The Galaxy S20 Ultra lands in America and gets benchmarked with 12GB RAM

The Galaxy S20 Ultra lands in America and gets benchmarked with 12GB RAM
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 is SM-G970. 

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:

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.

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. 

The Kvadrat 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.


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.

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.

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



7. Atrixboyyy

Posts: 628; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

Hey PhoneArena, when you guys do the spreadsheet style comparison of phones/chipsets can you add their benchmark scores as well?

8. KingSam

Posts: 1551; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

That's Hard since it varies a lot even from the same device. They would have to commit to running their own tests and averaging the results.

4. KickRocks

Posts: 285; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

DAMN, thats a lotta phone

2. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1885; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

It's a ULTRA pre-order for me...

1. maherk

Posts: 7101; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

It's a bummer that only the Ultra version will get the new 108mp sensor. I hate how Samsung are forcing us to get the largest version in order to get their latest and greatest.

5. talon95

Posts: 1012; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

I agree. If it still has 4 cameras and take about the same space they should put the best cameras in all of them and just have a lite version that is less expensive. If on the other hand it doesn't fit in the regular size S20 then it's ok to drop one camera to have good battery life, but put full resolution on the cameras it does have.

6. maherk

Posts: 7101; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I doubt space is the problem, or they could have simply have implemented it in the Plus version, not only the Ultra one. It's just that they want to force us to get the Ultra, not realizing that loads of people have a problem with the size, not just the price.

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