Samsung Galaxy Reward 20 Ultra overview: mammoth phone, diminutive updates

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Samsung has settled accurate into a brand fresh routine for its Galaxy Reward line of smartphones: retract one of the famous famous fresh points from the flagship Galaxy S updates from earlier in the year, make stronger on them a small, and add a stylus. As but every other of being the first with fresh know-how, the Reward has change into the phone that refines it.

If there is one thing fresh for Samsung’s routine, it’s this fresh “Ultra” moniker on the close of its flagship S and Reward phones. We’re at risk of phones coming in diminutive and mammoth, but now Samsung wishes to introduce but one other tier. Advance as I’m succesful of advise, what “Ultra” mostly scheme is going all-out on each and every imaginable spec and making the digicam bump tall. Samsung has long felt the likes of OnePlus and Huawei (not not as much as until this year) nipping at its heels, and the Ultra tier of its phones is Samsung’s resolution to anybody who thinks it is some distance going to’t create the absolute best-level Android phone.

Ultra furthermore scheme ultra-costly, as the Reward 20 Ultra begins at $1,299.99 for a mannequin with 128GB of storage. It’s doubtless you’ll maybe be in a set to bump that the total scheme as much as 512GB for $1,449.99.

There are a complete bunch glorious issues about routines: they are predictable, they permit you fabricate up talents, they are blissful and familiar. Nonetheless they can furthermore lead you to fall accurate into a rut. The Reward 20 Ultra avoids that trap, fortunately — not because it has fresh suggestions, but because it does this form of upright job with the same venerable ones.

There’s no one component I’m succesful of level at to reward what makes the Reward 20 Ultra this form of upright phone. Nonetheless there are a amount of small issues.

Galaxy Reward 20 Ultra hardware

The Reward 20 Ultra is a huge phone with a 6.9-glide show veil. It’s so mammoth that I must carry lend a hand the term “phablet” accurate to listing it. That’s because it’s tall satisfactory to atrocious some hazy line the set it begins to basically feel treasure a small pill as a change of a tall phone. In total, I attain for my Kindle when I must read an guide or a Switch when I favor a portable sport machine, but the show veil on the Reward 20 Ultra is mammoth satisfactory that I by no scheme felt treasure I famous either.

The Reward 20 Ultra’s most notorious hardware characteristic is a promontory. It has this big, mesa-treasure digicam bump on the lend a hand that homes the three cameras, a laser focal level sensor, and the flash. It’s not accurate that it’s glorious, it’s that it juts straight out of what’s in every other case an a entire lot of, flat expanse of phone.

Camera bump apart, I don’t procure anybody is designing nicer phone hardware accurate now than Samsung. The Galaxy S20 is my popular phone hardware of the year to this level because it has the cleanest traces. The Reward 20 Ultra doesn’t moderately upward push to that level thanks to the digicam bump, but it’s an in every other case flawless execution of what I inquire a Reward to be.

That scheme it has a mammoth show veil, certain, but it furthermore scheme that it has squared-off corners, minimal bezels, and is symmetrical front to lend a hand. Samsung has a brand fresh get on the lend a hand that’s matted as a change of sleek. That hides fingerprints, but it (counterintuitively) makes the phone a small extra slippery. Samsung is highlighting the bronze color this year, and for upright reason: it’s just.

One other oddity: the S Pen stylus silo is on the left-hand facet of the phone as a change of the accurate. As a righty, I earn it a small off-striking. Nonetheless I figure it’s time leftys had one thing swing their scheme.

The Galaxy Reward 20 Ultra’s is as upright as any that’s ever been positioned on a phone.

The Galaxy Reward 20 Ultra’s digicam is as upright as any that’s ever been positioned on a phone.

Reward 20 Ultra show veil and specs

There aren’t a amount of surprises with the Reward 20 Ultra in phrases of its specs or efficiency. The show veil, in negate, is ravishing. It’s mammoth, obviously, but the total small technical diminutive print are set-on. The color accuracy, viewing angles, and brightness are all noble; I had no arena utilizing it exterior in vivid, advise daylight. It’s a quad HD + OLED at 496ppi, supporting HDR10+ and about a utterly different color choices. It’s furthermore utilizing Corning’s latest, stupidly named Gorilla Glass “Victus.”

Nonetheless the reason the show veil is so glorious isn’t the resolution or the glass; it’s the refresh charge. It must hit 120Hz, and — in a predominant for Samsung — it’s a variable refresh charge. The show veil dynamically adjusts primarily based entirely on what’s being displayed and may perhaps well maybe ratchet the total scheme down to 10Hz if nothing’s transferring.

Maximalists will doubtless sneer on the indisputable truth that Samsung won’t allow you to simultaneously residing basically the most resolution and the excessive refresh charge on the same time, but I don’t care, and I’m succesful of’t witness the adaptation in resolution anyway. The trade-off is greater battery existence, and the battery existence on the Reward 20 Ultra is ravishing.

I’m on a peculiar foundation getting thru two days of employ. Although I push this component orderly not easy by taking pictures 8K video and enjoying streaming games, it composed clocks in spherical six hours of show veil time and doesn’t must composed be plugged in until I sleep.

The battery existence out of that 4,500mAh cell is the total extra spectacular because it’s powering loads. The Reward 20 Ultra has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor, which has a separate modem for 5G (a further power plan). There’s 12GB of RAM — satisfactory to multitask — and the conventional assortment of alternative Samsung specs: in-show veil ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, wireless and reverse wireless charging, expandable storage, stereo audio system, Bluetooth 5, NFC, MST, IP68 water resistance, wireless DeX over Miracast.

Samsung even tossed in a UWB radio accurate treasure the iPhone — and accurate treasure the iPhone, it appears treasure it’s right here extra as a braggy spec sheet checkbox than as an in actuality helpful characteristic.

It helps each and every sub-6 and mmWave versions of 5G, and I continue to imagine that 5G is composed not worth the worth top charge it instructions. Where I reside, I earn that, at simplest, it’s supreme 10 to twenty percent faster than LTE. And in some rare cases, it’s in actuality slower than LTE.

Total, total efficiency on the Reward 20 Ultra is high-notch. Apps by no scheme appear to halt in the background, stutters are nonexistent, and the refresh charge on the show veil makes every little thing in actuality feel that great smoother.

Samsung’s Notes app is surprisingly glorious.

Samsung’s Notes app is surprisingly glorious.

The S Pen and Samsung instrument

There is one spec that is basically spectacular: Samsung has reduced the latency on the S Pen stylus. It’s down to 9ms (eighty percent faster than the Reward 10) thru a combination of faster processing, a increased refresh charge show veil, and some predictive machine studying that will maybe intuit the set the stylus is going before time.

It’s spectacular because it’s tangible: latency when drawing and writing with the S Pen is the supreme I’ve ever seen on a phone. The virtual ink flows accurate out from the stylus tip with nary a hole.

In total speaking, my advice in phrases of the Reward is that this: whereas you positively favor a stylus, your supreme change is a Reward. While you happen to don’t know in advise for you a stylus, you nearly absolutely don’t. It’ll accurate be a component that you just exercise once or twice after which ignore.

I procure consistently been in the latter camp. After a day or two, I accurate don’t bother with the S Pen. Nonetheless this year, I stumbled on myself utilizing it a ton. It’s not thanks to the latency, and it’s absolutely not thanks to Samsung’s silly “air actions” that allow you to to wave the S Pen spherical treasure a magic wand some distance away alter.

It’s thanks to Samsung Notes. I’m going to write a sentence now, and you’re perhaps not going to imagine it. I’m succesful of hardly ever imagine it. Nonetheless after per week or so with the Reward 20 Ultra, I stand by it. Here we bound.

Samsung Notes is the supreme notes app you are going to get on a phone.

Samsung Notes can re-align your handwriting, convert it to textual relate, and play lend a hand audio from the moment you wrote it.

Samsung Notes can realign your handwriting, convert it to textual relate, and play lend a hand audio from the moment you wrote it.

Samsung’s notes app already does stuff that Apple Notes is accurate catching as much as and Microsoft’s cellular OneNote app composed can’t pull off, treasure letting you highlight your handwriting and replica it as easy textual relate. It furthermore permits you to export out your notes (longhand or typed) to a Word doc, PowerPoint, easy textual relate file, image, or a PDF.

Even whereas you by no scheme pull the S Pen out of its silo, the Samsung Notes app is well-designed, dealing with like a flash lists and longer notes equally well. It has accurate the accurate amount of textual relate formatting, and this year, it added the flexibility to prepare your notes into folders (lastly).

Nonetheless it absolutely’s in case you exercise the S Pen that Samsung Notes in actuality sings. Its handwriting recognition is as upright as I’ve seen on any gadget — and, obviously, your handwritten notes are searchable, too. Recent this year, Samsung Notes furthermore (lastly) can straight annotate PDFs.

While you happen to write at an uncommon attitude, you would tap a button to straighten your handwriting so it flows naturally down the show veil. That appears treasure a silly component, but it makes your notes great extra readable. Notes furthermore does the trick the set it is some distance going to listing audio as you jot down notes in teach that you just would bound lend a hand later and tap for your jotting and listen to what was once said at that exact moment.

There is a arena with Samsung Notes, despite the indisputable truth that: it’s supreme that upright on the Reward 20 Ultra itself. There is a desktop app (who knew?), but the fact is I wouldn’t have faith most of my digital existence to Samsung Notes until I could perhaps well maybe furthermore get to every little thing in it extra with out considerations on other units. Later this year, Samsung Notes will doubtless be in a set to at least one-scheme sync to Microsoft OneNote. I haven’t been in a set to take a look at it but, and it’s hectic that it isn’t a two-scheme sync, but it is some distance going to composed abet.

Samsung’s treasure affair with Microsoft is getting in actuality extreme this year. As well to to Notes’ one-scheme sync, reminders and initiatives will sync each and every ways with Outlook. Later this year, Microsoft’s Your Phone app on Windows will enable you procure a entire lot of apps with out extend from the Reward.

Taking half in Xbox or Stadia games on the Reward 20’s mammoth show veil is glorious.

Taking half in Xbox or Stadia games on the Reward 20 Ultra’s mammoth show veil is glorious. The game controller right here is the Razer Kishi, which is a great pad but a VERY tight fit on the Ultra, perhaps not the accurate one whereas you get this phone.

Samsung is furthermore pushing Microsoft’s Xbox Game Lumber Closing carrier. I’ve been utilizing the beta, and it’s in actuality upright. Taking half in an Xbox sport on the Reward’s mammoth (for a phone) show veil feels entirely pure. It’s a bigger show veil than even my Switch Lite. Stadia is ok, too — but it won’t procure Microsoft’s sport library.

The relief of Samsung’s One UI model of Android is par for the Samsung direction. Lately, Samsung has lost a small little bit of discipline in phrases of instrument originate. The corporate is consistently tempted to lade on too many strange points and get you to employ too many strange Samsungy products and companies. The experience on the Reward 20 suffers which capacity that. Internal Samsung’s hold apps, you’ll once in a whereas hurry into tall banner classified ads; Samsung Health is particularly egregious. Dial it lend a hand, Sammy.

Additionally: Bixby. As but every other of letting this unfortunate excuse for a digital assistant languish from now on, Samsung wishes to ship Bixby to be with relatives in that farm upstate the set it is some distance going to reside fortunately ever after.

The Samsung Galaxy Reward 20 Ultra has a 3-digicam array on the lend a hand.

The Samsung Galaxy Reward 20 Ultra has a 3-digicam array on the lend a hand.

The Reward 20 Ultra digicam

With a digicam bump this mammoth, you’d inquire the Galaxy Reward 20 Ultra to procure an spectacular digicam plan. It does — despite the indisputable truth that the actual images you get out of it aren’t consistently glorious. On the other hand, the famous component is that Samsung has largely recovered from the considerations that beset the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

I procure the Reward 20 Ultra has a digicam plan that’s on par with the supreme phones accessible, apart from for one part: Samsung biffed it with the selfie digicam.

Left: Galaxy Reward 20 Ultra, the “Hamcam.” Accurate: Pixel 4 XL. Both in portrait mode, despite the indisputable truth that results are the same with out it.

Here’s an example. I took the actual same selfie with a Reward 20 Ultra and a Pixel 4. My boss Nilay Patel took one uncover about on the Reward’s listing and requested why it made me uncover about treasure a ham. I hereby dub the Reward 20 Ultra’s selfie digicam the #Hamcam.

That is a awful listing, and I procure a bunch extra treasure it, but I furthermore procure some that uncover about darn upright. I’m not certain how or why the digicam decides to ham it up, either. Even whereas you flip off each and every face smoothing and filter possibility, Samsung’s selfie digicam composed applies one thing to tidy up faces. I wish it didn’t because I do know there’s a upright digicam in there somewhere.

The relief of the cameras fare great greater. You get three cameras: a 12-megapixel ultrawide, a 12-megapixel telephoto with a periscope meeting, and a 108-megapixel predominant huge-attitude. Let’s retract them in advise from simplest to most refined.

In total, the ultrawide sensor on any phone is the weakest of the bunch, and that’s the case right here. On the other hand, the ultrawide on the Reward 20 Ultra is greater than that moderate. I’m chuffed with the dynamic fluctuate, in negate, which is famous for landscapes.

For the telephoto, Samsung went with its “folded” periscope plan. So the sensor sits on the lend a hand of a residing of mirrors that extends its staunch optical zoom fluctuate to 5x. Samsung furthermore has this component it calls “Web relate Zoom” that permits you to combine the optical and digital zooms to get into 50x. Interestingly, the S20 Ultra has a increased megapixel depend and gives 100x zoom, which scheme Samsung dialed it lend a hand for the Reward.

“Web relate zoom” can get 50x, but it’s not very usable.

Handsome. The S20 Ultra was once by no scheme one thing else bigger than a parlor trick over, train, 15x zoom — but it was once rather spectacular at 15x. The identical applies to the Reward 20 Ultra. Pinch the total scheme in to 50x, and you’re having a witness at one thing extra similar to summary art. Nonetheless at 10x or so, it’s greater than the iPhone 11 Pro and aggressive with the Pixel 4. These phones can’t zoom farther than that, but the Reward 20 can, and I got first charge results at 15 and even 20x.

Then there’s the famous 108-megapixel digicam. This sensor is Samsung’s hold, and Samsung’s complete project with cameras this year is to create a generational soar over the Sony sensor-utilizing competition by utilizing all of these megapixels.

Samsung stumbled out of the gate with the S20 Ultra, which had extreme focusing considerations that had been supreme in part mitigated by a instrument update. The Reward 20 Ultra has that update, but, extra importantly, it furthermore has a laser autofocus plan. It’s a brute pressure hardware resolution, but it works: pack up, the focusing is much faster and some distance extra legit than the S20 Ultra’s.

It’s doubtless you’ll maybe be in a set to retract 108-megapixel images, but the fact is that you just’ll nearly by no scheme get satisfactory added detail to be worth it. Greater to follow the default 12-megapixel images, the result of mixing (is understood as “binning”) a entire lot of pixels collectively. These results are basic Samsung: upright but once in a whereas a small oversmoothened and / or oversharpened.

Samsung has fallen a step on the lend a hand of the iPhone through color and composed hasn’t caught as much as the Pixel through detail, but I composed procure it’s before many of the leisure of the Android pack. Surprisingly, I stumbled on myself preferring the Reward 20 Ultra’s low-light mode images to the Pixel’s. In these cases, not not as much as, Samsung’s penchant for smoothing made for a extra comely image in extremely low light.

Left: Samsung Galaxy Reward 20 Ultra; Accurate: Pixel 4 XL. Both in Evening mode.

In a roundabout scheme: video. I’m a good bigger fan of Samsung’s Pro Mode for video than I expected to be. Sure, there’s an 8K possibility in there, and sure, I procure that exterior one thing else but very supreme cases taking pictures easy topics, you must composed follow 4K or lower. Nonetheless the interface for legit mode is tidy and sure. And Samsung has added a complete bunch microphone choices, a relative rarity on phones. It’s doubtless you’ll maybe be in a set to alter between the front mic, rear mic, or the omni mic. It’s doubtless you’ll maybe be in a set to furthermore coast in a USB-C mic or listing off a Bluetooth headset.

The Samsung Galaxy Reward 20 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy Reward 20 Ultra.

It’s sparkling to call the Reward 20 Ultra an iterative update. Doubly so: it’s a refinement of the same Reward originate that Samsung has been refining for 1/2 a decade, and internally, it’s a bunch of tweaks to the Galaxy S20 Ultra from earlier this year.

Past that inconsistent selfie digicam and Samsung’s refusal to accurate slay off its Bixby digital assistant, there’s nothing in the Reward 20 that I’d ship lend a hand to the drafting board. And despite the indisputable truth that there’s no single mammoth characteristic that is famous, there are a tall assortment of small issues that made me engage in mind how unbelievable smartphones may perhaps well maybe furthermore be.

I composed can’t recover from how upright the experience of utilizing the stylus in Samsung Notes is, if supreme because I’ve been knowledgeable by years of Samsung’s instrument overpromises. This time, it in actuality delivers. Streaming Xbox games on it is in actuality immersive and fun — and the battery has the stamina to retain up for hours of it. Even the gimmicky Web relate Zoom once in a whereas paid off.

While you happen to procure a Reward 10 and even a Reward 9, this isn’t a compulsory make stronger for you. And whereas you don’t procure you’ll employ the stylus, there are inexpensive choices that offer you lots of the same advantages.

The Reward 20 Ultra is a actually ostentatious, flashy phone. Nonetheless this year, it didn’t get a flashy update. It got what amounts to a spec bump (and a digicam bump to match). Nonetheless that’s satisfactory to create it perhaps the supreme flagship Android phone you would prefer accurate now. Even for a phone as mammoth as this, that is just not any diminutive component.