Super ISO on Samsung Galaxy S20 range could improve night mode

With less than two weeks to go until Samsung Galaxy Unpacked on February 11, it seems we know almost everything there is to know about the Samsung Galaxy S20 range already. Samsung is expected to take the wraps off a trio of new S-range flagship phones on that Tuesday afternoon, but as things stand, there will be precious few surprises to be had. According to the latest news, Samsung’s new flagship range will come with a “Super ISO” feature that should dramatically improve night mode.

According to LetsGoDigital, Samsung has trademarked the phrase “Super ISO” in the United Kingdom’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO), indicating it intends to use the phrase in its marketing to promote the new phones. So for Samsung, this seems to be a really big deal.

The exact ISO hasn’t been revealed thus far, but with the Galaxy S10 reaching an ISO of 3200 (following the Android 10 update), it makes sense the Galaxy S20 would exceed this. According to LetsGoDigital, well-known leaker Ice Universe indicated a maximum ISO of 6,400 is likely, but we weren’t able to find that tweet to verify the claims.

Credit: LetsGoDigital

If those claims are true, then it would still place the Galaxy S20 well behind the competition in terms of pure numbers. The Sony Xperia 1 released with a top ISO of 128,000, while the Huawei P30 Pro shipped with a staggeringly high maximum ISO of 409,600. Still, it’s not all about the numbers, and Samsung’s Super ISO could prove to rely on something else entirely, like advanced software that emulates a much higher ISO.

Why is a high ISO so crucial to camera performance? Simply put, the ISO number dictates a camera’s sensitivity to light. A higher ISO means a camera is more sensitive to light, while a low ISO is less sensitive. Both have their uses, and a lower ISO is preferable in full daylight. A high maximum ISO does mean a phone has a greater range of light sensitivities open to it though, and can mean a much more effective night mode as a result.

This is important because low-light and night mode camera performance is an area where flagship phones are really able to stand out from their cheaper peers. While mid-range and even some budget phones can almost hold their own in well-lit conditions, fewer can hold a candle to the night modes found on phones like the iPhone 11 Pro, Pixel 4, or the Galaxy S10 — well, with a few notable examples.

But regardless of whether it’ll max out at an ISO of 6,400 or not, Super ISO clearly has Samsung excited, and us as well. Make sure to tune in on February 11 to watch it happen live.

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