With the introduction of the Galaxy S20, it is easy to understand why Samsung has been able to hold its current market leader position in the Android smartphone world in less than a decade. Its latest devices – Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 Ultra – are this year’s hitmakers when it comes to designs, functionality, performance and software.
The Galaxy S20 comes with a 6.2-inch screen with a fast 120Hz refresh rate, high-spec cameras on both sides of the phone and a big battery to boot. This means that for day-to-day use, the Galaxy S20 is going to be the best choice for most people.
Packed inside the Galaxy S20 is a powerful new chipset. The smartphone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 or high-end Exynos 990, and backed by 8GB RAM or 12GB RAM, depending which country you are in. Buyers beware, not all the Galaxy S20 and its bigger Galaxy S20 Plus are 5G phones. In some countries, only 4G versions are offered when shopping overseas or online. Only the Galaxy S20 Ultra has the distinction of being 5G-ready everywhere.
The Galaxy S20 is priced was launched at US$999but expect to pay more for the higher versions.
- Superb 120Hz Amoled display
- Very good stereo speaker setup
- Versatile triple camera setup with striking image quality
- Fast-charging feature from zero to 100% within an hour
- Has the flagship features offered in Galaxy S20 Plus
- Features Samsung’s reverse wireless charging feature
- Battery drains quickly with intensive use
- Erratic finger scanner
- The Galaxy S20 heats up under load
- Both the S20 and S20 Plus only come in 4G version in some countries
The Galaxy S20 has a 6.2-inch display, slightly bigger than 2019’s 6.1-inch Galaxy S10. Despite its bigger screen size, its max resolution remains the same as that of its predecessor models at WQHD+ (3040 x 1440).
A significant upgrade is that the smartphone can double the rate at which the display refreshes, meaning smoother scrolling and animations.
For mobile gamers, this also means a more immersive experience. Samsung also upped the Galaxy S20’s touch-sensitivity to 240Hz from 120Hz to make games more responsive. For regular users, this makes everyday things like scrolling through your social media feeds easier.
The Galaxy S20 retains a familiar look, with two pieces of glass sandwiching an aluminium frame. However, these new releases do not feature a 3.5mm headphone jack. Instead, users will have to employ an adapter with their current 3.5mm wired headphones or get a pair with a USB-C connection.
There are seven colours – Cloud Blue, Cosmic Gray, Cosmic Black, Cloud Pink, Cloud White, B Purple and Aura Red – in total.
An improvement from its predecessor the Galaxy S10 is the increased battery life – the Galaxy S20 has a 4,000mAh battery compared to the S10’s 3,400mAh.
This increased power source has paid off for the Galaxy S20 as it will last a little longer than the previous model. Depending on how intensive the usage is, the battery should last the day.
The downside is that, given the new features that have been added to this phone, the battery is unlikely to last you much longer than one day of regular use. But then, what smartphone does nowadays?
The Galaxy S20 offers reverse wireless charging, which enables the phone to charge other gadgets that support Qi charging.
Software and performance
Both the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865andExynos 990 chipsets provide outstanding performance as it is powerful enough to do everything that is required, whether users are playing games or loading apps quickly.
However, some tasks will run a little slower on the 4G version of the Galaxy S20, as it only has 8GB RAM so it might be worthwhile to opt for the 5G version with 12GB RAM. The Galaxy S20 is running Android 10 although there is a possibility to upgrade to Android 11.
As usual, Samsung preloads a lot of its own apps on the device which will clog up your internal storage but what else is new? Thankfully, many of these apps can delete or rendered inert.
The phone has a whopping 128GB of storage, giving more than enough space for the average user but users can make use of the microSD card slot, which supports cards up to 1TB.
The camera is another highlight of this phone, with Samsung boosting a lot of specs on the rear array. The Galaxy S20 packs three main cameras, all having been improved. Nighttime photography has been enhanced due to the increased pixel sizes and a few software tweaks to improve the overall experience.
Compared to the Galaxy S10, the new smartphone allow users to shoot high-quality 3x optical zoom shots or stretch to a 30x digital zoom.
The primary camera has 12MPand an f/1.8 aperture, and while that is seemingly inferior to the S10, which has an f/1.5 + f/2.4 dual aperture, the newer model can pull in more light for improved low-light shots. The new setting is capable of making changes to suit the lighting conditions with the wider f/1.5, making the Galaxy S20 superior to the S10.
Samsung increased the size of individual pixels in the Galaxy S20, from 1.4 microns to 1.8 microns, and combined with the larger sensor, the smartphone can capture more detail and more light with its primary camera. This enables the Galaxy S20 to handle shots in darker scenarios.
A huge upgrade is the new 64MP telephoto camera over the Galaxy S10’s 12MP telephoto camera. And with the individual pixels much smaller, and coupled with a higher megapixel count, the photos taken by the S20 is superior to its predecessor.
Don’t be too disappointed with the time of flight sensor that is present in the Galaxy S20 Plus and Ultra both but not in the Galaxy S20, as the improved camera still allows for some fantastic-looking photos.
A new breakthrough in the Galaxy S20 series is the introduction of 8K video recording, coupled with an anti-roll correction of up to 60 degrees as part of Samsung’s Super Steady stabilisation feature.
Samsung has also seemingly altered its post-processing. No longer are reds and greens neon, with nature shots in particular feeling more lifelike.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 has to compete with two contenders – the iPhone 11 and the Huawei P40, both of which are great smartphones.
Let’s take a look at the Galaxy S20 against the iPhone 11 first. The Samsung Galaxy S20 and the iPhone 11 are the most affordable new flagships from their respective brands.
The competition has a smaller 6.1-inch LCD display compared to the Galaxy S20’s 6.2-inch Amoled display.
And while the iPhone 11 is powered by Apple’s A13 Bionic chipset, a 7nm 64-bit hexa-core processor and the Galaxy S20 is fitted with the Exynos 990 7nm 64-bit octa-core processor, it doesn’t mean that one is necessarily faster than the other.
And as far as memory is concerned, the Galaxy S20 comes in the 8GB or 12GB options, while the iPhone 11 just has 4GB RAM. iPhones have long offered less RAM as they function on a different OS than their Android counterparts
The Galaxy S20 trumps iPhone in that it has three rear cameras (an ultra-wide, wide-angle and a telephoto) while the latter has two (an ultra-wide and a wide-angle). While photos are comparable, the Galaxy S20 has the edge over the iPhone 11 here.
The iPhone provides some versatility in that it offers models with a storage capacity of 64GB, 128GB and 256GB while the Galaxy S20 has a one-size-fits-all concept of just 128GB. However, one major complaint of the iPhone is that it does not have an expandable MicroSD clot which the Galaxy S20 offers. For a few more dollars, users can have an additional storage space of up to 1TB.
Pit against the Huawei P40, the main gripe is perhaps the missing Google Play app, which Huawei has been restricted from using. Huawei relies on its HMS alternative and AppGallery, which offers a much smaller app library. And if you are not familiar with the system, it could cause Android users some grief.
Features-wise, the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Huawei 40 look very similar, especially from the back. There are some subtle differences, like the speaker grille and metal design around the buttons.
Some key differences between the two are that the Galaxy S20 is slimmer and lighter and its slightly curved display and back edges also make the handset nicer to hold.
The Huawei P40 feels somewhat heavier and is not as slick and isn’t as slick. The Samsung Galaxy S20 is a better buy at this price point as it packs in more flagship-tier hardware to justify its price tag, and offers superior gaming performance.
The unfortunate situation regarding Huawei and Google services already made the Huawei P40 a tough sell for loyal Google users. But even if this wasn’t the case, the Samsung Galaxy S20 will still come up on top due to the finer details given to its design.
The bottom line
Considering its tech innovations and usability, the Samsung Galaxy S20 manages to deliver a solid and consistent experience. The smartphone is not cheap by any standard, but considering that the Galaxy S20 delivers many of the same specs than its more expensive S20 Plus brethren, this makes the Galaxy S20 more appealing. If money is no object, then the Galaxy S20 Ultra should be in the shopping list.