Probably don’t Buy the S20 Ultra

by birtanpublished on May 14, 2021

I use the galaxy s 20 ultra as my primary phone with my mint mobile sim which apparently can get 5 G so it's not insanely stupid to buy a expensive phone like this with 5 G and put my mint card in it but it was my daily driver you can ask Nick and Randy from the tailless of tech podcast yes I turned green for all of my friends and family which came with all of the shame and there's a lot of good things I have to say about the ultra but ultimately if you need to take away anything from this video is don't buy it ok I'm not gonna recommend this phone and here's why let's begin before we go

Full on Apple sheep and dive right into the negatives let me tell you what I like about this phone which is primarily when it comes to the hardware from a functional standpoint this is darn near perfect I love 120 Hertz so if you instantly want me to fall in love with the phone very very quickly having a hundred and twenty Hertz display is a great way to do that as soon as I took this thing out of the box it was not on by default which was kind of annoying so I immediately switched it on and yeah it hurts your battery life I get that and

You could probably get a lot longer with 60 Hertz but the battery on this thing is 5000 milliamp hours and that's fine it's not the insane battery life I'm used to with my 11 Pro max but my 11 Pro max doesn't have 120 Hertz so obviously lasts a lot longer in 120 Hertz with the ultra still lasts me all day just fine it wasn't like I was having to charge it very regularly I was usually ending the day around 30 to 20% and typically with the 11 Pro max I can end the day with forty to fifty percent so still lasts me through the day I still have to charge it just like any phone within a 24 hour

Period that's typically how you're using things but if you were on a long trip or something and you were gonna be away from a charger for a long time yeah you have that option just turn it off and 60 Hertz isn't as cool but if you want to preserve battery life you can't do that I appreciate a ton of the changes Samsung made with this phone it's also kind of funny looking back on how many things samsung has introduced and a lot of people got really hyped for and then we all just forgot about it and Samsung even forgot about it so that got rid of it for one the variable aperture on the

Camera that used to be like the primary thing everyone was excited for with the galaxy s 9 yeah it's gone now because they realize it wasn't really making that big a difference thankfully after years of complaining they've also removed the bixby button which i've always hated from the get-go I was like this is stupid this is gimmicky and it makes me think that Bixby might one day become one of those features that Samsung just ends up accessing because not enough people are using it so without a bixby button and most people are gonna be

Rerouting the hold the power button to the Google assistance to me it's totally believable that Samsung might just X it all together the future but currently no button is nice while the button layout on this is not ideal for me because I like being able to take screenshots very easily on my iPhone by just pressing the volume and power button on the same time and you can do that with this but the power and down volume are just far enough away from each other that it's pretty hard to press both at the same time though I should mention Samsung's one UI

Gives you a ton of screenshotting options and cropping and editing after the fact like yeah screenshots feel a little bit more inconvenient because I have to pull the phone like this I know there's some gestures you can do there's literally like billions of features and options on this phone but let me save that for later I also really really appreciate Samsung not curving the display as much I know they want to be futuristic and cool but I have always kind of despised it from the beginning I at first I thought it was kind of cool it was kind of futuristic but as I used

It on more and more phones I realized you know I'm sitting off the display a lot and just from a comfort standpoint whenever they make the display bleed over the sides like that they have to make the edges of the phone a lot sharper then I'm used to with iPhones so switching to the s20 ultra it feels a lot more rounded out on the sides much more comfortable to hold it's still a somewhat light phone despite it having a near seven-inch display in this display is gorgeous it gets insanely bright the colors are accurate you get a whole lot of detail out of it speakers on this

2002 are amazing no complaints there headphone jack is gone after all those ingenious commercial Samsung made about it and I'm just gonna linger on this topic for a little bit longer even though most people don't care about it they're just like yeah I mean that's to be expected but I totally predicted this if you go back and watch my videos over the years I said multiple times throughout my videos Samsung is going to remove the jack and they're not waiting for Bluetooth technology to have some type of revolutionary breakthrough they're just waiting for all of the

Complaining to be over with so that when Samsung removes it they don't receive any criticism which is why Apple's original statement of saying you know we have courage for removing the jack that was accurate because they knew that's where the market was going and they were gonna get a lot of backlash for trying to adopt those new standards and that by the time the rest of the market moved on there would be no backlash so I don't think the wireless headphone industry has changed insanely since the iPhone 7 came out I mean we had air pods back then we

Have air pods now they've gotten a little bit better but it's not like Samsung was waiting for the primetime we want to wait till wireless technology has been figured out and implemented properly it's basically the same as it is now we may have gotten a little bitter latency but there are a lot of you guys saying that Samsung won't remove the jack until they can include wireless headphones with the purchase they don't they don't even clued an adapter I think with the ultra so Apple doesn't include an adapter either but they did two years of iPhones where they

Included adapters so they kind of gave people a window to adjust and then stopped after that I'm not saying I want the headphone jack back I'm glad it's gone I'm just saying Samsung yeah you know think twice before making fun of people because we knew you were gonna do this all along so yeah between iris scanning variable aperture the headphone jack and the bixby button Samsung can't make up their mind on a lot of things I know Apple remove some stuff too but it seems like a lot of things Samsung is very very specific about they will eventually change their mind on so who

Knows they could change their mind on a lot of things with this but a lot of people have often asked me like well drew if you think the hardware on the s20 ultra is so good would you use an S 20 altra if it ran iOS and that's where I stopped yeah we can get into some of the reasons I'm not a huge fan of this phone even though I like a lot of it it's not something I would switch to even if it's somehow ran iOS because I'm not a fan of the biometrics I don't think this has changed since the last Galaxy S phone I reviewed but I would much rather have one one really really

Good biometric like face ID instead of two okay biometrics that's how I see the face unlock on the Estonian and the in display fingerprint reader yeah I get for some of you fingerprint readers are fine but I still find it a little bit weird that when the display is off you're you have to kind of muscle memory remember where the fingerprint reader is after a week of using it there was still a lot of times I would put down my finger and it would say no match didn't quite get you there and also I have psoriasis so my fingerprints are not super reliable and

Just love the flexibility with an iPhone of being able to raise to wake and having an unlock or if it's sitting on your desk you can just tap the display anywhere you don't have to tap it in a specific way with a specific fingerprint you just tap it anywhere on the display and it unlocks and you're good to go with this it's like okay if you want unlock with the fingerprint reader you have to tap it with this finger this way you know it can't be a quick little tap you have to really you really have to hold it there and at a specific place so I think it would help in the future if

Samsung made the fingerprint reader of the display take up like the whole bottom half or at least just a larger portion than it currently does and again I'm not trying to say the biometrics suck on this they get the job done I even have face unlock turned on just for those instances where fingerprint readers don't work really reliably but again it's kind of a gamble every time I turn on the phone it's like will it get my finger or will I get my face I wanted to get one or the other but face unlock is of course not super secure it's just using the camera it's not using any 3d

Dot projectors and stuff like that so – okay biometrics they're fine not as good as just one really really solid one so personal preference I guess but that's one reason I don't think I would switch to this even if it ran iOS so you'll notice a lot of the things I talked about liking with the s20 ultra aren't really unique to the ultra so what warrants you know the $1400 starting price and after taxes and everything that gets well into the $1500 starting price what do you get out of this ultra that you cannot get out of the S 20 and s 20 plus which are 200 to 400 dollars

Cheaper that's quite a bit well most of it comes from the screen size the battery and the cameras and this is where I think Samsung did not change you know they change their mind on a lot of things with this phone this is something that is classic Samsung which is it looks really good on paper we need to get it out to the market so let's not test it and experiment with it very much and let's just throw it out in the market I have no idea how Samsung can get away with making a camera with issues as big as this one and everyone's just kind of fine with it

You know so many people on YouTube freaked out about Beauty gate on the iPhone because you would take a picture and it would smoothen out your face a little bit to try to combat dynamic range everyone flipped out over that it was in all the news articles and youtubers were making countless videos on the subject and yet this thing when I tried to record an 8k video which was really cool as you guys remember I was really excited for that there were leaks about it and Samsung announced it would have a que video I think 8 KS gotta overkill but the fact

That I've never shot anything in 8 K before I was like that's awesome I can't wait to record one I recorded a vlog for my tailless of tox channel and I was not even holding the phone for the majority of the vlog 80% of this video I just had it on a tripod and I sat in my chair and I just talked to the camera I wasn't holding things up closer to it and the autofocus was downright unusable now with jump cuts the blurry parts of that vlog would take 30 seconds for the camera to realize oh wait I don't think I'm in focus I should start focusing on him again so if you remove the jump cuts

That was like a good 40 seconds so when you're recording long videos in 8k it will just even on static shots even when in the camera's not moving even when the subject isn't moving it will blur out of focus for half a minute and this is on the latest software update I know they're saying like we'll fix these and future updates but Samsung's not really known for being super reliable with that and this is a $1400 purchase which I get it you know companies have bugs and they handle them in different ways but and we just acknowledge that if this thing happened with an iPhone you tubers would

Be all over it and complaining about it non-stop I paid $1,000 for a phone and this is the experience I get this is crazy you would get serious auto focus gate videos everyone freaking out that Apple would charge this much for a phone and leave bugs this major in the software and yet with this one we're like you know it happens that kind of sucks or well it's at 8k so if it's the first phone to do it it's okay if it's not great at it it's okay if it sucks because no one else has tried to do it before but these are excuses we don't give Apple and I'm not saying that we

Should give more excuses to Apple I'm just saying if you're gonna be hard on Apple you got to be hard Samsung do because they're charging more than the most expensive iPhone and this is the standard configuration and if you're promising that you can shoot something at a Kay then focusing the camera should be ironed out a little bit before shipping it out especially hit this price point so the other big advantage you have is the 100x spacing which is 90 percent marketing jargon this one feels a little bit over the top for me because they're cheating in several ways with

This 100x thing because for one they're counting 100x from the ultra wide which iPhones don't really do that in that case would you call the telephoto lens on the iPhone a 4x or would you call it a 2x because you're zooming in twice from the main lens even though it's four times from the ultra wide so they're cheating in that way a little bit and also when has any smartphone ever I can't recall this ever happening but when is any smartphone camera counted a digital zoom as like the actual naming of the lens 100x is like majority of the time just cropping in we've never

Considered cropping actual like capabilities of a lens before for the same reason I don't say my iPhone has a 10x zoom even though if we count digital it technically does but digital zooming is it's not really zooming digital zooming is just cropping in you can do that in post if I crop in on my face during this video is that the camera zooming in no it's just an effect so the fact that you can crop in real time while taking pictures on this thing 100x I mean I know that's not to say that the telephoto is not good you know I acknowledge that this camera has a much

Better zoom than a lot of other smartphones out there in fact probably the best if you compared it to other flagships that's really really impressive in all it's just it's getting to the point where we're reaching the law of diminishing returns where you know for the longest time a few smartphone cameras were adopting telephoto lenses so it was like cool we can punch in and get a little bit closer to the subject and then for a couple years we had the ultra wide trend and now companies are like okay let's move into ultra rides because now you can

Zoom in but also you can zoom out so we got that trend done we got the ultra wide part now we're going back to okay let's do zoom but really far zoom let's go even further than before which I've noticed in my daily life like having a telephoto lens on a phone is helpful especially if you're like taking pictures or videos having the option to zoom in that's great but there's only so many scenarios where you need to zoom in this far that it actually matters to the point that I I don't think you should spend an extra $200 or an extra $400 just so that your cropped in photos

Because a lot of this is digital cropping anyway that's going to warrant the extra price point you know worth this objective I get that so maybe if you're out they're just saying you know I've always wanted a hundred x on a smartphone camera uh I guess it may be worth it for you I just don't even see like pro users even people who are really techy and really into smartphones finding situations where they need to zoom in that far like I had to specifically find locations and go to places to test this camera out so what I'm trying to say is

In my everyday life I can come up with a few situations where it's handy to punch in 2 X 5 X maybe even 10 X if something's decently far away but once you start getting into 50 X 100x it's like okay I can't even find anything that this is useful for and the 100x photos are are terrible they don't look good you can tell very quickly after taking the photo that the preview has to be smooth and out by samsung software really really heavily to get it to not look super grainy so I would not recommend taking any photo or video at a hundred X with this phone just for the

Sake of if you care about photos which if you're buying this phone I assume you do don't take things that zoomed in it looks awful yeah 30 X fine but again the number of situations I was in where I was like 30 X that's how far in I need to zoom is very very far in few between there's very little times I found that useful but outside of the zoom we also have the 108 megapixel camera sensor which I guess Samsung missed the memo about megapixels not being everything and that's why I think again this is an example of it looks good on paper because 108 megapixels that's really

High right that's way higher than the competition but that doesn't mean it's good and there's a lot of software issues and I think just general things that would have easily been caught if someone actually tested this thing out for a little while but yeah similar to what other reviewers have brought up with 108 megapixel sensor you'll take a photo in like you can't get the whole subject in focus the the field of focus is so so narrow that anytime you take a picture it's like right here is in focus and then everything else is blurry so it really only matters when you're taking

Like sweeping landscape shots but the detail is good you know you can pinch it a lot and there's a whole lot of sharpness to it but it takes up an insane amount of storage and the majority of places you're posting anything you took on a smartphone are going to be compressed so when you compare it to a decent smartphone camera with a 12 megapixel sensor at you know average viewing distance it really doesn't make that big a difference when you zoom in and pinch and pinch and get really really close up it's like okay yeah there's a little bit

More detail there but it's not the insane upgrade that 108 megapixels sounds like it comes with its own set of disadvantages in low-light performance and I don't have the galaxy s 20 or s 20 plus on me but I've seen those reviews and it's crazy to me that those cheaper models because they don't have the 108 megapixel sensor their performance is actually better in some instances they're able to pull out more detail and they're able to get more things in focus less of that you know narrow narrow field to the point that you can't even really get much in focus and they're

Better in low light it's like why is this on the ultra this should be on some experimental prototype it kind of reminds me of the time when Apple started implementing slow-mo video and iPhones it was like whoa you can take these shots in there at really really high frame rate so you can slow them down that's super cool so then like the following year Samsung released slow-mo at 960 frames a second so on paper that looks amazing cuz you're like whoa that's almost a thousand frames a second that's insane but then you find out that that's so incredibly slow they can only

Do it for like a quarter of a second and you have to make a specific camera mode that like only activates 960 FPS when an object flies through a certain part of the preview and then they activate super slow mode and you saw a couple of youtubers talk about it right you saw some YouTube channels that were like whoa look at this rain at 960 FPS or look at this snow look at me kicking these rocks it's so incredibly slow motion and now here we are 2020 no one's using it that's how I feel like the 100x space zoom in the 108 megapixel camera sensor that's my guess how that's going

To go it's like we talked about it now it sounds really cool on paper we get a few camera tests out of it and then a few years later it's like oh yeah that was a thing wasn't it like I can't think of anyone in the past year that's come up with like functional uses for the 960 frames a second mode I don't even know if they still have that do they I don't know but my point is Samsung went all out on specs and not hard enough on actually using the device to figure out oh is this actually good does this actually result in a better experience and if they did that they would have

Realized that oh the more expensive s20 ultra actually perform worse than the cheaper s 20 and s 20 plus in many circumstances many of which I think are important so when it comes to the software and switching back to Android for another weight you know a lot of my issues with Samsung have not changed the fact that there are two versions of everything and anytime I boot up a Samsung phone I feel like I'm constantly fixing it you know cuz it's asking me you want to put your contacts and Samsung app or the Google app or do you want to open the Samsung browser or

Google Chrome or do you want to open the Samsung gallery or the Google gallery even the digital assistants like the software constantly feels like it's fighting over itself and I don't care which one you have to go to either go in on Google or go in on Samsung I don't like the phone software bickering over itself and there's so many apps I use regularly that are so much worse on the Google Play Store than they are in iOS Dischord specifically which I use a ton and the fact that you can't like swipe across the screen to access different channels and you

Have this way from the very very far side in order to activate that just swiping and gestures and stuff feel a little bit more clunky but again there's some really solid hardware here but none of it I think is exclusive to the ultra my favorite parts about this phone you can buy with the S 20 and the S 20 plus and I would heavily recommend those if you're looking for top-tier hardware with Android on it those are amazing you know the battery life may be not so good but they still have the 120 Hertz and they can still ask you through the day they still have great cameras for the

Record I did do a vlog with this at 4k at 60 and it did fantastic that was the second vlog on the talks channel that I shot with this it's called I am an idiot feel free to check it out and that one was shot on this and it looked great the audio was wonderful the image was fine the frame rate was very buttery inconsistent and I had a good time using it it worked fine but you can get that on the S 20 and s 20 plus as well so the bizarre thing about the s 20 ultra and this is like over a year since my Galaxy S 10 video they still don't let you do 4k at 60 on the

Ultra wide lens in fact if anything I don't think they changed anything about the ultra wide lens this year it's exactly the same they still limit certain video recording options and I have a friend with a Galaxy S 10 5g and we compared ultra wide shots and help them side-by-side and we barely noticed a difference same with his zoom we both did like telephoto zooms mine was like a little bit claimer but again nothing I would put 200 to 400 dollar price tag on everything is just getting so incremental I do think we've kind of peaked with smartphone upgrades

Now to the point that no you should not be spending this much money on a device like this I don't even think it's worth it for the screen to be honest because s 20 plus is six point seven inches that's still a really huge display and this one is kind of just a tiny bit too tall there's been a handful of situations where I just can't reach the top and having to activate one handed mode a lot and get a little cumbersome and I like big displays but I'm not a fan of this aspect ratio of getting taller and taller and taller I thought the iPhone aspect ratio was

About as tall as I'm comfortable with you don't need to go much taller than that so yeah I don't think the s20 lineup sucks in fact I think most of its pretty good and I don't think I need to go out and buy an S 20 and s 20 plus to tell you that I think that one is probably a lot better for the money but yeah don't go with the ultra save a couple hundred bucks get a phone that's gonna take better pictures perform better in low light in some instances you still get the hundred twenty Hertz you don't have this awkwardly large display or this awkwardly large camera

Bump you know I do have small gripes with the design but nothing huge it's all kind of nitpicky like the back of these phones are very glossy they're huge fingerprint magnets this camera module is enormous like when the first time I saw the iPhone 11 camera module I thought it looked stupid but then once Apple actually unveiled it it looked way more simple and way more classy than the concepts did and I'm like okay this thing's pretty thin it kind of blends in I get it but this is like my god it sticks out a ton so there's a ton of rocking on desks it's very very chunk it

Takes up a huge portion of the back and I wish they wouldn't make the microphone holes on these things look like the same holes of the SIM card tray because people when they're swapping out Sims are gonna think oh I got a pup in the ejector right there I've seen people do that and it scares the crap out of me I'm like don't stick a pin in there I like that Apple kind of makes the speaker and microphone holes separate from the SIM card tray so those are just my little nitpicky complaints at the end but overall very impressive hardware but nothing about the ultra is worth it to

Very many people in my mind unless you really really care just a barely a little bit better zooming a little bit more sharper photos with a hundred and eight megapixel sensor don't get this one and also there's a battle when you shake this phone you can hear the cameras inside rattling back and forth it's just not a good sound to hear on a $1500 phone but anyway thank you guys for watching this insanely long Appleseed grant I hope Samsung can learn from their lessons when it comes to software and understanding that just specs on paper

Don't mean better and if you're in the market for an Android and you're looking for a flagship I would not critique you or shame anybody who's interested in the s20 rs.20 plus just do not get the ultra this is your Apple shape here I'll see you in the next one

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