The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is the manufacturer’s flagship handset that super-sizes everything. If you’re looking at splashing out on one of these big-screened smartphones, you’ll be paying a premium but the specs are worth it.
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As of December 2020, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is the non-foldable flagship handset from Samsung, offering everything the standard S20 offers but upgrades everything from the camera to the display. It is likely that this phone will be superseded soon, however. Samsung usually chooses January or February to showcase its new handset. While there’s no guarantee this will happen, it is worth noting. But if you are looking for a camera phone powerhouse that showcases the best of what Samsung has to offer, then this is a superb handset.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is 5G-enabled, making it a great option for those who want a handset that is both future proofed and makes use of super-speedy downloads and uploads that 5G offers (where available).The phone’s 6.9-inch display is one of the biggest around and perfect if you like watching shows or films on your phone, or if you like a bit more space to play with.
There’s also a new fluid scrolling feature, which makes your phone even easier to operate and is a particularly handy feature for gamers who like to play on their phones. This is down to an ultra-fast refresh rate, which comes in at an impressive 120Hz - while more and more phones have this refresh rate, it is the best around.
The design is just as modern as the features, with a combination of glass and aluminium casing in your choice of simple grey or black. With the emphasis on sleekness and style, this is definitely a choice pick for those looking for a smartphone that is premium in both looks and technical prowess… which means it comes with a premium price, too.
Full HD+ display
Cosmic grey, cosmic black, cloud white
108MP rear camera, ultrawide and telephoto
40MP front camera
8K video recording, HDR10+, stereo sound
IP68 dust and water-resistant
12GB or 16GB or RAM
128GB or 512GB storage
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, at 6.9 inches, is quite a bit bigger than the Galaxy S20 (6.2 inches) and a smidge bigger than the S20 Plus (6.7 inches) but it also packs a bit more in. There’s a 512GB storage option available with the Ultra which isn’t an option for the other model and this comes with a huge 16GB of RAM. However, some of the key features, such as 5G-capability and the ultra-fast refresh rate can be found in both phones, so it might be tempting to take a look at the cheaper choice.The Samsung S20 doesn’t have the powerful camera the Ultra does, although it can still take a decent snap. It’s also a little easier to take on the move, so might be better suited to have-a-go photographers who want to be able to stash their equipment in their pocket easily.
The camera is the main focus (pardon the pun) of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. It’s specs are jaw-dropping. You get an 108MP sensor on the rear, alongside technology that allows for a 100x zoom (although the quality of this is negligible).
Other camera features include:
Hybrid Optic Zoom at 10x , Digital Zoom up to 100x
Up to: UHD 8K (7680 x 4320) at 24fps
The big selling point of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is its impressive camera power. You can take 108-megapixel photos with a wide lens and a 100x camera zoom and there’s also a whopping 40-megapixel front camera that is guaranteed to impress selfie fans.
The infinity display gives you more room to admire your photography as well as extra space for organising apps and watching videos. The new line-up uses laser-cut bezels, which means even fewer interruptions to your screen space without having to expand the size of the phone.
It’s also got a longer battery life than others in the series thanks to a 5,000mAh battery – one of the biggest batteries in any modern phone – which makes it well suited for those constantly on their phones or out and about for the day without access to a charger.
The phone is still larger than the others in the series, which could cause problems if you like your smartphone to go in your pocket. Most of the space is made up in length rather than width, so it can still be stashed in a handbag, but it’s something to consider.
While the cameras on board are packing some impressive numbers, some reviews have said that the quality of the camera isn’t quite what they expected - remember that it isn’t just about specs but what Samsung does with the software.
It’s also one of the pricier options in the Galaxy series, although it has got plenty of added features to justify the cost increase. If you’re not likely to need the full spectrum of services available with the Ultra, you might prefer to save on costs and go for one of the other options, such as the Galaxy Samsung S20 or the still impressive Samsung S10.
One thing to note is the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack. You’ll either have to buy USB-C headphones or find an adaptor if you want to keep using your old ones or make the shift to Bluetooth, if you haven’t already.
The 5,000mAh battery is a key feature of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, allowing you to make the most of the phone’s many features without running out of screen time. The phone automatically launches in full HD+ resolution with an always-on display, but you can switch to battery-saving mode if you want to make your power last for longer.
The phone also uses a fingerprint sensor, although there has been some criticism of the ultrasonic technology because it can take time to react.
Another important feature is the Gorilla Glass 6 corning which helps protect the phone from damage without sacrificing its look and feel.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra can be an expensive choice but taking out a contract allows you to spread the cost of the handset over a number of months rather than paying it all at once. There are SIM-free options, but they’ll mean spending a considerable amount upfront. If you decide to take out a contract with a mobile service provider, there are a number of factors you should consider.
Minutes and texts: Most mobile networks will now provide unlimited texts and more than enough minutes for the average person, but it’s always worth making sure just in case.
Data: For most people, the most important consideration is data allowance. Most contracts will come with a certain number of gigabytes as well as the option to add bolt-ons or top-up monthly. It’s often much more expensive to add data on later though, so it’s worth working out how much you think you’ll need and investing a little more up front.
Length of contract: Longer contracts often offer a lower monthly rate because you can pay off your handset over a longer period of time. That does mean you’re tied in for longer and will likely have to pay more up front if you want to upgrade before your contract ends. The Ultra is ahead of the game when it comes to tech specs, so it might be worth investing in a longer contract rather than worrying about new updates.
Since the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra carries a large price tag, it’s worth looking into ways you can save on the upfront costs. Most mobile networks offer regular updates with discounts on your new handset, so you can always enquire about the possibility of upgrading to the Galaxy Samsung S20 Ultra on your current contract. You may also be able to trade in your handset if you’re looking for ways to save on a SIM-free option, although this often depends on the store you visit.
The starting point for storage space with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is 128GB. If you want even more room to play around with, you can choose the 512GB option instead. Remember, you can also add your own microSD card to take your storage up to 1TB, so there’s no need to worry about running out of room. If you intend to make use of the high-spec camera, you might benefit from the maximum storage space, so you don’t have to sacrifice any quality.
Last updated: 22 December 2020