Samsung Galaxy S20 Review: It’s Not A Compact Flagship | Digital Trends

“The Galaxy S20 may be the smallest S20, but it’s not quite small enough to be a compact flagship phone.”

  • Beautiful display, 120Hz refresh fee
  • Camera takes good images
  • Slim, gentle, and simple to carry
  • 5G for the long run
  • Size does not do the display justice
  • Not sufficiently small to be totally different

The Galaxy S20 is a superb telephone. It’s additionally the smallest member of the Galaxy S20 household. Yet Samsung erred by not carrying over the Galaxy S10e’s even smaller 5.8-inch display measurement.

What is the Galaxy S20? It’s a brilliantly succesful smartphone that may’t distinguish itself from the ever-so-slightly larger Galaxy S20 Plus to achieve the underserved viewers crying out to purchase a diminutive flagship telephone. Let’s take a better have a look at the place the Galaxy S20 succeeds, and the place it fails.


The Galaxy S20 appears to be like precisely the same as the Galaxy S20 Plus, simply on a barely smaller scale. It’s skinny and light-weight at 163 grams and seven.9mm thick, and constructed round an aluminum steel chassis with Gorilla Glass 6 on the entrance and rear. The display measures 6.2 inches, so it’s smaller than the 6.7-inch Galaxy S20 Plus, and only a contact bigger than the iPhone 11. I’m very completely satisfied to be utilizing the blue model moderately than the uninteresting grey Galaxy S20 Plus, because it injects muchneeded character. It’s enjoyable to take a look at, as a substitute of one thing that might have been dreamed up by 1984’s Winston Smith on an particularly miserable day.

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It’s extra pure to carry and use, thanks partly to the 20:9 side ratio, when in comparison with the Galaxy S20 Plus and the OnePlus 8, however it’s not that small. Although it’s the newborn of the S20 vary, it’s not a small telephone. If you’ve held the Galaxy S10, it’s basically the identical measurement, simply with a barely larger display. This is feasible because of the astonishingly slim bezels. They’re virtually invisible down the edges, and solely black slivers on the prime and backside. Using the Galaxy S20 actually is like holding one massive display in your hand.

I just like the little particulars within the design too, from the way in which the aluminum chassis bends across the quantity and energy buttons, to the dainty digicam bump on the again, which appears to be like a lot much less offensive right here than it does on the S20 Plus. It’s a friendlier, neater, higher all-around design. However, the bigger display on the S20 Plus wins me over each time in terms of watching movies and taking part in video games.

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The Galaxy S20 is smaller than the opposite telephones within the vary, however it’s not so small that the trade-off between display measurement and portability turns into a consideration. The Galaxy S20 fails to be a real compact flagship telephone, however it succeeds in being probably the most engaging of the three Galaxy S20 gadgets out there this 12 months. It’s a conundrum, one in the end solved by shopping for the blue or pink Galaxy S20 Plus.

Screen and gaming

The 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED has a 3200 x 1440 pixel decision for an excellent increased pixel density than the S20 Plus at 563ppi. It has a 120Hz refresh fee, HDR10+ help, and is among the many most amazingly stunning and sharp smartphone screens you’ll stare at. This can be an issue, since you actually do must stare at it, because it feels fairly restrictive when benefiting from its skill to observe video. You’ll benefit from the colours and sharpness extra on the S20 Plus or S20 Ultra.

For studying emails and notifications, in addition to internet searching, the display measurement is nice. The 120Hz refresh fee isn’t activated by default, however it’s extremely really helpful. It smooths scrolling all through, leading to much less eye pressure and a extra nice visible expertise. It comes with a caveat, in that it may well solely function with the display exhibiting Full HD decision, and never with QHD decision lively.

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Fire up some video, and YouTube exhibits 1080p high quality content material with HDR, if out there. Using the NowTV app to observe HBO’s vapid-but-visually supercharged Ballers appears to be like unbelievable, with lots of element and a really pure coloration palette. However, the display side ratio hurts the viewing expertise, as a result of there are black bars operating down both aspect. Zoom in to fill the display and also you lose a number of the picture on the prime and backside. Audio may be very fulfilling, with loads of quantity, though the bass is proscribed.

Gaming is nice, principally due to the telephone’s immense energy and skill, plus the big selection of video games out there within the Google Play Store. Of course, it’s not fairly as immersive as it’s on the bigger S20 Plus. Dariusburst is an efficient instance of why, as you need to shrink the view proper right down to compensate for the 20:9 side ratio display. Hill Climb Racer doesn’t endure in the identical approach, and though I by no means actually problem the 240Hz contact sampling fee, the S20 all the time feels sharp and responsive, making video games fulfilling.

The Galaxy S20 (from left), Galaxy S20 Plus, and Galaxy S20 Ultra Andy Boxall/

The Galaxy S20’s display is great, however whereas I’m keen to work across the downsides of the 20:9 side ratio on the bigger fashions, I’m much less keen to take action on the midsize S20. If I’m going to pay for the form of specs and media skill right here, I would like to have the ability to actually take pleasure in them. That means a bigger display.


The digicam on the Galaxy S20 is identical because the one on the Galaxy S20 Plus it’s simply in a barely extra compact bump on the again. It homes the principle 12-megapixel f/1.Eight aperture sensor with optical picture stabilization, plus a second 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and a 3rd 64-megapixel telephoto with a 3x optical zoom. It shoots 4K video, has a time-of-flight sensor, and on the entrance is a 10-megapixel selfie digicam.

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I discovered it gives the identical efficiency because the S20 Plus. The digicam is flexible, with wide-angle and zoom options, takes respectable evening mode pictures, and has an amazing phot- modifying suite constructed into the app. The portrait mode is efficient however wants some cautious use because it typically fails to focus, and edge detection does endure with extra advanced shapes. When it really works, the edit mode to take away coloration from the background in portrait pictures can produce some atmospheric, eye-catching pictures.

Please consult with the Galaxy S20 Plus review for extra in-depth analysis, because the digicam is identical, and try a number of the photograph examples right here to see how the Galaxy S20 performs in opposition to it. The saturation stage could put some off, however it’s extra restrained than earlier Samsung cameras, and I discovered it provides photographs taken on sunny days simply the proper diploma of life and visible punch. Note that Night Mode can improve noise whereas brightening shaded areas, typically making the non-Night Mode shot preferable.

Ultimately, the Galaxy S20 takes detailed and colourful images that you just wish to share with minimal modifying. There are extra succesful cameras on the market, from the iPhone 11 Pro to the Huawei P40 Pro, however the S20 (and the S20 Plus) are crowd-pleasers that can take images you can be pleased with, day or evening, and in most conditions.

Like the telephone itself, the digicam is a superb all-rounder, which fortunately does with out the gimmicky options on the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Software and safety

The Galaxy S20 has the identical Android 10-based OneUI software program put in because the S20 Plus and the S20 Ultra. I’ve gone into extra element about it in my Galaxy S20 Plus review, however my total impression stays the identical. The colourful, daring, and fairly massive icons stand out on the display, and it’s apparent what they do at a look, plus the look might be personalized. For instance, by default, it’s a Four x Four grid of icons, making it look a bit infantile, however it may be switched to a 5 x Four or a 6 x Four format for individuals who don’t just like the big-print-style model.

I’ve not had issues with any apps, notifications are delivered with out difficulty, and the design hasn’t strayed so far-off from Android on a Google Pixel 4 that it’s a thriller voyage — although it’s totally different sufficient that it has its personal id. The haptic suggestions is tactile, however I don’t like the usual Samsung keyboard as a result of it doesn’t have swipe typing, so switching to Google’s Gboard is preferable.

The issues stay the identical. The swipe-in Samsung Daily display is ineffective, and the necessity to use a hidden software program button to energy off the telephone as a result of the {hardware} button is mapped for Bixby is irritating. On the optimistic aspect, utilizing Samsung DeX to connect with my MacBook works properly, and approach higher than it was because it now consists of the power to sync images and music.

The Galaxy S20 (from left), Galaxy S20 Plus, and Galaxy S20 Ultra Andy Boxall/

I principally relied on the face-unlock system to safe the Galaxy S20. It’s quick and dependable, although the telephone typically doesn’t get up correctly once I decide it up, forcing me to press the facility button, which then slows the method down much more. The in-display fingerprint sensor is the alternative. It’s a bit gradual and unreliable.

Performance and battery

The golden specs simply carry on coming. Purchased within the U.S., the Galaxy S20 has the Snapdragon 865 processor inside with 12GB of RAM, making it probably the most highly effective smartphones you should purchase in the intervening time. I’m utilizing the European model with a Samsung Exynos 990 chipset for this evaluate. Here are the benchmark outcomes to see the way it compares to the competitors.

Geekbench 5: 2753 Muilt-Core/905 Single-Core

3DMark Sling Shot Extreme: 5198 Vulkan

Unsurprisingly, that is virtually the identical because the Galaxy S20 Plus, which places it a little bit behind the Oppo Find X2 Pro and its Qualcomm Snapdragon 865. This signifies how the U.S. Galaxy S20 telephones will carry out. The OnePlus 8 Pro carried out higher within the gaming benchmark check, doubtless attributable to not solely the Snapdragon 865’s graphics chip, but in addition the telephone’s further gaming modes, that are extra complete than the Galaxy S20’s.

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The smallest Galaxy S20 telephone will get the smallest battery. It’s a 4,000mAh cell and is an ample performer. For day by day, average use, together with a number of telephone and video calls, the Galaxy S20 ended the day with round 15% left by 11 p.m., however this was when linked to Wi-Fi, so I’d count on it to be just about empty if it had been utilizing a mobile community. Using the included 25W USB Type-C wired charger, it goes from zero to 55% in 30 minutes, and charging to full takes an hour and 15 minutes roughly. The Galaxy S20 additionally has wi-fi charging.

Although the Galaxy S20 has 5G, I don’t have 5G protection in my space. I’ve tried it on each the Vodafone and the EE 4G community. Calls are clear for each, and reception has been good utilizing each mobile and Wi-Fi calling. Although the speaker is small, I by no means needed to continually reposition the telephone to seek out the proper place to listen to the caller.

Price, availability, and guarantee

The Galaxy S20 prices $1,000 and comes within the cloud blue coloration seen above, plus a cloud pink, cloud white, and cosmic grey. It’s out there to buy now from Samsung, numerous retailers, and with a contract with carriers. In the U.Ok., the telephone prices 800 British kilos, and is bought via all main carriers, and thru Samsung itself too.

You get a regular one-year guarantee to cowl manufacturing defects, and for those who purchase the telephone immediately via Samsung, you may add a Premium Care package deal that provides unintentional harm protection and 24/7 take care of $12 monthly.

Our take

The Galaxy S20 is a superb smartphone, however it doesn’t differentiate itself sufficient from the bigger, extra immersive-to-use Galaxy S20 Plus, isn’t low-cost sufficient to be tempting as a finances purchase, and isn’t sufficiently small to be a very compact flagship. If you’re going to spend $1,000 or extra on a telephone with among the finest screens within the enterprise, you might as properly get it in a measurement the place you take pleasure in it, and that’s on the Galaxy S20 Plus moderately than the S20. Provided you perceive this, the Galaxy S20 remains to be an excellent smartphone.

Is there a greater different?

Yes. The Galaxy S20 Plus is the higher purchase within the Galaxy S20 vary, however for those who solely wish to spend $1,000 on a brand new telephone, then take an excellent have a look at the $1,000 iPhone 11 Pro and the $1,000 OnePlus 8 Pro. Both significantly problem the Galaxy S20, with wonderful battery, digicam, and display efficiency, all on the identical value. The 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro will fulfill your need for a sensibly sized flagship too.

We additionally assume the $700 iPhone 11 is a superb purchase. If you desire a sensible digicam telephone and aren’t frightened about battery life, then the Google Pixel 4 XL is value taking a look at, and for those who’re within the U.Ok. and desire a much less widespread different, the Oppo Find X2 Pro fills the hole for those who don’t thoughts spending extra.

How lengthy will it final?

Complete with the quickest Qualcomm processor you may get in the intervening time, a fantastic display, a good digicam, and 5G for the long run, the Galaxy S20 will simply final the period of a two-year contract and even longer.

It has an IP68 water-resistance ranking, so it would survive if it will get moist, however the glass physique will profit from being put in a case for those who’re a bit clumsy. Samsung does present common software program updates for its telephones, and its flagships are usually well-served, however don’t count on them to reach as quick as they’d for those who purchased a Google Pixel Four XL or an iPhone 11 Pro.

Should you purchase it?

No. Most individuals ought to go for the bigger Galaxy S20 Plus.

Editors’ Recommendations

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