The Samsung Galaxy S20 series consists of three smartphones: the exaggerated Galaxy S20 Ultra, the Galaxy S20 + and the regular Samsung Galaxy S20, which is discussed in this review. Of the three versions in this series, the Galaxy S20 is the most modest in appearance, features and price. But is the smartphone still worth this relatively high price?
Samsung Galaxy S20
price € 700, –
Color Gray, Blue, Purple
OS Android 10 (OneUI)
Screen 6.2 inch amoled (3200 x 1440, 120 hertz)
Processor 2.7 Ghz octacore (Exynos 990)
Storage 128GB (expandable with memory card)
Battery 4,000 mAh
Camera 64, 12, 12 megapixels (rear), 10 megapixels (front)
Connectivity 5G, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi, GPS, NFC
Format 15.2 x 6.9 x 0.8 cm
Weight 163 grams
Other dualsim or memory card, fingerprint scanner under screen
8 Score 80
- No 3.5mm jack
- Energy consumption somewhat high
So far, the Galaxy S20 series has not been an unqualified success. Of course it is easy to point out the Corona crisis as the culprit. But maybe there is more to it? Is it too early to invest in a 5G smartphone? Does the smartphone series have too little innovation to offer? Is the price simply too high? Or is it an accumulation of factors? This regular Galaxy S20 also seems to tap all these boxes, despite the fact that it is the most accessible of the three devices in the series in terms of price. A shame, because the smartphone is very pleasant to use.
You notice that the device is modest, especially when you put the three Galaxy S20 smartphones next to each other. The Galaxy S20 Ultra is the largest of the three (16.7 x 7.6 centimeters), but perhaps due to its size, it is just a bit too much. The Galaxy S20 + (16.2 x 7.4 centimeters) is also a lot bigger than the regular Galaxy S20 (15.2 x 7 centimeters). That does not make the regular Galaxy S20 very small, but it is still a nice, handy device. In addition, almost the entire length and width has been used for the screen panel, with even more subtle rounded screen edges on the sides.
The difference with the other S20 versions is not only in the size. The battery is also a bit smaller, there is no depth camera at the rear and the price is of course a bit lower. At the time of writing about 700 euros. Furthermore, the device is almost the same as its larger counterparts. So you also have a smartphone that looks and feels luxurious, thanks to the glass housing with metal edges. The device does feel vulnerable, so a cover does not seem like a superfluous luxury.
120 hertz screen panel
This means that the Galaxy S20 is also equipped with a phenomenally beautiful screen, which is at the forefront in terms of color reproduction, brightness and sharpness. The screen has a maximum refresh rate of 120 hertz, which makes the image run a lot smoother and a 1440p resolution. It adds to an even more impressive experience, but in practice I preferred to turn down both the resolution and the refresh rate to spare the battery a bit. Because that battery, with its 4,000 mAh, has a decent capacity. The screen and chipset can put a lot of strain on this battery. With slightly more subtle screen settings you can quickly get a few extra hours out of your battery and save it for up to a day and a half instead of more than a day. Although of course this depends on your usage.
At the top of the screen is a hole for the selfie camera. That does not look very nice, especially because the display quality of the screen is so impressive. Nevertheless, it does get used to it and it soon no longer disturbs when you watch videos fullscreen, for example. You get in return that the screen edge at the top can remain wafer-thin. The fingerprint scanner is also placed under the screen, which works smoothly. But it still doesn’t touch the speed and precision of a physical fingerprint scanner.
In addition to the beautiful screen panel, Samsung has equipped the Galaxy S20 with powerful specifications. Samsung’s own Exynos 990 chipset is available with no less than 12GB of RAM. The version we tested can also make a 5G connection with this, but you do pay an additional price for this. Whether that can be justified, that is difficult to say and also depends on how long you hope to use your Galaxy S20. It will be a few years before 5G really makes a difference, especially when the 3.5 Ghz band can be used. However, Samsung wants to continue to provide more and more of its smartphones with updates, so that you seem to be able to continue for a few years with the Galaxy S20. Samsung recently announced that it wants to provide the S20 series with three Android version updates.
The chipset that Samsung used always achieves excellent performance in our test, but the energy consumption is high. The mobile network connection in particular requires a lot of energy, so you will notice that the battery deteriorates faster when you are on the road. Fortunately, you have a usb-c to usb-c fast charger in the box.
The only thing that is missing is a 3.5mm jack, it is disappointing that Samsung has also chosen to remove the universal audio connection without any sensible arguments.
The Galaxy S20 runs on Android 10, with its own recognizable OneUI shell. The device runs smoothly and everything looks neat. Fortunately, Samsung’s own assistant Bixby has been given a less prominent place on the device, as it offers little added value. It is very unfortunate that Samsung on the one hand asks the main prize for this smartphone, but on the other hand saddles the user with a lot of pre-installed apps. That there are many services from Samsung itself, such as a completely unnecessary app store, that can be explained. But bloatware from Facebook and Microsoft doesn’t come with this price tag. The fact that Samsung hides an unnecessary and irremovable virus scanner from McAfee in the phone settings in order to make it appear as if this is a system component, remains something that cannot be justified.
One of the main reasons to dig deep into your pocket for a top device from Samsung is because you know that you are getting one of the best smartphone cameras. The Galaxy S20 is more limited in functionality than the S20 Plus and S20 Ultra. The former has an extra depth camera, in order to be able to capture better photos with a depth of field effect. In addition to this depth camera, the S20 Ultra also has a periscopic lens, which offers deeper zoom options.
Functionally, you therefore sacrifice something. Quality too, if you like to use the portrait mode. Although the lack of the depth camera does not appear to be a major loss. Blurred foregrounds or backgrounds came out well. The Galaxy S20 is equipped with three rear cameras: a primary 64 megapixel camera, flanked by a zoom lens and a wide-angle lens of both 12 megapixels. Many smartphones are equipped with a zoom and wide-angle lens in addition to the regular camera. But switching produces a visible loss of quality. That is not the case with the Galaxy S20. The zoom and wide-angle cameras, just like the regular cameras, produce photos of comparable quality in almost all circumstances. That’s nice, so you can freely choose the lens that best suits the photo moment.
This Galaxy S generation is also equipped with one of the best cameras. Even in difficult lighting conditions, there is a lot to see in the photos. Colors are sometimes slightly saturated, which makes photos more vivid. But slightly less true to nature than, for example, an iPhone captures.
The three zoom levels of the Samsung Galaxy S20.
Alternatives to the Galaxy S20
If the handy size and the slightly lower price appeal to you, you actually do not sacrifice much with the Galaxy S20 compared to the Plus and Ultra variant of the series. The additional cost does not add indispensable functions. The same goes for the 5G version. That only seems of added value if you really want to use your S20 for a long time.
If you don’t mind sacrificing camera quality, you can also consider the PocoPhone F2 Pro. This device is cheaper, and does have an audio connection. However, do not be fooled by the 5G stamp of this device, because 5G is not supported.
The OneUI skin from Samsung leaves something to be desired with all the bloatware and the support could still be a bit better. If this is important to you, you can consider the iPhone 11, which is roughly in the same price range. Only with the iPhone you deliver enormously in terms of screen quality.
Conclusion: buy Samsung Galaxy S20?
Of the three Galaxy S20 flavors available, the Galaxy S20 is the most modest in price and appearance. The added value of the other two is small, making the S20 perhaps the smartest choice. However, you know that with a top device from Samsung you will lose a lot of money, but you will make a safe choice. This is also the case now.