The Samsung Galaxy S20 range is now official, comprising of three models (the S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra). But is it worth the upgrade? Let’s investigate…
The Samsung Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra are now 100% official, following their launch on February 11. As expected, there are three phones in the S20 range but sadly no Galaxy S20e. The Galaxy S20 range is more expensive than the Galaxy S10; prices start from $999.99 and get pretty crazy from there.
For 99.9% of people, the only way of getting these phones will be on contract – and right now this is where we’d be getting ours from.
Users looking for cheaper alternatives will be pushed towards Samsung’s Galaxy S10 range which is sticking around for 2020 with a nice price cut (around $100 less) – just like Apple does with its older flagships.
OK, so you’re probably wondering what the deal with Samsung’s new Galaxy S20 phones is? Let’s take a look at each phone individually first and then we can start to examine the differences between each model and begin building a picture about which model (if any) is the right one for you to upgrade to.
Let’s kick things off with the base model, the Samsung Galaxy S20.
Samsung Galaxy S20 – Key Updates & New Bits
- Price: $999
- Contract Deals – From £46 Per Month
- Display Size: 6.2in OLED
- Storage Versions: 128GB
- CPU: Snapdragon 865
- Battery: 4000mAh
The Samsung Galaxy S20 is the cheapest option in the range. As the entry-level model, the Samsung Galaxy S20 will almost certainly be the best-selling model in the range simply because it is the cheapest.
Constructed from aluminum frames and a glass back panel, the Samsung Galaxy S20 is available in the following colors: Cloud Pink, Cloud Blue, Cosmic Gray, and Cosmic Black. It is also water-resistant with IP68 certification, so it can survive being submerged in water for long periods of time.
The front of the device is dominated by Samsung’s expansive Infinity-O AMOLED display. The bezels on all Galaxy S20 models are minuscule. You have a hole-punch front-facing camera on the front and not much else – it is literally all display.
And that Infinity-O AMOLED display supports HDR10+ and comes with a 120Hz refresh rate. All three models have in-screen fingerprint scanners too, as well as face unlock, so you have more options for unlocking your phone than ever before. Everything is powered along by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 CPU and (at least) 12GB of RAM, so performance will be no issue.
The entry-level Galaxy S10 features a 12MP f/1.8 main camera, a 64MP f/2.0 telephoto one, and a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide one. If you want the most advanced camera setup, you’ll need to pony up the cash for the S20 Ultra – it has a completely new setup (more on that in a bit though).
As for battery life, you’re looking at a 4000mAh cell inside the Galaxy S20. That’s pretty darn respectable. Combine this with Android 10’s Dark Mode and the S20’s OLED display and you’ll likely never have to worry about battery – 4000mAh is more than enough for even the heaviest of users. Again, if you want more, you’re going to have to pay more for the S20+ or S20 Ultra (both have larger cells).
Samsung Galaxy S20+ – Key Updates & New Bits
- Price: $1199
- Contract Deals – From £51 Per Month
- Display Size: 6.7in OLED w/ 120Hz refresh rate
- Storage Versions: 128GB & 512GB
- CPU: Snapdragon 865
- Battery: 4500mAh
The Samsung Galaxy S20+ follows pretty much the same design as the Galaxy S20. Only here, there are few slight differences. The main one is to do with the display; it’s a larger 6.7in Infinity-O AMOLED display. You also have a slightly improved camera; it’s the same setup as the S20, just with the inclusion of a Time of Flight sensor.
You also have more storage options inside the Galaxy S20+ range; you can have either 128GB or 512GB, whereas the Galaxy S20 is limited to 120GB. Both the S20 and S20+ use a 10MP f/2.2 front-facing camera for video calling and selfies.
With respect to battery life, the Galaxy S20+ uses a 4500mAh cell – up 500mAh from the Galaxy S20. Both the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 offer 3x optical and 30x digital zoom aboard their cameras, though the Galaxy S20 Ultra features 10x optical and 100x digital zoom.
The Galaxy S20+ is basically a slightly more potent version of the Galaxy S20. It looks the same, just slightly bigger, and it has a few attributes missing from the entry-level model, most notably more storage and a slightly better camera suite with a ToF sensor. I think the S20+ is being pitched as the flagship model for people that don’t want a HUGE phone.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra – Key Updates & New Bits
- Price: $1399
- Contract Deals – From £60 Per Month
- Display Size: 6.9in OLED
- Storage Versions: 128GB & 512GB
- CPU: Snapdragon 865
- Battery: 5000mAh
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is the true flagship model in the Galaxy S20 range. It has the best camera (by a considerable margin), the best display, the most storage, the most RAM (12GB), and it supports the most 5G bands too. It is also the most expensive model by far as well.
So what exactly are you paying for? The camera is perhaps the biggest difference between the Galaxy S20 Ultra and the other models in the range. As you can see, the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s camera specs are mightily impressive: 108MP f/1.8 main camera, a 48MP f/3.5 telephoto one, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide one, and a ToF camera.
In addition to this, the Galaxy S20 Ultra will do 10x optical and 100x digital zoom, putting it well in step with Huawei’s P30 Pro. The S20 Ultra’s front-facing camera is a 40MP f/2.2 setup that should deliver pretty incredible results and is a great choice for anyone that takes a lot of selfies. I mean, it’s a 40MP sensor on the front of the phone! That’s crazy good…
Internally, the Galaxy S20 Ultra runs much the same spec as the S20 and S20+. The biggest difference is to do with battery life; the Galaxy S20 Ultra runs the largest battery in the range at 5000mAh. That is a big battery, so anyone that is concerned about battery life can rest assured that the S20 Ultra’s battery will last days at a time before requiring a top up.
Which Model Would I Get?
Looking at the phones post-launch, two things immediately jumped into my head. 1) the Galaxy S20 Ultra is far too big for my liking; 2) I think I kind of prefer the look and feel of the entry-level Galaxy S20 model. Internally, it has all the performance and specs I need as a user, and the camera looks suitably impressive. If I were in the market for an upgrade, the S20 is the one I’d be looking at – it’s also the cheapest option.
The S20+ is basically the Ultra-Lite model. It has much the same spec and performance, just with a few choice omissions in a few key areas (most notably the camera). I do think the S20+ is a very well-proportioned handset too; it’s big but it’s not too big, whereas the S20 Ultra just looks and feels huge with its 6.9in display and sleek yet beautiful chassis. The flagship model, at least for me, is just too expensive though (I refuse to pay over $1000 for a phone out of principle).
Flagship Phones For Flagship Lovers
If you’re the type of person that always buys flagship phones, regardless of price, there is a lot to like here, especially on the Galaxy S20 Ultra and Galaxy S20+ models. It is in these where Samsung is pushing hardest with new features and attributes.
You have huge amounts of RAM (12GB of the S20+ and S20 Ultra), a rapid CPU, and up to 512GB of storage on the “flagship” models. Beyond this, the S20 Ultra has the best 5G radio in it, so if 5G is important to you, this is the model to go for.
On top of this, you have a camera that could well go on to become one of the best shooters on the market in 2020. Initial impressions for the S20’s camera look very positive. And if that wasn’t enough, the S20 Ultra and S20+ have larger batteries than the entry-level S20.
If you’re a flagship kinda guy, you’re going to want to go with the Galaxy S20+ or the Galaxy S20 Ultra – and you’ll want to pick them up on contract because buying outright will cost you a literal fortune!
Fortunately, there are already some pretty good deals for all the Galaxy S20 models available online right now.
What If You Want To Save Some Money (But Still Get A Samsung Phone)?
If you like running Samsung phones but cannot stomach the starting prices ($999.99 minimum) for the Galaxy S20 range, I have some good news for you. Samsung is keeping its Galaxy S10 range around – and that includes the Galaxy S10e.
This is at the approach Apple uses for its outgoing iPhone flagships. It keeps the outgoing iPhone around for a year or two at a discounted price. This approach ensures that it offers a more palatable option for users that cannot or will not pay “flagship money” for the latest and greatest release.
Samsung is now discounting its entire Galaxy S10 range by $100 which means you can now pick up the Galaxy S10e for $499/£399 direct from Samsung. And if you want something with a little more punch, you can grab the Galaxy S10 for $749 and the Galaxy S10 Plus for $849.
If I were in the market for a decent phone with great spec and hardware, I’d be looking very hard at the Samsung Galaxy S10e (pictured above) – that phone is utterly brilliant and for just £399/$499, it is cheap enough for most people to buy outright.
And if you buy outright – I always buy my phone outright – you’re then free to shop around for a bangin’ SIM-only deal which ensures you’re not locked into an 18/24-month contract with a carrier and/or network. My current SIM-only plan only costs me £20 a month and it gets me unlimited calls, data, and texts + roaming and unlimited tethering.
As always, the phone you go for will depend on a few key things. Many people ONLY want flagships, others prefer value for money, and some don’t really care so long as the phone works and has decent battery life. If you’re the first type of user, I’d go with the Galaxy S20+ or the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Want value for money? Go with the Samsung Galaxy S10e – it’s a fantastic phone that now retails for hardly anything. You can buy it outright and then shop around for a decent, rolling SIM-only plan. This will save you a fortune over the next 12 months.
Want a new phone but don’t want the most expensive? Get the entry-level Galaxy S20 model. It’s a great-looking phone that packs in ALL the specs and performance you’ll ever need. You can also pick it up for fairly decent prices on select contract deals too, so it won’t even cost you that much to run over the next 12-24 months.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.