Samsung has installed an optical zoom in its new flagships – or hasn’t it? As it now turns out, the company only uses digital magnification in the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus. Samsung has not lied directly – but clear communication looks different.

Samsung Galaxy S20 (Plus) only with fake zoom?

When Samsung introduced the new S20 series, they talked a lot about the camera. On paper, the specifications also sound impressive: A telephoto lens with up to 64 MP as well as an ultra wide angle and a wide angle, each of which comes to 12 MP. The alleged zoom of the telephoto lens turns out to be unusual on closer inspection, however, as Notebookcheck revealed. The lens can only “zoom in” optically by a factor of 1.06, which doesn’t make a difference in practice.

Samsung exclusively relies on a digital zoom in its new top phones. Samsung’s so-called “Super Resolution Zoom” in the Galaxy S20 Plus offers a magnification by a factor of 30, but it only zooms into the picture itself, as the phone doesn’t even have a corresponding lens. The supposed tele lens is basically just a “crop camera”, which shows a section of the created image or video as an enlargement.

The fact that there is a small difference between marketing and reality only becomes apparent with Samsung when you dig through the details of the technical specifications. There is no longer any talk of a “Hybrid Optic Zoom” here. Instead, the mentioned “Super Resolution Zoom” is used to make the digital zoom not quite as obvious.

The more expensive Galaxy S20 Ultra, on the other hand, has a real zoom lens with a focal length of about 100 mm. Here, it is possible to zoom in optically by a factor of four or five – the rest is again done digitally.

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Fake zoom: Samsung not the first case

The fact that mobile phone manufacturers are not always so precise when it comes to describing zoom capabilities is nothing new. OnePlus has also been caught reinterpreting the numbers somewhat for its own benefit. The supposed triple optical zoom of the OnePlus 7 Pro turned out to be 2.2x magnification in tests. Here, the rest is also done digitally.

Another manufacturer shows that a strong optical zoom in smartphones doesn’t have to be faked for marketing purposes. On Huawe’s flagships, it is possible to zoom optically by a factor of three. For the upcoming Huawei P40 Pro even a tenfold optical zoom is assumed.