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Samsung Galaxy S20: 10 tips and tidbits you need to know before you preorder

Read up before you buy.

galaxy s20 ultra space zoom
Christopher Hebert/iDG

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Samsung's new series of S20 phones go up for preorder this week, and if you plan on buying one, you already know all about the giant screens, eye-popping cameras, and gorgeous design. But with preorders set to begin tomorrow, there are a few features deep down on the list that you might not have noticed:

The S20 doesn't support mmWave 5G yet

Samsung is touting all of its S20 phones as 5G capable, and that’s true, with one exception. The smallest model only supports the sub-6GHz spectrum while the S20+ and S20 Ultra can switch between sub-6GHz and mmWave. That might not be an issue for T-Mobile subscribers, but Verizon buyers will basically have a 4G phone, as the carrier hasn’t yet switched on its sub-6 GHz network. Verizon says a mmWave version of the S20 will be launching in the second quarter, but we don’t know whether it will carry a higher price tag.

You can lock RAM to a game or app

All of the S20 models have at least 12GB of RAM, which is more then most people will ever actually need on their Chromebook, let alone their phone. In fact, there’s so much memory in the S20, Samsung is letting users lock apps and games into the RAM. That means that when you stop using an app that’s RAM locked, it’ll stay in the phone’s memory, so you won’t need to wait for a lengthy load the next time it launches.

galaxy s20 ultra bump Christopher Hebert/iDG

The S20's awesome zoom lenses are less awesome when recording video.

You can't zoom videos to 100X

Samsung is so proud of its 100X Space Zoom lens on the S20 Ultra, it’s plastered it right on the rear camera array. However, if you’re hoping to take Cloverfield-style videos from super far away, however, you might be disappointed. Samsung says you can only zoom up to 20X on the Ultra and 13X on the S20 and S20+.

They have pretty awesome music sharing

Sharing and streaming music over Bluetooth is hardly a revolutionary feature, but the S20 puts a whole new spin on it. Here’s how it works. Let’s say you’re on a road trip and your buddy wants to play a song through your car’s stereo. Normally, you’d need to unpair your phone and pair his, but if you have an S20, it’s way simpler than that. With your S20 acting as a hub, your friend will be able to connect to your car’s stereo through your S20, provided they also have a Galaxy phone. Your phone will show up in their Bluetooth preferences and the Galaxy S20 will broadcast it to the car. Pretty ingenious.

You can make Duo video calls in Full HD

Samsung has teamed up with Google to build Duo video calls directly into the phone app, a bit of Pixel-level ingenuity right on your Galaxy S20. But that’s not all. Video chats made on the S20 will be streamed in full 1080p HD at long last. Just remember to make yourself presentable.

galaxy s20 ultra vs Christopher Hebert/iDG

the front cameras on the S20 are able to broadcast Full HD video calls in Google Duo.

You can easily take nighttime hyperlapse photos

You’ve long been able to create hyperlapse photos using the Camera app on your Galaxy phone–those videos that look like they’re in fast-forward—but it’s never worked all that well in low-light conditions. That’s where Night Hyperlapse comes in. The S20’s new mode lets you shoot video with long exposure-style captures at night so your video gets those cool light trails.

Dual Aperture is gone

Introduced as a “category-defining” feature on the Galaxy Note 9 and featured on the S10, Samsung’s Dual Aperture, which let you manually choose between f-stop modes f/1.5 and f/2.5, is gone. But I doubt anyone will notice.

You can add Spotify playlists to your Bixby Routines

If you’ve always thought your day could use a little more cowbell, the S20 will be the phone of your dreams. Thanks to a new integration with Spotify, you’ll be able to pick a playlist as part of your Bixby Routines, so you can make sure the perfect song plays every time.

galaxy s20 ultra back Christopher Hebert/iDG

If you're using the S20's camera to take 8K videos, you'd better have a lot of space.

Every minute of 8K video takes up 600MB of space

One of the premier features of the Galaxy S20 is the ability to record 8K video, but before you go shooting Hollywood-style films, you should know that they will eat up a lot of space. At 600MB per minute, you'll be about to record about an hour before you fill up your 128GB S20. So if you plan on taking a bunch of 8K vids for your YouTube channel, you might want to invest in a spacious microSD card.

You can grab high-res stills from 8K videos

It’s cool enough that you can shoot in glorious 8K on the S20, but if you find that perfect frame in your footage, you can also grab a 33MP still. That's much higher resolution than the still you can grab from 4K videos and should look just as good as the ones you take organically.

You can easily share files with friends

There are numerous ways to share files and photos on our phones, but the S20 takes it to new levels of easy. Much like Apple’s AirDrop, you’ll be able to see which of your Galaxy S20-using friends are nearby and instantly beam files to them without using an app or worrying about pairing. Samsung says it will be coming to older devices, too, so your non-S20-using friends won’t be left out.

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