After the US versions of the Galaxy S20 (SM-G981U) and the S20+ (SM-G986U), now is the time for the unique Galaxy S20 Ultra
to pop its Americanized head, mentioned in the Federal Communications Commission testing procedure for the first time.
This one is denoted with the new SM-G988U model numbering, indicating that it sits highest atop the S20 family tree. The S10 5G
, for instance, is SM-G977, while the S10+
is SM-G975, and the S10e
The G981 and G986 could thus be denoting 5G connectivity for the smaller members of the upcoming Samsung flagship trio as well, while the S20 Ultra is said to only come as SM-G988, thus confirming that it will be an exclusively 5G model, as previously rumored. The FCC
mentioned the S20 Ultra in the first case of case approvals (see what we did there) for it, in the following form:
The Equipment Under Test (EUT) is the SamsungLED View Cover FCC ID: A3L-EFNG988. The EUT is an NFC powered cover that snaps onto a representative mobile handset (Model: SM-G988U)...
The Equipment Under Test (EUT) is the SamsungLED Back Cover FCC ID: A3L-EFKG988. The EUT is an NFC powered cover that snaps onto a representative mobile handset (Model: SM-G988U)...
The EUT was set to continuously transmit at 13.56MHz. This was performed using manufacturer software loaded on the representative mobile handset. The software allowed for continuous transmission between the LED cover and the handset. During the test, the LED cover was going through different LED patterns continuously (i.e., incoming call, clock).
As you can see, the biggie S20 Ultra will have its own powered LED covers, as has become customary on Samsung's flagship phones that will blink and flash when something is happening underneath without forcing the screen to light up. Unfortunately, the FCC is careful enough not to disclose any design cues but a general outline of the case and the positioning of the label inside it.
Galaxy S20 Ultra LED View Cover case outline
In addition, Samsung is going to pull an Alcantara this year, providing a unique Kvadrat wrapper
for the S20 Ultra, and, perhaps, for the S20 as well, given the EF-XG985FGEGEU model number.
brand represents a Danish company behind some unique high-end fabrics and upholstery, so we can't wait to see what Samsung has in store for us in terms of official Galaxy S20 family cases. Thankfully, the cases won't cover that beautiful two-tone camera island on the back.
Galaxy S20 Ultra specs benchmark vs Galaxy S20 Plus
In the meantime, the same SM-G988U model number just benchmarked appeared on Geekbench, test driving Samsung's gargantuan flagship with Snapdragon 865 and 12GB RAM.
While this is probably not the final retail version, we are including the benchmark score comparison with the S20+ (SM-G986U) results just for giggles, as well as a comparison of the two chipsets that the S20 family is likely to sport. Thankfully, the powerful Snapdragon 865 version will be a US affair, and you can see its preliminary scores below.
Galaxy S20 Ultra specs vs S20 Plus preliminary benchmark scores
Snapdragon 865 and 855+ vs Exynos 990 vs Apple A13 specs comparison
We are comparing the currently known Exynos 990 and Snapdragon 865 specs and features below for your viewing pleasure. For reference, we include the Snapdragon 855 and Apple A13 that are in 2019 flagships already.
|Exynos 990 (Galaxy S20)||Snapdragon 865 (Galaxy S20)||Snapdragon 855+||Apple A13|
|Production process||7nm+ EUV||7nm (TSMC N7P)||7nm (TSMC FF)||7nm (TSMC N7P)|
|Processor cores||2x Exynos M5|
2x Cortex A76
4x Cortex A55
|1x 2.84GHz A77|
3x 2.42GHz A77
4x 1.8GHz A55
|1x Kryo 485 Gold (custom Cortex-A76) @ 2.96GHz|
3x Kryo 485 Gold (custom Cortex-A76) @ 2.42GHz
4x Kryo 485 Silver (custom Cortex-A55) @ 1.80GHz
|2x Lightning @2.66GHz|
4x Thunder @1.7GHz
|GPU||Mali-G77 MP11||Adreno 650 at 587MHz||Adreno 640||Apple custom quad-core|
|Modem||Exynos 5123 |
Downloads up to 7.3Gbps (mmWave), 5.1Gbps (sub-6GHz), or 3Gbps (4G LTE), 8xCA
Uploads: up to 422 Mbps
|X55 5G modem add-on|
up to 7 Gbps over 5G, and 2.5 Gbps download speeds on LTE
|Snapdragon X24 LTE|
Downloads: up to 2Gbps, 7xCA
Uploads: up to 316Mbps
X50 5G modem add-on
Downloads: up to 1.6Gbps, 7xCA
Uploads: up to 225Mbps
|AI co-processor||Yes, dual-core NPU||Yes||Yes||Yes, octa-core Neural Engine|
|Video encode||4K HDR at 150fps|
8K HDR at 30fps
|8K HDR||4K HDR10+||4K HDR at 60fps|
|Misc.||UFS 3.0 storage support for up to 2.9GB/s speeds|
LPDDR5 memory support
Single-camera up to 108MP
120Hz display refresh rate
|LPDDR5 memory support||4K HDR Bokeh Video|
8K 360 VR video playback
Always-on noise cancellation
Machine learning capable of 1 trillion operations per second
As you can see, the Snapdargon 865 in the S20+ scores a fair bit higher for the same clock speed than the S20 Ultra, and both phones are listed as having 12GB RAM, which is actually in their base versions with 128GB storage. The 512-giggers will go up to the whopping 16GB RAM, as per recent speculation.
While a 25% performance gain is nothing to sniff at when compared to Snapdragon 855, the added value of today's chipsets are not the clock speeds - they are high enough as it is - but rather the accompanying features and especially the modems now that we have 5G connectivity to support, too.
Based on the Snapdragon 865 and Exynos 990 specs alone, the rumored 108MP camera for the S20 Ultra, and fast DDR5 memory, as well as a display refresh rate of 120Hz should come as no surprises.
In addition, Samsung's finest phones for the spring season would be capable of smooth 8K video recording, and up to 7Gbps download speeds on mmWave networks like Verizon's 5G. All specs that you don't even have on your high-end laptop at home, and sound pretty crazy to have in your phone, but may very well become reality before March has rolled out in earnest.