The Galaxy Z Flip turns out to be a super-scratch-sensitive folding smartphone, the “Space Zoom” in the S20 is a fake zoom, the 12 GB of RAM in the Ultra is completely unnecessary and the recording of 8K videos just as technically questionable. In 2020, Samsung has made it particularly difficult for its marketing department to explain the benefits of the new Galaxy products to customers.
On February 11, 2020, the Galaxy brand was again unpacked. This means that the Korean manufacturer Samsung showed off its new smartphones. Representatives of the press as well as influencers attended the numerous closed events and inspected the S20 family and the new Z Flip. In the meantime, the first test samples are also in circulation. And one of them ended up with smartphone executioner Zack Nelson.
Under his handle “JerryRigEverything”, he regularly destroys smartphones in front of a running YouTube camera. Of course, the Galaxy Z Flip was included. But rarely has the indignation about a device tested by him been so great. While the Galaxy Fold was still unpleasant to look at with a dirt-sensitive hinge, the Z Flip disappointed in a much more banal way.
Samsung bends the term “glass”
Nelson said: “The Z Flip has fake glass.” The display is not covered by a flexible construction ultra-thin glass, as Samsung suggests. Rather, it is merely soft plastic. As a result, it can easily be scratched and have holes punched in it. Air entering through the holes destroys other OLEDs around the puncture.
The catch to Nelson’s insight: On the website for the Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung speaks of “the first-ever folding glass screen”. In the footnote, it is referred to as a ‘plastic-glass mixture’. Neither seems to be true. At least the plastic properties of the material outweigh the other properties. Those who hope for hard glass will be disappointed.
Space Zoom: 30x mischief
Then colleagues from Notebookcheck discovered that the telephoto lens on the Galaxy S20 and S20+ has not been sufficiently discussed. Neither the “3x Hybrid Optic Zoom” nor the “30x Space Zoom” do what one might assume.
In fact, the cameras in the Galaxy S20s and S20 Ultra only allow 1.06x true optical zoom. Everything after that is digitally enlarged by the software. However, since the results are satisfactory thanks to the actually considerable sensor size, the indignation about terms like “hybrid” or “Space Zoom” is rather manageable. Especially since Samsung states truthfully that: “the Galaxy S20, S20 5G, and S20+, S20+ 5G have a 30x Space Zoom. Space Zoom includes digital zoom and affects the image quality.”
More RAM than in most Windows laptops
The Galaxy S20 Ultra is initially available with 12 and later even 16 GB of RAM. A colleague at Techradar already wrote a wordy review of this decision. The justified part of his criticism is the fear that such lavish equipment …
- … makes the end product more expensive because of a feature the customer will never use.
- … discourages app and operating system developers to optimize their software.
The only scenario that requires a lot of RAM is 8K video recording. This is actually possible with all variants of the Galaxy S20, but…
8K video with a 1-minute maximum
The enormous amount of RAM apparently serves only one single application: the recording of 8K video. But after one minute of recording, it is over. In its current state, Galaxy S20 devices (no matter how much RAM they have) can only shoot in 8K for 60 seconds at a time, and then have to take a breather. In this phase – a real analysis or statement is still pending, but that is the theory – the chipset processes the raw material from the RAM into a 600 MB video file. For comparison: one minute of Netflix in 4K is about 80 MB.
Admittedly, Samsung has a long way to go to fix this performance problem. Finally, the number of 8K-capable displays is still small. And with a display resolution of 3,200 x 1,440, none of the S20s would be able to display every pixel of the 8K videos at the highest 7,680 x 4,320 resolution.
Samsung is playing with our trust in 2020
Okay, I admit it: translating marketing language into normal consumer speak is our job. But it has been a long time since Samsung has made it so difficult for us journalists (and its customers) to extract real facts from press releases (or advertising copy). If even the (growing number of) footnotes – a hair’s breadth from the lie – remain vague, even the most loyal Samsung customers may soon start asking questions. And what happens if a competitor can suddenly answer them more clearly?