Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy S20 series
Feb. 12, 2020
Today at its Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco, Samsung announced the Galaxy S20 series , including the S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra. There weren't a lot of surprises, since the devices were fully leaked well ahead of time, but this is the first chance we've gotten to see them in person. And yes, they're quite impressive.
Let's start with the camera, particularly that of the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Samsung is promising up to 100x Space Zoom on the device, while the other two go up to 30x. It combines a 108MP main sensor and a 48MP telephoto sensor for hybrid zoom, and adds some AI into the mix, something that Samsung has been investing heavily in.
Gallery: Galaxy S20 Ultra zoom samples
When you max it out at 100x, it's definitely better than anything else that we're seeing on the market. That doesn't mean it's good, or that you'll be regularly using it to take pictures. It does mean, however, that the S20 Ultra can do better with lossless zoom than pretty much any other device. Also, as you'd expect, it's super hard to keep the phone steady enough to take the picture you want.
The next key new feature is 8K video recording, and it's supported by all three models. In fact, these are the only smartphones in the world right now that have it, although more should be coming this year, since it's a feature of the Snapdragon 865 Mobile Platform.
I'd think of 8K video recording as tomorrow's technology today. It's a neat trick, but it's not for me. You're not going to be able to record in HDR, or 60fps. Personally, I'll still prefer a good 4K 60fps video.
It's also worth noting that the front camera also records 4K 60fps, which is pretty cool.
The last thing that's worth checking out with the camera is night mode, which leaves the shutter open for longer to allow in more light. That's not exactly new though.
Gallery: Galaxy S20 Ultra night mode samples
The camera changes are easily the biggest new features in the Galaxy S20. As far as hardware goes, this is probably the most impressive that we've seen. Whether it's actually the best camera out there will be decided when we can get it in our hands, because the software algorithms are arguably even more important and Samsung has a history over oversaturating images.
The new 120Hz Super AMOLED display is absolutely beautiful. Screens are something that Samsung has always been good at.
I even played Forza Street for a little while, which is coming to the Galaxy Store. The graphics look sharp, the performance is fast, and of course, the screen makes the motion look so smooth.
All-in-all, this adds up to a pretty great experience. Samsung really put a lot of work into the S20 series, packing a lot of innovation into both the camera and the display. I've really excited to review this one.
Gallery: Galaxy S20 hands on
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