I'll never buy the S20 Ultra, but I just can't stop thinking about it

Galaxy S20 Ultra Grey
Galaxy S20 Ultra Grey (Image credit: Android Central)

Like everyone expected, Samsung showed off a set of new phones that are downright amazing and somehow even better than the downright amazing models it showed us last time. I've not touched any of them, but I'm confident that any of the Galaxy S20 models would be an awesome phone that would make any smartphone lover pretty happy.

That Galaxy S20 Ultra though. It's beautiful.

But one stands head and shoulders above the rest: the Galaxy S20 Ultra. It's one big bold phone with all the bells and whistles you expect from a Galaxy phone plus a few more, like a 100X Space Zoom camera and a model with 16 GB of RAM. It's even a 5G phone that appears to be able (based on the network specs of the T-Mobile model) to work everywhere so you can run around and look for places with a 5G connection as a hobby, if that's your thing.

But it's also $1,400 dollars, so I know I'll never be buying one. There is no way I can justify spending that much on a phone.

I know plenty of you folks reading this can justify it and will be buying this phone. And that's awesome — every one of us is a unique individual with unique wants and needs when it comes to something as personal as the phone we carry and use. Just because I can't bring myself to part with that much cash for a phone doesn't mean I'm judging you. I'm actually envying you. So much.

With that out of the way, I'm still wondering why I can't stop thinking about buying one. I have the pre-order page open in a browser tab as I write this, and I've looked at it several times this morning. I've even done the unthinkable (for me, at least) and checked what it would cost me to buy one on payments through T-Mobile (opens in new tab). That was a mistake by the way because I see $0 down and $58 per month and think how I could stop buying other things like exotic houseplants or Zephyrhills Spring Water and wouldn't really come out losing anything.

No money down and no expensive spring water would get me an S20 Ultra, and that's too much temptation for this simple man.

As I'm writing this, I have a nagging fear that I'll have an extra drink or smoke a bit too much over the weekend and just do it. My wife is no help, because she said I'm silly for sticking to some outdated idea that $1,000+ is too much to spend on a phone after I just spent a bunch of money on another aquarium. And I know she is right, but I am a complicated man with complicated thoughts and dammit, I really wanted that aquarium and already have too many phones but I can never have too many aquariums.

To rationalize it, I keep telling myself that I can wait a few months and the price will go down and I can Space Zoom the heck out of everything for a lot less money. I mean, look how every other phone goes down in price after a few months. The S20 Ultra will do the same, right? Then I can decide if I want it bad enough to spend what will still be a lot of money and do this all over again.

These Galaxy S20 Ultra Space Zoom camera samples are amazing and a bit creepy

I've also tried to hatch a scheme where I attempt to convince all the bosses that Android Central should buy me one. That quickly falls apart when my only reason to have it is that it's freaking cool and SPACE ZOOM Y'ALL! and in my mind, I can see the folks with the corporate checkbook hanging up on me then making sure to never answer my calls close to a new phone launch. Hopefully, I have the restraint to not do it regardless of how many weekend drinks or tokes may pass my lips. No guarantees there, though.

My prreeecccciiiooouuuusssssss

Source: Giphy (Image credit: Source: Giphy)

Anyhoo, I know I can't be the only person lusting after the S20 Ultra but won't buy it for one reason or another. I'll live vicariously without my Space Zoom friend through coworkers and online acquaintances. At least until something newer comes out and I try to convince someone I work with that I should have their old unwanted S20 Ultra. I have a few people in mind but I'm not naming names just yet.

So tell me: am I crazy? Does this phone have some sort of superpowers that have found a way around my defenses? More importantly, did you preorder one, and if you did can you take 100X zoom shots of all sorts of random things like orchids or the pandas at the zoo so I can look at them? Someone please say yes so I don't have to start putting stuff on Craigslist or go into debt with T-Mobile.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • You're not crazy. I echo all of this
  • Same here. If the phone was supported for more than 24 months of updates then I would possibly think about doing it.
  • It is, but don't let facts get in the way of being stupid.
  • What a nasty comment, regardless of whether you're right or wrong...
  • Internet gonna internet.
  • Idiots keep making up this false arguments, AC and their ilk keep reinforcing them. OP is a tech nerd (he is on AC afterall), the least he should be able to do is keep himself informed and stop facilitating misinformation.
  • Well, THAT kind of response is guaranteed to NOT make people take you seriously...
  • Oh my God! Strangers on the internet won't take me serious. I'm absolutely gutted!
  • If you don't want anyone to take your statements seriously, why are you even posting anything?!? Pretty sad...
  • said the crackhead.......
  • You must have some experience with it.
  • Why not trade in a Note 10/10+ or S10 5G and cut the price in half (assuming you have one)? Samsung is offering $700 for that phone.
  • I'm trading a phone on to cut the price down a bit. Finally going to trade in the S8 I've been using since its launch. This phone will get me $300 trade in, only down $50 from what I would have gotten for it buying the S10. I was holding out for a justifiably better camera and almost went for the S10 at its launch, but then heard that the S11, now S20, would have better special sauce in the camera department.
  • I actually think my old S8 took better pictures. Even still, I do get some really great pictures out of my S10.
  • Even a camel deserves a drink now and then. I have a separate "toy" account and three cash rewards cards. Buy what you like. Cash.
  • I could have written that...
    The Ultra 16gb/512gb is the only one that interests me but it is 1579 Euro here.
    I most certainly don't need it as I have a Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G (only 256gb though... Oh the shame)
    I'll be getting the next Note or Fold instead I keep telling myself but I haven't actually started saving yet....
  • No I did not order one, sorry to disappoint you, but I completely understand. I am typing away on my Pixel 3 that I've had since launch and there is nothing stopping me from plopping down the money on a new phone other than rational thought. Just like you I really like the hardware Samsung has to offer and it's really hard for me to not want to taste a brand new phone with moth-watering specs. So what's stopping me? The Pixel. I haven't had a Samsung phone since the Samsung S6 and the long wait to get Marshmallow and the doze feature was the final straw. The Pixel phone came in and delivered the best of Google in a phone. The touch response was better, the interface was fluid and light, the Google services were front and center, and no waiting for all the Google goodies like NightSight, call screen, live caption, and security and privacy updates. Until the Pixel I was always looking over the shoulders of other phones like the iPhone and other manufacturers. I've stopped that and no longer care that I have the latest hardware specs. Even though I'm interested in all new devices I'm actually very content to pick-up my Pixel knowing that it runs exactly the way I want it to. When it gives me any trouble, any at all, I'll happily look for its replacement.
  • You must have read my mind. I agree with everything you just said.
  • I'm still rocking and Loving my pixel 3.
  • Also love the Pixel line. Not worth the retail price (thats a discussion for another time), luckily being in NYC my local craiglist market is always filled with phones and if you wait a bit can always get an android flagship for cheap. Grabbed a pixel 4 (non XL) 128 half off retail. I still have a regular s20 (i dont like giant phones) on pre order. That being said, I am still tempted by the ultra and try to talk myself into and out of it lol.
  • Get it and use it during the return period. Then flip on your old phone and see if you want to go back.
  • Samsung will give me 6oo.oo for my S10+ but I enjoy it too much to even consider. Now if I chose the base model it would only cost me 4oo.oo bucks. Maybe I would consider that deal? Nah, if there was something bad or wrong with my S10+, but alas no problems whatsoever. But it does have me thinking!
  • I always admire the latest and greatest from Samsung. That's why I have owned every Samsung since the Note 3. Last year I tried every s10 model and the Note 10. I did not purchase the Note 10 plus.
    I really wish Android phones would focus on making smaller models with great specs. I wouldn't buy the Ultra because the phone is entirely to big.
    I would purchase the regular S20 if I weren't on Verizon. I may purchase it later in the year when the version with 5g millimeter wave is released.
    However, $1400 for a phone is entirely too much. I'll keep my S10+ 1tb and put that money to a home project.
  • I agree 💯💯💯💯💯💯 way way too much💰💰💰
  • Of course I'd love to have one. Who wouldn't? But there are lots of things I need so much worse like a new washer, new refrigerator, and a new window unit before the heat cranks up this summer. The money for that phone would come awfully close to paying for all of those. The only agonizing I am doing is deciding which new Moto G I'll be getting on Prime day.
  • 'I have the pre-order page open in a browser tab as I write this, and I've looked at it several times this morning' Except for the 'as I write this', that's me right there! Plus checking out as many camera tests as I can; it's going to be photo quality rather than money, that'll be the deciding factor for me!
    I must say that TechRadar's test has pulled my finger quite close to the 'Buy' button...
  • Ditto. I have the Pixel 4 XL and I am thrilled with the camera. That said, the Ultra looks even better. Awaiting tests before deciding.
  • The best thing about Samsung phones... By June these phones get pretty good discounts. I bought my s10+, for less than I spent on my s8+. If you can wait, then wait. Heck even when the Note gets announced the discounts on the s line get even better.
  • Why would anyone want a "phone" that requires a wheelbarrow to carry it around? JFC, might as well just hold a full 10" tablet up to your ear (unless you're one of those who talk on speakerphone everywhere, especially in small public places). You'll have to carry a saddlebag-like purse just to put the thing in.
  • I used a Lumia 1520 for years, and had no problem using it. It was a few millimeters shorter but almost a full centimeter wider...!
  • Right there with you. Beautiful hardware but I am not comfortable spending so much
  • With mid rangers being as good as they are now, anybody would be a self-loathing (it's nothing but a status symbol) fool to spend that much money on any phone!! For those prices you could get at least (2) great laptops with better specs!!
  • Nah. No comparison.
  • Uh, no... No you can't.
    You can get a decent laptop; high end is far more expensive.
    And if you're anything like a normal person, you're spending 3 or 4 times as much time on your smartphone as you are on your laptop.
  • I have said this before and I will say it again it's not the price imo it's the fact that the updates will not come like they should at that price. I expect iPhone support at that price.
  • What size aquarium do you have and how many? I have a 65 gallon aquarium here with acouple of clown loaches that are about 15 years old as well as other fish...
  • I have a 90 and two 60s (I wish i had gone 65 as you did instead ) and two racks filled with 10 gallons as shrimp breeders. I just bought a neat little all-in-one that I'm setting up. Not sure what's going in there just yet.
  • Cool...👊 I didn't realize how long these Clown loach's live when I first got them way back when when I bought the tank off a guy 14 years ago, (came with the fish) but they're kind of cool. One's about 7 inches long the other one is about 2 to 3 inches shorter, strange since they are both the same age. I had to replace my 65 tank with a new one a year ago or so as the original one got a leak, thankfully I got it in time and I didn't get to much water damage. I had smaller tanks growing up. Take care, all the best. 👊
  • Same here....have few tabs opened, directly to Samsung's page, and thinking about Upgrade+, than in my favourite web shop where I have 10% off everything and at my mobile operator's page where I can buy it in 12 months without extra costs....
    But I know I won't be doing that, because it is too big for me, and I can really use that money to help some other folks. (Not braging, but I really do that, and I feel sorry for overspending on something that I really don't need while they don't have what they can't live without).
    Problem for Samsung is that while I will buy new phone soon, and I use a lot of time to explore my options, I have not use a second to think about regular s20.
    I am sure that it will also be great device, but in my eyes it is Galaxy s20 Ultra or something else...from another brands.
    S20 is just not flagship device anymore., but still costs a lot.
  • So despite bragging about your tendency to support charities, you're confessing such ridiculous vanity as to not consider anything but the top phone from any one brand? Ridiculous...
  • It's funny. I was just at Best Buy yesterday and they had the phone on display to play with and try out. I know I'm not buying another phone for years, what with me buy the Galaxy Note 10+ on launch day. But that screen is insane. I saw a woman in the store pre-order the thing while 8 was there. She said "Even with my tiny hands, I need this phone!" And that's the appeal for a lot of folks.
  • The s20ultra is a magnificient device and I will purchase it I'm just not sure at launch. I expect to keep this one for two year once purchase if it is as good as I expect. I hope the camera pixel density is good enough that I can look past wanting a separate camera. Since the S10 series and Note 10 series will continue to be sold and not discontinued, my guess is Samsung is moving into supporting hardware longer because of the maturity of the hardware and DeX functionality. With office mobile being almost as powerful as the desktop version the life is being extended of existing hardware. I have been preaching this for a few years now and just maybe we have reached the tipping point.
  • I've paid less for cars when I was younger.
  • " smoke a bit too much"? God I hate millennials.
  • I think Mr Hildenbrand is more likely Gen X.
  • Amazon got the Pixel 3a on sale right now for $320. I think I'll stick with that one.
  • My last Samsung was an S9+
    But I drift between iPhone and Android. Last year I bought an 11 Pro Max. It was ridiculously expensive (especially as I added Apple Care too), much like the price of the S20 Ultra is.
    I regret it.
    Don’t get me wrong, its an amazing phone.
    But the cost was just excessive and I should have just bought a mid ranger - Android or Apple, and saved half the money.
    But each to their own. The main annoyance of Samsung phones are the very slow Android updates and the curved edge screen. That alone would make me think twice,
  • Awesome read as always Jerry! I love the specs of the Ultra and its got me wondering if 16G Ram can actually do anything differently than Android is really ready for. But other than that. I went with the smaller one cuz I prefer smaller phones and after checking it out at Best Buy it felt really great in my hand so I pulled the trigger. Samsung makes it real easy for me since they gave me 300dl for my old phone and 100dl credit. Can't beat that. Thank God I don't have any other hobbies such as yours spending my money on aquariums or other stuff lol
  • I feel the die hard Samsung fans get penalized for pre-ordering? Why, after 90days you can find two hundred off deals all over the place. You & I are the same who doesn't want the latest & greatest? After tax 15oo.oo then add a case, yikes that ain't chump change. I can afford to upgrade every year & I usually do but not this time. My S10+ is doing very swell, no problems whatsoever. This will be the first time n 5yrs, no upgrade!
  • The only thing the S20 Ultra brings to the table is better than 2x optical zoom.
    But you know what? I have a Nikon B700 with 60x optical zoom that cost about $350.
  • That you lug around all the time...? 😳
  • They are luggers. They come from a long line of luggers.
  • I feel the draw of it, the hardware is top notch, but I will not buy a device with only two years worth of updates.
  • Get the phone Jerry. You’re only here once.
  • I pre-ordered the Ultra. I am trading in my Pixel 4XL and got a $600 price reduction. Then I also
    got to pick out an additional $235 worth of products just for pre-ordering. So was able to pick up
    a Galaxy Watch Active and Leather case for the Ultra. Then I financed it through Samsung for 12
    months at 32 a month with no interest.
    Jerry - Just trade in a phone and enjoy your new Ultra around March 5th.
  • The joys of being an American consumer; the rest of us will have to settle for no extras whatsoever... 😒 Oh well, at least we can enjoy our 20 $ a month unlimited data plan.
  • It's time that companies pay us to use their products.
  • No way. Not worth it for $1400. If and when it drops sure. $1400 for a phone is insanity. My Nokia 7.2 is built like a tank. Specs are fine for my usage and gets regular updates through Android One...and it costs over a thousand dollars less.
  • I totally understand where you are coming from. When I saw T-Mobile drop the price of the Pixel 4XL to $500, I stared at my screen for a while. I walked away from my screen telling myself that I don't need it. I have a freaking Note9 that does everything that I need to do. I was having a real conversation with my damn self. Even in the shower I kept telling myself that I was not going to do it. The next day, I placed my order 🤦🏿‍♂️. Anyway, I'm only interested in the S-series because it gives a glimpse of what the Note may look like. Be strong Jerry. May the force be with you 😉
  • Great reading comments and laughing with the folks talking themselves out of it. I have a tab open, too. Priced it out. Typing on my note 10+, that I can trade in for $700, which is amazing. I'm conflicted(great problem to have lol) about doing it, as then the note 20(?) will be announced shortly and I'll do it all over again. Maybe the fold 2......I told myself that I would keep the note 10 until foldables were worth it.
  • "When you set up a Galaxy phone you have to agree to Google's data collection and Samsung's collection of the very same data." -JERRY HILDENBRAND
  • $1400.00+tax with a Whopping 2 years of software support. Lol 😂, Hell No.
  • I registered for a 512 on AT&T, but on launch night Samsung support told me that they weren't offering it D2C. I had a trade and what is essentially a Samsung gift card so I needed to purchase through them, but there is no way in hell I'm not getting 512 on something like this. So I was pissed, but then simmered down and now the whole thing seems silly. I'll prob just stick with my 11 Pro. Honestly who gaf? Lmao...
  • Yeah it's super expensive but I've preordered the Ultra knowing that I keep my phones a lot longer than I used to a year or two ago. Plus I've off buying anything else in the past 12 months knowing this was gonna be a big upgrade for the S-Line so saved a little in advance
  • Your the greatest asset for Android central Jerry, and yes they should get you one. Love your writing bro!
  • I wasn't going to pull the trigger on this because I prefer the boxier Notes and phone prices have just gone too far so I was planning on holding onto my Note 10+ until the Note 20, but the now circulating (and looking more and more credible) rumors of the Note20 having a waterfall display got me to pull the trigger on the Ultra. I'm someone that typically buys the S, Note and Pixel each year but Google has their head up their ass with the Pixel 4, so after trying it ($400 off BB deal) I sold it pretty quickly, leaving me with my backup P3XL and my primary Note 10+ and I highly doubt Google will course correct on the P5 and is instead likely to shove their head even further up their ass with it instead; so, likely a skip on that too. I bought now for a few reasons, I feel like the rumors of the Note20 with a waterfall display are likely to be accurate and the curved screen is the only thing I can't stand about my Note10+ and the S20's, though while still curved a bit, aren't nearly as prominent as previous Sammy's including my Note 10+ (checked it out at my local BB). As for pricing, sure, the price WILL drop in a few months, but not by more than the current pre-order pricing. I could sell my Note10+ for (after Swappa/PayPal fees) about $550, so getting $150 more for it here plus I am going to upgrade from my Gear S3 as soon as the Galaxy Watch 2 hits, and if that never pans out, fine, Active 2 (3?) and I'm getting $225 towards that. That's $375 off MSRP. I don't see that happening for upwards of a year and I get it now instead of a year from now. ...that's all what I'm telling myself anyway. Bottom line, with the credits, trade-in etc, and my Samsung points I'm paying $452 for a $1,399 phone. No sales tax here either and don't need 512gb (nor 16gb ram), only using 60gb now on my 10+ after having it since launch so though I think Samsung cheaped out with starting at 128gb (after just launching the notes 6 months ago with 256gb) I don't actually NEED more than that anyway. And, if I don't think it's worth that once I get it, return it (will hold off sending my note in until I have to just in case).