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Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, S20 Ultra first impressions: Stylish and maybe worth the hype


Written by Sneha Saha
| San Francisco |

Updated: February 12, 2020 6:59:35 am


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To celebrate 10 years of the Galaxy S-series Samsung has decided to change the naming scheme, calling the 2020 edition the S20. At the company’s Unpacked event in San Francisco, Samsung unveiled three S20 series phones — the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus, and Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Samsung is very “proud” of what it calls the “best smartphone camera” in the world: the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The company calls it a “pro-grade” camera. And why not, the combination of 108MP wide-angle lens, 48MP telephoto lens, 12MP ultra-wide lens, and a Depth Vision camera makes the Ultra a great overall package.

Although the S20 Ultra has it all — a massive 5000mAh battery, four rear cameras with 108MP main sensor, 40MP selfie camera, 6.9-inch QHD+ screen, 40MP front camera — I feel the Galaxy S20 makes a lot more sense for a specifications-obsessed and price-sensitive market like India.

Indianexpress.com got some time with the all-new Galaxy S20 series phones and loved the way the devices look, especially the Galaxy S20 and the Galaxy S20 Plus. The rectangular camera module on the phones look very different making the Galaxy S20 stand out from the competition. The design of the new Samsung phones is refreshing.

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With every Galaxy S-series, Samsung tries something different in terms of design. And with the Galaxy S20 series, the ritual continues. The Galaxy S20 series looks nothing like the S10 series.

The S20 looks stylish, is extremely light and sports a clean design. The “signature camera design” looks unique and that’s what adds to the overall aesthetics of the smartphone.

I absolutely loved the way the S20 is crafted. The Galaxy S20 is possibly Samsung’s best work as far as the design is concerned. The S20 Plus sports the same design as the S20, but the camera bump is slightly wider to fit in that extra TOF sensor.

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The Galaxy S20 comes in three unique colours: Cosmic Grey, Cloud Blue, and Cloud Pink. If you are someone like me who prefers subtle colours, the Cloud Blue will attract you while if you don’t like to experiment much with colours, Cosmic Grey should be a great option. The Cloud Pink also looks decent, but not everyone might like it. For the Galaxy S20 Plus, I liked the Cloud Blue. There are two more options available: Cosmic Black and Cosmic Blue.

The Galaxy S20 is very lightweight, 163grams to be specific, and that makes it very easy to use the phone with just one hand. I feel the Galaxy S20 is just the right size with a 6.2-inch QHD+ AMOLED screen. The S20 Plus is slightly bigger than the S20 with a 6.7-inch screen and this makes the phone a little heavy but not very inconvenient to use like the Ultra. The sides of the phone are slightly curved and the bezels are minimal and this helps the phone offer a great multimedia experience. The punch hole sits at the center and makes the overall front design of the phone much cleaner.

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All three Galaxy S20 series phones come with two refresh rate options: 60hz and 120hz. Users can select the option that best suits them. In 120hz the phone should offer much smoother user experience compared to when the 60hz option is turned on. Battery life is always a problem in 120hz, but Samsung says the Galaxy S20 series is well-optimised and has only minimal battery loss when compared to the standard 60hz.

I couldn’t click pictures with the phone, but checked some of the photos captured with the phone in different scenarios and all of them show lots of details even when zoomed in. Samsung is vouching for the low-light pictures that the Galaxy S20 series can shoot. The Night Hyper Lapse mode helps click brighter and detailed low-light shots. Both the Galaxy S20 and the Galaxy S20 Plus come with up to 30X space zoom.

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I feel one of the most interesting camera features of the Samsung Galaxy S20 series is Single Take Mode. This mode basically allows users to shoot a 10-second video and using some AI camera technologies the phone captures still pictures, wide-angle video and more from the video. This mode basically lets users capture videos and pictures at the same time. All three Galaxy S20 phones come with 8K video recording support. Samsung says the 8K videos will be saved in 4GB files. Interestingly, there’s no time limit to shoot such videos.

Is Ultra really ultra premium?

Well, it indeed is. The S20 Ultra is the most premium phone of the three and is different from the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus in terms of design camera and a lot more. The biggest highlight of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is the camera. The phone comes with a 108MP camera with super-resolution zoom up to 100X. Samsung says the S20 Ultra uses AI-powered, multi-image processing that helps reduce quality loss at high zoom levels. The company says that Ultra uses nano-binning camera technology to click good detailed and bright pictures in a low-light scenario.

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The Galaxy S20 Ultra — as also the name suggests — is a massive phone and needs two hands to use. The phone comes with a big 6.9-inch screen and a center placed punch hole that includes 40MP selfie camera. I personally liked the design of the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus more than the Ultra. The S20 Ultra includes a massive camera bump on the back which doesn’t go very well with the otherwise polished design of the phone.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra is heavier than the other two S20 series phones and it’s due to the massive 5000mAh battery it packs inside. To quickly charge the big battery Samsung brings a 45W fast charging support but the charge will be sold separately and won’t come bundled with the box.

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Samsung is yet to reveal the official India launch details for the Galaxy S20 series. The company has, however, confirmed that specifications will vary from one market to another. Probably in India we might not see the 5G version of the phone and Samsung could consider bringing 4G variants of the Galaxy S2, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra.

Disclaimer: The author is in San Francisco on the invite of Samsung India.

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Updated: February 12, 2020 — 1:40 am

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