Samsung has always been the Rolls Royce of android smartphones. The latest S20 ultra is a combination akin to a Ferrari and a rolls Royce combined. Performance and snob value is fantastic. But at $1,399.99 is Samsung galaxy s20 ultra worth it? As always, let’s take a different approach here.
What makes the Samsung s20 ultra a costlier phone?
yes, that huge set of S20’s camera makes it very very costly to make. The camera spec goes as follows
- Wide lens – 108MP at f/1.8
- Ultra-wide lens – 12 MP f/2.2
- Zoom lens – 48 MP f/3.5 with 10X optical zoom.
- Depth sensor – 0.3 MP f/1.0 Time of flight sensor.
These sensors and optics aren’t cheap, to begin with. Then, the engineering challenges to put it inside the small space of the phone. The periscope camera components aren’t cheap either. All these make it extremely costly. Are they really necessary? We will see.
The inclusion of 5g makes it even costlier. Unfortunately, the modem doesn’t support mmWave frequencies. That means you cannot use the 5g in its full glory.
Then comes the screen. A 120 Hz 1440p bright screen can be super costly to make. The screen does either 1440p at 60 Hz or 1080p at 120 Hz perhaps to save on battery.
Even though it is an incredible phone, is Samsung galaxy s20 ultra worth it?
This is the trickiest part of the question. For some, Samsung galaxy s20 ultra is worth it. Sometimes, it is not the product that demands the price but the several applications it can manage to do. I take a weird yet sensible approach to see if the price justifies the phone and its performance.
Buying a smartphone
When we buy a smartphone, we carefully look at
- camera performance
- Gaming ability
- Display quality
- overall smoothness
- hi-fi audio capability
- Battery life
What if we don’t need all the functionalities of the phone in top priority? Here, I am giving you a sample of things you can buy for the same $1400.
For the photographer in you
It would have been a delight when you first read the specs of Samsung s20 ultra. By default, it takes a 12 megapixel, a very sharp image using the 108megapixel sensor. 108 megapixels is great to have. But the sensor size is even more important. Samsung has a bigger sensor too. Still, it cannot beat a decent point and shoot camera in terms of performance.
Going out for a trip? Sure, the camera has a huge role. Although all in one mobile phone are portable and easy, it doesn’t make it is the best for the job. Having an actual camera gives you more freedom and better picture quality. It also saves the battery and precious memory of your phone. You don’t have to buy the bigger storage version of the s20 ultra or any phone. A few hundred saved there.
Is Samsung s20 ultra worth it for its zoom function?
If you’re amazed to see in spec list a 100x zoom for s20 ultra, you are in for a disappointment. The optical zoom is only 10X and the rest is digital. Digital zoom is nowhere close to optical zoom. However, you can get an awesome point and shoot camera like Nikon p900 which has 100x optical zoom. Even better is Nikon p1000 for its 125x zoom for a fraction of what you would pay for Samsung s20 ultra.
You can still have a high-end smartphone and a very decent camera for the same price.
Have a Look at these combinations below
- Samsung s10 and Nikon Coolpix p900
- Samsung s10+ and Nikon Coolpix p900
- iPhone 11 Pro and Nikon p900.
If ultra-long zoom is not your Interest, you can look at any compact cameras from the likes of sony or canon.
- Samsung s10+ / iPhone 11 pro and Sony DSC-HX99 or
- Samsung s10+ / iPhone 11 pro and canon Powershot g9x.
These cameras can take high-quality pictures sometimes better than a smartphone camera. You’re gifting yourself a phone and a photography tool for the price of one Samsung s20 Ultra.
You still can take great pictures with flagships like iPhone 11pro or Samsung s10. you don’t have to pay a premium for their bigger storage version. Nor for a more expensive s20 ultra.
For audiophiles -is Samsung galaxy s20 ultra worth it?
If you’re an audiophile like me, don’t put your money on this Samsung s20 ultra device. It doesn’t even have a headphone jack. You should look at LG v60 phone as it still has a headphone jack and uses a builtin nice and powerful 32-bit quad DAC. But if you want a Samsung phone, you can still get an s10 and for the rest of the money, you can wisely invest in great headphones or DAC or even the portable DAPs (digital audio player).
Look at the list below.
- You can buy a Samsung s10+ and IBasso DX160 Dap or
- A Samsung s10+ and Shanling M5S Dap or
- A Samsung s10e, iBasso DX160, and Auduze LCD 1 planar magnetic headphones or
- You can buy an iPhone 11 Pro and IBasso DX160.
You can buy any iPhone and Auduze isine 20 made for iOS devices. You get an iPhone and a fabulous planar magnetic in earphones with a built-in DAC. This combo is a killer choice. Even iPhone 8 or iPhone x would just do.
Or, you can get a great stereo or a decent atmos system for the same price you would pay for Samsung ultra s20 pro.
perhaps a pair of speakers?
Also, note that the price of the audiophile’s favorite Kef lsx wireless is lower than the Samsung s20 ultra. Their UniQ driver mimics the sound comes from a single point and that makes the presentation incredibly accurate and Imaging is razor-sharp. The two speakers are connected wirelessly and you can stream any music from your phone even via Bluetooth.
With the rest of the money saved you can do simple room acoustics. You would still have money for a decent subwoofer like Bic pl200 ii or pay a little more for Yamaha sw300 or svs sb1000. You will be much happier than a Samsung s20 ultra 5g.
For gamers: is s20 ultra worth it?
If you’re a mobile gamer who wants a phone with a 120hz display and great performance, you have an awesome choice apart from Samsung s20 ultra.
If you don’t care about the size, get yourself an iPad pro. The 120 Hz huge display and iPad os is a treat to use. Not to forget about the fabulous screen and the performance of A12Z chip. This is great for mobile gaming and Netflix watching.
If you want a phone for gaming you will be better off with an Asus Rog phone 2. This phone is for gamers. Look at the spec below.
- 6.59-inch huge display with 120 Hz display
- snapdragon 855 Plus processor
- 48MP + 13MP | 24MP Front Camera
- 8-12GB RAM
- dual speakers
- A whole lot of gaming accessories.
It costs a fraction of what you would pay for s20 ultra. Alternatively, you can get a Nintendo switch and a galaxy s10+ for the Same price of Samsung s20 ultra.
Other gaming platforms
Some say games are better played on a large screen. In that case, you can get yourself a gaming laptop and a Rog phone or an iPhone for the same price you pay for s20 ultra 5g.
In my opinion, playing on a big screen is much more immersive than gaming on mobile.
You can buy a high-performance gaming laptop and a Ps4 for the same price.
Heck, you can build a top of the line PC for $1400 which will work for years to come.
My suggestion will be to get a projector and a decent computer for $1400. Nothing like it. Perhaps you can get a gaming wheel too in the budget if you’re just upgrading your existing computer.
A BenQ 2050A with its 16ms response time is a good start. Add in a gaming PC setup for $700. You’re in for not only an awesome 3D gaming experience but also in for a fantastic movie experience.
Conclusion: Is Samsung s20 ultra worth it?
We took a different approach and discussed things. I justified why Samsung s20 ultra is not worth it for the money paid. Still, For a Samsung fan and one who needs an all in one gadget, Samsung galaxy s20 ultra can be a good buy. I still cannot justify the fact that it is too costly to buy.
Aju Vignesh Sathiaraj Padma is a mechanical and audio engineer. He is a person who loves technology and things. He is also an audiophile and loves to listen to audio gears. He is an avid writer and loves to blog.