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Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra hands on; great, but touted key features not so


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Beware, smartphone buyers of the marketing hype from Samsung for its new Galaxy S20 Ultra phone, introduced Tuesday. The specs – “100X Space Zoom” – make it sound actually superior to a top of the line pro-level DSLR.

This is a nice camera in a really expensive phone, even pricier at $1,400 than Apple’s top-of-the-line $1,100 iPhone 11 Pro Max. 

But when Samsung says: “This is the phone that will change photography,” sorry, but it’s “emperor has no clothes” time.

Try some of the touted advanced features of the S20 Ultra, as I did Tuesday in a 30-minute hands-on at the Samsung Unpacked event, and you will be very disappointed. I predict you’ll try them once, and never go back to them again. 

“Zoom in 100x to find shots you never knew existed.”

That’s what Samsung says. 

Like, say, a wide shot of a baseball field, and then zoom in for a close-up of a ball player’s face. 

Do so, and you’ll be sorry, because the image will probably be pixilated and not sharp. You’ll be able to tell that there’s a ball player in there, but it won’t look good.

The previous model, the S10, has a “2X” zoom, which means it brings you just a little closer to the action. The advancement – and Samsung gets kudos for this – is that it added “10x Hybrid Optic Zoom,” which did indeed seem great in my limited time with the phone.



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