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DxOMark: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra camera still not as good as Huawei P40 Pro

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra was announced awhile back, and a lot of the hype mainly centred around the camera performance of Samsung’s flagship device. The Space Zoom feature, which allows for 100X zoom, was a large part of Samsung’s marketing materials for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, along with a 108MP main camera.

But how does it stack up against other flagship devices in DxOMark’s latest tests?

Solid performance

DxOMark says that overall, the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s scores of 132 for photo and 102 for video make for a solid performance, with some “generally excellent” images captured. You get good exposure, dynamic range, and colour in “most” lighting conditions, while there is a controlled amount of noise in indoor and low-light environments.

Meanwhile, the ultra-wide angle shooter is exposure and colour accurate, with distortion (that can happen with ultra-wide cameras) that is well-corrected. As for the telephoto camera, results at 4x optical zoom are good. However, the report says that there are a few issues with photos taken on “close-range zoom shots”, with fusion artifacts spotted at the edges of the frame.

Still, the Galaxy S20 Ultra holds up well in Portrait mode, with DxOMark saying that the bokeh effect in this mode is “among the best we’ve seen”. This is helped by the use of a DepthVision sensor on the rear camera module.

Video results used in the test were shot at 4K resolution with 30 frames per seconds—resulting in a score of 102 points for Video. Again, it’s a rather solid, but not spectacular performance from Samsung’s flagship here.

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You’ll get the best results shooting videos in outdoor settings, with high levels of details, good stabilisation, as well as vivid colours and good target exposures. If you use stabilisation for videos shot indoors, do expect slightly worse performance here.

Only good enough for joint 6th

However, there are a couple of flaws, which means that the Galaxy S20 Ultra only lands joint 6th spot on DxOMark’s rankings. Autofocus performance certainly holds the S20 Ultra back, at least compared to top performers like the Huawei P40 Pro, with slow response times of 300ms to blame here.

“While we’ve certainly seen worse in the lab, these times are a little disappointing compared to those of the best flagship devices, and users may miss shots while waiting for the S20 Ultra to find focus in low-light conditions.”

There’s also the issue of oversharpening, which can result in some unnatural looking images. While behind the top performers, the S20 Ultra strikes a good balance between texture and noise in its resulting images.

DxOMark also says that the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s zoom shots are disappointing, with performance falling behind the top-ranked Huawei P40 Pro—although long-range shots are better than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Overall, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is still a good option for those who are interested in smartphone photography. Strengths include the ultra-wide shooter as well as Portrait mode shots. However, it’s a tad disappointing that a few issues hold the Galaxy S20 Ultra back from really fighting for the top-ranked spot—currently held by the Huawei P40 Pro.

“It doesn’t set a new standard for smartphone image quality.”

For the full report, click here.

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