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The Galaxy S20 series has been one of the most hotly anticipated smartphone releases in recent memory, and yesterday, after months of leaks and speculation, Samsung released the S20 in all its glory. Now that the Galaxy S20 range has been officially announced, let's take a look at the biggest upgrades over last year's models.
Ultra camera system
With Google, Apple, and Huawei raising the bar for smartphone cameras with each passing generation, Samsung needed to step up their game. The S10 and Note 10 weren't bad, but they weren't exactly excellent either, leading to a big focus on camera hardware this year.
The most welcome improvement for me is to the selfie camera, something that's been severely lacking on my S10+, which is easily out-performed by even mid-range phones from other companies. The S20 boasts an all-new 40MP sensor, so selfies should be sharper than ever before.
The telephoto lens has been upgraded to a periscope system, offering real optical zoom as well as improved digital zoom capabilities. The S20 and S20+ tout a 3x periscopic sensor enhanced by a 10x software zoom. 30x zoom is nothing to sniff at, but it's small change compared to the S20 Ultra.
The S20 Ultra has a 10x hybrid optical zoom that can also be enhanced with a 10x software zoom. That's right: The S20 Ultra can zoom in all the way to 100x. Whether or not that'll be useable in anything other than broad daylight, something I get little of in England, remains to be seen.
The range-topping Ultra takes things one step further with the inclusion of a 108MP primary sensor, the highest we've ever seen on a device as mainstream as this. Again, big numbers don't mean big improvements, and we'll need to wait and see how good this camera really is.
Every variant of the S20 coming to the US will be 5G capable, thanks to the new Snapdragon 865, which natively supports 5G bands. Coverage isn't widespread yet, so this may not seem too exciting for a lot of you, but 5G is the future and will only get better as time goes on. As customers are keeping their smartphones longer than ever before, this extra piece of future-proofing is welcome.
One thing that's worth noting is that the S20+, and S20 Ultra are the only models to support mmWave 5G. In short, the hardware needed takes up a lot of space, and Samsung didn't feel like the smallest S20 was a good candidate for this feat of engineering.
I've never had any complaints with battery life on my S10+ thanks to its 4000mAh battery and the S20 range is taking things even further. The base S20 has the same 4000mAh cell as last year's S10+ while the S20+ and S20 Ulta move up to 4500mAh and 5000mAh respectively. Even with the fancy new display tech that we'll talk more about in just a moment, the S20 devices should offer some seriously beefy battery life.
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When you do need to top-up those gigantic batteries, you won't be leaving your phone plugged in for hours on end. The S20 and S20+ inherit 25W fast charging from last year's S10 5G, while the S20 Ultra supports mind-boggling 45W charging, although you'll need to pay extra for the privilege as the box will contain the 25W charger found in the smaller models.
As with previous generations, the S20 series also supports fast wireless charging, offering plenty of flexibility when you need to recharge.
Here's the one you've been waiting for, the most talked about upgrade as we awaited the arrival of the S20.
Samsung's new flagships feature displays that are not only bigger, brighter, and more vivid, but also faster. Refreshing at 120Hz means everything from scrolling through Android Police to playing your favorite (supported) game will be smoother than you can imagine.
Samsung is taking things one step further though, ramping up touch polling to 240Hz to minimize latency between your finger and the display responding. Sadly, the higher refresh rate is only available at 1080p, with the display defaulting back to 60Hz if you bump the resolution up to its native 1440p. This is most likely an effort to preserve battery life, but given the large battery sizes, having the option would’ve been nice.
Samsung's new smartphones are shaping up to be its best yet, and I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on the S20 Ultra. Beefy battery life, a gorgeous display, and exciting new cameras have made me very excited for my upgrade next month. Out of everything, the cameras and higher refresh rate are what I'm looking forward to most. Time will tell if these big numbers equate to real-world benefits.