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Price: starts at  ₹92,999
Price: starts at 92,999

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: A big phone with big zoom

The Galaxy S20 Ultra has a whopping 108MP camera on its back, along with three others

It doesn’t flip, it doesn’t fold, but Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra is the company’s real no-compromise flagship this year. It’s the reason why we called the Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus the runts of Samsung’s flagship family.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra has a whopping 108MP camera on its back, along with three others. It uses software and all of these cameras to provide 100x zoom and has a 40MP front camera, too. It has 12GB of RAM inside and 128GB storage. If that isn’t enough space for you, Samsung has also fitted a micro-SD card slot on the phone, something that most phone makers skip on their smartphones nowadays.

On the performance front, the S20 Ultra has the Exynos 990 chipset inside. Some may not be happy with it, but there really isn’t much to complain about in terms of speed. The global models run on the Snapdragon 865 and it has been faster on some tests. However, for all practical usage the Exynos 990 does not disappoint either.

One of the biggest differences between the S20 Ultra’s Indian variant and its global versions is that the one launched in the domestic market does not support 5G connectivity. However, given that Indian telcos and the government are nowhere close to turning 5G connections on, Samsung may have made the right choice.

Right now, a 5G smartphone processor costs quite a bit more, meaning it would have raised the S20 Ultra’s price in India, and it was not cheap to begin with.

Processing power is often the best feature for a flagship phone, it’s really an afterthought for this phone.

Instead, the cameras take centre stage and you have a phone that shoots great photos almost all the time.

There’s a catch here though. The 108MP sensor does not make a big difference for a regular user. However, for power users it could make a real difference, especially if you need to crop photos for creative purposes. On regular use, it is hard to tell the difference between a 108MP shot and the default 12MP shot with a cursory glance. A 12MP shot is enough for sharing photos on social media.

You could say the same about the 100x digital zoom on the phone, too. It’s not a feature you need, but it’s a feature you can really flaunt. At times, we used the feature to take a closer look at things that were slightly far away from us.

It’s worth noting though that, if you’re expecting DSLR-quality zoom, no phone can achieve that.

Overall, the Galaxy S20 Ultra takes stellar pictures almost all the time. It has an issue with the auto-focus though, where it fails to focus properly from really short distances, to the tune of approximately 10-12cm.

According to a post by one of Samsung’s moderators on its South Korean community forum, the problem can’t be corrected via a software update either.

However, none of this means it is a bad phone for camera enthusiasts. It is perhaps the most versatile smartphone camera today and really feature-rich. It has a tendency to oversaturate photos like most Samsung phones, but it is something users seem to have liked in the past.

Topping all this off is a great battery life and one of the best smartphone screens today. The battery lasts a little longer than a work day on regular usage and the screen is as fluid as a screen can get, with great colour reproduction. The smoothness of the user interface is in part because of the screen’s 120Hz refresh rate, which lets it show more image frames per second.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is certainly among the best flagship phones you can buy today. It ticks all the right boxes and does it well enough to overlook some of its shortcomings.

Some users may also find it too big and heavy, but that’s a personal choice.

PROS

  • Fluid and colourful display
  • Good battery life
  • Versatile and feature-rich camera

CONS

  • Auto-focus fails at times
  • Quite heavy and big
  • Thick form factor

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