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Galaxy S20 Ultra: DxOMark's review of the flagship's 40 MP selfie camera further places the effectiveness of high-res Quad Bayer sensors in doubt

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. (Source: Samsung)
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. (Source: Samsung)
The Galaxy S20 Ultra features a 40 MP sensor as its selfie camera. Bigger is supposedly better and one would expect it to be the best on the market, yes? Well, no. The S20 Ultra only finishes joint second on DxOMark's selfie chart, and more interestingly, with just one more point than the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G and its meager 10 MP sensor.
Ricci Rox,

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The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra features the highest-resolution dedicated selfie camera we've seen on a smartphone camera: a 40 MP sensor. That camera has now been tested by photography evaluation website DxOMark; the results? Mostly disappointing.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra's selfie shooter recorded an overall score of 100. That makes it the joint-second phone on the DxOMark rankings, on par with the Huawei Nova 6 5G, and below the new Huawei P40 Pro. In the still photography category, the S20 Ultra recorded a score of 104, while it made off with a score of 95 in the video category.

It's interesting that the Galaxy S20 Ultra only earns an overall score of 100, which is just one more than the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G. The Galaxy S20 Ultra uses a 40 MP 1/2.65" sensor with a 0.7µm pixel size, and uses pixel binning to output 10 MP images with 1.4µm pixels. The Note 10+, on the other hand, is a native 10 MP 1/1.3" sensor with a 1.22µm pixel size. 

Considering the difference in sensor size and pixel size after binning, one would expect the S20 Ultra to deliver better images and a much higher score—especially considering the Note 10+ has received camera-improving updates since the original review was published—but that hardly seems to be the case, going by DxOMark's evaluation. 

Quad-Bayer high-res sensors have been the rage over the past year, but it's constantly been proven that they don't offer better performance than their native lower-res counterparts. The Galaxy S20 and S20+ with their 12 MP 1.8µm sensors are generally considered to have better, more consistent cameras than the S20 Ultra with its 108 MP sensor, for example. The Galaxy S20 Ultra's selfie camera review is a continuation of that trend.

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Ricci Rox
Ricci Rox - Senior Tech Writer - 1995 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I like tech, simple as. Half the time, you can catch me writing snarky sales copy. The rest of the time, I'm either keeping readers abreast with the latest happenings in the mobile tech world or watching football. I worked as both a journo and freelance content writer for a couple of years before joining the Notebookcheck team in 2017. Feel free to shoot me some questions on Twitter or Reddit if it so tickles thine fancy.
contact me via: @riccirox, LinkedIn
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 05 > Galaxy S20 Ultra: DxOMark's review of the flagship's 40 MP selfie camera further places the effectiveness of high-res Quad Bayer sensors in doubt
Ricci Rox, 2020-05- 6 (Update: 2020-05- 7)