I had only had the new Samsung S20 Ultra 5G in my hands a few hours when I asked myself why the hell do, we keep calling them smartphones.
While devices like this actually allow one to make a call, they are now packed with micro technology that seriously outperforms other top end products in categories such as photography, entertainment and for business power users.
As for the so call ‘Smart Phone’ element I suspect that during the last five years of Samsung Galaxy devices as well as iPhones there has been little development of telecommunication technology other than a new 5G chipset.
What has been developed and is driving mobile innovation is a host of capabilities that make this device the swiss army knife of communication devices that you can carry in a bag or pocket.
The new Samsung S20 is more Pro Camera than smartphone, and the processor has enough grunt to power a PC. It is well-made and has curved glass on the front and back.
A huge black camera module is mounted on the back of the S20 Ultra however if you use a cover, especially a black cover the module is less noticeable.
Because Samsung uses an in-screen fingerprint sensor instead of face unlock cameras, the screen can go all the way to the edge of the top of the screen, which makes it look a big smartphone.
There is also a small, centred hole-punch for the selfie camera on the front of the device.
What you immediately notice is that with the new S20 Ultra which has an Exynos 990 (7 nm+) processor is that it has bags of power, coupled with new software capabilities and the introduction of new AI features, make this device different from any other smartphone we have tested.
Just to get a feel as to wehat is actually in this device take a look at this video.
I have spent a week with this device and it’s a serious fit for my busy lifestyle, a screen that’s crystal clear, functions that work on command and an ease of use that outperforms a lot of other devices.
The week prior to testing this device I spent a week using the new Motorola Razr, and before that the LG V50 5G device, switching to the S20 Ultra 5G device made me realise just how attached one can become to the modius operandi that Samsung has delivered for their premium range of communication devices.
With this device artificial intelligence deliver a big step up from previous Samsung devices, especially when shooting pictures, but at the same time can be irritating as the software tries to pre-empt your next move or tries to lock you into a process.
The other irritating feature is Samsung’s Bixby that is constantly trying to override Google Assistant.
If you can access 5G in the area where you work or live the S20 Ultra delivers vastly improved 5G performance in fact, it’s the most comprehensive implementation of 5G that I have come across in a 5G device.
Balmoral in Sydney is a mongrel of a location when it comes to Telstra 4G performance, but with this device which does have a brand new 5G chipset I was immediately in the stratosphere hitting over 300Mbps which is more than adequate for anything you want to do with this device.
This raises the question as to whether the 5G chipset in the earlier handsets being sold in Australia were actually tuned to deliver 5G to the max.
I have to mention this! But out of the box Samsung has done what every device vendor should do, with the inclusion of a fast charger where the cable fits into the top of the charger not the side allowing for multiple chargers to be plugged into a board or multiple power point.
Samsung has also delivered a couple of big break throughs, including a 108MP sensor and the ability to shoot 8K. But this is early days.
The standout features of this device are the 6.9-inch 1440x3200px Dynamic AMOLED display and despite its size, the Ultra isn’t much heavier than its rivals at 220 grams.
The introduction of a Samsung manufactured Nonacell 108MP sensor, which combines 9 pixels into 1 for 12MP final images sets this device up as the new benchmark in video and still image shooting.
This is new technology that is set to see several brands including possibly Apple switch from Sony camera sensors to one manufactured by Samsung, the increased size of this sensor allows for more light to be captured while delivering a shallower depth of field compared to the smaller Sony sensors found in most smartphones.
The sensor, at 1/1.33-inch, is the largest installed in a premium smartphone which is why the device is expensive and the sensor sticks out on the back of the device.
The 48MP periscope telephoto lens works a treat with images at 50X crystal clear.
The new zoom capabilities on this device deliver significantly improved images due in part to the inclusion of zoom buttons on the screen.
For example, if you decide to shoot high res 4.4 image a row of buttons appear to the right of the image which allow one to pick a zoom distance.
This is significantly better than having to manually zoom the distance.
The shots below show the quality of images some shot over two kilometres away from where I was standing.
You may remember the problems we had with the Huawei P30 50X zoom where it was not only difficult to shoot the images they were also far from clear.
With the S20 the 50X images are sharp and clear in comparison however the 100X zoom images are still blurry despite the inclusion of artificial intelligence which does attempt to sharpen the image up.
The P30 Pro was incredibly poor and the images often unusable when shot in low light.
There is also a f/1.8 lens on top on the display screen.
Another key feature is the 5,000mAh battery that charges super quick. From flat to full took me only 56 minutes.
Powered by the Exynos 990 (7 nm+) processors the functions on this device are also quick due to the inclusion of 12GB of RAM which is more than one gets in a lot of notebooks today.
One of the big new features in this device is a feature called Single Take and as much as I have played with the is feature, I am still trying to work out the value proposition.
Samsung see it as import, and I suggest that it is here to stay. You will find the Single Take button right next to key buttons such as video and photo.
Single Take is a new shooting mode that combines video and stills shooting into a single process, so you end up with multiple videos and multiple images all shot from one press of the button.
All you do is hold your finger down on the Single Take shutter button for up to 10 seconds, and the Ultra’s camera system automatically activates all the lenses spanning ultra-wide, wide and telephoto.
You then take your pick of which one you want to keep.
The fast-motion versions of videos are good, but I still believe this is a work in process and is a feature that will be in the next S model device.
This is a device that’s as much a business machine as it is a leisure/social/ and information sourcing machine.
There are a lot of features in Samsung’s new One UI 2.0 for Android 10 that are really useful for business users.
Link to Windows shows notifications on your Windows PC, while DeX lets you easily access data and applications on your phone from your PC.
Also integrated into the S20 is Google Duo and it works perfectly well, for both business and personal calls. You can also bring in multiple people to a call.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra is massive, at 6.57 by 2.99 inches, it’s actually slightly narrower than the Galaxy Note 10+ and the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and lighter than the iPhone. Despite this it still feels good in the hand.
Samsung did away with the dedicated Bixby button, so now the only buttons are for power and volume there is also no headphone jack.
What you can do is use USB-C headphones like the included AKG buds, or Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones.
A single nano-SIM card slot pops out of the top edge and includes room for a microSD card.
Focus Mode temporarily disables apps you find distracting.
You can lock three apps into RAM (five on the 16GB unit) to keep your game from restarting when you tap away, and you can sign into multiple accounts on social media apps at once.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is in a class of its own. It is full of unmatched hardware innovations many of them, such as the new sensor are manufactured by Samsung.
Samsung manufactures most of the key products in their premium smartphones while , Apple rely on third part manufacturers such as LG, Sony and Samsung for parts which are then assembled by Foxconn, I believe this makes a big difference and it is why Samsung’s premium devices are the best in the world today.
This is a stunning smartphone which is expensive but still cheaper than an iPhone.
What you get for the price is a notebook, pro camera, smartphone and a great set of apps built into a device that also has a processor that deliver high performance output whether your shooting an image, loading a video or watching content on a screen that’s as good as a $5,000 TV.
The processor is what is needed for the high-megapixel images that the Galaxy S20 is now able to deliver.
As for speed, this device is capable of delivering four times the speed of 4G.
There is even 24bit audio which makes watching a movie a great experience and that’s before you get to gaming on a 120Mhz
This device is going to be hard to beat and at $1,999 at JB Hi Fi and The Good Guys I believe that this device while pricey is well worth the investment.