We have been using the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra for about 2 weeks now and we were mostly very impressed with the phone: it runs incredibly quickly, the ability of the camera to zoom in are nothing short of impressive, and the battery life is solid.
However, now that we also have the Galaxy S20 and the S20 Plus, we are also discovering little things around the Galaxy S20 family and we can confirm that all three phones that we have on hand suffer from a terrible bug with the front camera.
Half of our selfies looked terrible
What the bug boils down to is that the camera will randomly decide to blur parts of the image and sometimes even the majority of an image. On many of our shots, half of my face was blurred and lacking detail, while parts of it remained in focus. My colleagues Peter and Paul also tried different scenarios and it was all the same, the bug would appear regularly and would ruin many of the shots. And before you ask, let us reassure you: we triple-checked and the camera lens wasn't dirty, it was pristine clean for all the shots. Take a look at the huge differen collection of failed shots below:
< GoodBugged >
Notice the complete lack of detail on my face on the bugged shot. The front camera was clean for both images, but I moved slightly between the shots and it seems that the bright background threw the S20 off completely.
Many reviewers praised the front camera on the S20 series and it can indeed capture great photos sometimes. The keyword, however, seems to be "sometimes".
< GoodBugged >
Peter experienced the same nasty bug. Sometimes the phone would capture a selfie as it should, and sometimes it would capture a blurry mess. The front camera was clean on both shots, it seems that the algorithms were messing the images up.
Right now, we have a big collection of failed selfies on all three new Galaxies, the S20, S20 Plus and the S20 Ultra. It seems that the issue appears most often when you have a bright background. We tried different ways to fix it: we turned off all beauty modes with no success, we also turned off the HDR option, also to no avail. It just seems like this is a failure on the algorithm that Samsung is using.
Just to prove our point, here are a few more selfies where the phones completely messed up the face and lack terribly in detail:
A sample of our collection of ruined selfies on various S20 series phones
This is one more issue on an already existing list of issues with the camera of the Galaxy S20 series.
Samsung has already pledged to deliver a fix for many of the bugs on the S20 series and we keep our fingers crossed that this bug is also on their list. The promised software update should come sooner rather than later, and when it does, we will be taking more selfies and hoping they turn out better.