Updated: Sep 1, 2021
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The Samsung Galaxy S20 arrives on the market as Samsung's flagship smartphone for 2020 and aims to be a serious competitor to the iPhone 11. Samsung is producing three S20 models - the standard S20, the S20 Plus and the S20 Ultra. For the purposes of this review, I will be discussing the standard S20 model.
The Galaxy S20 appears to boast everything users desire from their smartphone today. The phone boasts a gorgeous display, a trendy glass focused design, and a camera that wants to seriously go head to head with the iPhone 11 Pro.
So, let's get to it. How does the Samsung Galaxy S20 stack up?
The Galaxy S20 boasts three main rear cameras. A wide 12-megapixel with an f/1.8 lens, an ultra-wide 12-megapixel, and also a whopping 64-megapixel telephoto with an f/2.0 lens.
The sensor in the main 12 megapixel camera has been rebuilt from the ground up to capture more light due to the increased pixels. The camera focuses at an impressively quick rate, not withstanding poor lighting conditions.
The main selling point as far as the Galaxy S20's camera is concerned is the 64-megapixel telephoto. An ingenious new feature called 'Space Zoom' has been added which combines a 3x hybrid optical zoom and a 30x Super Resolution zoom (to use some terminology from Samsung). The result is of course, one of the best zoom features we've seen in any smartphone camera to date. An impressive amount of detail can be captured using this feature without distorting or blurring the subject matter at the other end of the lens.
Shooting 8K video is now a possibility for Galaxy S20 users. Certainly, this is the first time such a feature has appeared on a phone (not even Apple's iPhone 11 can brag about this feature). In the very likely event that most users currently don't have the means to playback 8K footage just yet - Samsung has made it very easy to allow users to capture high resolution stills from any 8K footage that is shot. Footage can also be exported using the more familiar 4K resolution if you want to share your work with others.
The 64-megapixel camera comes into play when 8K footage is shot. One minute of 8K footage will take up 600MB of storage. On the downside, users can also only shoot 5 minutes of 8K footage at any one time.
Samsung has never disappointed with the displays on their flagship devices, and this year's iteration of the Galaxy model in the form of the S20 is no different. This, in large, is due to the addition of a 120Hz refresh rate.
What this means is that the screen will refresh 120 times per second, rather than the 60 times per second we're used to with the previous Galaxy models. The end result is that the phone actually feels a lot faster. A nifty trick indeed.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the 120Hz refresh rate will only work when the screen resolution is set to Full High Definition (FHD). This is something that users will need to select manually, as it is not a default setting out of the box.
Unfortunately this means that you'll have to revert back 60Hz if you want to make the most of the S20's QHD+ resolution. A nuisance for a lot of users no doubt, as you'll always have to decide between resolution or speed. A likely reason for not committing completely to the 120Hz display is possibly to preserve battery life. Consistently running the display at 120Hz would deplete the battery in an unacceptably rapid rate - something that'll most probably be rectified in future Galaxy smartphones.
On the flipside, the screen produces the bright and vibrant colours most Galaxy users have become accustomed to over the years. HDR10+ continues to be present in the Galaxy S20. It is still as responsive as ever due to the 240Hz touch layer. A fingerprint display also remains a mainstay feature, while Face ID continues to remain an iPhone exclusive feature for the moment.
Overall, it is actually very hard to fault the display, one look at it and it's obvious that you're looking at a display from a premium quality, top range smartphone.
The S20 retains the familiar design of the predecessor Galaxy S models. Namely, the big screen and the rear glass housing. The Galaxy S20 comes in a range of colours including Cosmic Grey and Pink.
Perhaps one of the most noteworthy design choices this year is the complete omission of the 3.5mm headphone port. What's included instead is a pair of USB C-Buds in the box (Galaxy Buds are included in the Plus and Ultra versions of the S20 for pre orders).
The micro SD slot remains a prominent feature and will allow users to insert up to 1TB of extra storage space if required.
Battery and Specs
The Galaxy S20 comes with either 8 or 12GB RAM and 128GB of storage. The European models will contain an Exynos 990 processor while the US versions will house a Snapdragon 865 processor. All of these components ensure that the Galaxy S20 runs at high speeds without compromising functionality elsewhere.
The standard S20 model will be sold in a 4G and 5G variant (the Ultra and Plus models are all in 5G exclusively). Those users that opt for the 5G version will enjoy an extra 4GB of RAM. This is the only different between the two variants of the standard model.
One of the main criticisms lobbied at previous Galaxy phones is the insufficient battery life. Samsung has made strides to rectify this with the new S20. The phone comes equipped with a 4000mAh cell, and the charging speed has been increased to 25W.
The Galaxy S20 intriduces a Quick Share feature which is designed to be a rival of the AirDrop found in Apple devices. The way Quick Share will work is by using Wi-Fi directly to rapidly share files between Samsung devices.
The user interface of Samsung phones has been overhauled for the better in recent years. The current UI is 2.1 which accommodates Android 10. This UI ensures smooth operation of the phone and is visually very appealing. Dark Mode also returns and this time has been extended to more apps.
The Galaxy S20 is a very welcome and solid update to Samsungs Galaxy S line of smart phones. Users will be delighted at the enhancements to the most integral features of the phone. The Samsung Galaxy S20 is no doubt one of the best and most complete smartphones on the market right now, a job well done by Samsung.
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