Galaxy S20 Ultra price: Is this flagship really worth $1,400?

Galaxy S20 Plus back cameras
(Image credit: Future)

As implied by the name, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is designed to be the ultimate Samsung flagship phone. It sports a huge 6.9-inch display, blazing 5G connectivity and a powerful zoom camera that puts all of the best phones to shame.

But about that price. The Galaxy S20 Ultra starts at $1,399. And if you want to really splurge and max out the storage (from 128GB to 512GB) and the RAM (from 12GB to 16GB), you’re looking at $1,599. That’s ultra-premium laptop territory.

So should you spend that much on the this phone? Or should you consider the $999 Galaxy S20 or $1,199 Galaxy S20 Plus instead? Lets do a quick breakdown of what you’re getting for the money and the pros and cons.

Pro: A huge 6.9-inch display

Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S20 Plus vs Galaxy S20 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

While the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus packs a fairly large 6.7-inch quad HD OLED screen, the Galaxy S20 Ultra boasts a ginormous 6.9-inch display. It’s an incredibly immersive panel, and not just for watching movies; during my hands-on time with the phone it served as a great viewfinder for the Ultra’s impressive zoom camera.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra also benefits from super smooth 120Hz refresh rate, but the S20 and S20 Plus have that, too.

Con: It’s big and heavy

The difference in size and weight between the Galaxy S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 Plus is substantial. The Galaxy S20 Plus measures 6.4 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches and weights 6.5 ounces, while the Galaxy S20 Ultra is 6.5 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches and a whopping 7.7 ounces. 

To be fair, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is even heavier than the Galaxy S20 Pro at 7.97 ounces, but Apple’s handset is more compact because it has a smaller screen, measuring 6.2 x 3.06 x 0.32 inches.

Pro: Amazing 108MP camera with 100x zoom

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The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra features a 108MP main wide-angle camera that delivers the highest resolution ever in a Samsung phone. When you use the 108MP mode you’ll be able to zoom into photos and crop without losing much detail at all. 

The other killer camera feature is the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s Space Zoom. Thanks to a folded optic lens, you can get 10x lossless zoom and up to 100x digital zoom. The Galaxy S20 Plus and regular Galaxy S20 are limited to 3x lossless and 30x digital zoom.

Con: The S20 Pro and Plus have pretty good cameras

The Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus are no slouches when it comes to photography. They feature 12MP wide-angle cameras along with a pretty sharp 64MP telephoto lens. The S20 Plus also includes a Depth Vision camera for better portrait shots, similar to the Galaxy S20 Ultra. 

All three Galaxy S20 phones have Samsung’s new Single Take mode, which captures multiple still photos and videos within 10 seconds and gives you a gallery of options to choose from for easy sharing. And every Galaxy S20 offers 8K video recording.

The Ultra has beefier specs

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Power users will appreciate that the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra complements its fast Snapdragon 865 processor with 12GB of RAM standard along with 128GB of storage. But you can go all the way up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB if you’re willing to pay $200 more. Frankly, though, I think Samsung should have included at least 256GB of storage to start to better justify the premium.

The S20 and S20 Plus have microSD

While you can’t bump up the RAM on either the S20 or S20 Plus, you can upgrade the Galaxy S20 Plus’ storage for an extra $150 to 512GB. And you can always add up to 1TB of storage via a microSD card slot to either the Galaxy S20 or Galaxy S20 Plus.

Pro: Huge 5,000 mAh battery with fastest charging

Galaxy S20 Ultra battery life

(Image credit: Samsung)

With its 5,000 mAh battery, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has one of the largest batteries on any Android phone and could land on our list of phones with the best battery life. Still, you're going to need all of that capacity in order to power the Ultra’s large 6.9-inch display and deliver 5G speeds (where available). The 120Hz screen can also take a toll on endurance, so we’ll have to see how long the S20 Ultra lasts on our battery test.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra supports a 45-watt super fast charger, but it’s sold separately. All three Galaxy S20 phones come with a 25-watt fast charger.

Con: The S20 and S20 Plus batteries are fairly large

The Galaxy S20 packs a 4,000 mAh battery, while the Galaxy S20 Plus bumps that up to a 4,500 mAh battery. Both of these numbers are higher than what the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus offered last year, but again it’s hard to determine how much of an impact 5G and 120Hz refresh rates are going to have.

Bottom line: Is the Galaxy S20 Ultra worth $1,400?

Galaxy S20 Ultra

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra is not a flagship phone for everyone. It’s designed for power users who want the best and biggest everything.

For me, there are two things that make the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra potentially worth the extra money: the mammoth 6.9-inch display and especially the more powerful zoom. Being able to get that much closer to the action is a big selling point for those who take a lot of pictures, whether it’s for work or for play.

The biggest reason not to pay more for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, other than the sticker shock, is its sheer girth. Check out our Galaxy S20 Ultra hands-on review for our in-depth impressions and stay tuned for our final rating.

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.