Galaxy S20 Ultra vs S20+ In-Depth Comparison & Review

Published on July 1, 2020
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The latest flagship smartphones from Samsung are finally here boasting impressive new specs and plenty of upgrades from last year the galaxy s 20 Ultra is making headlines with its huge display and a revolutionary camera setup but also as one of the most expensive smartphones money can buy this is a phone with insane specs on paper and the only thing that’s perhaps more eye-catching is the crazy $1,400 starting price Samsung have basically taken every speck from their s10 models and turn the dial up to 11 or in this case 20 but considering this spec sheet it’s easy to get excited about the new S 20 lineup the launch of the new phones hasn’t exactly been flawless though with early reports of major camera performance issues although you’d expect Samsung’s highest-end flagship to be their best phone these issues have given us reason to consider the cheaper as 20 plus as a potentially better overall device the S 20 plus is missing a couple of defining features of the ultra but as we’ll see in this video it’s might actually benefit from this in more ways than just saving money and also be making reference to the smaller s 20 which for the most part is just a smaller s 20 plus but it’s compact form factor and cheap a starting price makes it a compelling alternative in a sea of increasingly large smartphones in this review we’ll be comparing all of the differences in specs and features to see not only which of these phones offers the best value for money but also answering the question which of these phones is actually best let’s take a look [Music] [Applause] [Music] the designs are mostly familiar we still have glass front and rear panels aluminium frames and an IP 68 water resistance these are the cosmic black versions and I did notice that the color options are much more restricted this year it’s only a choice of black or grey for the s20 ultra and I found myself missing the more vibrant color options of previous years like the gorgeous or a glow no 10 in an ideal world I would trade the galaxy’s glossy glass for the smooth matte textures found on the iPhone 11 or the pixel 4 but I don’t have many complaints here the top of the phones has the hybrid SIM card trays allowing you to expand the phone storage by up to a terabyte all of the s20 is come with 128 gigs of UF s3 storage but the ultra also offers a 512 gigabyte version in cosmic grey although this will depend on your region the bottom features the familiar speaker grille and USB C charging port but the more notable change here is the removal of the headphone jack now I’ll admit that I almost never need to use this myself there are now so many great wireless options out there for headphones that I personally don’t really miss it but I absolutely stand by anyone who’s disappointed that the headphone jack is now gone this year the power and volume buttons are all on the right-hand side and the Bigsby button is now integrated into the power button fortunately these are placed in a much more reachable position this year despite the increase in the phone sizes make no mistake these are big phones significantly bigger than the regular is 20 and the ultra feels especially large and heavy in the hand there’s no doubt they’re having a huge display in your hands is pretty awesome but I empathize with those who believe the phone’s arnelle too big it’s pretty much impossible to use either of these phones one-handed even with reachability software and there are plenty of jeans pockets that simply won’t fit the phone in so that’s something to consider the phones feature redesigned camera bumps for the new quad camera setups at this point we’re no strangers to bigger camera modules but the design will certainly be polarizing and the s20 ultra especially takes camera bumps to the extreme it doesn’t just occupy a huge area on the back of the phone but it’s also much thicker than on the other s twenties I’m not sure any smartphones Rock on a table as much as this one most of us will be using a phone case than one negate any issues but it’s worth pointing out getting back to the front display the design at first glance may seem fairly familiar Samsung have settled on a central placement for the camera lens which I must admit is growing on me and the lens is also shrunk in size from the note 10 this means the julen selfie camera of the s10 plus is gone too but as we saw in previous videos what you gain in depth information from the secondary lens doesn’t really justify how much you sacrifice in screen space so good decision Samsung the bezels remain pretty thin all round and Samsung of still managed to squeeze in a front speaker grille to the top bezel the speaker sounds surprisingly clear and loud given their size although those coming from last year’s s10 models may notice a slight downgrade the phones use the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner from last year which as we know onto the fastest unlock methods on the market but they’re placed in a good position on the screen where my thumb naturally rests and I generally didn’t have any problems worthy of complaint one of my favorite changes is that the screens are much flatter than in previous years a change I personally wanted from last year’s phones the slight curve still creates the nip as well as sides we don’t see in flat screen phones but the curve isn’t so over the top but it suffers from the accidental screen presses we’ve seen in previous years from my testing so far I haven’t had any problems with this at all so this for me has been a welcome improvement but let’s talk more about that display specifically because this is an area where Samsung can really flex this year the Galaxy series phones notoriously have really great-looking displays they’re sharp and bright have great colors and a HDR temper certified but this year sees the introduction of the final piece of the puzzle a high refresh rate the 120s refresh rate could well be the best new feature this year and massively improves the user experience the response rate has been improved to 240 milliseconds to match the high refresh rate and the resulting experience is super smooth scrolling and snappy touch inputs with the 120 Hertz mode turned on the display will always show a high refresh rate so we don’t have any of that dropping down to 60 in certain situations nonsense we saw from Google the fast response time and refresh rate may be particularly interesting to those into gaming where this kind of performance was previously limited to dedicated gaming phones and of course the s20 said the processing power to keep up with the most demanding of games too it’s difficult to show you exactly how good this looks and feels on camera but when you use the sim real-life you’ll see just how much nicer the phone is to use with a hundred and twenty Hertz turned on you will need to manually turn this on too since for some reason the phone ship with the screen set to 1080p 60 sadly if you want to use the high refresh rate then you have to lower the screen resolution from the maximum 1440p setting which is disappointing you have these crazy expensive smartphones with potentially insane displays that Samsung of limiting with software presumably to save on battery okay Samsung kind of have a point too because using the high refresh rate does take a significant toll on battery life but this decision really should be left with a consumer if my fourteen hundred dollar smartphone can show 1440p resolution and refresh at 120 Hertz that I wanted to do so we know from other phones that this is a possibility and not a limitation of the hardware so I really hope Samsung will offer this feature in a future update opposed find x2 Pro does offer 1440p at 120 Hertz and because of this takes the crown away from an otherwise deserving victor for best smartphone display the difference in 60 versus a hundred twenty Hertz still hugely outweighs the drop you’ll see in screen resolution so for me this was the best setting for the phones despite the drop in battery life we’ve seen before how having an inadequate battery life can ruin the experience of a high refresh rate display yes pixel four I’m looking at you but what Samsung have done that Google didn’t with their high refresh rate phones is include a battery big enough to support them even with 120 Hertz turned on the phone still got me through a full day of use without needing to be overly conservative or make too many compromises my screen on time averaged around five hours with moderate use and was particularly good with the larger s20 ultra I found I can extend this noticeably by dropping the resolution and the refresh rate – which is always an option and perhaps one that those with the regular s20 may want to consider both phones can be fast charge from not too full in just over an hour with the included 25 watt charges the ultra can also be charged at 45 watts but Samsung want you to pay extra for that privilege I noticed that even with the included charges the ultra charged even faster than the S 20 plus and with its larger five thousand milliamp hour battery that’s pretty impressive just as we saw with last year’s models we have both fast wireless charging and also wireless power share which lets you charge up other devices by placing them on the back of the phones overall the battery and charging capabilities were really impressive and easily one of the phones greatest strengths with displacement batteries aside it’s so far so good from the spec sheet but now it’s time for the part that most of you are really here for the cameras and these ultimately produced mixed results the cameras have been completely overhauled from last year with both phones offering a quad camera setup but the specs and resulting performance is quite different between the plus and ultra models starting out with the good pictures are characteristically bright and contrasting but not quite as oversaturated as we’ve seen in previous years they’re also sharper than ever before on a Samsung device and when the camera gets it just right images look fantastic and start to rival even the best on the market I generally found that the ultra had more muted or natural-looking colors whilst the Plus had more vibrant but less realistic colors the Plus also typically produced sharper images than the Ultra but this was often caused by focus issues which I’ll come on to in a second the ultra wide lens is still the weakest of the three main cameras but even there’s producing decent looking photos although low-light ultra wide shots do suffer more from noise the combination of the wide telephoto and ultra wide lenses give the s 20s a versatility that’s lacking in market leaders like the pixel 4 and when it comes to photography you have more options with these lenses this year than we’ve seen before in a Samsung phone but with most of the examples so far this was really the best case scenario and I’m said to confirm that the reported focus issues are here in abundance often forcing me to retake photos multiple times it’s an even bigger problem for video and the s20 ultra definitely suffers the most but both cameras would often be left hunting for focus especially with close-up subjects the ultra sacrifices the dual pixel autofocus found on the s20 plus and older phones which proved crucial for fast focusing but it could be the ultras huge main sensor that’s amplifying these issues it’s a shame because 4k video this year would otherwise be the best yet it’s much smoother and the stabilization has greatly improved but the focus hunting issue was often pretty severe and spoiled what would otherwise be great photo and video the ultra really struggled with focusing in low-light even after using tap to focus sometimes even after I finally got my subject in focus the clumsy autofocus would step in and to mess everything up again which was super annoying it’s a shame because when I finally managed to get the shot in focus the camera did a great job of exposing the image in very tough lighting conditions using these phones in the real world the camera becomes very unreliable since you can never trust the phone’s to nail the focus where with phones like the iPhone 11 or pixel 4 you can be confident to pull them out of your pocket and quickly snap off a good photo Samsung have said they’re aware of the issues and have promised to fix but flagship phones as expensive as these really shouldn’t be shipping with such awful bucks and we’ve got no time frame as to when or if these issues will be fixed but fingers crossed for the future and I’ll let you know if any updates improve the cameras later down the line with the focus issues aside I had a much better experience for two graphing landscapes and buildings and the lowlights performance of these phones is really good the main sensors are twice as large in the s20 plus as the s10 and almost three times as large with the ultra so nice mode is much better as a result I expected the s20 ultra to be superior but there really wasn’t much to separate the two phones at all there are times when the regular photo mode is actually better a night mode can sometimes over process and make the images seem a little cartoonish the pixel affords night sight is widely regarded as being the best night mode and this image is more realistic and true to life but the s 20’s are catching up with the best Samsung’s bright night notice multiple photos into one shot to reduce glare and noise and they’ve done a really good job with this there’s no longer a substantial gap to market leaders like the pixel for in the iPhone 11 and Samsung owners can finally boast having fantastic night time performance on their phones but let’s talk about the phones headline-grabbing features the hybrid optical zoom and of course the 100 times space soon both phones now have higher resolution telephoto lenses and the zoom capability really seems to have been the focus for Samsung this year the s20 ultra is clearly the heavyweight with his periscoping lens and 100 times even feature and I for one certainly had high hopes since Samsung were confident enough to stamp this on the back of the phone as we move through the levels of zoom starting out with the ultra wide lenses there’s not much initially to separate the phones although it did notice that the colors are much more consistent with the three lenses on the s20 ultra as you move through four times though the Ultra starts to pull ahead with a superior zoom and a date-time zoom you can really see the quality degrading with the s20 plus the point of Samsung’s spacing technology is to offer better than usual zoom performance but comparing the s20 plus with the iPhone 11 Pro I didn’t really see a huge benefit sure the bricks and the wooden paneling seemed more prominent on the right but this is more to do with Samsung’s higher contrast than higher resolution against another market leader the Google pixel for I’d say the pixel actually performed better of course the pixel zoom is maxed out here so maybe the s 20 plus is real benefit lies in its ability to zoom up to 30 times but beyond eight times pushing the phone to its limits it would be tough to get any usable photos anyway of course if you compare this to the s20 ultra then it’s a different story and highlights the ultras advantage the ultra destroys the iPhone 11 Pro here too but I guess I just expected the s 20 blast to be better but pushing the s 20s further there the Plus model is starting to struggle the ultra still produces very crisp images a 10 times zoom and even at 30 times I still think you could get some more than useable photos from it the s 20 plus tops out here but when pushing the old shirt to its hype to 100 times zoom I was pretty disappointed it’s not so much that I expected a smartphone to be better at a hundred times ooh the fact that it even can zoom this far is amazing it’s just that it falls far short of the marketing hype surrounding the phone this 100 times zoom is supposed to be part of the reason you buy this phone I mean Samsung printed this on the back of the phone but I’d be perfectly happy just cropping on my 30 tons pictures from is 20 plus to achieve an equally useless result not only do I think that this feature will really be useful but literally taking the shot without a tripod is an ordeal in itself Samsung have been forward-thinking enough to include a mini viewfinder to help you direct the camera but this really only helps to turn impossible into quite difficult oh and without excellent lighting and a very steady hand space zoom is practically useless this is a picture at a hundred times oome of the shot you’ll just have to take my word for it don’t get me wrong the s20 ultra at 10 or even 30 times zoom is great it’s one of its key advantages over the s20 plus and is really what Samsung should have been promoting I think if they hadn’t overhyped the 100 times zoom I would have been a feeling impressed right now rather than underwhelmed another headline breaking feature is the s20 ultras 108 megapixel sensor which actually uses pixel pinning to produce as normal 12 megapixel image a 100 names megapixel photo can be taken on a separate mode but it comes with a few compromises that mean it’s not always better than the regular 12 megapixel image the first thing you likely notice is that the large sensor creates a very shallow depth of field which produces a black background effect there’s a higher contrast here too which for this photo I think works really well but only when cropping in on the image can you really see the benefit in sharpness of the high resolution at 400% crop the advantage of the 108 megapixel image is clear but since the plane of focus is so shallow in this mode other areas in the image actually become much softer looking at the flooring in the door mat the textures are lost to the softening in the high-res image so the original 12 megapixel version may actually be the more useful picture overall the high-res mode is much slower and the file sizes are much larger so if you asked me if I’d be upset to lose the 108 megapixel feature by buying the plus model instead I’d only need to look again at the phone starting price to answer PS 20 plus also has higher resolution image mode by using its sixty four megapixel telephoto lens immediately there’s a noticeable difference in color which could be due to the fact that these are captured by different lenses again only when cropping in on the image can you really see the difference in resolution albeit a more subtle difference than with the s20 ultra but crucially this high-res mode doesn’t produce the same softening issues we saw with the ultra and retains a much larger area of the image in focus side-by-side the plus models technically lower res image still has the greater detail in the doormat in the bottom right well the bricks of the house in the background so I’d say the altar is 108 megapixel sensor doesn’t go very far in justifying its higher price over the s20 plus the numbers on the spec sheet can be confusing the s20 plus has a higher megapixel account on its telephoto lens but poor zoom performance than the s20 ultra the ultra has a huge 108 megapixel sensor but it causes more focus issues compared to the plus models 12 megapixel lens it just goes to prove the specs on paper aren’t everything there’s a new photo mode this year called single take where the camera will record a series of photos and videos in a single take and apply various crops filters and effects it’s not something I’ll personally use and is a little gimmicky but it could be a fun and easy way to let you be a little more creative moving on to more traditional features the live focus mode to produce mixed results and whilst the edge detection was generally pretty good the cameras still struggled with focus even though the phone’s auto-detected faces each time the final image sometimes produce relatively blurred faces compared to other areas like the jeans which is especially clear on the right the s20 plus uses the telephoto lens for light focus but the wider lo focus mode is taken on the mainland’s whereas the s20 ultra simply crops on the mainland’s for both I generally found the zooms live focus modes provided better results particularly with background blur which you can see is quite patchy here with the ultra even the regular photo mode struggled with human subjects though especially the focus on the s20 ultra and both cameras were still desperate to smooth skin tones even with beating mode disabled I was quite impressed with light focus on non human subjects though and the phones nailed this tricky shot at the plant first time having good lighting is key when it comes to getting a good life focus effect it’s just Samsung’s software that needs tweaking to iron out the issues so hopefully the promised upcoming software patch will help the front cameras this year are very good and produced bright and very sharp images once you disable all of the annoying beauty mode features that is there’s almost nothing to separate the two phones here aside from a slight color difference where I think the ultra has slightly oversaturated the Reds much like the main rear camera there’s also a separate high resolution mode for the ultra which has a 40 megapixel front sensor the angle seems wider here but the difference from the 10 megapixel mode is only subtle you need to crop in on images to really notice the difference and you clearly don’t get four times the image quality with the bigger file size there was less grain in the background though and this is still the sharpest and probably best selfie camera on a smartphone but I do think this is substantially enough difference from the s20 plus that plus owners should be jealous the live focus mode disables the 40 megapixel feature so there’s barely anything to separate the two phones here either I did find the portrait effect produced quite sharp edges and didn’t give the most natural background blur but it’s still just as good as last year’s s10 plus and achieves this with just a single lens the upgrade I was more interested in with the front cameras is that they now support 4k at 60 frames per second I forgave the fact that there’s no stabilization but the focus tracking is really bad you can’t even tap to focus so I had to switch to a different camera mode like photo get it to focus and then switch back before starting recording I normally had to just drop down to 4k 30 to avoid these issues which was disappointing the depth of field is also quite shallow and a very shallow on the ultra so overall there wasn’t a huge improvement from last year perhaps the biggest announcement from the Samsung launch event is that all 3s 20s can now record in 8k resolution you’ll notice the cameras really punch in when switching to a K and you’ll be limited to 5 minute recording z’ at a time which alone would take up a huge 3 gigabytes of storage but as impressive as 8k sounds on a spec sheet the quality of the footage was usually really poor the focus hunting issues were at their worst when filming an 8k on both phones – and with any camera movement the image was very choppy often stuttered and suffered from rolling shutter issues excellent lighting is essential but even in optimal conditions the video was simply too unstable and filming in 4k 60 produced much better results every single time if we pause the video here you can see that this frame is actually quite sharp and one of the benefits of filming an 8k is that you can pull 33 megapixel stills from it which is cool but the whole point of video is to have a moving image and sadly the quality just isn’t there yet you may have better luck when using a gimbal a tripod or when filming distant subjects but at this point 8k is more of a tech demo than a genuinely useful feature not to mention you’d be hard-pressed to find an 8k display that could actually show this footage in its true resolution anyway so 8k might be a bit pointless right now low-light video quality still isn’t amazing but has definitely been improved particularly with stabilization but if you were thinking about trying HK at night you should probably just forget it it was a fairly even match between the two phones since the old show often had a brighter and less grainy image but the constant focus hunting made it less practical to use than the s20 plus I think the focus problem will be an issue more often so I’d probably lean towards the plus model when it comes to low-light video overall some parts of the new cameras make them the best yet but it’s mainly the new headline features that are causing problems so I really hope Samsung can rectify this with software updates these you stopped the old chef from claiming the top spot is the best smartphone camera and a surprised as I am to say this the s20 plusses camera is better if you’re wondering where the s20 factors into all of this the depth sensor is the only difference between the s20 and does 20 plus cameras and as we’ve seen in previous years this doesn’t add much beyond a few AR gimmicks but moving on to the final specs on the sheet those that relate to the performance were much more reliable we get the snapdragon 865 well the Exynos 990 and a huge 12 gigabytes of ram or 16 for the maxed out s20 ultra the internal storage is the fast UF s3 storage so performance wise these phones are pretty much SPECT out to the max and from my testing both phones offer a super fast and snappy experience Samsung’s 1ui 2.1 software on android 10 tries to take advantage of the new hardware for example you can now pin apps into the RAM for quick launching which could be really useful for multitasking Samsung bring their own gestures for navigation that’s the screen recorder from the note 10 and have made some UI improvements like adding a less distracting volume bar and incoming notifications when UI is a pretty decent Android skin but isn’t as clean as stock Android there are quite a lot of Samsung duplicate apps you’ll probably want to ignore but the software is packed with features to highlight a couple the new music share lets your friends connect to your Bluetooth devices so for example they can hook up to your car’s audio system without needing to pair themselves there’s also a new airdrop like feature called quick share which lets you instantly share files with nearby devices this along with music share and camera features like single take should be coming to last year’s phones to one of the biggest new features Samsung promoting is 5g and all three s 20s are able to support it but this comes with some important caveats first of all the regulars 20 only supports low to mid band 5g which offers speeds only slightly above the current 4G on a good day the plus and ultra models also support millimeter wave which is the band that offers the crazy download speeds that have given 5g all of the surrounding hype but this is also the band that you need to stand a few feet away from the mass to make use of and even the mid band 5g coverage is still very limited the truth about 5g is that it’s just not ready yet so though I praise Samsung for future proofing these devices you really shouldn’t be buying these phones for 5g for some people you’ll be paying for this feature and never get to use it but this may be more useful for those who will keep the phone for four or five years so the final thing to discuss is the price at which of these phones you should buy the s20 plus starts at 1200 dollars and the ultra at 1400 with the regulares 20 dropping in just below the thousand dollar mark for me the s20 ultra is a difficult phone to recommend a $1,400 smartphone shouldn’t be shipped with as many camera bugs as it has even if samsung do eventually release a software fix my main concern though is that not all of the issues at the s 20s will or even could be fixed by software alone and that makes it a lot more difficult to openly recommend such an expensive phone the camera is really the only thing letting it down and the rest of the phone is fantastic let’s not forget how great the battery life and displays are but there’s a reason that most of Samsung’s marketing most of this video is dedicated to the camera because people really care about it for those who can stomach the price the ultra has a clear advantage when it comes to camera zoom and to the bigger display and battery life might be tempting but given all of the camera issues the plus model emerges not only is a better value device but I think a better phone overall I don’t take many zoomed photos so the plus would offer more than enough for me and the rest of the camera simply performed better than the ultra I guess I’m just struggling to see where the extra $200 is justified over the s20 Plus and certainly not the $400 premium over the regular s 20 I think I’d personally be tempted by the smaller s 20 where the only potential downside would be battery life you’d also lose out on the depth sensor and a little on the screen size but it’s physically more compact and easy to use which aside from the price is perhaps most tempting of all in the UK there’s actually a 4G only version available for the s20 the RAM drops to 8 gigabytes but the saving of a hundred pounds over the 5g version seems like a no-brainer for anyone who’ll keep the phone for two years or so I kind of wish the plus and ultra offered this too if you have one of last year’s phones I wouldn’t upgrade just yet and if you’re looking for a new Samsung phone then I highly recommends last year’s as 10 series which are now available at extremely good prices price will be an area where competing Android smartphones can undercut the s twenties but if Samsung really can fix those cameras these phones will be the ones to beat this year if you’re thinking of buying one of these phones then let me know in the comments which one you’re looking at is anyone holding out for the s20 with s-pen I mean that note 20 also if you already have an S 20 are you happy with it or you disappointed with the camera it would be interesting to know for like if you enjoyed this subscribe for the full comparison versus the iPhone and thanks a lot for watching I’ll see you in the next one.
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