Samsung Galaxy S20 review: What more could you want?

Samsung Galaxy S20 review: What more could you want?

Spectrum Mobile Positives Spectrum Mobile Negatives
  • Bright, crisp display
  • Versatile camera setup
  • All-day battery life
  • Great size and feel
  • Controversial redesign
  • Inconsistent camera performance
  • No headphone jack

The common Samsung Galaxy S20 could not seize the identical headlines as its Galaxy S20 Ultra and Galaxy S20 Plus relatives, but it’s nonetheless geared up with a lot of the identical superior mobile technology. Priced at a barely more cheap $999 than the $1,399 S20 Ultra, the Galaxy S20 is more likely to be most shoppers’ entry level to this year’s flagship series.

This makes the Galaxy S20 an much more important handset for Samsung than in earlier years. It has to display that the most affordable S20 isn’t an afterthought and might nonetheless present a flagship technology — especially when much more inexpensive mid-tier 5G smartphones are chomping at Samsung’s heels.

What’s in the box?

The Samsung Galaxy S20 comes with the predictable assortment of equipment. The handset ships with a 25W charging plug, a USB-C to USB-C cable, a SIM ejector device, and a pair of AKG USB-C earbuds.

Sadly, there’s isn’t a screen protector or case included. That’s positively one thing you’ll wish to supply your self should you’re accident-prone, given the phone’s glass again.

Shaking up a basic design

  • 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9mm
  • 163g
  • IP68 water and dust protection

I’ve been fairly important of latest Samsung’s design course. The enduring waterfall display is now flattened and the camera housing has morphed into an oblong blob. The S20’s appears aren’t going to please everybody, but I can’t say all my complaints apply to the more compact type factor of the usual Samsung Galaxy S20.

So far as the necessities go, the smaller Galaxy S20 is good. That includes a basic mixture of glass and metallic trim, it’s gentle but sturdy, and truly grips much better with out the curved waterfall display. The slippery nature of the glass again isn’t an factor when it’s simple to wrap your hand round the entire machine. Single-handed use is easy. The quantity rocker and energy buttons are positioned precisely the place you want them to be.

Aesthetically, the Samsung Galaxy S20 is a good looker. The oblong camera module homes solely 3 lenses, so it’s slimmer than the S20 Plus and Ultra fashions. Shaving off just a few millimeters could also be a small change, but it makes the handset look more slick than its cumbersome siblings.

I’m not perfectly offered on Samsung’s alternative of colours for this technology, though the Cloud Blue version I’ve is an unlimited enchancment on the dull Cosmic Grey. The coating displays a shimmery rainbow of colours in the appropriate gentle, which helps brighten up the handset a bit.

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The Galaxy S20 offers the perks of a giant screen whereas nonetheless being modern and light-weight.

The Galaxy S20 boasts an Infinity-O display panel. A single punch gap reveals the selfie camera. The massive black dot doesn’t precisely gel with the whites and grays of Samsung’s UI, but you’ll finally cease noticing it. General, I feel I choose it to a notch. Nearly.

The camera offers rudimentary face unlock protection; you gained’t discover any fancy infrared face-scanning tech here. For one of the best protection, you’ll in all probability wish to use the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner embedded in the screen. From a person’s perspective, it really works similar to an everyday fingerprint scanner, you simply must press on the appropriate spot on the screen. However, it’s powered by ultrasonic sound waves that bounce of your fingerprints, somewhat than a capacitive contact sensor.

Samsung’s total S20 vary deserted the 3.5mm headphone jack, together with this smaller model. However, with shoppers more and more embracing Bluetooth audio, and a pair of USB-C AKG buds in the box, this isn’t fairly the inconvenience it was a few years in the past.

On the plus aspect, Samsung removed the Bixby button from the Galaxy S20 series. As a substitute, simply maintain down the ability button to activate Bixby Voice. For those who’re not a fan of Bixby, you could change this long-press choice to deliver up the shutdown menu as a substitute.

General, the Samsung Galaxy S20 simply feels proper, every in usability and aesthetics. The phone’s spectacular screen-to-body ratio means I didn’t really feel like I misplaced any screen actual property shifting down from an even bigger handset. The usual S20 definitely isn’t a compact smartphone, but it’s rather more person pleasant than the gargantuan 6.9-inch Ultra version.

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Another great mobile display

  • 6.2-inch Quad HD+ (3,200 x 1,400), 20:9 aspect ratio
  • Samsung Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 6

Yearly Samsung produces a top-tier display for its flagships and the Galaxy S20 is not any totally different. The 6.2-inch panel options an non-obligatory 120Hz refresh fee for smoother scrolling and body charges in supported games.

The 120Hz mode appears silky clean flicking via menus and partitions of textual content, although it’s positively more of a top quality of life enchancment than a vital improve. However the excessive refresh fee is just not enabled by default, not like another 2020 flagships. The choice to change to Quad HD+ from the Full HD+ default decision is a minimal distinction visually, and it does suck down more juice. As such, I stuck with the Full HD+ 60Hz default setting for almost all of my time with the phone. I’d somewhat have the marginally longer battery life.

The merely chic Top quality of the display is the actual story here. The panel is punchy and crisp, offering glorious colours for a variety of content material. HDR10+ assist is a pleasant bonus too, and one which has a noticeable impression on Top quality when viewing supported content material. Samsung’s newest display technology doesn’t disappoint.

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Top-tier performance

  • Octa-core Samsung Exynos 990 / Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB storage
  • microSD card slot

As you’d count on from a contemporary flagship smartphone, performance is superb even when multitasking out and in of a number of apps directly. I’ve the Exynos model, which is a tad slower than the Snapdragon variant. There are lingering questions in regards to the sustainable performance of Samsung’s chipset, but I definitely don’t have any complaints about day-to-day use. Samsung, for its half, says you shouldn’t see a significant distinction.

Our benchmark outcomes place the handset comfortably forward of final year’s flagship phones, for every normal app and gaming performance. Significantly, the Exynos 990’s Mongoose M5 monstrous single-core rating stands out. The Galaxy S20 handles every little thing you could throw at it, although should you’re after one of the best performing phone we’ve examined up to now, it’s a fraction behind the Snapdragon 865 Galaxy S20 fashions.

I did discover that our Exynos model grew to become a bit of heat when put underneath pressure, resembling when downloading quite a few apps in the background or when taking plenty of photos in fast succession. Warmth definitely wasn’t a problem for on a regular basis duties, but it’s one thing to regulate for longer gaming classes.

All-day battery life

  • 4,000mAh
  • 25W fast charging with USB PD 3.0
  • 15W wireless charging (9W reverse)

With out 5G technology on-board chugging down energy, our 4G-only Samsung Galaxy S20 pushed via a full day of heavy use with capability to spare. I couldn’t wear the phone down with two and a half hours of Spotify, an hour of YouTube, two and a half hours of net looking, messaging, and a good camera session thrown in. Discuss spectacular.

I calculated simply over 6 hours of screen on time with the phone. Your mileage will range relying on gaming habits, screen brightness, and the variety of background apps you’ve gotten working. Recent installs all the time are likely to run a bit longer in spite of everything. The phone’s standby time can also be fairly good, dropping lower than 5% in a single day.

Even should you in some way handle to run the phone’s battery right down to zero, the 25W wired charging answer has you again in your toes very fastly. It’s not the fastest charging brick on the market, but the Galaxy S20 nonetheless manages a 41% cost in 20 minutes, 56% in 30 minutes, and a full cost in 71 minutes.

It is virtually impossible to wear the battery down in a single day.

General I’m impressed with the Galaxy S20’s battery life. Be warned: the 5G model gained’t carry out fairly this greatly.

A complete camera package

  • Main: 12MP f/1.76, 26mm
  • Tele: 3x optical 64MP f/1.72
  • Wide: 12MP f/2.2, 13mm

The Samsung Galaxy S20 includes a simplified camera arrangement in comparison with its bigger siblings. However, you continue to get a Ultra versatile package, comprising Top-resolution, wide-angle, and telephoto cameras.

The principle camera has a healthy-sized 1/1.76-inch sensor that handles a variety of taking pictures environments greatly. The ultra-wide angle camera has the identical decision, with a 13mm focal size and Tremendous Regular video function. The more attention-grabbing choice is the telephoto camera, which offers a whopping 64MP decision and 3x optical zoom. The camera solely shoots at 12MP by default, but you could change to 64MP for some additional crop factor. You could count on the 64MP sensor to bin to 16MP, which is unquestionably the case, but Samsung’s compresses to a constant 12MP output from all 3 cameras.

It was a bit of bit tricky to take all kinds of shots whereas self isolating, but we gave it a go. The shots beneath have been resized for bandwidth. You could view the originals here.

To start out, daylight shots are pretty much as good as you’d count on. Publicity and element come out properly virtually every time. The auto HDR function is especially spectacular, avoiding over and underneath publicity in practically all scenarios, though you do get the odd blurry picture. My solely criticism is that the colour saturation is commonly dialed up too excessive, which means outcomes don’t all the time look perfectly realistic.

That said, the telephoto and wide-angle cameras aren’t as clear as the primary camera. They’re more closely processed and don’t ship as a lot element when cropping in. There’s also some distortion noticeable across the edges of the wide-angle lens, notably chromatic aberration and purple fringing, although it’s not as dangerous as another phones.

Samsung Galaxy S20 building wide Resized

The Galaxy S20 options 3x optical zoom, which extends all the best way as much as a 30x Home Zoom (aka digital zoom). It’s satisfactory as much as about 10x, albeit with some lack of element, and that’s more zoom than you’ll ever really want. The 20x and 30x choices are Mainly ineffective.

Samsung Galaxy S20 0.5x zoom camera Photo Samsung Galaxy S20 1x zoom camera Photo Samsung Galaxy S20 3x zoom camera Photo

Samsung Galaxy S20 10x zoom camera Photo Samsung Galaxy S20 30x zoom camera Photo Samsung Galaxy S20 20x zoom camera Photo

The phone also contains some enjoyable taking pictures choices, resembling Dwell Focus for bokeh and different results. However, the Galaxy S20’s edge detection leaves so much to be desired. You could simply spot foreground smudges and failed edges in the photos beneath. That is the place the time of flight sensor on the S20 Plus and Ultra can be good to have.

Samsung Galaxy S20 bokeh color Resized Samsung Galaxy S20 bokeh error

The Single Take setting is somewhat more helpful. Merely activate and level at your ongoing scene and Samsung’s software program pulls out a variety of shots and movies so that you can prune via. It’s a good way to ensure you don’t miss any motion.

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The Galaxy S20 offers a camera for every scenario.

Low-light performance is the place we separate the wheat from the chaff. The Galaxy S20 is sort of satisfactory here, but does have its points. Photos aren’t the cleanest in very low gentle and also you gained’t discover a lot element in the photos. Publicity and colours are fairly good, no less than so far as the primary camera goes. Sadly, the telephoto and wide-angle camera don’t carry out wherever close to as greatly in low gentle and the outcomes typically come out underexposed.

Focusing in low gentle is an even bigger drawback for the handset. You’ll should combat your method via just a few blurry photos earlier than touchdown an in-focus shot. It’s a problem we’ve famous throughout all of the Galaxy S20 fashions. Samsung claims to have addressed this concern with an replace, but we came upon that the patched software program is a blended bag.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Night Mode On camera Photo Samsung Galaxy S20 Night Mode off camera Photo

Evening mode helps out in the darkest environments and might even make the wide-angle camera take satisfactory shots. Samsung’s technology appears every bit as competent as competing options by way of enhancing publicity. However, the outcomes are likely to look a bit of too closely processed, with over-sharpening artifacts fairly noticeable round excessive distinction edges.

Lastly, the selfie camera is healthier than most. It captures a good quantity of element and handles publicity very greatly. The wide-angle choice when two or more individuals are detected is a pleasant contact too. Once more, although, the entrance camera doesn’t nail colours notably greatly. My pores and skin tone always got here out far too pink in out of doors lighting and there’s a slight shade tint in direction of the underside of the photograph.

On the entire, Samsung’s newest camera setup is competent but has some shortcomings. The constant shade oversaturation is way too heavy for my tastes, although it would go well with those that want daring photos with out with the effort of enhancing. The wide-angle and telephoto cameras look great at full body, but rely closely on sharpening to attempt to clear up the pictures.

The hit-and-miss nature of the bokeh portrait and low-light photos hasn’t helped win me over both. Whereas definitely versatile and able to taking glorious snaps, there are more constant camera packages on the market. importantly the most critical camera lovers could wish to take a look at the trusty Google Pixel 4.

Following an replace, I took Samsung’s AI-enabled Single Take function for a check drive. Hit the seize button and AI serves up a series of photos, video, and even applies filters to cherry-picked samples out of your recording interval. It really works fairly greatly but doesn’t all the time get every little thing. Single Take is best used for capturing the motion, the sheer size of time it takes means it’s not a alternative for framing most shots your self.

Samsung One UI is getting there

For those who’re aware of Samsung you then’ll know what to anticipate in relation to One UI. Staple options like Edge Panels, Bixby, and fast entry to your SmartThings units are all current. The closely custom-made look and total fashion hasn’t changed since final year both.

Samsung’s One UI 2.1 version, now up to date to One UI 2.5, improves Samsung’s latest method. There’s a system-wide darkish theme; the Samsung Day by day information aggregator marks an improve over Bixby Home, and there’s Samsung’s Good Lock app should you fancy more control over customization. Menus and animations are slick, and notifications aren’t overly intrusive. Everyday, One UI is a pleasure to make use of.

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Samsung packs so much into One UI, arguably an excessive amount of.

However, navigating menus to tweak your required setting remains to be arduous. Determining easy methods to disable Bixby, for instance, requires navigating to the “superior options” menu. Your best wager is to stay with the search operate somewhat than attempt to guess the place every little thing is.

For someone who isn’t a Samsung common and never invested in the firm’s bigger ecosystem, the sheer vary of options and choices feels overwhelming. I do know I gained’t ever use the overwhelming majority, and it leaves One UI feeling more bloated than another Android skins.

Much more options have arrived with new updates, just like the One UI 2.1 replace that hit the Galaxy S20 since April 2020. This brings window snapping and different usability enhancements to the built-in DeX desktop mode. A later replace also added in wireless Dex assist.

Samsung Galaxy S20 review: Specs

Samsung Galaxy S20
Display 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED
3,200 x 1,440
20:9 ratio
120Hz refresh rate at 1080p
60Hz refresh rate at 1440p
HDR10+ certified
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 or Samsung Exynos 990
Storage 128GB
MicroSD Yes, up to 1TB
Battery 4,000mAh
Fast wired and wireless charging
Cameras Rear:
– Wide-angle: 12MP, 1/1.76″, ƒ/1.8, 1.8µm
– Telephoto: 64MP, ƒ/2.0, .8µm
– Ultra-wide: 12MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.4µm3x hybrid optical/digital zoom, Super Resolution Zoom up to 30xFront:
– 10MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.22µm, AF
Connectivity 4G LTE support
5G (sub-6GHz, DSS, TDD/FDD, SA and NSA, no mmWave)
Operating System One UI 2.0
Android 10
Water resistance IP68
Security Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, face unlock
Color Cosmic Grey, Cloud Blue, Cloud Pink
Dimensions and weight 69.1×151.7×7.9mm

Value for money

It’s onerous to speak about Value for money on the $1,000 Value level. You’d rightly count on all the newest bells and whistles for that sort of money. The Samsung Galaxy S20 covers all of the flagship necessities but doesn’t pack in the firm’s best camera tech, resembling a time-of-flight or 108MP sensor. With different fashions in the vary pushing $1,400, However, we have to maintain some perspective.

With 5G and a few new tech on board, you could in all probability justify the $100 Value improve from final year’s Galaxy S10. However, the 4G-only model (solely obtainable in some nations) is a way more aggressive prospect.

The 4G Samsung Galaxy S20 we examined costs £799/€899 (~$918), a full £100/€100 cheaper than the 5G model. In comparison with the dearer entries in the S20 series, the 4G S20 model retains many of the best options at some welcome financial savings. You get numerous bang in your buck, especially should you’re not planning to improve to 5G for a few years.

Apple has a more inexpensive flagship entry level with final year’s $699 iPhone 11. Though, to be honest, the $999 iPhone 11 Pro is the Galaxy S20’s true competitors. In comparison with different 5G Android flagships, the Galaxy S20 is dearer than the LG V60 and the OnePlus eight Pro. There’s also the smaller Galaxy Observe 20 to contemplate at $999. For those who’re not but able to make the bounce to 5G, the Google Pixel Four is repeatedly discounted for even larger financial savings. 2019 handsets are nonetheless great for 4G networks, so it’s greatly price contemplating your precise wants earlier than taking the plunge on dearer 5G flagship fashions.

Samsung is sweetening the cope with quite a lot of promos. For example, you could repeatedly get the Galaxy S20 for $200 off at some retailers. Samsung also launched a beneficiant moneyback program that allows you to return a Galaxy S20 after two years and get 50% of its Value again.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy S20?

The Samsung Galaxy S20 is every bit a flagship phone because the Plus and Ultra fashions, and the most effective phones obtainable proper now. $999 is some huge money for any smartphone, but the Galaxy S20 justifies that Value fairly greatly. It’s jam-packed with the newest tech and is simply lacking just a few minor options present in its dearer counterparts.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 is without doubt one of the best smartphones you should buy proper now.

Unless you actually want a humongous display and more zoom out of your camera, it’s fairly onerous to justify spending a whole lot more {dollars} on the broader Galaxy S20 vary. The Galaxy S20 Plus justifies its $1,199 price tag, but I feel the Galaxy S20 is the Toper deal for $200 or $300 much less.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 doesn’t have the best possible camera, but it packs in every little thing else. Whether or not you’re an influence person or social media butterfly, this phone gained’t depart you wanting for something. For those who’re on board with this year’s redesign, the Samsung Galaxy S20 is without doubt one of the best smartphones you should buy proper now.