Following the launch of the Galaxy S20 series by Samsung, interesting technical details came to light that were not yet known as part of the announcement. This includes, for example, that the Galaxy S20 and S20 + use almost only a digital instead of an optical zoom. The smallest model is also missing mmWave.
Samsung advertises the Galaxy S20 series (hands-on) with up to 30x zoom for the Galaxy S20 and S20 + and 100x “space zoom” for the Galaxy S20 Ultra. In the smallest and medium-sized model, the telephoto lenses should have a triple hybrid zoom, which stands for a mixture of optical and digital magnification. The hybrid zoom of the Galaxy S20 Ultra is said to be ten times larger.
26 mm vs. 28 mm 35mm equivalent
How Notebookcheck found out via the English-language press release on the announcement of the smartphones, Galaxy S20 and S20 + offer only a 1.06x optical magnification, all other zoom levels are carried out purely digitally. From a purely formal point of view, the term “hybrid zoom” is therefore correct, since a mixture of minimal optical zoom and strong digital enlargement is used, but buyers should expect a stronger optical enlargement based on the advertising. The exact technical details are not to be found on Samsung’s product page for the Galaxy S20 series.
The weak magnification can be recognized by the width of the field of view, which the supposed telephoto lenses cover. At 76 degrees with the Galaxy S20 and S20 +, this is only minimally below the 79 degrees of the normal wide-angle lens. How Notebookcheck calculated, there are only 26 mm of 35 mm equivalent of the main camera without zoom compared to 28 mm of 35 mm equivalent for the “telephoto lens”.
The situation is different with the Galaxy S20 Ultra, whose telephoto lens with 24 degree field of view corresponds to a 35 mm image equivalent of approximately 100 mm and thus a 4 to 5 times optical magnification. Samsung advertises the Galaxy S20 Ultra with a tenfold hybrid zoom. Here the information corresponds more to the expectation.
8K video recordings only via the telephoto lens
The editors of Notebookcheck suspects that the function of 8K video recordings on all three models of the Galaxy S20 can trigger the “chaos“. Because while the Galaxy S20 Ultra with the 108 megapixel main camera can easily take appropriate 8K pictures via its sensor, the main camera of Galaxy S20 and S20 + with 12 megapixels lacks the required resolution of at least 33 megapixels (7,680 × 4,320) , That’s why the 8K video function on the Galaxy S20 and S20 + is handled via the supposed telephoto lens, whose sensor offers 64 megapixels. If there were a real optical zoom here, the video recordings could only ever be made at high magnification.
Galaxy S20 without 5G mmWave
Samsung’s new flagships also hide an important detail deep in the data sheet when it comes to supporting the new 5G mobile radio standard: only the Galaxy S20 + and Galaxy S20 Ultra support 5G in the sub-6 GHz range, as is initially used in Germany, among others via mmWave, which is being expanded first in the USA, for example. The smallest Galaxy S20, on the other hand, only offers Sub-6 GHz. This distinction applies to the US model with Snapdragon 865 and the variant with Exynos 990.
The reason for this should be the comparatively compact dimensions of the smallest Galaxy S20, since mmWave requires several antenna modules (often up to four) in the device, so that good reception can be guaranteed even when the smartphone is moved around. 5G mmWave offers higher transmission rates than Sub-6 GHz, but is only designed for comparatively short distances and requires a densely built cellular network. In the USA, mmWave is used primarily in inner-city areas, while Sub-6 GHz covers the area in rural areas.