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Galaxy S20 Ultra 100x zoom camera samples show how amazing the feature can be

Published Feb 25th, 2020 4:02PM EST
Galaxy S20 Ultra
Image: Framesira/Shutterstock

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The best model in Samsung’s new flagship lineup is the Galaxy S20 Ultra, a device that starts at $1,399. For that price, however, you get the same design and core specs as the other S20 models in a much bigger package. The larger screen and battery size and the faster charging aren’t the most exciting features of the Ultra, though, because the handset has a unique camera system that features a 108-megapixel primary camera, and a 48-megapixel telephoto lens that supports up to 100x Super Resolution Zoom.

That’s what Samsung calls its highest optical zoom on these phones, and the S20 Ultra has the best such zoom that you can ask for, given where the technology is at. If you followed Samsung’s event a few weeks ago, where Samsung offered a live demo of the 100x zoom, you already know that the demo was not a success. Yes, the zoom is impressive, but don’t expect great quality. However, real-life photos show how spectacular the 100x zoom really is, and prove that while the feature is gimmicky, it’s worth having in your pocket.

To recap the specs of the S20 Ultra’s camera, it has a quad-camera camera system that includes a Depth Vision camera, 108-megapixel wide-angle lens (F1.8), 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens (F2.2), and 48-megapixel periscope telephoto lens (F3.5).

The periscope lens adds some extra bulk to the Galaxy S20’s rear camera, and the lens itself looks incredibly ugly. But, as I’ve told you before, camera design is the least of your worries on a phone that can take amazing photos. And the Galaxy S20 will deliver an even better photo experience than its predecessors.

As you’ll see in the various camera samples that early reviewers posted on YouTube, the Space Zoom feature is impressive, and I’m not even referring to the photos that show what 100x zoom looks like. It’s the intermediate zoom that’s really worth admiring, and the kind of zoom you’ll probably use most of the time — the S20 Ultra’s Hybrid Optic Zoom maxes out at 10x, and that’s perhaps the best experience you’re going to get in terms of quality and quantity. In other words, this isn’t what you’re getting at 100x zoom:

Then again, being able to zoom all the way to 100x on a phone is impressive nonetheless, and it’s something that’s not available on many of Samsung’s biggest rivals. One other thing the zoom camera can do is scan signs for text, which could be extremely useful in a variety of instances. Again, the best results will be obtained before you hit the max 100x zoom, however.

The photos and videos that follow don’t offer a full S20 Ultra review, but they do provide plenty of samples to help you decide whether the S20 Ultra should be your next smartphone or not:

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.