Okay, for so the most part I have always liked Samsung phones, they get a lot of things right and they have come a long way over the years.
The models reflect an upgrade of the regular S10, the S10+, and the S10 5G and they are called the Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra.
What’s the same?
- Overall look and feel
- 120Hz Infinity-O display
- Core Exynos/Snapdragon hardware and RAM
The Galaxy S20 devices all have a similar overall design with metalcore and glass front and back, sporting a punch-hole camera in the display and minimal bezels. All the devices have this Infinity-O display, with curved edges.
Samsung has also put a 120Hz display in all these phones, although naturally, the sizes are all different. That 120Hz display only runs at 1080p however, rather than the full 1440p resolution, which is 60Hz.
On the rear of all the devices is a pronounced camera bump – there’s not even an attempt to blend in the cameras, they are designed to stand out on this generation of phones.
They all have the same core hardware too, either the Samsung Exynos 990 or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, depending on the region you buy it in. This comes with 12GB RAM as standard across all three devices, but the Ultra offers a step-up to 16GB.
And that’s about where the similarities end.
Outside of those outlined details, these phones differ in many ways, seeing each slip into a different position. Here’s what’s different.
Build and dimensions
- Samsung Galaxy S20: 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9mm
- Samsung Galaxy S20+: 161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8mm
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 166.9 x 76 x 8.8mm
A glance over the dimensions shows the range of sizes these phones come in. While the overall build quality and look of the phones is the same, physically there’s a big range of size options – some 15mm in height.
That is, coincidentally, almost the same as the size difference between the S10 and the S10 5G from 2019. Generally, however, these phones are bigger than previous models, but with smaller bezels.
- Samsung Galaxy S20: 6.2-inch, 120Hz
- Samsung Galaxy S20+: 6.7-inch, 120Hz, 3200 x 1440 pixels
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 6.9-inch, 120Hz
The Galaxy S20 comes in at 6.2-inches as the smallest of the bunch, running up to a massive 6.9-inches on the S20 Ultra – which makes it a big phone. The Galaxy S20+ sits in the middle at 6.7-inches.
These displays are all AMOLED and they all offer a 120Hz refresh rate – although you’ll only get that refresh rate at Full HD+ and not the highest Quad HD+ resolution. (Full HD+ is the default most Samsung phones, with Quad HD+ an option you have to turn on.)
- Samsung Galaxy S20: 4000mAh
- Samsung Galaxy S20+: 4500mAh
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 5000mAh
The Galaxy S20 has a 4000mAh battery, while the S20+ has a 4500mAh cell and the S20 Ultra has a 5000mAh battery.
That will probably mean that the larger Samsung S20 devices last longer than the smaller, despite having to drive a larger display. That’s been the experience over the past few years, where the bigger devices performed better than the smaller.
- S20: 12MP main, 64MP telephoto, 12MP ultra-wide
- S20+: 12MP main, 64MP telephoto, 12MP ultra-wide, ToF
- S20 Ultra: 108MP main, 48MP 10x telephoto, 12MP ultra-wide, ToF
The big difference in these devices is pushed through the cameras. That’s the area where Samsung has to impress the most. Firstly, the makeup of the Galaxy S20 and the S20+ are broadly the same – apart from the addition of the time-of-flight sensor in the S20+.
That sensor may make little real difference – we’ve seen plenty of 2019 phones where the time-of-flight sensor didn’t appear to make a huge difference to the experience. The main cameras are the same – a new 12-megapixel sensor with massive 1.8µm pixels – so should be great in low light, while both have a 64-megapixel telephoto camera.
However, the setup of the Galaxy S20 Ultra camera is almost completely different. The only thing in common on these cameras is the 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, with the S20 Ultra sporting a 108-megapixel sensor for the main camera. This is paired with a 48-megapixel telephoto, which is a 10x optical periscope lens. That combination gives 100x zoom.
In some regards, the S20 Ultra might have the best load-out of cameras, but what will be important is the quality of the main sensor, not to mention the power of the software processing. They take different approaches, the S20 Ultra going after the resolution, the S20 and S20+ going after quality with bigger pixels. It may be that the Ultra isn’t the better camera in all situations.
Samsung has pulled out all the stops with the Galaxy S20 lineup and, if the cameras truly can get Samsung back to the top spot, then it has a truly formidable range on its hands. That said, the pricing is a problem and I see little reason for the Galaxy S20+ to exist: it’s too big a jump in price from the S20 and at that price, you might as well save up for all the extras the S20 Ultra brings.
Moreover, history tells us Galaxy flagships fall sharply in price over the first year. As such, I suspect you’ll be able to buy an S20 Ultra for the price of an S20+ by the summer and an S20 for $200-300 less on a two-year contract. Samsung has made potentially class-leading phones, so the smart money waits until stores slash them to class-leading prices.