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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 leak just revealed bad news for the camera

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra camera
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 might not get the impressive 100x Space Zoom camera found on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, meaning it could lag behind Samsung's latest flagship in terms of photography.

That's according to reputable leaker Ice Universe, who tweeted that Samsung's next flagship phone won't be borrowing from the S20 Ultra's rear-camera array. While the tipster's wording is a little ambiguous, the simplest explanation is that Samsung will use a different camera in the place of the 'Space Zoom' sensor.

The 48MP 100x zoom (4x optical) sensor was one of the main selling points for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, along with its 108MP main sensor, which Ice Universe has previously claimed will be on the Note 20 Plus.

In our tests of the S20 Ultra, we found the 100x camera to be one of its strongest features, producing much better images than the iPhone 11 Pro Max's paltry 2x optical zoom camera. However, we noticed photo quality begin to dip with anything beyond 30x zoom.

While high magnification telephoto sensors are impressive, they are expensive to produce, take up a lot of space within a phone's body, and can have a hard time taking stable photos at maximum zoom unless you're using a tripod. These could be the reasons why Ice Universe reckons Samsung might decide to not include this particular sensor on the Note 20.

Going by Ice Ice Universe's tweet and previous leaks, there's a good chance that the Galaxy Note 20 will have a 108MP lens but without the 100x zoom. This is could be a symptom of the camera using a different sensor, with Samsung potentially dropping Space Zoom in favor of another more practical camera feature.  

Alternatively, we could see Samsung take a different approach and use the 64MP 3x optical zoom sensor found in the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus for the Note 20. While the overall performance on paper isn't as strong, it's likely a more practical sensor for the majority of customers, and we still really liked the telephoto images produced by both phones when we reviewed them. 

The trade-off, however, is that unlike the singular Space Zoom sensor, other smartphone makers are more likely to match or beat this camera on quality or total magnification. The iPhone 12, for example, may utilize a triple-camera array with a depth-sensing LiDAR scanner on the higher-end pro models. The rest of the Note 20's cameras will need to be spot on to stand a chance.

We'll find out the truth one way or the other around August. This is usually the time of year that Samsung reveals its Galaxy Note series handsets, although there's always the possibility of coronavirus-related delays. 

Alongside these camera rumors, the Note 20 is also believed to feature a QHD 120Hz display like the Galaxy S20 series, and the same Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 chipsets as well as 12GB RAM. The Note 20 will be accompanied on stage by the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2, the next full-size Samsung foldable that will share key Note 20 features such as an S Pen Stylus and similar camera tech.