The only thing more gimmicky than a 100x zoom feature is a 1.1x one, but that’s precisely how much optical magnification the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20+ had to offer. Luckily, the newly launched Galaxy S20 Fan Edition goes back to the basics by utilizing a lower-resolution telephoto camera that delivers a “real” 3x zoom. In other words: cheaper components and (likely) better image quality. At least in decent lighting conditions, which should also be the only conditions in which you even attempt capturing a telephoto view of anything using that tiny, tiny smartphone sensor of yours.
And to be fair, that says more about the original Galaxy S20 camera setup than it does about Samsung’s latest take on mobile photography. As a reminder, Samsung kind of attempted reinventing the wheel with the original Galaxy S20 trio, but the end result was lacking, to put it mildly.
That one scenario in which you want fewer megapixels
The Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, on the other hand, only dabbles in AI-powered compositing trickery once you try pushing it beyond what any smartphone could feasibly be expected to accomplish. In this instance, that would be the 4x-30x zoom territory.
Samsung unsurprisingly isn’t advertising this design 180, as evidenced by the fact it’s still referring to the system as Space Zoom. And while yes, the actual sensor behind the primary telephoto glass is now an 8-megapixel affair, lower-resolution imaging does have one notable advantage over cropping a 64-megapixel frame – better low-light performance, as fewer pixels means less space in which noise can manifest.
This is all theoretical, of course, but we’ll make sure to follow up with a direct comparison between the zooming capabilities of the Galaxy S20 FE and those of its siblings.