Samsung likely to remove the ToF sensor from the Galaxy Note 20 series
ToF (time of flight) sensors have been around on smartphones for quite some time now. They're not as common as some of the other camera sensors, such as a telephoto or wide-angle lenses, and have been exclusive to flagship releases. The first Samsung phone to come with a ToF sensor was the Galaxy S10+ 5G. It has since made an appearance on the Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra. However, it appears that Samsung might not include one in the upcoming Galaxy Note 20 series.
A South Korean media outlet reports that Samsung might remove the ToF sensor from the Galaxy Note 20 series. Samsung feels that only a handful of users ever use the sensor and its features; hence there is no reason to include it in a flagship. The primary reason why Samsung decided to use a ToF sensor was to create better depth-of-field effects for their Portrait Mode photos and Live Focus videos. All of that can now be done with software, though, so a dedicated piece of hardware makes little sense.
Another feature that Samsung emphasized at the Galaxy Note 10+ launch was the phone's ability to create 3D models of objects using the ToF sensor. One could then export the models into commonly used CAD applications and print them using a 3D printer. Unfortunately, the feature does not work as advertised despite Samsung 'fixing' the application on multiple occasions.
The above report is based on speculation, so it's best that if we take it with a grain of salt. Strictly speaking, a smartphone doesn't need a ToF sensor. It is good to have, but not necessary. Perhaps Samsung has some new features in mind that use the ToF sensor better. We should know more about the Galaxy Note 20 series in the coming weeks, as a slew of leaks almost always precedes a flagship release.
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