Well, 2020 is here, which means that we have a bunch of exciting new flagship phones knocking at the door. Among them, of course, is the new Galaxy S line for the year.
Just like last year, Samsung is planning to launch a trio of S-line devices this year. The biggest, baddest, and meanest of them would be the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Here’s everything the rumors are saying about it right now:
New name: let’s skip a few numbers
Near the end of 2019, we were hearing that the next Samsung flagship would not be called the Galaxy S11 but Galaxy S20. The reasons for the sudden change in naming conventions are yet unknown, but we all know that tech companies can’t count, so that’s not much of a shocker.
Presumably, there’s some big upgrade on board and Samsung wants to signify a huge leap in technology while also celebrating the new decade (I know what you are thinking, but let’s not open that can of worms right now).
Additionally, the three models will be slightly rebranded. The successor of the Galaxy S10e will now be called just Galaxy S20; the new S10 will be the Galaxy S20+; the reiteration of the S10+ will be called the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Confused yet? Good. Alls you need to know is that the Galaxy S20 Ultra will be the most feature-packed and most expensive of the three.
Designed to impress
Samsung has always been pushing the boundaries of how thin a phone’s bezel can be. The company even “cheats” with its signature curved displays (good ol’ Edge) — a feature, which some like and others really don’t.
Naturally, the Galaxy S20 line will be shaving off some micrometers off the poor old bezel, especially in the top and bottom sections, making them nigh-nonexistent. Yup, the fear of ghost touches is real.
Alleged Galaxy S20 Ultra front panel
This change is most prominently visible on a leaked photo of what is allegedly a front panel for the new S20 Ultra.
Now, let’s talk about the back. There is going to be a huge camera bump, holding up to 4 lenses. It’s going to be in the shape of a rectangle with soft edges. Now, early leaks showed the lenses being placed in a really weird pattern, triggering the trypophobia of every tech geek worldwide.
First camera leaks looked like that
However, current rumors show us that the cameras are lined up in a nice arrangement. All of the leaksters out there agree that this is the final design. Whether or not Samsung was seriously considering the messy design is unknown. Crisis averted, everybody!
Latest leaks say it looks like that
A display as smooth as melting butter
What’s the new viral trend in smartphone displays? Super-high refresh rates! The Razer Phone was the first mass-produced, worldwide phone to offer 120 Hz with its LCD panel. OnePlus proved that it can be done on OLED with the 90 Hz panel of the OnePlus 7 Pro and the Asus ROG Phone II pushed that boundary to 120 Hz. Even Google’s Pixel 4 adopted the 90 Hz refresh rate option.
Naturally, Samsung is pressured to respond. Leaks have been going back and forth — first, we heard that Sammy has 120 Hz panels for the S20 series, then we heard it was dropped as a feature, then it was back again. A mini emotional rollercoaster right there!
Needless to say, it’s still up in the air. But, as we said, Samsung’s competitors already have it and we find it hard to imagine that Sammy would raise the white flag here. Most probably, even if the regular Galaxy S20 doesn’t have the feature, the S20 Ultra would.
The 120 Hz refresh rate can be spotted in a leaked screenshot from what would be the S20’s settings. You can see that the user would have the choice between forcing a constant 120 Hz or switching to a dynamic mode, which would save battery when the app itself doesn’t support 120 Hz. What’s even more useful is that the phone will identify and actually show you which of your apps support high refresh rate. Thumbs up!
A screen big enough to be called Ultra
The screen size will also grow a bit — leaksters say the S20 Ultra will rock a 6.9-inch panel. That’s slightly larger than the current Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. In other words – it’ll be b-i-g! Of course, it will have a crisp resolution to fill that room up with pixels — 1440 x 3040 to be exact, for a density just shy of 500 pixels per inch.
Of course, it will be a Samsung Super AMOLED and we expect nothing less than stellar imagery and vibrant colors.
Hardware so edgy, you can shave with it
The top-of-the-line Samsung phone will get top-of-the-line specs, that’s a given. Rumors say the Galaxy S20 Ultra will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 — a chip that’s actually being built in Samsung’s factories on the 7 nm EUV process.
Now, earlier rumors said that European versions of the Galaxy S20 line will have Samsung’s Exynos 990 chip — a home-made silicon built on the same process. However, another rumor specifically pointed out that the S20 Ultra will only use the Snapdragon 865, period.
Does that mean that the Ultra won’t be available in the EU? We’d wager not — Samsung probably just expects that it’ll be able to deal with the demand well enough to provide the same chip for all units.
That aside, prepare to say “goodbye” to single-digit RAM — leaksters insist that the Galaxy S20 family will have 12 GB of memory as a minimum across the board. In terms of storage, the options are said to start at 256 GB. We have no information on other variants right now, but Samsung has proven that it loves to amp the storage up, so a 512 GB or even a 1 TB edition are not out of the question.
Battery size? Oh, yeah… it’s big
We’ve been hearing a lot of interesting rumors about the batteries that’ll be keeping the lights on in the new S20 line. The bottom line is that the models will have 4,000 mAh cells at a minimum. The Galaxy S20 Ultra, in particular, will allegedly sport a 5,000 juicebox. Also known as “the powerbank-in-a-phone” capacity.
Ready for the 5G era
5G is the next big thing in mobile technologies and manufacturers are racing to future-proof their phones. Naturally, the Galaxy 20 family will support the new connectivity. To be more precise, the Snapdragon 865 models are expected to be 5G ready, since the Qualcomm chip supports the new modem needed for it, while the Exynos 990 ones would stick to the caveman 4G connectivity.
Since the Exynos 990 models will only be available in Europe, a “Dark Ages” joke would’ve been more appropriate here.
More cameras than General Grievous has hands
The leaks have been adamant — the Galaxy S20 Ultra will have five cameras. Well, to be fair, that’s three-and-a-half cameras.
Firstly, we will have a regular trio of wide-angle (108 MP), ultra-wide-angle (12 MP), and optical zoom cameras (48 MP). Note that we didn’t simply call the latter one “a telephoto lens”. Why? Because Samsung will be employing a periscope lens there, capable of delivering adjustable optical zoom of up to 10x.
But wait, there’s more! The S20 Ultra will allegedly be able to hit 50x hybrid zoom (mixing digital zoom, optical zoom, and software algorithms to achieve a sharp picture) and up to 100x digital zoom. The feature would allegedly be called “Space Zoom”. In other words, we’d finally be able to zoom in on the Moon to finally see if it’s really a hologram or not.
Additionally, Samsung is prepping its Bright Night mode, which would essentially be a Night Mode on steroids.
This is all thanks to the new 108 MP sensor. It’ll be able to pull the detail needed for the hybrid zoom, but also have the ability to bin its pixels together in groups of 9, giving us 12 MP photos taken with huge, 2.4 micron “virtual pixels”.
Wait, you said five cameras
Yes, the other two will be strictly Time-of-Flight sensors. These nifty little things are only meant to be assistants to the “main” cameras, feeding them information on objects and depth. Supposedly, this should help with focus and uber-accurate Portrait Mode edge cuts and blurs.
We’ve already seen a ToF camera on the Galaxy Note 10+. It enabled some nifty Augmented Reality features, but we feel it has been largely underused. What will Samsung do with 2 ToF cameras now?
Smart photo mode
Strings of code have revealed something called Single Take Photo. Basically, when you press the shutter, the phone will start looking for the “right” moment and automatically take a picture then and there. For example when trying to get everyone in a group photo to look good, a baby to look at the camera, or a pet to stop acting aloof and look cute for a second. Come on, Fido, I feed you, I walk you, the least you can do is help me with this Insta story!
The iPhone 11 Max was lazer-focused on videographers and content producers, but the Galaxy S20 Ultra will respond in kind. With features like Director’s View and Pro Video, Samsung is expected to give us a lot more control over the video-recording features. Think manual focus, ISO control, subject tracking, possibly even microphone gain control, among other cool features.
It’s also said that the phone will make good use of that 108 MP sensor, unlocking 8K at 30 FPS video recording. Now, that many pixels might not sound useful to the average user, but when it comes to cropping a shot in post-production, it’s a godsend.
Price and release date
OK, so you might be throwing money at the screen already, but that’ll do nothing just yet. We expect the Galaxy S20 phones to be announced on the 11th February at an event in San Francisco. The actual launch, however, will take a bit longer. Speculations say 6th of March.
As for price, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is expected to have a price-tag that suits its name. It’ll start at $1,099 is what we are saying. At least that’s the expected price. Some are worried that the recent inflation in phone prices might spell a higher point of entry for the S20 Ultra. But we are under the impression that the userbase has dug its heels in and refuses to accept any more price hikes, so Samsung might not want to take the risk.