There’s a lot to like about Samsung’s new Galaxy S20 (details), and s20 Ultra (details). But we already know the smart money says you should not rush out and buy one. And this is why.
The Galaxy 20 range has Samsung’s biggest camera upgrades in years but they are packed with teething problems. Echoing the sentiments of many, The Verge’s review described the Galaxy S20 Ultra as having “a new-generation camera with first-generation problems”. These include problems focusing and overly softening facial features. Samsung has already promised fixes, but don’t expect a miracle cure in a single update. This looks like something which will take time (and some elements may not fix), so there’s no need to rush in now.
02/28 Update : in a significant update (which also affects 2020 iPhones), Samsung has announced its next generation LPDDR5 smartphone modules, which it claims are 30% faster and up to 20% more efficient than previous generation memory. By design, these modules come in 16GB quantities and they are not used in Samsung’s Galaxy S20 line-up, despite Samsung promoting them as enabling “enhanced 5G” (which every Galaxy S20 has). Needless to say, potential Galaxy S20 buyers will have every right to feel aggrieved at Samsung announcing next gen tech just weeks after its Galaxy S20 line-up goes on sale (more on this below). Furthermore, with mass production hitting in time for the iPhone 12 and Galaxy Note 20 launches, it is becoming increasing clear that Samsung’s early Galaxy S release schedule does result in compromises that users won’t experience later in the year.
Every year Samsung raises the bar on smartphone screen technology and the Galaxy S20 Ultra and DisplayMate has already given it a glowing review. But Samsung is already moving on and this week announced next-gen smartphone displays which put out less blue light and are 15% more efficient. The display is the main power draw on any smartphone and with even the S20 Ultra’s massive battery suffering when using its new 120Hz mode, this could make all the difference.
Whisper it, but it seems Samsung shortchanged buyers of the Galaxy S20 range when it comes to biometric security. The line-up is understood to still use the erratic first-gen Qualcomm ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader, despite a much improved second-gen model (called 3D Sonic Max) being announced back in September. 3D Sonic Max has a much larger recognition area and can even recognise two fingerprints simultaneously, something the new Samsung phones cannot do.
I have been chasing Samsung for clarification on this for over two weeks without success and will update this article when I can confirm for certain. But right now, it’s a potential red flag for Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra buyers.
Perhaps the most controversial aspect to Samsung’s new phones is their inflated price tags, but history shows us this will not last long. BankMyCell has been tracking smartphone prices for several years and it has revealed the Galaxy S10’s value fell by up to 65% after two months thanks to promotions and early trade-ins. As such you should ignore the initial rush and wait for carrier deals and second-hand models to appear. You can thank me later.
Do Not Buy The Galaxy S20 (Yet)
It’s important to be clear at this point: I’m a fan of Samsung’s Galaxy S20 range and if you buy one I’m sure you will be happy. But this is not the time to flex your credit card. Questions remain about the performance of the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s camera (its biggest selling point), the range’s security and their asking prices.
Furthermore, if you don’t like the answers when they come, remember technology moves fast and in early August Samsung will launch the Galaxy Note 20. As a phone set to take advantage of all the next-gen tech the Galaxy S20 range missed out on as well as being a more experienced launch for the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s camera hardware, the Note 20 should be a much smoother release from day one.
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