly chic, and at a frequency of 120 Hz it makes the eyes more pleasant in the first place when scrolling text – everything is smooth and beautiful. In games, the difference compared to the standard 60 Hz is more difficult to notice – we need adapted projects, of which there are not so many.
  • The 120 Hz screen mode is more energy efficient. According to our measurements, in this mode the phone loses its charge 15–20% faster. In addition, at 120 Hz, the resolution is reduced to Full HD +. Nevertheless, we are for sacrificing the battery and the resolution for the sake of the “floater”.
  • The screen is almost flat, with subtle curvatures on the sides. We are sure that for another year, the display will completely straighten out, and then without these unnecessary distortions at the edges everyone will be completely fine.
  • By complete fast charging in half an hour, the smartphone is charged at 67%, fully – in less than an hour. There is reverse wireless charging for other devices.
  • Autonomy is highly dependent on usage scenarios. With a 120 Hz display, Always On and 8K video shooting, one charge is enough for a day. If we sacrifice some comfort, we get a full two days.
  • The on-screen fingerprint scanner at the competition level: it recognizes accurately, but is still noticeably slower than classic sensors.
  • It’s more convenient to use face unlock. And in the light, and in complete darkness, she always recognizes you. True, in the dark it makes it slower.

Galaxy S20 Ultra cameras in theory

It is clear that the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is not just a smartphone, but a 90% camera phone. It is the camera that distinguishes the device in the Galaxy family in the literal and figurative sense – it really sticks out and does not allow it to lie quietly on its “back”. Samsung has increased the size of the sensor on all Galaxy phones, allowing them to collect three times as much light. And only the S20 Ultra received a 108-megapixel sensor, 100x AI zoom and a 40-megapixel selfie camera.

The main sensor is a huge 1 / 1.33-inch matrix, and a ½-inch CMOS sensor is used in the telephoto lens. This promises less noise in night photos, faster shutter speeds and therefore sharper images.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra received the following cameras: 12-megapixel wide-angle F2.2, 108-megapixel main F1.8 with optical stabilization, 48-megapixel telephoto F3.5 with optical stabilization, and DepthVision (Time of Flight) module.

108 is a very pleasant number for the ear and eye. But for the phone, this number of megapixels is excessive, so in normal mode the camera rolls to use 9-block (3 × 3) pixels, which provide a standard 12-megapixel photo.

S20 Ultra has an excellent selfie camera, but the 40-megapixel mode makes sense to use only in daylight. In the evening, a small pixel size will not be suitable for selfie frames.

Galaxy S20 Ultra cameras in practice

First, let’s talk about 108 megapixels. On the example of the Galaxy S20 Ultra, we received another confirmation that while the conversation is purely in the context of marketing. Such a high resolution has no advantage in reality. And not only in the night mode, but also in the daytime. Well, if you can’t wait to bring any remote object closer, it’s better to zoom right away on the phone. Crop is useless. Here are a couple of examples with crop with 108 megapixels and 30x zoom.

A similar useless marketing looks like shooting at 8K. Yes, this opportunity can be boasted in advertising, but to use it? Without optical stabilization and with only 24 frames per second, all this on any screen does not look very good. Add 8K gluttony here – a 20-second clip takes up more than 200 MB. With this in mind, the 128 GB internal drive looks very poor. In general, 4K and 60 frames per second is our everything.

Funny with multi-frame, we also do not understand. The bottom line: while you twist the phone around, it takes photos and videos on all cameras, applies different effects, and then it all shows you to the music. Perhaps it’s especially useful for creative ticktokers …

Day mode

In sunny weather, but with a hint of backlight, we liked the iPhone , which worked out healthy clouds and generally demonstrated the most “correct” understanding of the scene. At Samsung, details hid in the darkness of shadows, and Honor suddenly decided to add redness on its own.

We cut out the middle of each frame and see: yes, it didn’t seem to us, the iPhone 11 Pro is a topic:

Day zoom

Let’s try a 5x zoom. True, if the Galaxy and V30 are talking about a hybrid approximation, then on the iPhone we have more digital zoom. No wonder that here the “apple” smartphone lagged behind competitors. Samsung did just fine.

The farther (or closer?), The better Samsung shows itself. Juicy, bright, clear – very good!

With a 30x zoom, the nuances that cast doubt on the feasibility of such a shooting are already obvious. Nevertheless, if you need to “shoot” into the distance to see something, then it may come together once or twice in life:

100x zoom:

 Another series of photos with a 5-, 10-, 30- and 100-fold approximation:

At a 100x zoom, the S20 Ultra shoots in much the same way as competitors do with a 10x digital smartphone: photos look like watercolor. But this can be useful in documentary functions: consider something in the distance, for example, a number or letter in the inscription. On the whole, we see a continuation of the grandiose war of megapixels and zooms, which has been dramatically played out over the past two decades on compact cameras.

Night mode

To repeat: today all smartphones shoot well in daylight. The matrix is ​​able to show itself (or, conversely, not to show) in low light conditions.

So, in the night mode, the Galaxy S20 Ultra behaves strangely. Not bad, but inconsistent. Here are two shots taken one by one. Moreover, the second is clearly better than the first. It is difficult to say why this happened, but keep in mind that you always need to take a few photos so that there is plenty to choose from.

For comparison with competitors, we’ll take that better shot.

If you do not look closely, then all three participants look plus or minus with dignity. But in the photo taken on Samsung, it’s more pleasant to watch. Now let’s see in more detail:

And here it is already clearly visible that the Galaxy S20 Ultra surpasses its competitors in the quality of night photos.

Night zoom

The iPhone can only double optical zoom, but Samsung and Honor are ready to play five times without tension. We will compare them.

We did not notice a significant difference. Unless Honor has a little higher detail, but this is more likely at the level of error. Will anything change with a 10x zoom?

Wait a minute, the Galaxy S20 Ultra has another 100x zoom! “Aiming”, especially at night, is difficult, despite the help of a separate small window with an eye. Compare Samsung’s 100x zoom with Honor crop, which we got from a 30x zoom.

What is there, what is there to talk about photography can only be conditional. Obviously, all these 30- and 100-fold zooms are nothing more than a toy to indulge in once.

Wide angle camera

In the afternoon, the wide-angle cameras for all three smartphones worked differently. Even the models from Samsung and Apple, despite technically similar optics parameters, there are significant differences. We liked how the iPhone worked out the shadows. At the same time, the Galaxy S20 Ultra turned out to have a more natural color reproduction. Honor generally has a different view of wide-angle shooting: almost without distortion at the edges and with excellent detail, but with a more modest viewing angle.

But at night the “shirik” Galaxy S20 Ultra is certainly gorgeous! Definitely the best of everything that I had to see on mobile phones:axy S20 Ultra 

The secret is in night mode, which is turned on separately and works with a wide-angle lens. Without night mode, the photo turns out to be standard:


In the early days of testing, we could not understand what was wrong. Galaxy S20 Ultra focuses very poorly on nearby objects. Then it turned out that Samsung was aware of the problem and would prepare a patch. So far, without it, the photos taken near will look depressing.

In general, there remains hope for a software fix. Because now it’s difficult to shoot high-quality macro photos on the Galaxy S20 Ultra so much that it is almost impossible.

Galaxy S20 Ultra Camera Impressions

  • A lot of naked marketing. Forget about 8K videos and photos with a resolution of 108 megapixels. So far, these are nothing more than figures tha are completely not correlated with the concept of “quality”.
  • 100x zoom – from the same opera, but in theory with a slightly more real possibility of application. You look, once or twice, and you click on some moon. If you keep her in the frame, of course.
  • The Galaxy S20 Ultra has a chic wide-angle camera,which is especially good in tandem with night mode.
  • The main camera, which you will use in 99% of cases, is at the level of other camera phones. Somewhere a little better, somewhere worse. In any case, now the difference in the cameras of the top phones has to be looked for almost with a magnifying glass.
  • The problem with focusing is the file, which must be fixed, and as soon as possible.
  • In general, the impression was that manufacturers were fixated on listing the marketing advantages of mobile cameras. At the same time, nothing substantial and truly breakthrough in this area has happened for quite some time.


Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is a typical modern flagship with a horse price of 7,947.18 Pakistani Rupee . It’s hard to imagine what could force Pakistan to give up the cost of the iPhone 11 Pro Max with 512 GB of memory for a smartphone with a drive four times less. And haters of the “apple” who like to take pictures on the phone will even find a model that is not much inferior to Galaxy (or even even superior to it), but one and a half to two times cheaper.

The 120 Hz screen is good, but it does not draw on a dramatic advantage. There is a lot of productivity, but where today it is not enough among smartphones more expensive than 2,337.65 Pakistani Rupee ? Design … In September, everyone laughed at the iPhone 11, but looking at the Galaxy S20 Ultra is no longer a laughing matter. A set of little things in the form of reverse and superfast charging will not surprise anyone for a long time, especially for that kind of money. By the way, in relation to such a price, talking about such significant shortcomings as extraneous sounds during shaking and problems with focusing is awkward.

7.5 Total Score
Egadget Rating

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra does not have such terrible flaws. However, they begin to bulge and play with all the colors of the rainbow under the rays of an incredibly high price. We are sure that the problems with focusing will be corrected, the price will drop to an acceptable5,844.13 Pakistani Rupee in a few months, and you will bashfully cover the design with cheerful covers. Then you can add a point and a half. But so far.

  • Display
  • Night mode photo
  • Design
  • Horse price
  • 128 GB
  • Macro photo
  • Rattle
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