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Samsung unveils its Galaxy S20 and announces a new foldable smartphone

The lineage of Galaxy S celebrates its 10 years with a new model, the S20, announced in San Francisco Tuesday, February 11. If this high-end smartphone is particularly awaited, it is that its predecessors have all risen among the best Android mobiles of their generation, imposing the Galaxy S family as the benchmark opponent of the iPhone.

Compared to its predecessor the S10, however, the Galaxy S20 evolves timidly. The most spectacular innovations are in fact reserved for a more expensive model, the S20 “Ultra”. The Korean manufacturer also took advantage of the event to announce the release of its new foldable smartphone, the Z Flip.

  • A new rather shy S20

With its very slightly reduced screen margins and its slimmed down size of a few millimeters, the new Galaxy S should remain exceptionally comfortable in hand. But from a functional point of view, the S20 doesn't offer much new. In photo, the only visible improvement is located on the zoom side, which goes from X2 to X3.

The S20 will be available in three sizes. SAMSUNG

The S20 has a 120 Hz screen, a technology that should make its menus a little more fluid and responsive. There is concern that the improvement is too subtle for all consumers to see at first glance. A version of the S20 will be equipped with an antenna compatible with the 5G mobile telephone network, at an additional cost of 100 euros. In major French cities, 5G is announced for the end of the year.

In terms of regrets, we note the persistent absence of a face recognition unlocking system that works day and night, as at Apple and Google. We also deplore the disappearance of the audio jack for headphones. And we can wonder about the usefulness of 8K video capture: even with a very large 8K television, the difference with 4K will be imperceptible to the naked eye, unless you get extremely close to the screen.

The S20 will be available in France on March 13 at the unchanged price of 910 euros. It is now a habit, Samsung will decline this new Galaxy S in a large screen version, the S20 +, with almost equivalent equipment.

  • An “ultra” version

The appearance of an “Ultra” version is, however, unprecedented. It is distinguished by its even larger screen and, above all, its photo equipment which could put it on the podium of the most talented mobiles for image. According to Samsung, its record 108-megapixel sensor captures high-quality images. It is complemented by a relatively classic ultra wide-angle and a more powerful x4 zoom. These refinements raise its price to a peak of 1,350 euros.

On the back of the S20 ultra, the area that houses the photo sensors is immense.
On the back of the S20 ultra, the area that houses the photo sensors is immense. Jeff Chiu / AP
  • A foldable mobile called Z Flip

Samsung also officialized on Tuesday the next release of its new foldable smartphone, the Z Flip, around which rumors have been buzzing for months.

From an aesthetic point of view, this mobile is much more refreshing: it folds in two in a movement reminiscent of the closure of mobile devices with a flap of yesteryear. Its flexible screen then folds back inside its hull.

The Z Flip will be available in three colors: black, purple and gold.
The Z Flip will be available in three colors: black, purple and gold. Jeff Chiu / AP

The great thing about the Z Flip is that when folded, it turns out to be half the length of an ordinary smartphone, to within a few millimeters. This should allow it to fit in a lot of pockets without going over … but when folded, the Z Flip is as twice as thick as a classic model.

In addition, this model has the same weaknesses as the first foldable smartphone from Samsung, the Fold, launched in September. Its price is prohibitive (1,500 euros) and it suffers from two points of weakness: its hinge and its flexible screen. Samsung points out that this screen is covered with an innovative foldable glass that would protect it from scratches, which the Fold lacked. Only time will tell if this material is resistant like the rigid glass of classic smartphones.

Read also We spent a month with the Fold, Samsung's foldable smartphone

However, it should be noted that once opened, the Z Flip looks much less attractive than the Fold. Its screen is very ordinary in width, it only turns out to be a little higher than a conventional screen. It is difficult to see which application could be transformed. On the other hand, we can see how it will affect the piloting of the smartphone with one hand.

It is not yet known when the Z Flip will be marketed in France.

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