The presents have finally been unpacked – Samsung just introduced the S20 line enhanced with 5G capabilities. Apart from fending off direct competitors, the new phones are great indicators to determine network readiness as the smartphone maker deepens its partnerships with tech peers such as Google and Microsoft.
Aside from the obvious fact that S20 refers to 2020, the jump from S10 to S20 signals Samsung's shift towards a new generation of devices, ushering yet another slew of mobile technology achievements.
Samsung’s newest flagships include the Galaxy S20 (6.2in), S20 Plus (6.7in) and S20 Ultra (6.9in) – all of which aimed at users looking for a supersized performance and experience. The S20 and S20 Plus are obvious successors to the S10 and S10 Plus but the S20 Ultra is a behemoth of a device.
Bigger screens, better cameras
Samsung is putting its money on the souped-up camera, which has a total of four camera lenses (three in the back and one in the front). Only the S20 Plus and S20 Ultra have an additional 3D depth lens at the back for AR applications. The much larger sensors allow for sharper pictures – 64 megapixel photos on the S20 and S20 Plus; 108-megapixel for the S20 Ultra. The latter also sports an eye-popping “100x hybrid optic zoom” telephoto module to capture even the minutest detail without compromising the quality of the image.
Other new camera enhancements include the “Single Take”, which captures 10-second video of a particular moment and picks out the best frames, as well as the ability to shoot 8K ultra-high definition videos.
At the heart of the S20 family is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 SoC as well as Samsung’s Exynos 990 chip. Each phone has 12GB of RAM paired to 128GB of storage by default, although you can up the S20 Plus and S20 Ultra to 512GB. The batteries are generously packed (4,000mAh, 4,500mAh and 5,000mAh) to power the 120Hz screens. Also shared across the three phones is Samsung’s Dynamic AMOLED tech, Quad HD+ resolutions and support for HDR10+.
A suite of exclusive entertainment updates
Good news for music lovers as a new version of Galaxy Buds wireless earphones was also launched. Offering a total of 22 hours of battery life, it will include 11 hours from a rechargeable storage case. Samsung is also integrating Spotify with Bixby Routines – the voice enabled smartphone organiser – so the smartphone can suggest curated playlists when you’re working out or commuting to work.
If the partnership with Microsoft was the biggest surprise at the Unpacked event last year, Netflix takes the cake this round. Exclusive content, based on Netflix originals like Narcos, Elite and its comedy-focused Netflix is a Joke, will be made exclusively for Samsung’s new smartphones.
Fixing what broke the Samsung Fold
Were you bothered by the creaking hinge and flickering displays with the Samsung Fold? Good, because that crease has been smoothed out in the new, foldable Galaxy Z Flip. The device opens up into a large 6.7in OLED screen, with a smaller window on the front cover to show time and view notifications. Inside, it packs a Snapdragon 855 Plus, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and a 3,300mAh dual battery.
Aesthetic-wise, the Z Flip opens and closes like a classic clamshell phone, rather than a book, which will be a dealbreaker when one compares it with Motorola’s Razr (retro) reboot.
Having said that, customers will no doubt be charmed by the new “Flex” mode. When the device is free-standing, the display automatically splits into two four-inch screens so you can easily view images, contents or videos on the top half of the display, and control them on the bottom half. For example, you can stream YouTube videos on the top while searching for other videos, read descriptions and write comments at the bottom.
Samsung will start shipping the S20 series from Mar 6, while the Z Flip will be available in limited quantities, starting in countries like the US and South Korea.The S20, S20 Plus and S20 Ultra are priced at RM3,599, RM3,999 and RM4,999 respectively. Pre-order starts Feb 12 to 26. Price for Galaxy Z Flip yet to be announced. See here for details.