Reviews of the Galaxy S20 Ultra have found that the camera's autofocus is unreliable, often taking too long to lock onto a subject or sometimes failing to do so at all

By Ian Horswill

Posted on February 27, 2020

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is not going on sale within days but the company is having to admit there are issues with the flagship cameras, one of the major sales pitches for the smartphone.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra’s camera system is its main selling point with a huge 108-megapixel sensor and a periscope telephoto lens that Samsung pitches as being usable at up to 100x zoom. It will retail for US$1,399 or US$1,599, for a 512GB version rather than the default 128GB. It was billed as the best camera system ever found on a smartphone at its unveiling earlier this month.

Reviews of the Galaxy S20 Ultra have found that the camera’s autofocus is unreliable, often taking too long to lock onto a subject or sometimes failing to do so at all, PC Mag and Input have highlighted. The camera also exhibited aggressive image processing in certain situations, with a tendency to excessively smooth out skin. The Verge also said it found issues with the camera on the S20 Ultra but it will not publish its review for another 24 hours.

TizenHelp also reported that Samsung was rolling out a new firmware version for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, which seems to have hit phones in Korea first, likely with a view to rolling it out to other territories where the S20 phones will drop.

Samsung, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Z Flip, S20

The firmware version G988NKSU1ATBR will apparently improve camera quality including tinkering with the Auto-Flash to improve the quality of your snaps on a phone, which already promises a pretty stellar setup.

Samsung said in a statement to The Verge: “The Galaxy S20 features a groundbreaking, advanced camera system. We are constantly working to optimise performance to deliver the best experience for consumers. As part of this ongoing effort, we are working on a future update to improve the camera experience.”

Samsung’s Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra will go on sale on Friday, 6 March in the US, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. It will be released in the UK on Friday, 13 March.

In the US, Australia and UK, the Galaxy S20 5G price is US$999, AU$1,499, UK£899 with 128GB of storage. If you want 512GB of storage, you’ll have to buy the S20 Ultra.

The phone is also available in a 4G version Australia, the UAE and Australia where the price is AU$1,349, UK£799, AED3,199. The 5G variant is the only version available in the US..

In a hands-on review, TechCrunch reported: “The Ultra is all about three things: a massive 6.9-inch 120Hz display that will stretch your hand, a quad-lens rear camera array offering insane zoom levels and 8K video recording, and 5G antennas that enable higher peak speeds 66 times faster than a 4G LTE phone and also faster than the Galaxy S20.

“We tested the S20 Ultra 108MP camera and noticed more detail and brighter images, but the gap between these large photos and normal 12MP shots isn’t realized until you crop in and notice less quality loss. It’s a nice jump from the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus cameras in either megapixel mode that Samsung offers.”