Like we needed more confirmation that Samsung’s bizarre lack of consistency troubled the company’s flagship range throughout this entire year, French imaging experts from DxOMark recently attached some numbers to those suspicions. Based on the firm’s benchmarking methodology, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G offers a camera experience that isn’t an improvement, but a marginal downgrade compared to the best of Samsung’s previous flagship line, i.e. the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
The difference is largely insignificant, with the newer device earning a 130- and 101-point rating in photo and video, respectively, but the 132/102 score of its older predecessor is still a surreal reference to observe, at least following years of massive quality leaps from Samsung’s mobile photography tech.
Hindsight is 20/20, so a lot still hinges on how Samsung reacts next year
As things stand right now, DxOMArk still deems at least seven recent Android flagships from Xiaomi, Huawei, Vivo, Honor, and OPPO as better portable cameras than the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. For added context, the Galaxy S20 Ultra was deemed the fifth-best camera smartphone in the world following its launch back in spring, and at least two new Chinese handsets DxOMark whose rear cameras DxOMark labeled superior hit the market in the meantime.
Relative to the Galaxy S20 Ultra, the best version of the new Note does a slightly but consistently worse job of processing noise, capturing natural light so as to deliver an optimal exposure (particularly for video), and doing anything in telephoto mode, the review found. Then again, so long as this same technological base continues, optical zooming on smartphones will remain a little more than a joke. In fact, that will likely hold true no matter what for the foreseeable future. Which isn’t expected to stop tinkerers from tinkering; just please do so at your own risk.
The lack of clear progress and even outright regression in this regard may stem from the fact Samsung lost out on some cutting-edge time-of-flight cameras from Sony earlier this year. And it’s quickly trying to come up with its own such tiny radars that would assist in amateur portrait photography – even selfies.