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One of the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s most anticipated features might not be all that impressive

Published Jan 17th, 2020 7:04PM EST
Galaxy S20 Ultra
Image: Lee Jin-man/AP/Shutterstock

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Samsung’s Galaxy S20 is one of the most anticipated phones of 2020. The South Korean smartphone maker has scheduled a press event for February 11th, confirming recent leaks that said the S20 launch event would take place earlier than expected. Samsung is looking to put as much distance as possible between its newest phones and all the handsets that will be unveiled at MWC a few weeks later.

But all the secrets have already been spoiled, so the sooner Samsung unveils the phone, the better. This week alone brought several major leaks about the Galaxy S20 series, including one we’re about to share. However, this new report out of Korea seems to indicate that one of the highly anticipated Galaxy S20 camera features might not be quite as revolutionary as expected.

Several leaks have said that the Galaxy S20 Ultra will be the only S20 model to receive a periscope camera, which can significantly improve optical zoom. We’ve seen such lenses on Huawei and Oppo devices in the past. The same leaks indicated the S20 Ultra would be capable of a crazy 100x hybrid zoom, which combines optical and digital zoom. Other reports, meanwhile, claimed that the S20’s periscope lens would support 10x optical zoom.

This brings us to The Elec’s latest report. According to the publication, the Galaxy S20 is getting a periscope camera module that will only support 5x optical zoom. The report doesn’t specify the Ultra by name, but everything we know about Samsung’s lineup tells us that the standard S20 and S20+ will not have periscope cameras.

The report notes that the same supplier that provided periscope lens components to Oppo will service Samsung, and plans to work with Huawei and Vivo this year. Huawei introduced a 5x zoom periscope lens of its own with the P30 Pro last year. That handset supports 50x digital zoom.

In a recent tweet, noted Samsung insider Ice Universe teased the upcoming camera war between the S20 Ultra and the P40 Pro and teased the expected zoom capabilities of the various lenses onboard the two devices:

He claims 5x, 10x, and 100x zoom for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, with the latter being the digital zoom. Is that 48-megapixel shooter with 5x zoom the periscope camera? Not so fast! Max Weinbach, a different leaker, known for his S20 revelations, said a few days ago that the 48-megapixel cam supports 10x optical zoom:

The camera will be one of the main selling points of the Ultra, so the specs of that periscope camera will clearly matter, considering that the P40 Pro will make use of the same tech. We’ll just have to wait to learn the truth.

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.