Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra (2020): Better Cameras And Bigger Than Ever

Updated 24 March 2020: The Galaxy S20 series, like previous generations, will be released in three sizes: the S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra. Samsung might have felt “Plus” simply didn’t cover how beefy the largest model will be, so they took it further to “Ultra” while the base S20 model is now the smallest. Here’s how the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Ultra stack up against each other so you can get a better idea whether to go for the smaller or larger premium smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra Comparison Chart

ModelSamsung Galaxy S20Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S20 Cloud Blue
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Display120 Hz Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED Display120 Hz Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED Display
Screen Size6.2″6.9″
Resolution3200 x 1440 pixels3200 x 1440 pixels
Pixel Density563 ppi511 ppi
Dimensions152 x 68 x 7.9 mm167 x 76 x 8.8 mm
Weight164 g221 g
CPUExynos 990 / Qualcomm Snapdragon 865Exynos 990 / Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
RAM12GB12GB/16GB
Storage128GB, 256GB128GB, 512GB
Rear Cameras12MP Wide, 64MP Telephoto, 12MP Ultra-Wide108MP Wide, 48MP Telephoto, 12MP Ultra-Wide, ToF Camera
ZoomUp to 3X Optical Zoom and 30X Digital ZoomUp to 10X Optical Zoom and 100X Digital Zoom
Front Cameras10MP IMX 37440MP
VideoBack: up to 8K 30 fps
Front: up to 4K 60 fps
Back: up to 8K 30 fps
Front: up to 4K 60 fps
Battery4000mAh5000mAh
Water ResistanceIP68IP68
Android VersionAndroid 10.0 with One UI 2.0Android 10.0 with One UI 2.0
MicroSDNoYes
3.5 mmNoNo
ColorsCosmic Gray, Cloud Blue, Cloud PinkCosmic Black, Cosmic Gray

Design

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is much bigger than the Galaxy S20.

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra Design
You might find the size difference between the Samsung Galaxy S20 (left) and Galaxy S20 Ultra (right) to be intimidating. (Credit: Ishan Agarwal)

In case you thought the Galaxy Note 10 Plus wasn’t big enough, here comes Samsung with a bigger one. The upcoming Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is the company’s largest and heaviest smartphone yet, considerably dwarfing the Galaxy S20. You’ll easily be able to tell the two apart since the S20 Ultra will look oversized when held, but there are also indications in the back.

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For only the third time in the Galaxy’s long list of smartphones, Samsung has moved the traditionally centered camera array to the top left. And that panel is now huge, especially on the S20 Ultra. In contrast, it’s a much narrower strip on the Galaxy S20, and the lack of an extra camera lens is also easy to spot.

All three have an IP68 water-resistant rating of up to 5 meters, which is an upgrade over the current crop of Galaxy phones. The Galaxy S20 comes in Cloud Blue, Cloud Pink and Cosmic Gray colors while the S20 Ultra is only available in Cosmic Black and Cosmic Gray.

Display

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has a larger display but smaller pixel density than the Galaxy S20.

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra Display
More interesting perhaps is that all Galaxy S20 models will have displays with a max refresh rate of 120Hz. (Credit: OnLeaks, 91Mobiles)

With a whopping 6.92-inch Dynamic AMOLED display, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is practically a mini tablet. Samsung made all three models a bit taller though, with a 20:9 ratio versus the 19.5:9 of the current flagship phones. They will also have a maximum resolution of 3200 x 1440 pixels, which translates to an eye-popping 563 ppi for the 6.2-inch Galaxy S20 and 511 ppi for the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

At those resolutions the displays will only refresh at a rate of 60 Hz. Samsung will let you double that though, to 120 Hz, matching the best that other Android flagships can muster. It will make the screen look silky smooth and highly responsive, although the default WQHD+ resolution will drop to 2400 x 1080 FHD.

The higher refresh rate does impose some limitations on the Samsung Galaxy S20 phones though, as it eats a lot of battery life. You can’t watch 4K videos for example and use 120 Hz at the same time, you’ll have to switch every time. While it won’t be an issue since most games and media haven’t optimized their content for the high refresh rates, you can get a bit spoiled by the smooth scrolling experience that can make it hard to go back.

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Performance

Both Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra have the same processing power.

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra Performance
The same chipset and RAM will provide the muscle for all S20 models.

Galaxy S20 units released in North America will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, while those everywhere else will have the Exynos 990. Their architecture might be different but relative performance is neck and neck. All three S20 sizes will have these chipsets as well as 12GB RAM. However, you can get 16GB of RAM for the 512GB Galaxy S20 Ultra, which propels its performance far ahead of the others.

We can look at benchmarking scores posted by the S20’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 to gauge how fast this new chip is compared to the competition. It’s actually impressive, as it managed to nearly close the lead set by the powerful A13 Bionic chip of the iPhone 11 Pro Max. With the larger potential RAM of the Galaxy S20, Samsung is definitely in the lead among Android brands.

With Android 10 Pie and One UI 2.0 running in all S20 phones, they will have the latest and best that the platform can offer. There are a new features being introduced, such as Quick Share, which enables AirDrop-like functionality for Galaxy devices. It remains to be seen what else Samsung has in store software-wise, so we’ll have to wait until the official reveal.

Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has more powerful cameras than those on the Galaxy S20.

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra Cameras
Samsung is giving the Galaxy S20 Ultra (right) the best cameras it has, so expect to be impressed.

Considering that the cameras on the S10 and Note 10 have been big jumps from previous years, Samsung is pushing it further for the Galaxy S20. The smallest S20 has a 12MP main Wide camera, a 12MP Ultra-Wide lens and a 64MP Telephoto that has at least 3X optical zoom. Amazing as those numbers might be, they pale in comparison with those on the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

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The primary Wide camera on the Ultra is an eye-popping 108MP, which uses a larger Isocell Bright HMX sensor. It has the same 12MP Ultra-Wide lens as the smaller S20 models, but its 48MP Telephoto sensor is capable of up to 10X optical zoom. This Space Zoom feature lets you magnify shots with up to 100X digital zoom, compared to the 30X limit of the Galaxy S20.

Furthermore, there’s an additional Time of Flight (ToF) depth-sensing lens on the S20 Ultra, which won’t be available on the smaller S20. Its front selfie camera also has a 40MP sensor, the highest ever on a Samsung phone, outshining the 10MP of the other S20 models.

Moreover, there are several new S20 camera features being included such as Single Take AI. This mode lets you pan your camera around a scene while it automatically takes photos and video clips for your perusal and approval. Another is QuickTake, which as it implies simply grabs a photo using all three sensors so you can choose the best one.

Battery and Other Features

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has a bigger battery than the Galaxy S20.

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra Battery and Other Features
If you like, you can grab one of these protective cases for any Galaxy S20 on release. (Credit: Ishan Agarwal)

Samsung is packing the Galaxy S20 with bigger batteries than ever. The Galaxy S20 comes with a 4000mAh pack while the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 5000mAh battery. Despite the difference in battery capacity between the smallest and largest S20 model, the bigger display and more impressive cameras of the Galaxy S20 Ultra will require a lot more power.

Internal storage options also differ between these models. You can choose either 128GB or 256GB for the Galaxy S20, while it’s 128GB and 512GB for the S20 Ultra. The larger storage size is particularly attractive since its photos and videos are likely to take up more space too. The MicroSD slot in the Galaxy S20 Ultra is very welcome though, increasing potential storage up to 1TB.

Sadly, as happy as Galaxy fans might get at the inclusion of the MicroSD, they’re likely to sorely miss the headphone jack more. Samsung is also pushing wireless earbuds and it’s been revealed that a pair of the latest Galaxy Buds+ will be bundled with pre-orders of the S20 Ultra and S20+ free of charge.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra offers a lot more than the Galaxy S20, but at a considerable cost.

Samsung Galaxy S20

Samsung Galaxy S20 Cloud Blue

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Cosmic Black

As you can see, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra gets significant boosts in every aspect, with an enormous screen, bigger battery, and of course, more advanced cameras. It’s really supersized in every way, so its Ultra tag is spot-on. Unsurprisingly, that applies to price too. You’ll want to ask yourself whether you’ll be utilizing its best features to determine whether it’s worth all the extra dough.

For the majority, the standard Samsung Galaxy S20 will be more sensible, as it has the relevant latest tech from the brand at a price closer to earth. You’ll still get fantastic cameras along with the much-coveted 120 Hz display, and overall performance is actually similar as its more expensive brothers.

Derick Bondoc
Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.