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Galaxy S20 Ultra teardown reveals all the phone’s hidden camera secrets

Published Mar 5th, 2020 6:50AM EST
Galaxy S20 Ultra
Image: Framesira/Shutterstock

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The Galaxy S20 Ultra is the most formidable Galaxy S phone ever made, there’s no doubt about it. It’s got top of the line specs, featuring the latest Snapdragon 865 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of storage. Add a 5,000 mAh battery to that, a 120Hz screen, and 5G connectivity, and you end up with one of the best Android phones you could dream of. And that’s without the monster camera of the back that features a monster 108-megapixel camera as well as a lens system capable of 100x zoom. But you probably knew all of that. Just as you knew you’ll have to shell out at least $1,399 for the cheapest version, which ships with 12GB of memory and 128GB of flash memory onboard. What you didn’t know is how Samsung managed to pack all of that tech into a rather slim device. But that’s what teardowns are for, and iFixit just stripped the S20 Ultra off its secrets.

If you’re familiar with any sort of smartphone teardown, you know what to expect from the Galaxy S20 Ultra. This is a well-built phone, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to repair. The front and back glass panels are glued to the metal frame, and they’re a pain to replace. If you brake them, your best bet is getting the phone to an authorized repair shop rather than trying to do it yourself.

The teardown, however, does provide a few interesting details about how flagship 5G phones are built. You’ll notice the huge mmWave antennas that have to be placed inside the phone — here’s one of them:

Image source: iFixit

More interesting is the camera system on the back, itself a novelty for Galaxy S phone. iFixit focuses on two of the four lenses on the back, including the primary sensor and the zoom sensor.

The 108-megapixel sensor is twice the size of the iPhone 11 Pro’s 12-megapixel sensor, but it has smaller pixels, iFixit notes.

Image source: iFixit

The Space Zoom camera, seen above, is a different kind of monster. It’s a periscope lens, featuring a prism that features its own optical image stabilizer, that’s capable of 4x of pure optical zoom, according to the teardown.

iFixit’s video below covers the entire teardown process, showing in great detail the periscope camera system as well.

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.