The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has had plenty of problems since it launched in February, but this latest issue is its worst yet. The glass covering the rear camera array has been breaking, seemingly of its own accord — and you'll have to pay if you want it fixed.
Several reports of the broken camera cover have been found on the Samsung Community Forums (1 (opens in new tab),2 (opens in new tab),3 (opens in new tab),4 (opens in new tab)), (via SamMobile and TechRadar) as well as one on Twitter. The damage varies —some users only seeing hairline cracks, others seeing dramatic-looking holes emerge in their phones. The users deny dropping or damaging their phones in a way that would cause this.
One thing the reports have in common is that the cracks began over the 100x zoom lens at the bottom of the camera module, which ends up limiting the zoom level as a side effect. Whether the way this camera is built or installed is affecting the structural integrity of the camera module is uncertain, but it seems like an odd coincidence.
Samsung's response to users who have reached out is that it can fix these problems, but that they'll have to pay. Despite the broken glass getting in the way of the cameras' functionality, Samsung is considering this "cosmetic damage," which isn't covered by the warranty, according to a comment by one customer service representative (opens in new tab).
As such, users with affected phones will need to pay $400 to replace the glass, or $100 if they already forked out for Samsung Premium Care service. Sending your S20 Ultra off to be fixed could be more difficult than usual considering the current lockdown that many countries are in, adding another irritating dimension to this problem.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra has seen several other problems since it launched in February. This includes issues with camera autofocus, a strange green tint to the display and disappointingly short battery life when used in its headlining 120Hz display refresh rate mode.