The Galaxy S20’s 8K video comes with a major limitation

Samsung Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 Ultra. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Among its many new and notable features, Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series phones are capable of recording 8K video. This is exceptionally high quality, so much so that Samsung was bound to set some limits on how it could be used.

This was proved to be the case by SamMobile (via AndroidCentral), which says that you’ll only be able to record a maximum of five minutes of 8K video at a time.

Samsung has claimed that one minutes of 8K footage takes approximately 600MB of storage space, and every 8GB the phone will start a new file. which perhaps goes some way to explaining why Samsung doesn’t want you recording too much at once.

The S20 series isn’t lacking in storage space though. The standard S20 comes with 128GB of storage, and the S20 Plus and S20 Ultra get the choice of 128GB or 512GB. These can then be augmented with a MicroSD card of up to 1TB, meaning that you’d have plenty of room even for these huge video files.

There will also be a framerate cap of 24fps. This is acceptable since 24fps is a popular standard, but it is technically possible for both the Snapdragon 865 and the Exynos 990 processors to record 8K video up to 30fps. Samsung will only sell the Snapdragon version of the S20 in the US due to an outstanding business agreement with CPU manufacturer Qualcomm, while the rest of the world will get Samsung’s proprietary chip in their S20 instead.

There are some contradicting accounts however. TechRadar reported in their Galaxy S20 Ultra hands-on that the phone will start a new file every 8GB used during 8K recording. This doesn't make sense with the previously mentioned limits (600MB multiplied by five minutes only gets you to 3GB), so we'll have to wait and see what Samsung says before we know for sure.

Happily, this limitation only affects one small part of the total reasons why we’re really excited by the S20 series. All three phones revealed by Samsung have beautiful and smooth 120Hz displays, can take excellent photos manually or with the help of the Quick Take mode, and are all 5G compatible.

Make sure you have a read of our Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 Ultra hands-on reviews to find out our initial impressions before we publish our full reviews in the near future.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.