Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra | One Year Later Review | Wait for S21 Ultra?
What a dum dum the galaxy s20 ultra was the ultimate version of samsung’s 2020 flagship ford in boston, an insane 100 times spare zoom camera a beastly 6.9 inch super amoled screen and super premium specs throughout all wrapped up in a shiny glass frame. Sadly, here in the uk we got a version of the ultra using samsung’s own exodus, 990 chipset. But i managed to wrangle a version from the us which uses qualcomm snapdragon 865 chipset instead and if you’re, a fellow brit and you’re tempted by the ultra i’d, recommend doing the same for a better overall experience. But anyway, i’ve had this wee beastie for coming up on 12 months now and i’ve been mostly using it as a point of comparison for other super premium smartphones. But finally, here is my in depth review now that will hopefully drop a bit in price with the impending s21 ultra, because right now most retailers are still selling it for a hot grand and it costs for around 60 pound a month on contract, which, frankly, is A bit mental now, while samsung offered a veritable rainbow of color choices for its fan edition model, the s20 ultra sadly offers the less than filled selection of cosmic gray or cosmic black and either way you’re getting an absolute monster of a smartphone. When i first tried to get to grips with the ultra about a year ago, i thought, frankly, it was absolutely ludicrous it’s like what’s next, we just strap a laptop to our arms and go about with that all day.
Instead but then 2020 started tossing an endless supply of freaking enormous handsets at us like the utter bastard. It was, and you know what i think that my hand joints are somehow like separated and reformed to adjust to handling something so ridiculously huge. Ladies because, seriously 12 months on, the ultra doesn’t feel quite so insanely massive it’s, just the new normal. I guess god damn it, but that’s not to say that it isn’t still ridiculously cumbersome, and i do still find that my fingers or palm bits occasionally straight to the edges of the screen and tap things that they shouldn’t. A problem that i strangely didn’t have with. Samsung’S massive naught 20 blowers that exceptionally smooth the glass surfacer means that the s20 ultra has the uncanny habit of slipping out of my pocket. As soon as i start, reclining on a sofa or anything like that, and also it loves to slide its way along any table surface or desk that isn’t 100 completely flat before hurling itself unceremoniously off the edge, you do, thankfully get a pre installed screen protector with The s20 ultra, which has scratched up a fair bit over the past year we’ve, also got gorilla glass, 6 plated on the front as well as the back. So even without the protector, it should have been fine. That back end is certainly pristine, despite plenty of heavy handling. Now the s20 ultra has been fully updated to the latest android 11, as well as samsung’s new one ui launcher version 3.
0. So certainly the software experience feels nice and fresh as you’d expect from a super premium. Smartphone i’ve got to say, though one ui version, three looks really nice, but it doesn’t really add any new features that i particularly use at all, let alone on a daily basis. I have spotted quite a few little quirks here and there over the past few months, for instance, you don’t seem to get any media controls popping up in that notifications bar when you’re using google podcasts and i’m. Not a fan i’d already have samsung free as well, which replaces the google discover feed with a quick swipe right from the home screen, basically adds up a selection of slightly tailored headlines and uh. You know shortcuts to some online time wasters. Things like that and some stuff i can’t actually access in the uk. The problem is it’s not really quite as intuitive as google discover and it doesn’t offer the same level of personalization either you can customize which topics pop up in that news feed. But it is all us based i’m guessing because i got a us handset it won’t say: oh look, you live in the uk here’s a bunch of uk headlines instead, so yeah i’d, rather just replace it with um. Google discover to be perfectly honest, but that doesn’t seem to be an option go away and, as always, you’ve got a doubling up on all kinds of features like two browsers, two app stores, two voice assistants, two smart home hubs, it’s all a bit.
Much if you wan na know more, though you can see some more my general thoughts about one ui by clicking the slinky bit up top, where i bang on about samsung’s ui for probably far too long. Unless i forgot to add the link in in the editing, in which case whoops now, this right here is the already quite beefy, 128 gig model of the s20 ultra b can grab an even more expensive version with half a terabyte of storage. If you download a hell of a lot of smart, although microsd memory cards are up to a terabyte or supported anywhere, so you can download pretty much whatever your sick little heart. Fancies you’ve also got wi fi 6 support for a nippy bit of internet action. Very handy when we’re, basically stuck at home all day long and you’ve also got sub six 5g as well. If you happen to live in an area with millimeter wave 5g support like the us, then you might want to wait for that s21 ultra, which should support it me. I don’t even get sub six around, where i am so i’m still out of luck either way. So, as i mentioned before, this isn’t the standard uk version of the s20 ultra with samsung’s exynos platform, instead it’s the us model with qualcomm snapdragon 865, backed by 12 gigs of ram. Now this boss, better performance, as well as better battery life compared with that exodus model, and i certainly had zero issues issues in either of those departments.
With the s20 ultra snapdragon version, apps load in a heartbeat, you can multitask with a plum and of course, even the most demanding games play with a crazy smooth frame rate and frankly, android games can do one anyway, because samsung’s premium phones come with xbox game. Pass. Support so you could blast through proper console quality titles. On that gorgeous super amoled screen. You will need a game pass subscription to get involved, of course, but the 100 ish games on offer are well worth that 10 month, asking price you can even stream games with special customized touch controls, although it can be a little bit awkward this way. So i definitely recommend hooking up a bluetooth controller and that epic sized 6.9 inch display definitely comes in handy for playing games as well as just kicking back with a movie or two as usual, it’s bright, it’s punchy as and it’s supremely crisp thanks to the quad Hd plus resolution, although, as usual, you have to choose between having that sharp detail and the fast refresh for it, because you can’t have both you can’t, have your cake and eat it, you can only have it or you can eat it. So, for the most part, i just left the s20 ultra on that 120 hertz refresh board with the full hd resolution, because i love the super smooth swishing about whenever it’s active. It is a shame that you can’t really get that quad hd on the go at the same time uh.
Hopefully that will come along with the s21. I guess i’m still not a massive fan of that in display fingerprint sensor either, which seems to take a couple of stabs to unlock more often than not give me a solid bit of edge mounted scanner action any day of the week, but the fixed recognition is Generally, pretty reliable it’s not the fastest around, but it will generally unlock the smartphone after a couple of seconds. So i generally just let that do its thing instead and, as i mentioned before, battery life certainly isn’t an issue with this snapdragon model of the s20 ultra either, because that 5000 milliamp cell can be gone all day long every single day, even with lots of features Like the 120 hertz refresh rate and the always on display active, of course, as most of this pasture has been spent in some form of lockdown, i haven’t really been able to make much use of that 5g connectivity. So i can’t say quite how well the battery life would hold up if you’re, actually using that network connection instead. Now the camera is one of the main bits of the s20 ultra that sets this samsung blower, apart from the vanilla s20 and the s20 plus models, apart from the freakish size and while it’s not one of the absolute best smartphone cameras around, i still prefer the Oppo f5x2 pro, for instance, i still got on very well with the ultra’s optics that primary lens is a 108 megapixel beast, although this captures 12 megapixel images by default and that’s plenty good for sharp, looking everyday picks, you can swap up to the max res.
If you want, although doing so often hampers the saturation levels, so it’s best used sparingly, moving subjects are often captured cleanly with a warning when shots may be a little bit blurry and no worries if you’re shooting against a bright sky on that default, 12 megs setting, Because the s20 ultra is usually smart enough to sort any issues out at night time. The auto mode tends to cause lighter elements to flare up, while darker segments can get rather gritty, but samsung’s night mode tends to sort that right out, and this also comes in handy for dealing with softer indoor lighting producing brighter sharper. More natural, looking picks. You’Ve also got a 12 megapixel ultra wide angle lens, which, as usual struggles to create the same natural, looking picks as that primary snapper and also struggles in soft lighting, but it’s there. If you need it, but the super big whoop of samsung’s galaxy s20 ultra camera is that 48 megapixel periscope zoom lens, which offers samsung’s crazy nuts 100 times spare zoom feature. However, while the hybrid zoom works really well up to around the sort of ten times mark. It’S bog standard digital zoom from that point onwards and frankly i wouldn’t really bother because everything starts to look a bit: fuzzy and crap, pretty damn quick and at night time, you’ll also get soft grainy results, so yeah all of samsung’s usual bonus. Camera features are back in action, including a solid portrait mode, but i’ve got to say the camera feature that i probably use more than any other here on the s20 ultra is the single take mode which was introduced on the s20 series of smartphones.
I was quite skeptical about it at first, but i’ve definitely come to love it. This is great for indecisive, like me, capturing a selection of photos and video clips simultaneously for a total of up to 15 seconds, usually with proper great results, but i’ve always found that one of the strengths of samsung’s camera phones is definitely the video chops and when I was shooting just straight up video here on the s20 ultra i stuck at the 4k 60 frames per second setting. You can shoot 8k, but let’s face it. Ak home movies it’s a bit of an overkill and it just absolutely slides your storage as well. So it’s more of a headline grabber than an actual useful feature. Still the 4k footage i shot looked as great as ever home movies look beautifully natural when you watch them back, especially at that 60 frames per second setting. Colors are spot on detail levels are, of course impressive and audio pickup is faultless and i’ve also got lots of time for the manual video mode, which allows you to tweak the settings and also serves up some very nifty tools like a super smooth, zoom slider up Front in that dinky wii camera cutout you’ve got a mighty 40 megapixel selfie cam for all of your instagram and needs and i’ve got ta say i loved. Using this thing. Even in quite soft lighting, you tend to get pretty decent results, while the portrait mode works.
An absolute treat, although, as usual, the wide angle, mode, doesn’t, really add much to precedence and there you have it. Finally, after 12 long months, my galaxy s20 ultra review. Yes, a little bit tardy on that one. So, apologies and you know if you want a super premium smartphone and you do find that the price drops on this thing once the s21 ultra is out, then you know there’s a lot to love about it. Certainly, the screen is absolutely gorgeous the performance. The battery life is fantastic on the snapdragon model, that’s the caveat. However, i do still find it rather cumbersome to use occasionally. You know you get your fingers straight onto that screen and selecting things that you wouldn’t want to select, and it can be a little bit. Quirky in places too personally, i’ve got to say this sort of price i’d, rather go with oppo’s fine, x2 problem i’m, absolutely obsessed with that phone. I think it’s, absolutely stunning stuff or of course, sony’s excellent xperia one mark ii as well, which blew me away and hopefully should be replaced with the xperia wall mark iii imminently. Well, that’s. My thoughts, if you’ve been using the s20 ultra be great to hear your own uh mini review down below. Please stay tuned for all my s21 coverage, which should be coming on the 14th. I believe it is the the launch date is set and plenty more launches. Already lined up for january, so jesus it’s going to be a busy one.
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