Samsung released its newest Galaxy S20 series just a few days back. Looking at the new line, it seems like the devices are actually pretty impressive especially in the camera department. Indeed, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has this awesome 10x optical zoom which can go up to 100x digital zoom.
The Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus, on the other hand, also come with great camera setups. Samsung even said that they did not compromise the cameras of these two devices despite having the more powerful Galaxy S20 Ultra. So now, the next question is— is there really no compromise?
According to Samsung, both Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20+ have telephoto cameras. In layman’s understanding, telephoto lenses directly relate to zooming capabilities. Given that these two phones have telephoto cameras, we expect nothing but better magnification.
Weirdly enough, the specs sheet says that the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20+ have telephoto cameras with 3x “hybrid optic zoom”. So now, what does it mean?
Thanks to the help of NotebookCheck.net, we were able to get a grip on what it’s all about. In fact, we didn’t need much digging as Samsung actually has handed it down to us. Upon careful checking, it has been shown that the telephoto lens is much like a wide-angle of the main camera. In addition, the telephoto lens only has a 1.06 zoom compared to its main camera. In short, the 3x “hybrid optic zoom” is just a digital crop.
In simpler terms, just pinch a regular photo in your old Samsung Galaxy S10e and you’ll get that same zoom. We can’t discount the fact that Samsung Galaxy S20’s photos have more details and sharpness making the images better. That’s mainly the purpose of the 64-megapixel camera. However, it means nothing but deceptive advertising. Moreover, we can conclude that the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has the only legitimate telephoto lens in the S20 family.
Does this mean that the cameras of Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20+ are not good enough? The answer is a simple no. We can surely attest that the photos are of great quality. Despite the fact that the 3x hybrid optic zoom is nothing but a crop version of the main camera, we’ll surely get great photos.
However, it’s a great question to ask as to why Samsung opted for this kind of marketing. If you go back to generations before the S20, like S9 and S10 or even the Note 8, they were all able to include a proper telephoto lens with real optical zoom. So now, we’re all left wondering as to what happened to the S20 line.
With the new series, having an additional Ultra in the line makes it more challenging to incorporate what real flagship specs are. Interestingly, Samsung’s branding strategy is quite similar to what Apple did on the iPhone 11. Instead of introducing the successor of the iPhone XR, or in the case of Samsung, another Galaxy S10e, they branded them as the iPhone 11 and Galaxy S20. Then added the more “expensive” iPhone 11 Pro Max and S20 Ultra.
But going back to the real issue, is this enough justification for their deceptive marketing? Definitely not.