Is Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 512GB out of stock? The S20 family includes a 5G radio, so 5G has become just a part of the flagship phones, rather than being relegated to a niche market. The S20 Ultra supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave bands (which offer substantially faster communications, but much shorter range).Consumer Reviews is supported by its audience. This website contains Paid Links. As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchase. Find more
I used a model on T-Mobile, which doesn’t have a lot of mmWave service. Because of the lockdown, I’ve only been able to test it in the suburbs, where I do find a lot of 5G, presumably low-band, but speed is unremarkable. (I’ve seen 5G connections with upload speeds between 30 and 88Mbps; a Verizon-based Note 10 was usually about the same speed in the same locations while only running LTE.) Interestingly, I’ve gotten much faster speeds on “LTE+,” up to 194Mbps. Is Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 512GB out of stock?
The promise of 5G is not only faster speed, but more stable, more reliable coverage; and lower latency. It should be better for video conferencing, and there’s a new version of Google Duo included, but the 5G coverage isn’t enough for me to test that yet.
The S20 also has a number of specific business features, including Samsung Knox for better security, and a new function that lets users access FTP servers with their FTP credentials or network drives in the office and see the results in the My Files app. My guess is this will be mostly used in situations where an enterprise owns the device. Is Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 512GB out of stock?
It continues to offer the unique Dex functionality, where you plug in a monitor, keyboard, and mouse (typically through a dongle with an HDMI connection and USB port) and use your S20 more as you would a traditional PC.
Has Samsung stopped making this one or is Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 512GB out of stock?They come and go in batches. It was out of stock after initial pre order. Then again they had some stock couple of weeks after launch but went out of stock again. Unfortunately there isn’t any timeline on when they come into stock. Your best bet is to check frequently to see when they are available.
So is this rumor – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 512GB out of stock? To answer your question they are still making them but probably in very small quantities and limited distribution channel. For example, you can order the 512 GB US unlocked model on Amazon and they say in stock on May 14. Probably that’s a conservative date but it’s going to be few weeks wait at minimum I believe.
I read some community posts that say they come back in stock regularly, but alas I have not yet had the pleaure of finding this out. Talked to a customer service guy, said they’d be back in stock before launch, spoke to another guy hours later said 2-3 days. Does Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 512GB out of stock?
Table of Contents
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G – Price and availability
- 2 Specifications – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
- 3 Who is this for – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G?
- 4 Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G review – what is good in it?
- 5 Samsung’s single-take mode and 8K video – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G review
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G – Price and availability
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra starts at an eye-watering $1,399. The starting configuration includes 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but you can upgrade to a 16GB/512GB model for an additional $200 if you need more memory and capacity. For those scoring at home, a fully-loaded S20 Ultra will set you back $1,700.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra is available through all major U.S. carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. If you’re looking to snap up an S20 Ultra and save, be sure to check out our guide to the best Galaxy S20 deals. Some retailers and carriers are offering goodies, such as gift cards and additional credit toward a new S20 when you trade in your current smartphone. Is there possibility Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 512GB out of stock again?
Specifications – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
- Carrier: Unlocked
- Wireless Technology: 5G, CDMA
- Operating System: Android 10
- Internal Memory: 512 gigabytes
- Screen Size: 6.9 inches
- Water Resistant: Yes
- Phone Memory (RAM): 16 gigabytes
- Processor Brand: Qualcomm
- Front-Facing Camera: 40 megapixels
- Processor Model: 865 5G
- Internet Connectable: Yes
- Series: Samsung Galaxy S20
- Product Name: Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G Enabled 512GB (Unlocked)
- Brand: Samsung
- No-Contract: Yes
- Data Plan Required: No
- Device Manufacturer: Samsung
- Phone Style: Smartphone
- Model Number: SM-G988UZKEXAA
- Series: Samsung Galaxy S20
- Color: Cosmic Black
- Color Category: Black
- Unlocked: Yes
- Email Capable: Yes
- Keyboard Type: Touch Screen
- Media Card Slot: microSD, microSDHC
- Mobile Hotspot Capability: Yes
- Sensors: Fingerprint sensor
- Maximum Depth Of Water Resistance: 4.92 feet
- Ingress Protection (IP) Rating : IP68
- Wireless Charging: Yes
- Social Media and Messaging Services: SMS, MMS
- Dust Resistant: Yes
- Stylus Dock: None
- Display Type: AMOLED
- Touch Screen: Yes
- Integrated Camera: Yes – Front and Back
- Battery Capacity: 5000 milliampere hours
- Bluetooth Enabled: Yes
- NFC Technology: Yes
- Wireless Charging Standard: Qi
- Model Family: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
- Expandable Memory : up to1000 gigabytes
- SIM Card Size: Nano SIM
- Carrier Compatibility: AT&T, Boost Mobile, Cricket, H2O Wireless, MetroPCS, Mint Mobile, Net10, Simple Mobile, Sprint, T-Mobile, TRACFONE, Total Wireless, Verizon
- Universal Unlocked: Yes
- Data Transmission Type: LTE
- Wireless Compatibility: Bluetooth, Wireless A, Wireless AC, Wireless B, Wireless G, Wireless N Dual Band
- Network Type: CDMA, GSM
- Stylus Included: No
- Manufacturer’s Warranty – Parts1 Year
- Manufacturer’s Warranty – Labor1 Year
Who is this for – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G?
Buy it if…
You relish phones with big, beautiful screens
This 6.9-inch display will stretch you grip and require juggling to get to all corners of the screen, but you end up with an amazing-looking picture that’s more fluid when the 120Hz refresh rate is turned on.
You want your first 5G smartphone
5G is still in its infancy in some regions, but it proves to be 66 times as fast as 4G LTE in the right locations with mmWave technology – although of course your milage may vary.
You want to show off the 108MP camera and 100x zoom
The S20 Ultra cameras boast big numbers and cutting-edge specs, and although the 108MP photos aren’t perfect, and the 100x zoom looks blurry, both offer neat party tricks, and everyone we showed this phone to was eager to try them out.
Don’t buy it if…
You want the best camera phone
Samsung is offering something new that pushes the boundaries of smartphone photography. But the experience isn’t always consistent, with exposure and autofocus issues, and while the Ultra’s 108MP photos have their perks, it’s hard to call them ‘the best’ we’ve taken on a phone.
You wish smaller phones would make a comeback
You shouldn’t buy the Galaxy S20 Ultra if it’s too big for your hand, and that may be true for most average phone buyers. It makes a convincing case for foldable phones to exist.
You’re on a budget
Even if you’ve bought a Plus-sized Samsung phone in the past, its new big phone for 2020 may not be for you because of the eye-watering price. The Galaxy S20 Plus also got a price hike, but it’s more reasonable if you’re strapped for cash.
And the question will Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 512GB out of stock again?
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G review – what is good in it?
5G, battery life, specs and software
- 5G mmWave speeds are up to 66x as fast 4G LTE, but only in some areas
- During our testing, 4G LTE was sometimes faster than sub-6 5G
- Google Duo video calls are helpfully now integrated into the dialer app
- Samsung’s Quick Share feature apes Apple’s AirDrop so you can easily transfer files, but it’s limited to S20 phones for the moment
The Galaxy S20 Ultra will almost certainly the first 5G smartphone for a lot of people – just 1% of phones that shipped in 2019 were 5G devices, so it’s still very new tech.
Like the S20 Plus, the Ultra combines mmWave and sub-6 technology to offer the fastest peak download speeds (mmWave) and the widest range (sub-6). The S20 is outfitted with just sub-6, and it won’t be sold by Verizon, an mmWave-exclusive carrier in the US, for this reason.
So how fast is 5G on the S20 Ultra? Exactly 66 times faster than the 4G LTE iPhone 11 Pro Max we tested right next to Samsung’s phone, at least in New York City. We got 1.9Gbps on Verizon’s mmWave network in Bryant Park, which broke our previous record of 1.6Gbps on the Galaxy S10 Plus in the same spot (Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G review).
We did have to be outdoors, and close to a 5G node on top of a lamppost, to make that happen. Sadly, mmWave is extremely fast but incredibly limited in range, whereas sub-6 is slower (ranging from 200Mbps to 500Mbps) but has a wider range, offers a more reliable connection and works indoors. Traveling around London, which is limited to sub-6 networks right now, we actually saw faster speeds with our 4G LTE iPhone 11.
The fact is that 5G is still very much in its infancy in some regions, but, by combining the two 5G technologies, the S20 Ultra and S20 Plus futureproof your access to super-fast connectivity.
The rest of the internal specs are all top-of-the-line: a 7nm chipset (Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 in the US, or Samsung’s Exynos 990 in the UK and Europe), 12GB or 16GB or RAM, 128GB or 512GB of internal storage, and a microSD card slot for expandable storage.
Samsung’s One UI 2.0 software reskins Android 10 with a one-hand-friendly layout, with a lot of the menus items you need to touch appearing on the bottom half of the screen. Another perk is that Google Duo is now integrated directly in the dialer app – we were able to make Full HD video calls, and you can chat with up to eight people.
The other new software addition is Quick Share, Samsung’s take on Apple’s AirDrop. It allows you to share files with multiple people, not just one person at a time, without having to connect to Bluetooth or sign into anything. However, the feature is exclusive to the Galaxy S20 series for now, with the intention that older Samsung phones should get it in the future.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G review – Battery life
- 5,000mAh is a monster battery size, but power gets used up quickly at higher settings
- There’s a big difference in drain time with 5G and 120Hz enabled
- There’s a 25W charger in the box, and the Ultra is compatible with an optional 45W charger and 15W wireless charger
Using 5G hogs battery life, and in part to counter this the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 5,000mAh battery capacity, while the S20 Plus has a 4,500mAh battery. We found that the Ultra lasted longer than 24 hours on days we weren’t testing 5G speeds non-stop.
The Ultra lasted 12 hours and 13 minutes in our battery drain test that ran through web pages on the T-Mobile LTE network. Switching to the 120Hz screen, however, shaved off exactly three hours, with the phone dying at 9 hours and 13 minutes using the same test. We found it hard to say no to the fluidity of 120Hz screen, but you may want to turn it off when you’re not gaming.
Samsung’s ‘Super Fast’ charging returns on the S20 Ultra, up to 45W here with an optional charger, and 25W with the charger included in the box.
That mirrors what we saw on the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, as does the Ultra’s fast wireless charging prowess of up to 15W.
Despite the large battery size, we were able to charge the phone to 31% in just 15 minutes, and 63% in 30 minutes, using the 25W charger.
Samsung’s single-take mode and 8K video – Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G review
- Samsung still has the best camera app of all smartphone makers
- Clipping 33MP photos from video and ‘single-take mode’ offers flexibility
- 8K video recording option, like the 108MP camera, allows you to crop in after the fact, but suffers from the same autofocusing issues
Samsung’s camera app continues to be the best out there, balancing robust features with ease of use. You can swipe anywhere on the screen to flip between the front and back cameras, and make a hand gesture to trigger the selfie camera timer. This is so much better than what Apple does right now – the timer is now hidden behind a menu on the iPhone 11 series.
We also love the fact that you can double-press the lock button to launch the camera app without having to look at the screen; sometimes it’s the little things that make snapping a photo easier.
We had fun with the new ‘single-take mode’, which cycles through the cameras and some of Samsung’s 13 photo and video modes for 10 seconds, then picks the best shots. We ended up with wide, ultra-wide, smart cropped and filtered photos, as well as a video and hyperlapse video. It feels like this is more than a gimmick, and we hope other phonemakers adopt something similar.
The S20 Ultra introduces 8K-resolution video recording, and Samsung’s Super Steady stabilization now incorporates anti-rolling correction (up to 60 degrees). Both sound great, but both can’t be used at the same time.
We discovered that you can’t have 8K and Super Steady; in fact, Super Steady didn’t work in 4K either – it’s still a 1080p affair. And 8K is limited to 24fps, so you’re not going to get all the bells and whistles you do with 4K and Full HD video.
What 8K did for us was allow us to crop and edit video without sacrificing quality. 4K, meanwhile, gave us frame-rate and zoom versatility – you get 20x video zoom in 4K, whereas you’re stuck at 6x in 8K. We did experience the same autofocusing flaws in 8K as we saw with 108MP photos, though, and you can start to see a theme here: big numbers aren’t always better. Will this Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 512GB out of stock again?
To give you some storage requirement context, 8K video files will eat up just under 600MB for every minute of footage in the HEIC format (and every 8GB it’ll start a new file) – we say that just in case you’re deciding between the 128GB and 512GB versions of this phone.
Luckily, we were able to trim the large 8K video files using the phone’s built-in video trimmer, which we found handy. You can also clip 33MP photos on the Galaxy S20 Ultra while recording, or in post if you’re shooting 8K video – you just tap a button inside the camera UI and it saves a high-resolution photo to your camera roll.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G review: Design
In some ways, the Galaxy S20 Ultra looks a lot like Samsung phones that have preceded it — namely, the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10. The edges are curved, the display goes right up to the edge of the device and nearly kisses the metal frame, and there’s an Infinity-O hole punch camera cutout up top, smack dab in the center.
But the S20 Ultra in particular is like a Galaxy flagship on steroids. For one, the display is massive, stretching 6.9 inches from corner to corner, which is larger than even the 6.8-inch Galaxy Note 10 Plus. And the giant rectangular camera array on the rear dominates the back of the device, aggressively protruding from an otherwise unremarkable slab of gray glass.
In fact, the S20 Ultra only comes in two extremely boring shades — Cosmic Black and Cosmic Gray — that are underwhelming considering how much this phone has going on under the hood. Samsung does offer Cloud Blue and Cloud Pink versions of the less expensive Galaxy S20 variants, though those hues are absent for Ultra customers. And no matter which shade you buy, this phone is also a serious magnet for fingerprints; perhaps Samsung should have offered a matte glass option, too.
The one aspect of the S20 Ultra’s design we haven’t yet touched upon is size, and make no mistake — this is one beast of a smartphone. It measures 6.6 x 2.9 x 0.34 inches and weighs 7.7 ounces, making it much taller and a smidge thicker than the iPhone 11 Pro Max, but a hair narrower.
To Samsung’s credit, though, it was able to keep the S20 Ultra lighter than 7.97-ounce iPhone 11 Pro Max, even though the iPhone has a significantly smaller battery and a more compact camera module. Regardless, if you prefer your smartphones smaller, the S20 Ultra is certainly not for you.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G review: Camera
The Galaxy S20 Ultra’s camera system has a lot going for it, including a 108MP sensor that captures highly detailed images, a 10x lossless zoom and up to a 100x digital Space Zoom. Plus, every sensor is larger, which helps pull in more light.
That all sounds good, but there’s one big problem: The S20 Ultra has some issues focusing. For example, when trying to hone in on a miniature arcade machine up close, the S20 Ultra definitely takes longer to get its bearings than the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Samsung handset’s focus was jumpy, while the iPhone’s was almost instantaneous and smooth.
The S20 Ultra also exhibited jumpy autofocus when shooting video in Bryant Park. As my colleague Mike Prospero moved around the frame, the S20 Ultra demonstrates obvious trouble keeping up; both he and the background shift in and out of focus. Meanwhile, the iPhone 11 Pro Max kept him and the rest of the scene in perfect clarity.
In the days following the S20 Ultra’s launch, Samsung provided the following statement surrounding the camera glitches many reviewers have reported:
“The Galaxy S20 features a groundbreaking, advanced camera system. We are constantly working to update software to provide with the best camera experience for consumers. The rollout is beginning in Korea and will arrive in additional regions over the next few weeks.”
That update is out now, and looks to have squashed some of the jumpiness that was unavoidable upon the phone’s initial release. Overall, the S20 Ultra truly shines when capturing zoom shots from a distance, but in other scenarios — like at night, or when capturing a shallow depth-of-field Live Focus portrait — the results can be mixed.
The good news is that the 108MP camera can capture a stunning amount of detail under the right conditions. In this shot of the curved Grace building, we could crop around the letters on the facade and still make them out clearly.
Low light photography, however, is more of a challenge for the S20 Ultra. The iPhone 11 Pro’s shot in this particular face-off is noticeably more detailed than the one captured using Samsung’s flagship. The texture in the yellow petals is much clearer in the result from Apple’s handset.
But then, in other circumstances, the Night Mode shots produced by the Galaxy S20 Ultra compare more favorably to those we took with the iPhone 11 Pro Max. This photo of a tree at night taken with the S20 Ultra is highly detailed and well lit, though there is a slight yellowish cast to the shot. The iPhone 11 Pro Max’s version is much darker and some details, like the bark, don’t stand out as clearly.
Another complaint about the S20 Ultra’s camera is that it aggressively smooths out faces. We took a couple of portrait photos of Mike again, and the S20 Ultra’s image was in focus this time, but still lacking precision. You can especially tell around Mike’s eyes and the right side of his face, which gets blown out by the sunlight. The S20 Ultra’s shot features better contrast, but overall it loses to the iPhone 11 Pro Max here.
The issues we’ve noticed with the S20 Ultra’s camera are especially frustrating, given how the camera performed in most of our other head-to-head tests, particularly when we utilized the other lenses on the device. Samsung’s high-end phone benefits from a 4x optical, 48MP telephoto lens capable of 10x lossless zoom and up to 100x digital zoom. That’s some serious power, and Samsung has an appropriately bombastic name for it: Space Zoom.
We tested the S20 Ultra’s 10x hybrid zoom — which employs software on top of the lens’ natural 4x optical power — by snapping a photo of Manhattan’s iconic Chrysler Building from the corner of West 42 St. and 5th Ave., which is about three blocks away. We then captured the same picture from the same vantage point with the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which has only a 2x optical zoom telephoto lens, and none of the post-processing that Samsung uses to clean up digital zoom on the S20 Ultra. Is Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 512GB out of stock now?
The difference, as you can plainly see, is night and day — like the difference between an impressionistic painting and an actual photograph. The S20 Ultra’s rendition is exponentially more detailed, and it’s amazing when you consider it was produced by a smartphone.
Zooming in on the carvings adorning the facade of the New York Public Library, the S20 Ultra’s mix of sophisticated hardware and software delivered a precise image of two figures and adjacent text. The iPhone 11 Pro Max’s attempt is also extremely grainy and too warm, with a greenish, sepia-like cast that wasn’t true to the day’s actual conditions.
Inside Grand Central Station, the S20 Ultra captured this dim yet once again much clearer shot of the transit hub’s iconic gold clock on top of the information booth. Apple’s device more aggressively exposed the rest of the scene, rather than the clock alone, though the iPhone’s shot is blown out as a consequence in many places. The S20 Ultra’s attempt is conversely a little too dark, but at least it’s crisp enough that it still gives you something to work with in editing.
That said, you won’t really want to test the limits of the S20 Ultra’s full 100x digital zoom. For one, it’s really hard to shoot at that kind of power. Any natural hand movements are amplified to the point where it’s nigh impossible to take a perfectly clear and straight picture without noticeable shake. Make no mistake — this is truly tripod territory.
Secondly, even the best results with 100x zoom on the S20 Ultra are remarkably blurry, and all the computational photography hacks in the world won’t help 100x digital zoom from a 4x optical lens look remotely presentable. Anything up to about 30x proves to be the S20 Ultra’s sweet spot, but you won’t want to push your luck much further beyond that.
Previous Galaxy S flagships were always weakest when capturing Live Focus shallow depth-of-field portraits. However, even with some of the weaknesses noted above, the S20 Ultra has improved in that regard. Apple can still claim the portrait crown, but some of our portrait comparisons put Samsung in a better light.
The S20 Ultra manages to avoid the hazy warmth of the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s version of this scene, though it also doesn’t do quite as nice a job of exposing the darker regions of the frame and the details within, like the texture of my jacket and scarf. Still, I’d argue the S20 Ultra captured the more realistic photo here, even if it’s not necessarily the best — and that’s a massive step up from portrait mode in Samsung’s prior phones. Is this Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 512GB out of stock now?
Personally, the S20 Ultra impressed me the most when I snapped a pic of one of Grand Central’s ornate chandeliers at 5x zoom. Not only is it generally sharper than the iPhone’s version of the same scene, but the lightbulbs are better isolated, and the way the gold portions catch and manipulate light is rendered with remarkable clarity and contrast by Samsung’s camera.
Even the S20 Ultra’s ultrawide lens — often the weak link of mobile cameras — churns out good results, delivering an eye-catching shot of Brooklyn’s underground DeKalb market in challenging lighting conditions. The iPhone 11 Pro Max delivered a comparatively softer and warmer take, that slightly blew out the neon signs and didn’t paint the edges of objects and text quite as crisply.
As noted, you have to force the S20 Ultra’s main camera to shoot at 108MP. What you’re then often left with is an ultra-high resolution photo that looks pretty flat, and likely not as good as if you just left the camera alone to begin with. I’m more impressed with the saturated yellows and pinks that the S20 Ultra pulled out of the flowers you see above, but the Pixel 4 clearly wins where contrast is concerned, as it better separated the petals.
Finally, we turn to the S20 Ultra’s 40MP front-facing shooter, which — like the main 108MP camera — also uses pixel binning. The selfie you see here actually only weighs in at 6.5MP, though it you wouldn’t know it. The iPhone 11 Pro Max’s portrait is clearly a little sharper, owing to Apple’s Deep Fusion processing technique, which is designed to extract exceptional detail in medium-light conditions.
I like how much brighter Apple’s take is, and you can especially notice the improved detail in the fabric of my sweater and my skin tone. But I don’t appreciate how pulled back the iPhone’s perspective is compared to the S20 Ultra’s, and once again, Samsung’s white balance is more neutral and not as artificially warm.
The most standout camera feature on the S20 Ultra (aside from all those megapixels and the crazy zoom) is Single Take mode. When engaged, Single Take records a 10-second video and snaps multiple images, giving you an entire gallery of options to choose from and share. The S20 Ultra will pick the best-looking still shot, take a 12MP ultrawide photo, a portrait with Live Focus mode and capture both a sped-up video and a normal-speed clip.
I was impressed with the Single Take mode’s results when I recorded a juggler in action with the S20 Ultra. However, Single Take’s appeal is sort of limited, as it’s really only reserved for when you have a unique subject in motion. It’s also very difficult to determine which shots are which from a glance — this mode could really benefit from an update that labels each piece of content so you can better tell them apart by their thumbnails, like “ultrawide,” “best shot,” “Live Focus” and so on.
Last but certainly not least, the S20 Ultra is capable of recording 8K video at 24 fps, and you can turn moments from your clips into 33MP photos. When you’re done shooting, you can cast 8K videos to Samsung QLED TVs or share them with other Samsung devices — though with 4K displays only now becoming commonplace, it’s hard to imagine anyone has the tech necessary to view such content today, and so Samsung’s achievement here rings pretty hollow. And with the autofocus issues that have emerged, this is a feature that requires more fine-tuning.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G review: Display
Samsung supplies the displays in a great number of the world’s smartphones, which is why it was so surprising to see the Galaxy S10 fall behind the competition last year when it came to the screen. While other handsets —from the OnePlus 7 Pro to the ROG Phone 2 and Google’s Pixel 4 — boasted 90Hz and 120Hz refresh rates, the S10 offered a pedestrian 60Hz.
Fortunately, Samsung is catching up with the Galaxy S20 line. All three S20 models tout 120Hz panels, though the S20 Ultra’s is the largest of the bunch by far, sized at 6.9 inches with a 20:9 aspect ratio and 3400×1440 resolution.
There is, however, a caveat to the 120Hz part. While the S20 Ultra does have a quad-HD display, it can’t present on-screen content at its full native resolution and 120Hz simultaneously. If you want smoother animation when scrolling and playing games, you’ll have to knock the resolution down to full-HD — a restriction Samsung seemingly imposed to conserve the phone’s battery life.
At first, this limitation bothered me. However, in practice, I didn’t notice the resolution hit in typical usage, and I came away so impressed by the heightened refresh rate that I didn’t really care about those missing pixels. I thought the 90Hz panel in the Pixel 4 offered a major step up in terms of responsiveness and ease of use compared to the conventional 60Hz screens of old when I reviewed that device. Likewise, the S20 Ultra’s 120Hz display is even faster and therefore even more refreshing to use. I almost don’t want to get to familiar with it, because I expect it’ll be hard to go back.
The only problem with the switch to 120Hz is that almost all games and media aren’t optimized for it. This is something that third-party app developers could address on a case by case basis; Microsoft’s Forza Street racing game will be among the first titles to take advantage of the doubled refresh rate, for example. Additionally, the screen’s speedy 240Hz touch sampling rate should make it ideal for highly-competitive games — particularly shooters like Fortnite. But most of the time, chances are you’ll only feel the difference 120Hz makes when thumbing around the interface.
Aside from the refresh rate, the S20 Ultra’s screen looks phenomenal as you’d expect from Samsung, with robust color reproduction, especially at the default Vivid setting. The S20 Ultra covered 231.1% of the sRGB color space according to our light meter, which far exceeds the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s 118.6%. That’s not surprising, given that Apple usually tunes its panels for more subdued, realistic hues — and if you desire the same in the S20 Ultra, you can opt for a Natural color profile in the device’s settings.
Watching the trailer for the second season of Netflix’s Formula 1: Drive to Survive, the S20 Ultra rendered the smoke pouring off the rear wheels of a Red Bull grand prix car in slow motion with striking dynamic range and definition.
It’s a very impressive screen broadly speaking — though if I had one gripe, it could be a smidge brighter. The S20 Ultra peaks at 662 nits when set to maximum brightness (though it only reaches that peak in extremely bright ambient conditions). That’s a bit dimmer than the iPhone 11 Pro Max at 761 nits, and even Samsung’s cheaper Galaxy Note 10 Plus narrowly bests it, at 686 nits.
The roughly 100 nits of additional brightness offered by the iPhone isn’t a hugely significant difference, though it may make contents on the S20 Ultra’s display ever so slightly harder to read outdoors on a sunny day. Plus, it must be said that Apple’s devices can reach their highest possible brightness manually, whereas Samsung’s only reach it in certain circumstances, with the adaptive setting on.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G performance review
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, like all S20 handsets, will be the first phone on the market with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 865 processor, which promises faster performance and reduced power consumption.
That CPU gets paired with 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but you can order the S20 Ultra with up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage for $1,599. (Of course, you can also expand the S20 Ultra’s storage with a microSD card, and the phone will support cards up to 1TB in size.)
Thus it comes as little surprise that the S20 Ultra was never wanting for more horsepower during our testing. The combination of that 865 silicon and all that RAM means this handset is equipped to handle everything from ordinary multitasking to the most demanding mobile titles, like Fortnite and Asphalt 9 Legends. Fortnite in particular yielded a console-like experience, thanks to the S20 Ultra’s massive, super-vivid display, the quality of its graphics and the device’s all-around responsiveness.
Samsung’s new flagship proved strong in benchmarks, too. In Geekbench 5’s multicore system-wide test and GFXBench’s Aztec Ruins high-tier offscreen graphics test, the S20 Ultra delivered scores of 3,076 and 1,319 (20.7 frames per second) respectively. Those compare well with — yet fall just shy of — the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s performance in those tests, where Apple’s flagship delivered scores of 3,517 and 1,657 (25 fps).
In our video editing test, where a brief 4K video clip is transcoded to 1080p using Adobe’s Premiere Rush app, the S20 Ultra completed the task in 1 minute and 16 seconds, compared to the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which needed just 45 seconds. It’s fair to say this could have something to do with Adobe possibly better optimizing its app for iOS than Android, though it’s impossible to be certain.
One of the S20 Ultra’s handy time-saving features allows users to allocate up to three apps to be stored in RAM so that they launch instantly. And that number goes up to five apps if you opt for the 16GB model.