Test firmware for Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra drops a pair of highly anticipated features

Test firmware for Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra drops a pair of highly-anticipated features
On February 11th, Samsung will hold its next Samsung Unpacked event and we expect to see the company's first-half 2020 flagships greet the light of day. Those models include the entry-level Samsung Galaxy S20 (6.2-inch display), Samsung Galaxy S20+ (6.7-inch display) and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (6.9-inch display). Originally, it appeared that Sammy would grace the displays on all three phones with a 120Hz refresh rate. This updates the display twice as fast as traditional smartphones' 60Hz rate. It is also faster than the 90Hz rate on the OnePlus 7T and Pixel 4 series.

With the faster refresh rate, gamers will enjoy silky smooth animation and those who eschew mobile gaming will love the experience of scrolling on these models. Or will they? Several tweets from tipster Ice Universe (@UniverseIce) indicate that the latest version of the test firmware for the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra deletes the 120Hz refresh rate at 2K resolution leaving 60Hz as the only option. However, at FHD (1080p) resolution, the user still has the choice of choosing a 120Hz or 60Hz refresh rate. In addition, it seems that one of the rumored camera features for the Galaxy S20 Ultra has been deleted from the latest test firmware; this would be the Director's View feature which locks in on a subject when recording a video and switches instantly between cameras while recording video.

The tipster admits that this is the leak that he is most unsure of

Now, this doesn't mean that Samsung won't return the 2K 120Hz refresh rate and Director's View to the final firmware. But suppose it doesn't? Remember, the OnePlus 8 Pro is also expected to feature a 120Hz refresh rate and according to the rumor mill, so will some of the 2020 Apple iPhone models (most likely the "Pro" variants). The pressure is on Samsung to return this option by the time the Galaxy S20 line is unveiled next month. 

Keep in mind that the latest tweet sent by the tipster states that this is the "leak" that he is most unsure about and says that it is not a definite thing. He tweets that he believes that Samsung will not disappoint its fans and points out that because of the new naming scheme that takes the flagship Galaxy S models from 10 to 20, "it is a new beginning." All we can say that for now, the situation appears to be in flux and if addressed by Samsung or Ice Universe in a future tweet, we will update this story.

All three Galaxy S20 models will be powered by the 7nm Snapdragon 865 Mobile Platform except in Europe. On the continent, the in-house Exynos 990 SoC will be found under the hood, manufactured using the 7nm EUV process. The Galaxy S20 Ultra will feature a 108MP primary camera using 9:1 binning to produce sharp 12MP images. There will also be an improved ultra-wide and a pair of telephoto cameras. One will offer 2x optical zoom and the other will employ periscope zoom technology to deliver 5x optical zoom. The combination of the 108MP camera and the two telephoto cameras will reportedly be used for Samsung's "Space Zoom" feature that will produce 50x hybrid and 100x digital zoom.

The top-of-the-line Galaxy 20 Ultra will also have a Time of Flight (ToF) sensor. This measures the time it takes for infrared light to bounce off a subject and return to the phone. Knowing the speed of infrared light allows the handset to calculate more accurate depth information that will be used for improved AR capabilities and can create a more natural bokeh blur for portraits. And because one of the things that a ToF sensor can do is create 3D maps, it can also be used for a rear-facing facial recognition system although there is no sign that Samsung plans on offering this.

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So with a bit over 4 weeks until the Galaxy S20 line is announced, there are some interesting questions about some of the features that have been rumored to appear on the new series. If you've already decided that one of Samsung's first-half flagship models is going to be your next handset, you might want to check in often. As we get closer to February 11th, the number of leaks increases exponentially.

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