Samsung Goes From Plus to Ultra With the Three-Device Galaxy S20 Series

By Tom Pritchard on at

How do you make your phones stand out from the crowd in 2020? In the past it involved creating a larger or 'plus' version of the phone, but it's clear that just won't cut it anymore. Apple has the iPhone Max tier, and now Samsung has revealed it's adding an Ultra tier to its own line of Galaxy S smartphones. So today the company has just announced the regular Galaxy S20, the larger Galaxy S20 Plus, and the even bigger Galaxy S20 Ultra - the Ultra moniker meaning it offering more than its smaller siblings.

It's not clear why Samsung jumped from 10 to 20, something to do with branding bullshit, but I did see someone point out that it is 2020 and it makes *some* sense to have the name match the year. A bit like the FIFA games.

So what's the difference between these phones? There are quite a lot, but let's break it down step by step. First up, the display.

All three Galaxy S20 devices have a 120Hz refresh rate, which is topping the 90hz we were getting from other mainstream phone companies last year, and as usual it's the same AMOLED display technology Samsung has been stuffing into its phones since god knows when. The display also has a slimmer bezel, a smaller hole-punch for the camera (there's only one this time), and a less obvious curve on the Edge display. It's barely noticeable this time around, though it is still there doing absolutely nothing of note - as is the way of the curved display.

The difference comes in the size, though, with each one getting slightly bigger than the last. The S20 has a 6.2-inch display, the S20 Plus has a 6.7-inch display, and the S20 Ultra has a larger 6.9-inch display. Which means it's basically a Galaxy Note without the S-Pen.

Camera is a big thing this time round, as it always is, and Samsung has gone all in on the Ultra to try and convince people to buy them. The S20 Ultra comes with a quad-lens camera array on the back, which features a wide-angle 108MP lens (f/1.8, OIS), a 12MP ultra wide angle lens (f/2.2), a 48MP telephoto lens (f/3.5, OIS), and a depth sensor. The key thing about it, however, is that it also comes with a 100x zoom, which uses a hybrid system of optics and AI-enhanced digital trickery. And Samsung calls it 'Space Zoom'.

The other two aren't quite as impressive, but they do have some nice camera specs. The S20 and S20 Plus both come with a 12MP wide angle lens (f/1.8, OIS), a s12MP ultra wide angle lens (f/2.2), and a 64MP telephoto lens (f/2.0, OIS). The S20 Plus has a depth sensor on the back as well, which is skipped on the base level S20 model. Zoom isn't quite as impressive on those two, but they can both reach a 30x zoom level using similar technology to the Ultra.

As mentioned before all three have single lense front cameras, with the S20 and S20 Plus coming with a 10MP (f/2.2) lens and the Ultra packing a higher-res 40MP (f/2.2) lens.

All three support 8K video recording as well, which can then be cast to Samsung's own 8K TVs or uploaded to YouTube. If the video itself is too much then you can convert down to 4K and 1080p, and capture 33MP photo stills from the video itself. Interestingly Samsung has also added a Pro Mode for video, letting you control and fine-tune the settings as you would with the Pro Mode menu on the single-shot camera.

Other camera features include a 'video snap' which uses all four lens and AI to shoot a range of videos and photos in a variety of different styles and filters. Once you're done filming it will show them all to you as a little portfolio of sorts so you can pick the best stuff. Samsung also included improvements to the Super Steady Shooting and the Night Hyperlapse modes.

Because gaming is a big thing now, Samsung has an AI-powered game booster that offers quick launch for up to five apps, 240Hz touch input, and the ability to play Forza Street multiplayer with PC gamers.

There's no sign of the headphone jack again, but all three models will have microSD expansion up to 1TB and come with a variety of storage and RAM variants. The S20 is available with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage with a 4,000 mAh battery. The S20 Plus has 12GB of RAM with either 128 or 512GB of storage, and a 4,500 mAh battery. The S20 Ultra, being the monster that it is has either 12GB or 16GB of RAM and a choice of 128GB or 512GB of storage bundled with a 5,000 mAh battery.

The processor is a 64-bit octa core doohickey, but the exact ones included aren't clear yet. But being this Europe, experience tells us that it'll have an Exynos chipset here, while America will get one of the more recent SNapdragons from Qualcomm.

The S20 and S20 Plus have 25W fast charging, while the S20 Ultra will have the 45W fast charging that's been rumoured before. All three models support Samsung's Fast Wireless Charge 2.0 standard and have wireless power sharing features.

All three phones go on sale on 13th March, but pre-orders will open after the conclusion of the Unpacked event. Naturally if you pre-order you'll get a free pair of the new Galaxy Buds+, which have a two-way dynamic speaker, three microphones, one-touch Spotify controls, and an 22 hour total battery time (11 in the buds and an extra 11 in the case).

Oh and if you don't want a 5G model, we suggest you get the base S20. The S20 Plus and S20 Ultra are only available with 5G compatibility, whereas the S20 has both 5G and 4G variants.

The S20 will be available in Grey, Blue, and Pink, and will cost £799 for the 4G model and £899 for the 5G variant. The S20 Plus will be available in grey, blue, and black, and will cosy £999. The S20 Ultra will be available in grey and black, and is the 128GB model available for £1199 while the 512GB model will be £1399.