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Tech News: 8K vs 4K vs 1080p on the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: Video file size comparison

Tech News: 8K vs 4K vs 1080p on the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: Video file size comparison

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, S20 Plus, and S20 becomes the first publicly available phone to make 8K video. While 4K still struggles to overthrow Full HD as the standard resolution with which we record and consume video content, Samsung is a step forward in the current state of affairs by making the Galaxy S20 series with 8K video recording future-proof. Admittedly, the hardware has not caught up with Samsung’s progress, even on the latest galaxies – 8K video playback on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, for example, results in uninspired stuttering and lowered frames.

Add the quadruple size of the resulting video file and you are faced with a rough awakening as soon as you realize that 8K is going through the storage of a phone like there is no tomorrow. But how much more space do 8K videos take compared to 4K and the much more common Full HD videos?

We have taken a few samples to check and report back. For your peace of mind, we have taken three separate 30-second video examples with the Galaxy S20 Ultra, starting with 8K, then downgraded to 4K and then to Full HD. The phone was placed comfortably on top of a tripod and did not move it in any way to eliminate any variables that could affect file size. So, except for the resolution, assume that all three samples are at least 95% identical.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Galaxy S20 records Ultra 8K video in the video format HEVC (also known as H.265). Although it offers more compression and saves space, you may encounter problems if you then want to use the images in certain apps. Although more and more platforms and services support H.265, it is unfortunately not yet a universally supported video format. As a successor to H.264, H.265 will certainly achieve the same level of broad support in the future, but from now on you can still encounter problems.

What are the results?

Comparison of file size Galaxy S20 video

30s sample video

  • 30s video recorded with Full HD 1080p @ 30fps (H.264) – 52.2MB
  • 30s video recording with 4K UHD @ 30fps (H.264) – 138.68MB
  • 30s video recorded on 8K UHD @ 24fps (H.265) – 302.87MB

Moreover, increasing both the frame rate and the video duration produced the following results:

Example video of 1m30s

  • Video of 1m30s recorded with Full HD 1080p @ 60fps (H.264) – 232.06MB
  • Video of 1m30s recorded with 4K UHD @ 60fps (H.264) – 752.25MB
  • Video of 1m30s recorded on 8K UHD @ 24fps (H.265) – 885.92MB

Although your mileage will certainly vary, the file size of recordings recorded with the specific resolution should fall in the same mood as the data above.

One thing to take home is that 8K video recording on the Galaxy S20 Ultra takes up a lot of space, but it is not necessarily better than 4K UHD in terms of usability. At the moment, 4K recordings are made at 60 fps with the same device inherently more usable and more flexible – you can share it almost anywhere and have more flexibility with regard to the subsequent editing of said video. Yet the fact that we make 8K video recordings on commercially available phones is modest and can only increase our hope for the future of mobile imaging technology.

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