Why is the Galaxy S20 Ultra so bland?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Why is the Galaxy S20 Ultra so bland?
I can't wrap my head around it.

Samsung seemingly outdid itself this year, coming up with a pretty strong quartet of exceptional devices - the fashionable Galaxy Z Flip, the compact Galaxy S20, the middle-of-the-road Galaxy S20+, and finally, the mother of all phones, the Galaxy S20 Ultra. With superb hardware and pretty solid camera prowess, Samsung is very likely eyeing a pretty successful year.

Yet, something's missing. Samsung kind of dropped the ball when it comes to the design of the phone, especially with the S20 Ultra, which can be summarized in one word:

There's no way around that, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is an extremely bland device from a design perspective, and I think this can be regarded as a semi-objective notion. The Galaxy S20 Ultra, while spectacular in terms of hardware, easily redefines the word "bland", which wholeheartedly applies to just about any design aspect of the flagship. Samsung was on the right track with the Galaxy Note 10, which was available in a range of superb color paintjobs that easily stood out. To be fair, the blue and pink Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus get a pass though - they are certainly more palatable thanks to the ever-so-slight aura glow-like sheen that when you bounce some light off the glass backs.

Even the modest Aura Black variant of the Note 10+ stood out with a secret ingredient that the Galaxy S20 Ultra is clearly lacking, and it's a real shame that we didn't get the new phones in the signature Aura Glow colorway. It doesn't really make sense for the business-oriented Galaxy Note 10+ to be available in such a wide range of playful and "serious" colors while the more popular Galaxy S-lineup gets it totally wrong with its forgettable colors and overall boring design.

How is such a thing even possible? In the near past we gradually got away from the restricting stigma of boring pitch black and blindingly white phones, heck, we even went through a brisk rose/pink revolution, yet Samsung erased all that recent progress in one quick, fell swoop. Sorry, S20 Ultra, you shall remain the ugly duckling.

The way I see it, the S20 is an important cornerstone for Samsung as it clearly demonstrates that it will no longer back down and will go all in in terms of hardware. No compromises have been made (aside from that headphone jack, R.I.P.) in terms of raw power and hardware capabilities, especially in the camera department, but all that focus on the insides of the device clearly leaves a lot to be desired about the exterior. So close, Samsung!

Of course, the case for the dull Galaxy S20-series design goes through the window when you factor in the fact that almost any future owner of the S20 or the S20 Ultra will inevitably throw a case on the device for that much-needed extra protection. Is that what Samsung secretly hoped? That an official or a third-party case will easily fix the design shortcomings, so it hardly even bothered to make its new phones remotely appealing?

That's my opinion, of course. If you disagree, feel free to pre-order the Galaxy S20 Ultra by visiting the link below.

Starting on 2/21, pre-order an eligible Galaxy S20 device and get up to $200 in Samsung Credit for additional accessories and devices.

Related phones

Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
  • Display 6.9 inches
    3200 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 108 MP (Quad camera)
    40 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, 12GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 5000 mAh
  • OS Android 10
    Samsung One UI



70. Methlab

Posts: 33; Member since: Apr 19, 2019

"If you disagree, feel free to pre-order the Galaxy S20 Ultra by visiting the link below." This was the main reason for the article!

72. chenski

Posts: 798; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

Actually the ultra is the only one that's not bland

69. Babert

Posts: 168; Member since: May 08, 2013

Oh boy! Im so sorry for phonearena! For having people like this guy to write for them! I mean seriously?! Is that all you could come up to bash it?! I dont even want to talk about apple color options so apple fans dont go balls up here! But seriously don't waste peoples time with these BLAND articles! JeeeZ

67. tokuzumi

Posts: 2031; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

So a phone that looks like other phones is all of a sudden bland. I hope you'll be writing articles asking why every other phone is bland? Why is the iPhone bland? Why is OnePlus bland?

66. Arashmahmoodi25

Posts: 133; Member since: Apr 07, 2017

Wt* is he saying, arguing about color ? I read the header and thought it might mention something that is worth a read. But you didn't mention anything important that has got you disappointed. I unfortunately won't get a Samsung device for a decades cause it's SOFTWARE but in hardware side Samsung has come in to a right direction. But the company is still far behind the apple in every aspect. Thank you

65. ivan.k

Posts: 49; Member since: Jan 29, 2014

I totally agree with Peter! And the reason is so simple - 6.9", 220g weight and over 11mm thick at the camera module! Go try the phone in the real world!

63. magnaroader

Posts: 77; Member since: Feb 25, 2016

Huh I'd like to see this same "bland" article when the next boring iPhones launch. "But wait they added a USB Type C port this year! That's innovation!"

59. berns

Posts: 38; Member since: Jun 07, 2014

what a boring article!

58. rkoforever90

Posts: 508; Member since: Dec 03, 2011

Its not bland its just too mainstream , now every samsung phone from A51 to S20 ultra look the same . Mid ranger phones have now become so good that you can get an A71 and still have 95% experience of S20 ultra for like 1/5th of the price . Huawei atleast is trying some radical design with the upcoming P40 pro.

71. banglazbless

Posts: 146; Member since: Feb 05, 2014

Radically new design? Itll be the same flat slab sandwich between two pieces of glass line all the flat slabs available today. Flat slab design have reached its peak, and theres nothing any company do about that.

56. cheetah2k

Posts: 2342; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

In news today, PA reveals its true colours, admins gonna be busy later today warning people and removing comments.. Meanwhile I'm off to get some popcorn

57. Ichimoku

Posts: 198; Member since: Nov 18, 2018

and phonearena is perfectly fine with the "blandiness" of the iPhones

54. wickedwilly

Posts: 791; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

How do you judge how good a phone is on Phone Arena? Just look at how desperate their arguments get to try and put a negative spin on a phone that is head and shoulders ahead of their favourite iPhone. This is a prime example. With the iPhone having a huge notch, large camera hump, that has far fewer features than the S20 ultra and is heavier despite a much smaller battery and much less packed into its smaller body, yet no mention of it being bland or poor design. Not to forget the relatively large bezels all around despite the notch which makes the comparison to the Ultra worse.

53. Darkmode

Posts: 4; Member since: Jan 21, 2020

they should add the emerald green color from galaxy s6 and the Lilac Purple from S9 those colors were the best


Posts: 42; Member since: Jun 11, 2011

Dafuq u mean Peter!?!?

50. Secure

Posts: 13; Member since: Mar 18, 2019

Not to include 108MP in S20/S20+ was a strategic mistake this year. Another one is exynos outside the US. All people I know including myself are deeply disappointed, and going to skip Samsung's products at least till the release of the Note 20(?). S20 Ultra with exynos is a gigantic ugly brick for €1400 is a costly mistake in term of the market share, because it will surely have a negative effect of inferior S20 series. The first thought in people's head is why Samsung is trying to push customers toward a bigger more expensive model like it always did with S to S+ and now from S and S+ to S Ultra. Maybe Samsung is slowly trying to push us in the Foldable (phone+tablet+more expensive) direction?

49. Orion78

Posts: 240; Member since: Mar 27, 2014

"That's my opinion, of course. If you disagree, feel free to pre-order the Galaxy S20 Ultra by visiting the link below." Damn right its YOUR opinion. There's nothing wrong with the colors. PhoneArena just has to look for something negative...because this thing is a beast.

48. MsPooks

Posts: 369; Member since: Jul 08, 2019

Dude...how many colors do you think Samsung is going to make available on a $1550 phone?! If you ran a business, you might understand the foolishness in that.


Posts: 42; Member since: Jun 11, 2011

Exactly! :D Bite Peter a new asshole!!!

47. wando77

Posts: 1172; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Are you all seriously complaining about the colours? Pretty sure everyone's phone ends up the colour of the case they choose??

44. Alcyone

Posts: 654; Member since: May 10, 2018

Lmao. I'm still waiting for the panning they give in its review. However, a certain other company will do half of what Samsung did, and it'll be revolutionary. Thanks for the laugh boys, don't quit your day job. Well, in this case you should, you drank the kool aid (again).

43. Ellio74

Posts: 75; Member since: Mar 22, 2018

The S phones have never really been great looking in my opinion, but this year, the Ultra is on another level. As said, the Note 10 was a great step in the right direction, but they lost everything with these new S.

42. monoke

Posts: 1213; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

Color offering is weak. My guess is that gigantic camera module just sticks out too much if offered in any other colors besides black or grey. So they went safe.

39. briankeithmays

Posts: 47; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

Maybe because you are an apple sheep! Dumb ass article!

40. DBozz

Posts: 165; Member since: Sep 19, 2019

He doesn't have to be an apple sheep to say that it look like s**t. It really look like a s**t and its coming from an all time Galaxy user. With exynos chip inside its an ultra shit

60. Richard_G

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 10, 2015

i want to remember you that the first company for use square photo lenses was… APPLE I want to remember you that the first company in to use notch was…. APPLE The sin was … everybody copy this very ugly concepts.. and sadly Samsung falls in this mistake this year So, if somebody say that S20 ultra is blad…. is like say that IPhone 11 pro max too !!! Very sad, but this article is biased ( and reflect the phonearena.com bias with apple) I don´t know about more boring phone that the iPhone, the same UI for decades, the same sounds, the same ringtone, the almost-same frame, the same restrictions,

61. cevon3239

Posts: 228; Member since: Jan 01, 2020

Apple didn't do any of that 1st. What planet are you from again?

37. VariableCheapskate

Posts: 224; Member since: May 29, 2019

What is the author thinking? That the S-lineup will merge into the Galaxy Fold to "reinvigorate" it? Not gonna happen buddy, not soon at least. At the end of the day you're spending $1000 and above on a phone where the majority of users won't get much mileage out of the "hot NEW" features. Buyers remorse will kick in when the pixels fail on their Galaxy Z Flip.

35. bucknassty

Posts: 1422; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

bring back that emerald green from the S6!

33. ZEUS.the.thunder.god

Posts: 1191; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Peter, get your head outta your a$$. I know looks are subjective, but atleast have the same standards for every OEM including Apple, if you wanna whine about design. How many articles did you write about iPhone's s**ttty design? A lot of people actually prefer that "bland" design over pink unicorns.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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