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Samsung likely to remove the ToF sensor from the Galaxy Note 20 series

Galaxy Note 20 series might not ship with a ToF sensor
Galaxy Note 20 series might not ship with a ToF sensor (image via Samsung)
Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Note 20 series might not come with a ToF sensor. The company cites a lack of user interest as one of the primary reasons. Additionally, some of the ToF sensor's work can now be done via software.
Anil Satyanarayana,
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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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Anil Ganti
Anil Ganti - Senior Tech Writer - 654 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2019
I've been an avid PC gamer since the age of 8. My passion for gaming eventually pushed me towards general tech, and I got my first writing gig at the age of 19. I have a degree in mechanical engineering and have worked in the manufacturing industry and a few other publications like Wccftech before joining Notebookcheck in November 2019. I cover a variety of topics including smartphones, gaming, and computer hardware.
contact me via: @AnilGanti, LinkedIn
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 04 > Samsung likely to remove the ToF sensor from the Galaxy Note 20 series
Anil Satyanarayana, 2020-04-24 (Update: 2020-04-24)