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Review: 5 Great Business Features On The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

The CRN Test Center finds Samsung's latest flagship to have a terrific display and superb battery life, along with 5G speeds that are an improvement over LTE.

As the lines have blurred between consumer and business devices, Samsung has been at the forefront of including work-focused features even in its mainstream consumer releases.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra, Samsung's top-of-the-line Galaxy S series release for 2020, may be the best evidence of this B2B emphasis to date.

[Related: Samsung's Galaxy S20 5G Lineup: 10 Things To Know]

The S20 Ultra is not perfect, and it's not cheap (starting price: $1,399). But many workers will find highly useful capabilities for their jobs that you won't find in other smartphones on the market.

What follows is the CRN Test Center review looking at the top features for business on Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Display 

For fans of big smartphone screens, the Galaxy S20 Ultra display alone might be the top selling point. The vibrant OLED display reaches a massive 6.9 inches, and the design is also an upgrade, in our opinion, over previous Galaxy S models.

That's because the S20 Ultra also moves the front-facing camera to the center of the display--creating symmetry in the design--whereas the Galaxy S10+ had featured a pill-shaped camera cutout in the upper righthand side that was more distracting. The camera cutout is smaller this time, as well. All in all, the S20 Ultra is among the best examples of a true edge-to-edge display design out there.

This wasn't even our favorite upgrade on the S20 Ultra display, either. The top enhancement in our view is the addition of 120hz refresh rate for smoother display motion (double the typical refresh rate). While the feature is said to be most noticeable during gaming, we think it's great for everyday usage, too, including usage for work. That's because work often includes lots of scrolling, and the higher refresh rate simply makes scrolling a smoother experience.

In our tryout, we found it to be just a better feel--it strikes us as more responsive than scrolling on other phones (including on the iPhone 11), and there seems to be less lag and latency. The display just does what you expect it to do--which is something you might not notice you are missing, but that you are happy to have once it's available, as it is on the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

5G 

Capitalizing on the rollout this year of more high-speed 5G networks, the Galaxy S20 Ultra supports both sub-6GHz 5G connectivity and higher-speed, millimeter-wave 5G. Of course, 5G is of particular interest to businesses because of the promise of eliminating the need for connecting to potentially insecure public WiFi.

Our tryout of the 5G connectivity on the Galaxy S20 Ultra used T-Mobile's network in Portland, Oregon. Using the Ookla Speedtest Intelligence app, we got an average download speed of 80 Mbps over 5G with the S20 Ultra, compared to an average of 60 Mbps over 4G/LTE with the same device. Thus, the 5G speeds appear to still be well below the sort of massive speed increases that have been promised.

But the speed bump is welcome, nonetheless. One-third faster speeds are still a nice improvement. In our real-world test, videos and websites loaded extremely fast. 5G definitely "seemed" speedier than LTE, in our experience with the device.

We also put the S20 Ultra’s 5G capabilities to the test by video-calling into a Zoom webconference using 5G--while in a Lyft on the way to the Portland airport--and the connection held up throughout the trip while also maintaining quality. Since 5G is touted as a major enhancer of live video streaming of this sort, we view this as a promising sign.

(We should also note that Samsung has indicated that 5G speeds should be improved on commercially available versions of the device, compared to the speeds on review units such as ours. "The original devices seeded to the media were unlocked and as they went out pre-market availability, they may not have been optimally configured to operate optimally 5G mode across all Networks," Samsung said in a statement provided to CRN. But with "commercial availability of the product across all Networks, 5G performance should be significantly improved," Samsung said.)

Camera 

For business users that rely on taking photos and videos for their job, the Galaxy S20 Ultra undoubtedly has one of the most capable and versatile smartphone cameras out there. For starters, the Ultra's wide-angle camera provides a staggering 108 megapixels, for capturing the most intricate details. The telephoto lens on the Galaxy S20 Ultra offers 48 megapixels and the ultra-wide rear camera offers 12 megapixels, meanwhile.

This translates not only to sharper photos, but also helps to enable better-quality zoomed-in images. The zoom capabilities on the S20 Ultra rear camera are unprecedented, with up to 100X zoom available. That's more than you'll almost ever need, but there are also simple presets for 2X, 4X, 10X and 30X zooming. We found that picture quality was pretty well maintained even up to 10X zoom, allowing you to get a sharp photo of a license plate (for instance) from several blocks away.

Other helpful camera upgrades on the S20 Ultra include enhanced night mode capabilities for low-light situations, with the device automatically increasing sensitivity where needed in a shot to reduce blur.

Battery Life And RAM

While the camera and 5G capabilities on the Galaxy S20 Ultra are understandably going to grab a lot of the attention, you shouldn't overlook the impressive battery life on this device--especially if you are an on-the-go business user (or at least would be in a more-normal circumstance than the current one).

In our tryout, nine hours of streaming video, with 50-percent display brightness, drained the battery just 44 percent. That suggests it's entirely possible that one could go at least two days without having to worry about charging the S20 Ultra. Once society gets back to normal, we wouldn't be surprised if some mobile workers were enticed to upgrade to this device on the battery life alone. (Note: The Galaxy S20 Ultra packs the largest battery of the new S20 series devices with a 5,000 mAh battery, compared to 4,000 mAh on the S20 and 4,500 mAh on the S20+.)

The Galaxy S20 Ultra also offers great performance overall thanks in part to including a whole lot of RAM. The phone comes with 12 GB at the base level, or as much as 16 GB for top-level performance. Given that most PCs max out at 16 GB of RAM, it's a pretty stunning move.

Business Features

Another feature on the Galaxy S20 Ultra that should please many business users is dual SIM, which provides users with two phone numbers on the same device—one for personal use and the other for work. The dual SIM on the S20 Ultra is provided using a digital eSIM in addition to a physical nano-SIM.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S20 Ultra provides access to Samsung's DeX Android desktop, like on previous Galaxy devices. The device also includes a Network Storage option, so that corporate users can access their own servers when saving files (and avoid the use of third-party cloud services). In the My Files app on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, users can save either files onto an FTP server or save files onto a network drive.

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