I last wrote an article on the Samsung Galaxy 20 Ultra 5G, a formidable smartphone with an astounding 100x Space Zoom capability. Recently, Samsung Singapore sent over the remaining series, the compact S20 and the mid-sized S20+. I have gone through a few weeks of hands-on with each smartphone and has come to an affirmative verdict on which S20 series should a consumer get.
There are actually very little performance variances based on my hands-on. Running AnTuTu benchmark, the score is just about 0.5% difference with one another. The S20 Ultra has the highest score even though the processor is the same because it has the largest RAM.
Display Size and Handling
The S20 Ultra 5G is 6.9-inch behemoth, so clearly if you really need large display, this is the one. And of course it has the best camera system among the 3. While the size is the biggest, it’s still manageable for me – my palm stretches from thumb to pinkie about 20cm.
The 6.7-inch S20+ would be the next best choice for the general consumer, thanks to its more relatively “affordable” price – a S$400 savings from S20 Ultra. The handling is of course better than the S20 Ultra, and the 0.2-inch difference isn’t much, yet the price difference is significant. Of course the camera system is also different, but we’ll come to that later in this article whether the camera quality is really different.
If you can settle with S20+, the next question is, why not S20? It has a smaller footprint, which translates to better handling. All the hardware specs are identical except for the lack of DepthVision TOF, which does nothing significant. The only major drawback is the smaller battery, so theoretically it will have a shorter battery life. If you are desk-bound, then this should not be an issue as you can charge the phone conveniently. If you are frequently on-the-go, then it makes sense to go for S20+ albeit paying about S$200 more.
At the end of the day, all three possess identical resolution, so that S20 offers higher pixel density. I personally prefer the S20 size, which is why I myself own the Galaxy S10.
Interesting to note: while the S20 and S20+ comes with same preinstalled themes, the S20 Ultra 5G starts with a black background bubble theme.
The S20 and S20+ has identical camera system except the additional DepthVision TOF on the S20+, which most reviewers around the world agree that it does not provide any significant difference on the image quality. Here’s the lenses breakdown:
|Camera System||Galaxy S20 Ultra||Galaxy S20, S20+|
|Rear Camera||48MP (Tele)|
12MP (Ultra Wide)
12MP (Ultra Wide)
DepthVision TOF (S20+ only)
|Front Camera||10X Hybrid Optical Zoom|
Up to 100X Space Zoom
|3X Hybrid Optical Zoom|
Up to 30X Space Zoom
I assume that the S20 and S20+ camera quality and processing algorithm should be identical, and after taking a few samples, this is true. Here are photos taken at night, using the ultra-wide lens. Despite using the same 12MP lens, there is slight tonal difference.
Let’s take a closer look at the main camera – 108MP on the S20 Ultra vs. 12MP on the S20/S20+. The photo of the S20 Ultra is shot in 12MP resolution, not the 108MP resolution, so to give a “fairer” comparison.
It looks fine from far, but check out the 100% crop of Optimus Prime.
The S20 Ultra clearly captures a lot more details than the S20, but only if you pixel peep.
Finally, let’s check the telephoto images between the S20 Ultra and S20+. The first set is shot around 8X zoom position, while the second set is shot at 50X (S20 Ultra) and 30X (S20+) respectively.
Once again, the S20 Ultra wins in sharpness and details.
The S20 series is Samsung’s first smartphones with multiple lenses and “Space Zoom” capability in a bid to match Huawei and OPPO’s camera system. The S20 and S20+ achieves respectable zoom quality for general use, but the S20 Ultra delivers better image quality.
Would the additional price tag be worth it? Each consumer has their own budget and needs, so I hope this article can help you in making a wise purchase decision. What’s important is that the mobile industry seems to have cracked the puzzle on how to deliver good digital zoom using fixed periscope telephoto lenses instead of the internal zoom mechanism that ASUS have tried on the Zenfone Zoom.