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Samsung Galaxy S20+: The fourth camera does not make a difference, nor does its fake zoom

We expected more from the fourth camera in the Galaxy S20+. (Image source: Samsung)
We expected more from the fourth camera in the Galaxy S20+. (Image source: Samsung)
One of the big differences between the Galaxy S20+ and the regular Galaxy S20 is Samsung's inclusion of a fourth rear-facing camera. Does this, the larger display or the bigger battery make much a difference overall, though? From our time with both, we would suggest that at least one of those offers little practical use in daily life.
Alex Alderson,

Undoubtedly, Samsung has geared its S20 series to the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The Ultra has gained all the headlines, occasionally for the wrong reasons, and contains a plethora of standout hardware. By contrast, both the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20+ offer significantly fewer eye-catching features than the Ultra does.

Take the fourth rear-facing camera in the Galaxy S20+, for example. Samsung does not include the sensor in the Galaxy S20, but its inclusion does not add much to the camera capabilities of the Galaxy S20+. Disappointingly, Samsung opted for a 0.3 MP ToF sensor, the value of which is dubious at best.

Secondly, the decision to use a 64 MP sensor for 8K videos and zoom shots, but a 12 MP sensor for the main rear-facing camera in the Galaxy S20+ is an odd one. The same applies to the Galaxy S20. The 12 MP main camera has stellar image quality, but the lower megapixel count will likely throw a few people off.

Samsung's decision not to install a real 3x optical telephoto camera is another sore point too, in our opinion. Likewise, while the option of shooting in 8K is marvellous in a technical sense, Samsung disables many of the options that it enables for lower resolutions. You may often find yourself manually adjusting the focus too, which is inexcusable on such an expensive smartphone. We also found it annoying that Samsung applies restrictions to the options available when shooting in 4K and 1080p at 60 FPS.

The Galaxy S20+ is a joy to use in other senses, though. Samsung has equipped the device with an extremely bright and colour accurate display, for example, and it lasts significantly longer on a single charge than its predecessor does.

We are pleased that Samsung has equipped the Galaxy S20+ with a fast Wi-Fi modem, too. The less said about the Exynos 990 the better though, as it is slower than its contemporaries in most tasks.

Overall, the Galaxy S20+ offers excellent all-round performance, but you should be aware that Samsung has made some compromises. If you contemplate spending close to US$1,000 on a smartphone on those terms, then we would recommend looking elsewhere for your next smartphone. Regardless, we would still urge you to read our full Galaxy S20+ smartphone review for a deeper look at what the device has to offer.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 03 > Samsung Galaxy S20+: The fourth camera does not make a difference, nor does its fake zoom
Alex Alderson, 2020-04- 3 (Update: 2020-03-30)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor - @aldersonaj
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.