With three distinct Samsung Galaxy S20 series devices to choose from, you might not know which the best option is for you to buy.
There are a lot of similarities between each distinct model in the Galaxy S20 series, but there are some quite substantial differences that feel tailored to a specific “type” of buyer or person. If you are looking to pick up a brand-new smartphone, you’ll no doubt see deals on the Galaxy S20 series. You may also wonder why there are three specific models to choose from, but it will make sense with our help.
In simple terms, the three options can be seen as “tiers” for most Galaxy S20 buyers. That isn’t all there is to each individual model, as each has nuances and minor details tailored for different groups of people.
No matter which device you think is right for you, you’ll still get a “premium” Samsung experience in a package that will be an excellent everyday companion. Although, if you simply can’t decide which Samsung Galaxy S20 series device to buy, then this guide will hopefully make your purchase decision just a little bit easier.
Like with the Galaxy S10 series, the S20 series is most differentiated by the size of each new model. This is also likely the easiest way to decide which Galaxy S20 model is “right” for you.
All three device base models come with 120Hz punch-hole laden AMOLED displays, Snapdragon 865 chipsets — the increasingly unpopular Exynos 990 chipset in global markets — 12GB of RAM, UFS 3.0 storage, and include standard features like 25W fast charging.
The Galaxy S20 is essentially a follow-up to the smallest S10e as there is no S20e. It measures in at 6.2 inches, which is slightly bigger than the Galaxy S10e, but with slightly smaller bezels, there is very little overall size difference.
Similarly, the Galaxy S20+ acts as an indirect sequel to the Galaxy S10. It measures in at 6.4 inches. For most people, this is likely the perfect combination of display size and overall physical presence in the hand.
For people that want a massive smartphone, then the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra might be the phone for you. At 6.9 inches, there’s no denying this is a borderline tablet. With some extra internals, it also manages to be noticeably thicker than the S20 and S20+.
An undisputed star of previous Samsung flagships, the camera setups on the Galaxy S20 series might be a reason that people are hoping to buy the flagship devices. Unlike the S10 series, there are not quite as many differences this time around.
The Galaxy S20 and S20+ have the exact same front and rear camera setups. That means that results are identical, no matter which device you happen to choose. However, the largest of the trio, the Galaxy S20 Ultra, comes with some slight upgrades.
The Galaxy S20 and S20+ offer 12-megapixel primary cameras, 64-megapixel telephoto cameras, and 12-megapixel ultrawide cameras. From the outset, this is a very flexible setup, and especially for landscapes and pictures of still objects, you’ll get some stellar results from both models. That 64-megapixel telephoto camera also enables up to 30x digital zoom with results that are still pretty solid and usable as far as 10x.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy S20 Ultra, as the top-tier device, packs in a 108-megapixel sensor as its primary with a 12-megapixel ultrawide and a 48-megapixel telephoto zoom lens. That last camera uses a periscope optical setup to magnify your subject up to 10x. Combined with some software processing tweaks, that can go all the way to an effective 100x digital zoom, and while they look pretty grainy at 100x, results manage to stay still solid, even at 30x.
However, the camera array on the Ultra has been plagued with some autofocus issues and image processing troubles right at launch. Updates have helped correct some of the major issues, but it is still something to be aware of.
Battery life is always a contentious subject no matter the smartphone, and one area that, luckily, most recent Samsung Galaxy releases have mitigated, thanks to large internal cells. That continues this time around, with the smaller Galaxy S20 having a 4,000mAh battery, the S20+, packs in a 4,500mAh internal cell.
Both of these have achieved quite substantial lifespans in our tests, even with the 120Hz refresh rate turned on. Generally, no matter which Galaxy S20 model you choose to buy will easily last an entire day without any troubles or hiccups.
If you want the best battery life on a Galaxy flagship, though, the S20 Ultra is your phone. Its 5,000mAh cell manages to last a full day with ease, even with heavy usage. The S20+ is capable of this, too, though, so it will really come down to what size smartphone you prefer.
It’s worth noting that the global S20 series does suffer from the Exynos chipset. Battery lifespan appears to be about 5% shorter with the Exynos series than the North American Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered devices.
We need to discuss 5G connectivity, as the entire Galaxy S20 series ships with 5G as standard in the US. However, if you were to buy the smaller Galaxy S20, it’s worth noting that it lacks millimeter-wave connectivity for carriers such as Verizon. In no way should this be a deal-breaker, as 5G is still in the United States and globally. With that said, if you insist on future-proofing your purchase, you may want to consider the Galaxy S20+ or S20 Ultra, as both devices are capable of connecting to 5G in all its current incarnations.
Which Galaxy S20 should I buy?
The Galaxy S20 Ultra notwithstanding, it boils down to price and size. The cheapest phone is the smallest — although 6.2 inches is not small, by any stretch — at $799. The biggest, most feature-packed phone is the most expensive, at $1,399. That’s a lot to ask for a smartphone, but all three S20 devices are among the best you can buy right now.
For us, the Galaxy S20+ is probably the device that most people should buy. It has enough of everything to make you very happy, including one of the best displays, good cameras, and good battery life. If you really must have all the bells and whistles, then the Galaxy S20 Ultra is undoubtedly the tech enthusiasts’ smartphone and one that most “normal” people should probably steer clear of.
Where can I get the best deal on a Galaxy S20?
Thanks to a recent 50% buyback promise from Samsung, the pricing of all of the S20 series is now somewhat mitigated. However, you can get some impressive discounts directly when buying on the Samsung website with substantial $600 rebates. Amazon has the devices starting at $799 in the US and £799 in the UK.
More on Samsung:
- Review: Galaxy S20 Ultra fails to deliver the perfection its $1,400 price demands
- One UI 2.5 to bring support for Google gestures on Samsung devices w/ third-party launchers
- Review: dbrand Grip for Galaxy S20 adds life to a bland design w/ ‘Teardown,’ more
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