It’s that time of the year when people have to decide which of the
two three models of the latest Galaxy S flagship they will be spending their money on. Usually, it’s the largest model that attracts most attention and the most customers, but this time around, Samsung is offering big upgrades with all three models.
You have displays with 120Hz refresh rate, big batteries, a primary rear camera with larger pixels in case of the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20+ and a rear camera with a whopping 108MP sensor and digital 100x zoom capability in case of the Galaxy S20 Ultra, the option of 5G connectivity, and considerably faster charging than what Samsung offered until the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ came along.
And, frankly, I think I would have been perfectly fine getting a Galaxy S20+, but there is one reason why I’m going to opt for the Galaxy S20 Ultra instead. Spoiler alert: It’s not the battery, but all those megapixels on the main camera.
It’s all about the detail
I’ve always been a sucker for detail. For example, I prefer high texture detail on the games that I play on the computer over, say, 144Hz frame rate, which is something many gaming enthusiasts lust after these days. That’s why I recently decided to make the switch to a Quad HD monitor for my desktop PC, even though it meant my graphics card would barely be able to hit 60 frames per second at maximum graphics settings in the latest games, let alone go anywhere near 144Hz.
I like detail in my photos as well. When it comes to the cameras on Samsung’s flagship phones, I’ve been very happy with their performance in general over the last couple of years. But Samsung has been using 12MP cameras on its flagships for a few years, and the photos those 12MP cameras take quickly fall apart when you start to zoom in because of the limited megapixel count. Recent mid-range Galaxy phones with their 48MP cameras do a bit better in that regard, as the higher megapixel count enables them to create pixel-binned 12MP photos that are sharper than what the flagship Galaxy phone cameras can produce.
That’s why I’m excited that Samsung has put a 108MP camera on the Galaxy S20 Ultra instead of simply increasing the pixel size and calling it a day. The S20 Ultra’s camera combines nine pixels into one super pixel to create 12MP photos by default. Technicalities aside, that will mean the camera will perform better in low-light conditions and also have more detail when you zoom in compared to 12MP photos taken by, say, a Galaxy Note 10+.
And even if the difference isn’t a lot at 12 megapixels, the Galaxy S20 Ultra will offer you the option to take photos at 108MP resolution. At 108MP, the camera resolves so much detail that Samsung is literally cropping 108MP photos digitally to provide 100x zoom. While at 100x the photo may not be very sharp, it would certainly look fine at 30x, which is one of the many zoom levels available on the Galaxy S20 Ultra (and the maximum zoom level on the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20+).
Naturally, we will have to test the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s cameras to see how they perform in all kinds of lighting conditions, but the 108 megapixels alone are going to be the reason I’ll be picking the Ultra model over the Galaxy S20+. I’m glad that we’re finally moving past 12MP cameras, and the S20+ would have been the perfect fit for me if only Samsung has equipped it with the 108MP camera as well. That didn’t happen, so it’s the Galaxy S20 Ultra that’s going to become my next smartphone.