Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Sarah Tew/CNET

Yesterday, I got my hands on Samsung's new Galaxy S20 Ultra, a phone built to be a photo and battery powerhouse. My colleagues and I are going to review every nook and cranny of this $1,400 device. Brace yourself for hundreds of photos, deep dive camera features and photo comparison tests with the best brands on the market.

For now, I offer with the handful of pictures I took yesterday around downtown San Francisco. I shot photos with every camera, including with the 100x Space Zoom lens, a first for Samsung, and a feature designed to rival the excellent zoom function on Google's Pixel 4 and Huawei's P30 Pro and Mate 30 Pro

These photos are not touched up or edited in any way unless stated. But note that they have been processed by CNET's content image tool -- you won't see every pixel, but you'll hopefully see enough to give you an early idea of the S20 Ultra's camera performance.

Now playing: Watch this: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra's 100x zoom makes snooping easier


Many more photos are on the way, including indoor shots, group shots and basically any scene that catches my eye. For me, a photo is only as good as the personal meaning it holds, so I'll share the pictures of items and people I'd naturally want to showcase. If it captures a moment, a feeling or an emotion better than another camera, then it's already done 90% of its job for me. (Don't worry, my colleagues will be more technically inclined.)

I'm also testing the regular and 8K mode video camera, but those files are huge and harder to share here. There will be plenty of footage in the final review, though.

  • 108-megapixel main camera: You need to select the 108-megapixel quick setting to take a super high-resolution photo. Part of the benefit of such a high-resolution image is getting a more detailed view when you crop in (see below).
  • 12-megapixel wide-angle lens: Samsung redesigned the sensors, so this isn't the same camera as on the Galaxy Note 10 or S10 phones.
  • 48-megapixel telephoto camera: 10x hybrid optic zoom, up to 100x "space zoom." The higher the zoom, the shakier your photo will be (a monopod or tripod is key).
  • DepthVision camera: I didn't go out of my way to test this yet, but it's meant to assist with various camera modes.
  • galaxys20ultra-archwaygalaxys20ultra-archway

    Main camera and standard resolution.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET galaxys20ultra-yerbabuena-ultrawideanglegalaxys20ultra-yerbabuena-ultrawideangle

    Ultra-wide angle shot.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET galaxys20ultra-teagalaxys20ultra-tea

    Main camera, standard resolution.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET galaxys20ultra-flowergalaxys20ultra-flower

    Main camera, standard resolution.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

    *The 108-megapixel resolution version of this image was too large to load.


    Crop from standard resolution image.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET galaxys20ultra-flower-108cropgalaxys20ultra-flower-108crop

    Crop from 108-megapixel resolution image.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET galaxys20ultra-magnolia-2galaxys20ultra-magnolia-2

    Main camera, standard resolution.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET galaxys20ultra-moma-nozoomgalaxys20ultra-moma-nozoom

    SF Museum of Modern Art. No zoom.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET galaxys20ultra-moma-zoom10galaxys20ultra-moma-zoom10

    10x optic hybrid zoom.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET galaxys20ultra-moma-zoom30galaxys20ultra-moma-zoom30

    30x optic hybrid zoom.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET galaxys20ultra-moma-zoom100galaxys20ultra-moma-zoom100

    100x optic hybrid zoom.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET galaxys20ultra-selfie-yerbabuenagalaxys20ultra-selfie-yerbabuena

    Obligatory backlit selfie. There ya go.


    Shot on automatic mode with main camera, low-light conditions.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET galaxys20ultra-table-plant-108cropgalaxys20ultra-table-plant-108crop

    Crop in of 108-megapixel version is impressively detailed.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET galaxys20ultra-cocktailsgalaxys20ultra-cocktails

    Shot in automatic mode in low light conditions.

    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

    This story will be updated often with new photos. Keep checking back for more!