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Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra sports an insane 100x camera

Feb. 11, 2020
4 min read
Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra sports an insane 100x camera
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Each winter, Samsung unveils its latest flagship smartphones at a flashy, demo-packed event. It's often quite entertaining — surprise special guests, seemingly endless demonstrations and perhaps even some sort of proof-of-concept device, like last year's $1,980 Galaxy Fold, which was clearly geared toward early adopters. This time around, the company just announced a slew of new Galaxy S20 devices, and I managed to get an up-close look.

While there were several other announcements as well, most customers will likely be interested in the following three smartphones:

  • Galaxy S20: 6.2-inch screen, triple camera, 30x Space Zoom ($1,000)
  • Galaxy S20+: 6.7-inch screen, quad camera, 30x Space Zoom ($1,200)
  • Galaxy S20 Ultra: 6.9-inch screen, quad camera, 100x Space Zoom ($1,400)

I got a look at all three models — they're lined up for a size comparison just below.

It's easy to get caught up in all of the specifications — there are a lot to share, from the (almost) bezel-less screens to the 5G connectivity available with all three models — so I'm going to focus on the feature that I'm most excited about as a traveler: the camera(s). You'll end up with an ultra-wide, wide-angle and telephoto camera at the very least, though the resolution and other capabilities do vary quite a bit.

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Each model has a slightly different lineup. Here's how they break down:

  • Galaxy S20: 12MP, f/2.2 ultra-wide; 12MP, f/1.8 wide; 64MP, f/2.0 telephoto
  • Galaxy S20+: 12MP, f/2.2 ultra-wide; 12MP, f/1.8 wide; 64MP, f/2.0 telephoto
  • Galaxy S20 Ultra: 12MP, f/2.2 ultra-wide; 108MP, f/1.8 wide; 48MP, f/3.5 telephoto

The latter two offer a special "Depth Vision" camera, which helps with things like live focus, while the feature-packed Ultra model adds a crazy 100x "Space Zoom." I've never used a 100x lens before, and while it does take some getting used to, it could come in handy when you want to, say, snap a tight shot from the nosebleed section at a sporting event, or capture a detailed photo of the Eiffel Tower from your Airbnb balcony across town.

The Ultra offers a 4x optical zoom that also functions as a "lossless" 10x zoom, by utilizing only a portion of the sensor. You'll be venturing far into digital zoom territory by the time you approach 100x, but the sample shots I managed to capture (but can't yet share) looked impressively sharp on the device's 6.9-inch screen.

All three also include an f/2.2 "'selfie" cam, rated at 10MP for the S20 and S20+, and 40 megapixels for the Ultra, and they can capture video content at a variety of resolutions, all the way up to 8K.

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Finally, all three models offer a mode called "Single Take," which I think could be great for travelers as well.

That option lets you snap a variety of photos and video clips all at once, so you don't need to switch between different options if you aren't yet sure what you're hoping to capture. You can then choose to save select photos or videos, or keep them all.

Pre-orders begin Feb. 21 at 12:01 a.m. ET, with devices shipping beginning on March 6. Certain carriers may offer special pricing — Verizon's lower-cost Visible subsidiary shared pricing of $984 for the S20 and $1,176 for the S20+, for example — but you can generally expect to pay about $1,000 for the base S20, $1,200 for the S20+ and $1,400 for the base S20 Ultra. Customers may also be eligible for a pre-order credit of up to $200 and a trade-in credit of up to $700.

More at TPG: Exciting new airline routes from January 2020 and beyond

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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more