The Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra are among the best phones you can currently get. High-end specs, great designs, and loads of extra features like reverse wireless charging make them a great choice for demanding users.

In this Galaxy S20 buyer’s guide, we bring together all the best resources on Samsung’s flagship phones. We’ll take a look at what reviewers and users think of the devices, how well the cameras perform, what are the best alternative handsets available, where you can buy Samsung’s high-end phones, and much more. Let’s dive in.

Editor’s note: This Galaxy S20 buyer’s guide is current as of April 2021. We will update it with new content regularly.

Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra at a glance

Samsung Galaxy S20 Display 1

Samsung took the wraps off the Galaxy S20 phones at its Unpacked event in San Francisco on February 11, 2020. The three phones went up for pre-order on February 21 before hitting stores in a number of markets on March 6.

If you want the best phone in the series, the Galaxy S20 Ultra (launch price: $1,399 in the US) is for you. It comes with the largest display at 6.9-inches, the biggest battery at 5,000mAh, and the best camera setup with a primary 108MP sensor. It also comes with as much as 16GB of RAM, although that’s overkill in our opinion.

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The Galaxy S20 Plus (launch price: $1,199 in the US) is the next in line, featuring a slightly smaller 6.7-inch display and a 4,500mAh battery. It has three rear cameras, along with a ToF sensor that takes great photos, although you’re missing out on the high resolution you get with the Ultra model and will have to do with less optical and hybrid zoom.

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The regular Galaxy S20 (launch price: $999 in the US) is very similar to the Plus model. The differences are that you’re getting a more manageable 6.2-inch display, a smaller 4,000mAh battery, and less storage — depending on the model. You’re also missing on the ToF sensor for improved portrait photos. But even though the S20 offers the least of the three, it’s still a high-end phone aimed at demanding users.

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Are the Galaxy S20 phones worth buying?

Samsung Logo Galaxy S20 1

This depends on a lot of factors including how much you’re willing to spend, what exactly do you need from a phone, and which device you currently have. But in general, the Galaxy S20, S20 Pro, and S20 Ultra are great buys. They don’t beat the competition in every area, but they are all well-rounded phones. The vast majority of people will be happy with one of Samsung’s flagship handsets.

However, if the camera is a priority, the Pixel 4 may be a better choice. Although all three Galaxy S20 phones take great pictures, Google’s flagship has them beat, especially when it comes to night photography. That said, the Pixel 4 has poor battery life and other issues that might make the trade-offs not worth it. The newer Pixel 5 is also a great option, although it doesn’t come with the latest and greatest hardware.

If you think the S20 phones are too expensive, consider getting the OnePlus 8 Pro or the even more affordable and newer OnePlus 8T. Even the slightly older OnePlus 8 is worth checking out since it offers an even better price-performance ratio. You won’t get everything offered by the S20 series, but you could be saving quite a bit of money.

There are many alternatives to consider, which we’ll take a closer look at later on. But if you love Samsung phones and don’t care as much about other brands, you really can’t go wrong with any of the three Galaxy S20 devices. And honestly, if you’re just looking for the most feature-packed experience, Samsung is extremely hard to beat.

What about the Galaxy S20 FE?

Back in September, Samsung launched the Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition). The handset takes on the affordable flagship segment, going head to head with devices like the OnePlus 8.

It’s still a high-end phone in many ways, offering a flat 6.5-inch AMOLED display, the Snapdragon 865/Exynos 990 chipset, and a 4,500mAh battery with wireless charging. Of course, it also supports 5G.

But Samsung had to cut some corners to get to a lower price point. The Galaxy S20 offers less than the three other S20 devices overall. You get slightly different cameras, a plastic back, a lower-resolution display, and just 6GB of base RAM. You also get slower charging speeds, among other things.

You can learn more about the device by heading to our Galaxy S20 FE review at the link or checking out our hands-on video above.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE All the best features of the Galaxy S20 series at a lower price
If you don't mind cutting a few corners, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (which stands for "Fan Edition") might be the phone you are looking for. It offers most of the flagship specs and features of the Galaxy S20 family but trims things down to keep the price low.

What experts think of the Galaxy S20 phones

We’ve reviewed all three Samsung Galaxy phones here at Android Authority. The overall opinions of our reviewers were mostly positive, although there are disadvantages to every phone you need to be aware of.

Our very own Rob thought the Galaxy S20 feels just right, both in usability and aesthetics. He praised the gorgeous screen of the handset and was impressed with the overall performance. The battery life was impressive as well, providing over six hours of screen-on time. However, Rob also noted that the performance of the cameras was inconsistent. Although the main sensor is the best of the bunch, the color saturation is often dialed up too high. But the bigger problem is that the telephoto and wide-angle cameras aren’t as clean as the main camera. They’re more heavily processed and don’t deliver as much detail when cropping in.

Jimmy reviewed the Plus model and said it was one of the most well-rounded smartphones he used in years. His thoughts were similar to Rob’s in many areas, as he praised the display of the phone as well as the performance and battery life. He was also impressed with the cameras, saying they were very versatile, although the night model could be better. Jimmy’s biggest concern was the in-display fingerprint scanner, which was just too slow and unreliable given the price of the phone.

Eric took the S20 Ultra for a spin and had loads of good things to say about it. A gorgeous screen, blazing-fast performance, and a solid gaming experience were just a few of them. He described the phone as “the top dog, the king of the hill, the phone to beat.” However, he believes that most people shouldn’t buy it, mainly because of its high price tag. He thinks the S20 Plus is the better choice for the majority of people, even though the phone offers a bit less in certain areas.

What other reviewers from around the web think

samsung galaxy s20 plus review display home screen

To give you the best overview of Samsung’s flagship series, we looked at what reviewers from other publications had to say about the Galaxy S20, 20 Plus, and S20 Ultra.

  • The Verge’s Dieter Bohn said there are many impressive things about the S20 Ultra. These include the display, battery, speed, 5G support, and much more. He described it as a Statement Phone that wants to be the best and most powerful device on the market. However, the phone is very expensive and a few of its highlighted features like 100X zoom are mostly gimmicks. Dieter feels like the S20 and S20 Plus are better options despite offering less.
  • Cnet’s Jessica Dolcourt advises consumers to skip the Ultra model and go with the S20 Plus instead. It’s not as big and heavy as the Ultra and comes in cheaper. But she also notes that most people will be more than happy with the regular S20, although the Plus model is more convenient for times when you want a larger viewing experience. Overall, Jessica enjoyed the power and performance of the S20 Plus and was impressed with the cameras as well as the battery life.
  • Wired’s Julian Chokkattu praised the display and battery life of the Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus. He also liked the versatility of the cameras and the great performance offered by both models. When it comes to drawbacks, he noted that night photography isn’t the best. Both the Pixel 4 and Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro have Samsung’s phones beat in this category. Additionally, he thinks the S20 and S20 Plus are too expensive. As far as the Ultra model is concerned, Julian said that it’s nearly impossible to dislike it, although it is “laughably expensive” as well as “too damn big.”

What people like you think of the Galaxy S20 phones

samsung galaxy s20 plus review back glass reflection

Although reviews of the Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra were pretty good overall, Android Authority readers were less kind to the phones. We ran a few polls on our website during the last few months that give us an insight into what users think of the devices.

We published the first one back in February when we tried to find out which of the three phones would our readers consider buying. Surprisingly, the vast majority of people (40.61%) said they wouldn’t buy either of them. The S20 Ultra was the most popular one among the S20 phones, with 23.96% of participants saying they would buy it. You can check out the other responses in the chart below.

The Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra are all great devices, so why don’t consumers want to buy them. We tried to figure this out with another poll back in May. Unsurprisingly, it’s the price that’s the problem. The vast majority of survey participants — nearly 70.95% — said that the phone is “Just too damned expensive.” The second most common reason (11.34%) was that users have no need for 5G at the moment — check out the chart below for more info.

We also asked our readers which phone would they choose if they had to pick between the Galaxy S20 Plus and OnePlus 8 Pro. OnePlus was the clear winner here, with 47.60% of participants saying they would buy it over Samsung’s flagship.

How good are the cameras on the Galaxy S20 phones

Samsung Galaxy S20 Rear Camera 1

Let’s start with the Galaxy Ultra, since it offers the most on paper. The phone’s cameras are great and can capture a lot of detail when using the main 108MP sensor. You’ll be happy with the results, especially when taking images during daytime. However, don’t get too excited about the 100x zoom feature, since it’s barely usable.

But keep in mind that Samsung’s Night Mode isn’t a match to the Night Sight technology on the Pixel 4. Overall, the Pixel 4 has a slightly better camera, although the difference isn’t massive. However, the Ultra does outperform the iPhone Pro Max overall, but the difference isn’t massive here either. You can check out the comparisons in detail at the links.

Read next: The best camera phones to get

Moving on to the S20 and S20 Plus, the two have the exact same camera setup with the exception of a ToF sensor, which is only available on the Plus model. It should improve portrait mode images, although the difference isn’t really that big. That means you likely shouldn’t buy the Plus model just because it has an extra sensor at the back.

You get less detail in your images with the S20 and S20 Plus than with the S20 Ultra considering the main sensor has a much lower resolution. But overall, the camera setup is very good on both devices. Images come out great, although the color saturation is often dialed up quite high — meaning results don’t always look perfectly realistic. This may or may not be a bad thing depending on your preference.

Most people will be more than happy with the cameras of the S20 and S20 Plus, although keep in mind that low-light performance isn’t the best, especially if you’re using the telephoto or wide-angle camera.

Do the Galaxy S20 phones have good battery life

Samsung Galaxy S20 Apps 1

Yes, they do. All of them, and that’s despite their large, high-resolution displays and 120Hz refresh rates. The good thing is that you can use the screens in Full HD+ mode and dial the refresh rate down to 60Hz to extend the battery life of your device.

As far as sizes go, the S20 Ultra has the largest battery at 5,000mAh, followed by the S20 Plus at 4,500mAh. The S20 comes in last with a 4,000mAh cell, but keep in mind it also has the smallest footprint and display. While reviewing all three devices, we’ve concluded that they all offer at least a full day of use before the battery runs out of juice. Your mileage may vary depending on your usage, but generally speaking, the battery life on Samsung’s flagships doesn’t disappoint.

You can get the S20 Ultra from zero to full in about an hour.

Neither do charging speeds. You can get the S20 Ultra from zero to full in about an hour using a 45-watt charger, but you’ll have to buy it separately. The other two models charge at 25 watts and will get up to 100 percent in around 70 minutes, which is still a great result.

Also keep in mind that all three phones support wireless charging as well as reverse wireless charging and that the Exynos versions of the phones offer better battery life than the Snapdragon variants, although the difference isn’t massive.

Galaxy S20 series: Competition and alternatives

Google Pixel 4 vs OnePlus 8 Pro back

The Galaxy S20 phones face a lot of competition. You could look into the OnePlus 8, 8 Pro, and the latest 8T, which offer a similar experience to the S20 and S20 Plus but at a lower price. They arguably have better software on board, which is something most of our readers agree with. Their camera performance is very similar, though, with OnePlus perhaps taking a slight lead in the night mode department. But keep in mind that Galaxy phones are often on sale, while getting a discount on a OnePlus device is much harder considering the company upgraded its lineup every six months. This means that depending on when you’re shopping for a new phone, a Galaxy S20 may cost less than its OnePlus rival.

Another interesting alternative is Huawei’s P40 series, especially the Pro model. It excels in the camera department and is an all-around great package when it comes to hardware. But when it comes to software, the story is completely different. The phone doesn’t support Google apps and services because of the US ban, which is why we think any S20 model is a better option.

The LG V60 ThinQ still has a headphone jack.

If you hate the fact that the S20 phones don’t have a headphone jack, the V60 ThinQ might be worth looking into. Not only does it have the 3.5mm port, it also sports a quad DAC for an improved audio experience with the right headphones. It’s also a relatively affordable phone with its launch price of $800, making it $200 cheaper than the S20.

Then there’s the Pixel 4 that comes with a better night mode and a cleaner OS. It’s also one of the first phones to get the latest versions of Android. Let’s not forget about the newer Pixel 5, which gets you the Google experience for less. You get a great camera and software but will be missing out on high-end hardware. The Realme X50 Pro is also a good option, offering 5G connectivity, great performance, and an affordable price tag. But you’ll have to live with slightly weaker cameras and what feels like an outdated design.

Let’s not forget about the newer Galaxy S21 series. The three phones launched with cheaper price tags than their predecessors. They offer less in some areas and more in others, so they are definitely worth a look.

Last but not least there’s last year’s Galaxy S10 series. You get less power and features overall, but the phones are still great options for power users — especially the S10 and S10 Plus.

There are loads of other options available as well, a few of which you can check out in our dedicated “Samsung Galaxy S20 alternatives” post at the link.

Known Samsung Galaxy S20 issues

Samsung logo Galaxy S20 3

The Galaxy S20 phones are not perfect. Users have experienced a few issues with the phones so far, some of which have already been fixed.

One of the biggest ones surfaced back in April when users started reporting that the displays of their phones are turning green. The green tint reportedly appeared when the display refresh rate on the Exynos S20 Ultra was set to 120Hz and the brightness went below 30%. This caused the problem to manifest across various apps including Samsung Pay, the camera app, Snapchat, and PUBG Mobile — read more here. The good news is that Samsung quickly rolled out an update that fixed the issue.

Users also complained about autofocus issues and heating problems experienced with the Exynos versions of the S20 Ultra. In some cases, the phone heated up in seconds after using the camera app. A few users also reported disappointing battery life of about 3.5-4 hours of screen-on time. Samsung already addressed some of these issues by releasing a software update.

Users also had issues with GPS on all three S20 models. A lot of them reported that their phones struggle to get a GPS lock-on, with some saying it either never locks on or takes five to 15 minutes to get a fix. One user even claimed he couldn’t get a lock-on after an hour of driving. Some users have been able to solve the issue by either disabling their 5G, using a GPS Locker app, restarting the phone, resetting network settings, or using a different SIM — learn more here.

Read more: Problems with the Samsung Galaxy S20 series and how to fix them

Samsung Galaxy S20 software updates

android 10 oneplus 7 pro bugdroid

Samsung has never been the fastest OEM when it comes to software updates, but the company has improved over the years. It already rolled out a number of updates to the phones since their launch that solved a few issues reported by users, brought the latest security patch to the phone, and even improved the camera performance and touch gestures.

All four Galaxy S20 phones have already received the Android 11 update, but not in all markets — learn more here. We also expect the phones to get Android 12 in 2021 and Android 13 a year after that, after which software support for the series will stop, at least when it comes to major Android updates.

You can read more about current and planned updates for the Galaxy S20 family here. 

Samsung Galaxy S20 cases and accessories

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus vs Galaxy Buds cases Amazon box true wireless earbuds

Credit: Lily Katz / Android Authority

All three Galaxy S20 phones are expensive, so it’s a good idea to try and protect them from bumps and bruises. The best way is to get a case along with a screen protector for your device. You can check out our roundup of the best ones below.

If you want an official case made by Samsung, we have a roundup of those as well. You can check out the best ones for the Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra at the links.

Additionally, check out the best accessories for the Galaxy S20 series at the link if you want to upgrade your smartphone game. The list includes things like headphones, a power bank, a smartwatch, and even a 45-watt charger for the Galaxy S20 Ultra that will get the battery from zero to 100 percent in about an hour.

Top Galaxy S20 series questions and answers

samsung galaxy s20 plus review samsung daily 3

Q: Which Samsung Galaxy S20 phone should I buy?
A: It depends on your wants and needs, but most reviewers — including our very own Jimmy Westenberg — think the S20 Plus is the best one for most people. If you want a more compact phone, the S20 may be a better option for you, while hardcore users should splurge on the Ultra model. Those on a budget should go for the S20 FE.

Q: Are the Samsung Galaxy S20 phones waterproof?
A: Yes, all S20 devices are IP68 rated, which means they can be submerged in up to 1.5m (five feet) of water for a maximum of 30 mins.

Q: Do the Galaxy S20 phones support 5G?
A: The Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra all support 5G networks. However, the phones are only available in 4G variants in some countries, although we weren’t able to find a list of which ones. This is to keep the cost of the phones down. Also, the countries in which 4G Galaxy S20 phones are sold most likely don’t have a 5G network available.

Q: Do the Galaxy S20 phones have dual-SIM capabilities?
A: Yes and no. The Snapdragon 865-powered phones that are available in the US have a single SIM slot, while the global variants of the handsets that pack the Exynos 990 chipset under the hood come with dual-SIM capabilities.

Q: Do the Galaxy S20 phones support expandable storage?
A: You can expand the storage on all three Galaxy S20 phones with a microSD card. But since the SIM tray is a hybrid one on the global variants of the S20 phones, you’ll have to decide whether to use the second slot for a memory card or a SIM card. You can’t have two SIM cards in the phone and a memory card.

Q: Do the Galaxy S20 phones have a headphone jack?
A: Unfortunately, no. You won’t find a headphone jack on either of the S20 models. These are the first phones in Samsung’s S series to lack a headphone jack.

Q: What chipset powers the Galaxy S20?
A: In most markets across the globe, the Galaxy S20 phones are powered by Samsung’s Exynos 990 chipset. In certain countries including the US, China, and South Korea, however, the handsets come with the Snapdragon 865 chipset under the hood.

Q: Which Galaxy S20 phones have a 120Hz display?
A: All of them. However, the default refresh rate is set at 60Hz. You’ll have to head into the settings to bump it up to 120Hz, but keep in mind that it will consume more power.

Q: What colors are the Galaxy S20 phones available in?
A: In the US, the regular S20 comes in Cloud Pink, Cloud Blue, and Cosmic Gray, while the Plus model can be had in Cloud Blue, Cosmic Gray, Cosmic Black, and Aura Blue. The Galaxy S20 Ultra is available in Cosmic Gray and Cosmic Black. In a few other markets, all three phones also come in Cloud White, while the S20 and S20 Plus are available in Aura Red as well. The S20 FE comes in a few additional colorways including Cloud Navy, Cloud Lavander, and more.

Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy S20 phones

Samsung Galaxy S20 Hero 1




Key Samsung Galaxy S20 specs

 Samsung Galaxy S20Samsung Galaxy S20 PlusSamsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Display6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED
3,200 x 1,440
20:9 ratio
120Hz refresh rate at 1080p
60Hz refresh rate at 1440p
HDR10+ certified
6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED
3,200 x 1,440
20:9 ratio
120Hz refresh rate at 1080p
60Hz refresh rate at 1440p
HDR10+ certified
6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED
3,200 x 1,440
20:9 ratio
120Hz refresh rate at 1080p
60Hz refresh rate at 1440p
HDR10+ certified
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 865 or Samsung Exynos 990Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 or Samsung Exynos 990Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 or Samsung Exynos 990
RAM12GB12GB12 or 16GB
Storage128GB128 or 512GB128 or 512GB
MicroSDYes, up to 1TBYes, up to 1TBYes, up to 1TB
Fast wired and wireless charging
Fast wired and wireless charging
Fast wired and wireless charging
- Wide-angle: 12MP, 1/1.76", ƒ/1.8, 1.8µm
- Telephoto: 64MP, ƒ/2.0, .8µm
- Ultra-wide: 12MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.4µm

3x hybrid optical/digital zoom, Super Resolution Zoom up to 30x

- 10MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.22µm, AF
- Wide-angle: 12MP, 1/1.76", ƒ/1.8, 1.8µm
- Telephoto: 64MP, ƒ/2.0, .8µm
- Ultra-wide: 12MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.4µm
- VGA time-of-flight sensor

3x hybrid optical/digital zoom, Super Resolution Zoom up to 30x

- 10MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.22µm, AF
- Wide-angle: 108MP, 1/1.33", ƒ/1.8, .8µm
- Telephoto: 48MP, ƒ/3.5, .8µm
- Ultra-wide: 12MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.4µm
- VGA time-of-flight sensor

Hybrid optical/digital zoom at 10x
Super Resolution at 100x

- 40MP sensor, ƒ/2.2, .7µm, AF
Connectivity4G LTE support
5G (sub-6GHz, DSS, TDD/FDD, SA and NSA, no mmWave)
4G LTE support
5G (sub-6GHz, DSS, TDD/FDD, SA and NSA, mmWave)
4G LTE support
5G (sub-6GHz, DSS, TDD/FDD, SA and NSA, mmWave)
Operating SystemOne UI 2.0
Android 10
One UI 2.0
Android 10
One UI 2.0
Android 10
Water resistanceIP68IP68IP68
SecurityUltrasonic fingerprint sensor, face unlockUltrasonic fingerprint sensor, face unlockUltrasonic fingerprint sensor, face unlock
ColorCosmic Grey, Cloud Blue, Cloud PinkCosmic Grey, Cosmic Black, Cloud Blue, Aura Blue.Cosmic Grey and Cosmic Black
Dimensions and weight69.1x151.7x7.9mm

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