Samsung Galaxy S20: Full review and specifications

Samsung has left quite a few people scratching their heads wondering what happened to the Galaxy S11 thanks to the newly released Galaxy S20.  For its new flagship the Galaxy S20, which takes over the reins from the 2019 Galaxy S10, Samsung leaped frog a few numbers.  Although it may be a confusing change, Samsung has packed a lot in, to account for this leap: it's a huge upgrade, particularly if you're eager to buy your first 5G phone.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 does not garner the same attention as the much-hyped variants of its range, the Galaxy S20 Ultra, and Galaxy S20 Plus. But it is still packed with mostly the same advanced technology. The Galaxy S20 is priced at a relatively affordable rate than the S20 Ultra. The S20 is expected to be the most popular device in the flagship range this year.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 may not be the company's latest model for much longer, as the Samsung Galaxy S21 release is looming as its intended replacement. So if you're looking to purchase this handset, it's worth noting that it may soon be replaced.

Samsung Galaxy S20 device picture

Specifications

BODYDimensions        151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9 mm (5.97 x 2.72 x 0.31 in)
Weight                    163 g (5.75 oz)             
Build                    Glass front (Gorilla Glass 6), glass back (Gorilla Glass 6),  aluminum frame  SIM                        Single SIM (Nano-SIM and/or eSIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM  IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)
DISPLAYType                      Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+
Size                        6.2 inches, 93.8 cm2 (~89.5% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution            1440 x 3200 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~563 ppi density)
Protection             Corning Gorilla Glass 6, Always-on display, [email protected]/[email protected] refresh rate
PLATFORMOS                           Android 10, One UI 2.5
Chipset                  Exynos 990 (7 nm+) – Global                               
Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865 (7 nm+) – USA
CPU                        Octa-core GPU                       
                               Mali-G77 MP11 – Global
  Adreno 650 – USA
MEMORYCard slot                microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot)
Internal                  128GB 8GB RAM
MAIN CAMERA Triple                    12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.76", 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS                               
64 MP, f/2.0, 29mm (telephoto), 1/1.72", 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS12 MP
Features                LED flash, auto-HDR, panorama
Video                    [email protected], [email protected]/60fps, [email protected]/60/240fps, [email protected]
SELFIE CAMERASingle                    10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/3.2", 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF
Features              Dual video call, Auto-HDR
Video                    [email protected]0/60fps, [email protected]
SOUNDLoudspeaker        Yes, with stereo speakers
3.5mm jack           No      
COMMS WLAN                   Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth             5.0, A2DP, LE
GPS                        Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
NFC                        Yes
Radio                     FM radio (Snapdragon model only; market/operator dependent)
USB                        USB Type-C 3.2, USB On-The-Go
FEATURESSensors                Fingerprint (under display, ultrasonic), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer  
Samsung DeX, Samsung Wireless DeX (desktop experience support)
Bixby natural language commands and dictation
BATTERYType                     Li-Po 4000 mAh, non-removable
Charging             Fast charging 25W, USB Power Delivery 3.0, Fast wireless charging                               
Reverse wireless charging 4.5W
COLORSCosmic Grey, Cloud Blue, Cloud Pink, Cloud White, Aura Red
Specifications taken from gsmarena.com

Snapshot of the Samsung Galaxy S20

What you will be getting with the Galaxy S20 is a 6.2 inch 120Hz refresh rate display, 5G enabled device with high-quality cameras and a large battery. If you are looking to test out the latest technologies that Samsung has to offer, but don't necessarily want a huge phone. The S20 is the phone you need to buy. For extra storage or a 108MP camera, you might go for the Ultra, which carries a higher price tag. But the S20 is the better option for most people for day-to-day use.

The camera setup is a standout of the Galaxy S20, with Samsung improving the rear scope with a lot of specs. The rear camera setup has been enhanced (increased pixel sizes for superior night time photography by taking more light). And there are also a few software updates to enhance the overall interface. The telephoto lens is a massive improvement than the one on the Galaxy S10, which allows you to capture high-quality 3x optical zoom shots or 30x digital zoom photos. While the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a better camera spec sheet, most people will be content with the camera setup on this phone.

The 4,000mAh battery is yet another focus of the Galaxy S20. It's bigger than the S10 cell, and with average use, we've found the battery life to be strong. The phone won't last much longer than a day of full use, but will comfortably get you through the day. And to make room for the larger cell, Samsung has had to lose the headphone jack.

Some of the top-end features that the Galaxy S20 Ultra possesses are absent in the Galaxy S20. But it is far more affordable, and easier to carry, and while it may not be Samsung's most amazing smartphone in 2020, it is a strong phone that will please most of those who purchase it.

Release date and price of the Samsung Galaxy S20

The latest Galaxy S20 range is significantly more expensive than the previous S10 range due to the improved cameras, larger high refresh rate display, and 5G.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 was released on the 11th of February 2020 alongside the S20 Ultra. And initially, the S20 was priced at $999 for the 128 GB, 5G enabled versions while the 4G version was priced at £799. But the 4G variant was only released in select markets.

Prices have dropped significantly recently for all the variants. With the Galaxy S20 retailing for $742 and the S20 Ultra at a discounted price of $865. You can view these offers through the following links.

The device is priced at the same price as the previous launch price of the Galaxy S10 Plus. And it also matches the launch price of the Apple iPhone 11 Pro; which has a smaller 5.8-inch display and a much smaller storage capacity of 64GB.

Display

The Galaxy S20 boasts a 6.2-inch display, which is slightly larger than 6.1 inches on the S10. So the dimensions of the device aren't significantly different. As for all new Samsung devices, the resolution is WQHD 3040 x 1080. But the device is shipped at Full HD+ 220 x 1080 out of the box (more than acceptable for daily use and helpful with battery life) and if you intend to you can switch to the higher resolution through settings.

The most notable improvement however is the max refresh rate of 120Hz. This is in fact double that on most devices on the market. And this high refresh rate allows for smoother animations, scrolling, and a more immersive gaming experience.

However, the 120Hz refresh rate isn't WQH+ compatible. So you will have to choose between resolution and animation speed. Whereas the touch-sensitivity has been enhanced to 240Hz, meaning that the display responsiveness is far better in the new device. This is particularly helpful when it comes to gaming, but it wouldn't awfully noticeable in day-to-day use.

Design

With the new and updated design of Galaxy S20, the phone takes a new 20:9 aspect ratio. So the device is only just larger than the S10 but with the new dimensions, it is narrower. This is in contrast to the ongoing trend of smartphones getting larger with every new model made larger.  

The S20 also sports a small punch hole front-facing camera. While the rest of the device remains somewhat similar to the predecessor, with the aluminum panel housing 2 glass layers. On the sides of the panel, there is a slope, but it is not as prominent as on the S10, which will ideally mean less unintended presses around the edges of the screen.

The S20 range is the first lineup by Samsung to not have the 3.5mm headphone jack. So you will have to either purchase an adaptor or a pair of USB c headphones. Although, this is the case with most high-end smartphones released as of late.

The back of the device is made of glass, so it looks nicer than ever before. Our biggest sore point is the elevated camera hump, but it's what Samsung has had to do in able to assign the entire camera tech. However, if you put it flat surface like a table, it means that the handset would rock from side to side.

There are 5 color variants available; Cloud blue, Cloud pink, Cosmic gray, Cloud lavender, and Cloud white. But not all these variants will be available in every market. For instance, the UK will only get gray, blue, and pink variants.

The fingerprint sensor is mounted beneath the screen, as in the S10 range.  We find it to be quicker and more secure than the Galaxy S10. But there are the odd issues with unlocking the handset at times; it's not great with us having to retry our digits on the reader periodically.

Galaxy S20 3 color variants.

Camera

Samsung has made some great strides with the new camera setup, but not all these improvements will be reflected on the spec sheet. It is best to judge the quality of this setup through the photos captured through it, rather than by assessing the individual specs of the cameras.

The main shooter is the same 12MP with an f/1.8 aperture rather than the f/1.5 + f/2.4 dual aperture setup on the S10. But, the increased individual pixel size of 1.8 microns to the 1.4 on the S10 allows you to get more detail and light. This is reflected in the night time photography on the S20.

 A new 64MP telephoto lens is also available, which could sound like a major improvement from last year's 12MP telephoto camera. The individual pixels are fewer now than last year's sensor, but the number of megapixels is much higher and the aperture is larger (f/2.0 instead of f/2.4, greater than smaller numbers).

The ultra-wide camera of the Galaxy S20 has improved the slightest relative to the S10-the f/2.2 aperture remains the same, but has a smaller sensor and bigger pixels (1.4 microns in comparison to 1 micron on the S10). That makes it better for your ultra-wide photos, even though the S10 had an ultra-wide 16MP camera.

Video recording capabilities

As far video quality, the S20 gets the new addition of 8K video recording along with super steady video stabilization features. Sadly though, you cannot record 8K video with the super stabilization feature as it is restricted to only 1080p.

Realizing that 8k video is still in its infancy and most people will probably stick to 4K or prefer to handle 4K video files due to the size of the files. Samsung has enabled you to crop and edit 8K videos without compromising on quality when exporting to 4K/10180p.

Thanks to the new features, Samsung's reliable camera software remains to be the best amongst mobile phones. Users enjoy features like being able to swipe between the front and back cameras anywhere to rotate, make hand gestures to activate the selfie camera timer, and double-press the lock button to start the camera program.

5G

For a budget to entry-level flagship smartphone users, the Galaxy S20 is the perfect way to get 5G on their mobile. 5G models only accounted for 1% of the smartphones delivered in 2019, and most of those were pricey 4G, flagship models. As standard, the S20 is mostly 5G-as described, you can purchase a 4G version in some countries, but 5G is the standard. And download speeds in certain parts of the world can reside at about 200 Mbps on average, which is 6x faster than 4G speeds.

Performance of the Galaxy S20

The Galaxy S20 is driven by one of two separate chipsets, and the model you're having will be determined by where you live. You will get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset if you reside in the US, while others around the world can get Samsung's similarly impressive Exynos 990.0 chipset.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 runs smoothly, whether it is launching applications, multitasking, playing games, or watching videos. This is reflected by the Geekbench and AnTuTu scores.

Geekbench multi-core score: 2699

AnTuTu score: 525029 (v8)

These scores are much higher than the S10 5G and the OnePlus 7T.

Software

The device is running Android 10 out of the box, and the Android 11 update is expected later in 2021. Samsung does overlay the One UI skin over the stock Android, but the apps you might have used on other Android phones that are not manufactured by Samsung would look different, but the interface is pleasing and simple to use.

Battery

The Samsung Galaxy S20 is equipped with a 4000mAh cell. This is notably larger over the 3400mAh cell on the S10. And the main reason for this larger cell is to account for the battery drain from the 5G feature.

The bump up in battery size has definitely paid off. Through testing and reviews from users, we are able to confirm that the battery life on the S20 is above decent. You will be able to get through a full day of comprehensive use easily with an extra 20% left.

There was the occasional instance that the battery life was draining fast, but that was with especially heavy usage, for instance when we used the phone with on max brightness and switched to the 120Hz refresh rate. But if you are taking full advantage of the screen tech on offer, you probably would want to carry a power bank or stay close to the charging outlet. 

The fast-charging capability of the device works wonderfully. You can go from 0 to 100 percent in less than an hour if you've got the correct charging setup. 15W wireless charging is also available, and although it is not as fast as the wired version, it is still a helpful choice to have. 

The S20 range also features reverse wireless charging, much like last year's S10 devices, which allows you to use your S20 to charge other devices that support Qi charging. For instance, if you own a pair of wireless earbuds you'll be able to charge these on the rear of your smartphone, and you might even lend your power to a friend's compatible device, but remember that this will drains your own battery especially quickly.

Final Verdict on the Galaxy S20

The Samsung Galaxy S20 may lack some of the high-end features of its relatives (S20+ and the Ultra), but at a more reasonable rate, it still offers a robust flagship experience. If you are not yet been able to make the jump to 5G, it is definitely worth it.

Author of Get Basic Idea - Knowledge Base.

Chamath Perera

Author of Get Basic Idea - Knowledge Base.

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