Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra Has a 100X Zoom Camera. So We Tested It With a Private Eye.

Samsung’s new high-end flagship phone has a camera with unprecedented digital zoom…so is it crazy cool, super-creepy, or both?

Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra provides up to 100X digital zoom, but who needs that kind of snooping power? A private investigator, that's who. WSJ's Joanna Stern teamed up with a New York-based detective to test it and compare it to other phones and ultra-zoom cameras. Photo illustration: Alex Kuzoian for The Wall Street Journal

That’s definitely me, scratching (not picking!) my nose on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Charles Street. Even though the photo was snapped from inside a car…more than 150 feet away...using a smartphone, anyone who knows me would recognize me.

I would have had no idea it was taken, of course, if I hadn’t put New York-based private investigator Michael McKeever up to it. As you’ll see in the video, I had him follow me around with the new Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra for half a day. How else was I supposed to test the craziest—and...