Samsung’s Galaxy S phones have always been the go-to Android phones for just about everyone. They’re the phones that offer all the features, come in multiple screen sizes, and are available on all major carriers. That all still may be true, but with the new Samsung Galaxy S20 lineup I’m not sure if the company is able to claim its phones are for everyone anymore.
Samsung is going bigger (a lot bigger) and more expensive this year. The new Samsung Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus, and Galaxy S20 Ultra all offer compelling upgrades over their predecessors in terms of camera specs, connectivity, and power. Unfortunately, all of that comes at a price. Read on to find out all the important details on Samsung’s new Galaxy S20 smartphones.
Goodbye Galaxy S20e, hello Galaxy S20 Ultra
Samsung is shifting things around this year, again. Gone are the days of the smaller one-handed Galaxy S variant. Samsung is going bigger, better, and pricier this year with the Ultra. Also, you’ll notice the devices now carry the S20 moniker, not S11 as we once suspected.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra is the best of the best in this lineup. It has the biggest display at a massive 6.9 inches, the biggest battery at 5,000mAh, the most amount of RAM at 12 or 16GB (not a typo), and the most storage at 128 or 512GB. It also has a stainless steel frame, while the other two models have an aluminum frame.
The Galaxy S20 Plus is still a beefy device, but slightly less so than the Ultra. It has a more manageable display at 6.7 inches, a still-big 4,500mAh battery, 12GB of RAM, and 128 or 512GB of storage.
The smallest model is the standard Galaxy S20. It has a 6.2-inch display, a 4,000mAh battery, 12GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. Even though these specs take a small step down, they still should be more than enough for most people.
Buying the standard S20 has a downside this year
First, the good news: All three Samsung Galaxy S20 models are 5G-ready. No need to buy a pricier model just to get 5G capabilities. Awesome! All three support the sub-6GHz spectrum, DSS, TDD/FDD, and support SA and NSA specifications. Basically, all the good stuff.
Now the not-awesome part: The Samsung Galaxy S20, the smallest one, doesn’t have support for mmWave. The Galaxy S20 Plus and Ultra can operate at the high frequency (only in the US and Japan), but not the standard S20 for some reason. You’ll probably have to stick to 4G if you’re on a mmWave-only network like Verizon.
Also, there will be a 4G-only S20 available in some markets, but we’re not sure of which markets at this time.
More posts about 5G
Bigger, better cameras on all three devices
All three devices have different camera setups which should result in improvements across the board this year.
The Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus are the most similar. Both have 12MP wide-angle sensors with 1.8µm pixels and f/1.8 apertures, 64MP telephoto lenses with f/2.0 apertures, ultra-wide 12MP sensors with f/2.2 apertures, and 10MP front-facing cameras with f/2.2 apertures. Both are capable of 3x hybrid optical/digital zoom and Super Resolution Zoom up to 30x.
The Galaxy S20 Plus also adds a rear-facing VGA time-of-flight sensor for recording depth information.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra has an even beefier setup. It also has a rear ToF sensor, as well as a 108MP wide-angle sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, a 48MP zoom lens with an f/3.5 aperture, an ultra-wide 12MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture, and a front-facing 40MP f/2.2 sensor that bins shots down to 10MP. The Ultra is capable of hybrid optical/digital zoom at 10x and Super Resolution Zoom up to 100x.
That 108MP sensor on the Ultra? Samsung is utilizing nine-in-one pixel binning on this lens to convert the 108MP shots down to 12MP. This should result in better low-light shots.
All three devices support 8K video recording, on-device video trimming, and the ability to easily cast these videos to Samsung’s 8K TVs. They’re also capable of taking 33MP photos straight from 8K videos. Samsung says each device supports “pro-grade videography,” thanks to its improved super-steady stabilization and night hyperlapse modes. Be sure to check out our Galaxy S20 hands-on article for more details on the cameras.
The best specs — what’d you expect?
Let’s continue on with specs. Samsung’s Galaxy S devices have a reputation of touting the best specs available at the time they’re announced, and this year is no different.
All three Galaxy S20 models have Samsung’s Dynamic AMOLED displays with a 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch response. Scrolling around the phones and swiping through menus should feel much smoother than on the S10’s 60Hz display. The 120Hz refresh rate is optional so you can switch back to 60Hz if it’s eating up too much battery. Also, this higher refresh rate doesn’t work at Quad HD+ resolution. If you switch to this resolution, the S20 will automatically switch back to 60Hz. Gaming should feel much smoother, too.
Speaking of, all that RAM won’t go to waste. Samsung developed some AI-powered gaming magic that lets you pin five applications in RAM at all times. So, if you’re playing Fortnite or PUBG Mobile and happen to switch away to do something else on your phone, those apps can stay in memory at all times. This should provide gamers with a much more lag-free experience.
US versions of the Galaxy S20 devices are powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC. Samsung hasn’t made any commitments to press as to which Exynos processor is powering global variants, but we’re assuming it’s the Exynos 990.
All three devices come with a 25W fast charger in the box, and the Galaxy S20 Ultra is compatible with Samsung’s insane 45W fast charger. Annoyingly, even though you’ll pay at least $1,400 for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, this faster charger won’t come standard. For that upgrade, you’ll have to pay an extra $50. Come on, Samsung.
They’ll cost you an arm and a leg, but at least you can pre-order them soon
So what’ll all this cost you? After all, these are three of the highest-spec’d smartphones out right now. Samsung knows this and isn’t afraid to make you pay for it.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 costs $999. The Galaxy S20 Plus with 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage costs $1,199, while the S20 Plus with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage costs $1,299. The Galaxy S20 Ultra with 16GB of RAM and 128GB of storage starts at — wait for it — $1,399, and the 16GB of RAM/512GB of storage model costs a whopping $1,499.
Samsung Galaxy S20 pre-orders begin Friday, February 21. The devices will make their way to stores and other retailers on Friday, March 6. Check out our dedicated Galaxy S20 pricing and availability article for more details on pre-order offers.
The Galaxy S20 will be available in Cloud Pink, Cloud Blue, and Cosmic Gray, while the Galaxy S20 Plus will be available in Cloud Blue, Cosmic Black, and Cosmic Gray. The Galaxy S20 Ultra only gets two colors: Cosmic Gray and Cosmic Black.
So, thoughts? How do you feel about Samsung going super-duper-premium with its Galaxy S20 line? Are you planning on buying any of these phones? Let us know in the comments and check out our related Galaxy S20 coverage below.