Samsung Galaxy S20 Review: It’s So Close
The Samsung Galaxy S20 is a principally glorious cellphone. I do know that’s an unpopular take at this level within the yearly Android evaluation cycle, partly due to the value of every S20 cellphone and in addition as a result of Samsung can’t fairly appear to tick each single Android purist field. But man, I actually like this cellphone lots, exterior of 1 space.
Now, I ought to level out that it’s the Galaxy S20 Ultra that’s finally checked out because the controversial cellphone immediately that everybody (exterior of Tim) is taking turns sh*tting on. Its $1,400 price ticket, large measurement, and blended bag of a digital camera expertise has (rightly) ruffled some feathers. Over the previous a number of weeks, I’ve spent zero time with the Ultra and have as an alternative been all concerning the common, smallest-of-the-group Galaxy S20. I can solely provide my expertise right here and why this cellphone has come so near fully successful me over.
I feel this cellphone is (nearly) nice. This is our Galaxy S20 evaluation.
This nearly goes with out saying from one flagship Samsung cellphone to the following, however the show right here is insanely good. The common Galaxy S20 that I’ve examined sports activities a 6.2″ QHD AMOLED show with a 120Hz refresh fee and HDR10+ certification. It is up to now and away higher than some other show I’ve used not too long ago, that my thoughts continues to be somewhat blown all these weeks later.
You’ve obtained all the choices for this show that you simply want, like an evening or blue mild filter, darkish mode, adaptive brightness, and “Vivid” or “Natural” display screen shade modes that may make it easier to modify the colour profile to your liking. It has a spread of brightness that will get stupidly shiny in direct daylight, so shiny that I needed to double-take a few instances whereas it had the solar shining on it, as a result of I couldn’t imagine that I may see it as clearly as I used to be seeing it. It additionally will get extremely dim in order that darkish conditions are nice, which is one thing I can’t say for a lot of telephones.
The viewing angles lose nearly no readability or present nearly no shade shift at even a 45-degree angle. Touch responsiveness is nearly as good as I’ve seen on any Android cellphone in historical past, and yeah, at 120Hz, issues are obnoxiously clean always.
I’ve zero complaints about this show. If you want one, I suppose it’s the limitation that Samsung placed on 120Hz, the place you possibly can solely use that max refresh fee at FHD (1080p) and never QHD (1440p). Samsung shouldn’t pressure you into downgrading (even when barely) one characteristic since you need to use one other characteristic. I feel we’ll survive with 120Hz at 1080p, however hey, it’s a factor that we are able to’t (but) use that refresh on the full cellphone decision.
Oh, the curved edges of the show are nonetheless not my favourite. However, they appear extra delicate than ever on this cellphone and I didn’t discover myself preventing with edge swipes like I’ve in previous curved shows.
Seriously, although, this show is simply nuts.
Hardware and Specs
The Galaxy S20 might technically be the lowest-end of the S20 line, but it surely nonetheless consists of extra specs than nearly all of its opponents. You get the crazy-good show I simply talked about, Snapdragon 865 processor with 5G, 12GB RAM (LPDDR5), 128GB storage with SD help, 4000mAh battery with quick charging (and wi-fi charging), stereo audio system, NFC and MST (Samsung Pay) for cell funds, in-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, IP68 water and dirt resistance, WiFi 6, and triple digital camera setup.
I’ll speak additional concerning the digital camera in only a second, however Samsung is providing you with what you want for 2020. You get the excessive megapixel (64MP) telephoto sensor, an ultra-wide shooter for flexibility (12MP), and a 12MP Dual Pixel primary shooter that tries to offer you anticipated outcomes for a cellphone of this magnitude.
What’s lacking? A headphone jack, in case you care. That’s it. Again, that is the smallest, low-ender of the bunch and but it has all the things I simply listed, like an enormous battery, triple digital camera, Snapdragon 865, and that superb, superb show.
The Galaxy S20, with 12GB RAM, UFS three.zero storage, a Snapdragon 865, and 120Hz show, ought to be speedy and lack hiccups or stutters. It shouldn’t sluggish or crash or fail to load a beforehand opened app or want common reboots or clearing of operating apps. In my testing, this cellphone actually holds up within the efficiency division, delivering all over the place it must.
I don’t know that I’d think about myself a heavy lifter of smartphones, however I do run a dozen or so apps ceaselessly, I take plenty of footage, and I watch quantity of video. This cellphone has simply dealt with any process I’ve thrown at it. I feel I’ve rebooted it a number of instances throughout this evaluation interval, although I’m undecided it actually wanted it.
I don’t have benchmarks to share, as a result of we don’t try this right here, simply perceive that the efficiency Samsung has created is one thing everybody would love. I actually assume you can throw the world on the Galaxy S20 and it nonetheless wouldn’t sluggish.
Through the primary few days of testing, I used to be frightened that battery life with 120Hz turned on would result in a every day wrestle to keep away from a charger earlier than going to mattress. And then because the cellphone realized from my utilization, all of it modified and I’m now principally pleased with the Galaxy S20’s battery life.
My typical day consists of three.5-Four.5 hours of display screen on time made up of the Camera app, Twitter, Chrome, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch, Gmail, and Hangouts. I don’t enterprise a lot out of these areas, however I do maintain them on the display screen for hours at a time.
After these first few days of fear, I’m now getting round Four hours of display screen time on a single cost that runs from 7AM or so to 11PM. In current days, I’ve had 20-30% battery left as I dropped my head on a pillow.
Is this king-level battery life? No. But once I take a look at a cellphone, if it may well get me by means of a whole day with 20-30% battery to spare, I’m good. There aren’t many telephones not named “OnePlus” that push a lot past that, so I’ll take it. If I don’t want a charger by the point I am going to mattress at night time, I feel we’ve obtained acceptable battery efficiency.
For charging, the S20 options 25W wired charging and Samsung’s semi-fast wi-fi charging. I feel in each areas there, Samsung is behind within the charging sport in comparison with opponents. It has been this manner for years, however I by no means begin charging a Samsung cellphone, take a look at it 15 minutes later and say, “Wow, that’s a lot of charge already!” like I seemingly do with each single one in all OnePlus’ telephones. You’ll nonetheless get fast-enough speeds, I simply need Samsung to attempt to lead on this class.
This may sound bizarre to say a couple of Samsung cellphone, however this common Galaxy S20, particularly on this gray shade I’ve, offers off such an understated look. You know the minute you choose it up that it’s a Samsung cellphone due to the superbly put-together items, the gem-like really feel of the glass all over the place, the narrowness of its physique, and all these curves. But it’s not screaming for consideration both, which I can actually admire.
It’s lots like a Tom Ford tux. It’s so completely constructed and tailor-made from a design or structural perspective, that it doesn’t want embellishment or an “Oh So Orange” shade or gradient or a pop-up mechanism. Instead, it grabs your consideration and calls for your respect with out asking for it as a result of you possibly can inform the extent of workmanship. It simply seems good.
Beyond simply the looks, this Galaxy S20 could be the right measurement smartphone. It’s about the identical measurement because the smaller Pixel Four, but I discover it simpler to make use of due to its width backward and forward. The glass and steel mixture, which is commonly slippery in different telephones, hasn’t been for me and I’ve as an alternative observed ceaselessly how un-slippery it has been in my arms. It is kind of tall and never precisely a one-handed cellphone, but it surely’s near being one.
For these of you on the lookout for a smallish system that also checks all the packing containers, Samsung has what you want with this common S20.
Samsung’s software program is weirdly an Android pores and skin I now not look to ditch the minute I’m completed reviewing one in all their telephones. With the introduction of their One UI software program, I really type of get pleasure from utilizing Galaxy telephones and that hasn’t modified with the Galaxy S20.
This cellphone runs the newest One UI, which is model 2.1 on high of Android 10. It’s stuffed with extra options than you’ll ever want or discover makes use of for, similar to all Samsung telephones. It’s beginning to really feel somewhat bloated once more too, if I’m being sincere, although that simply means I’m ignoring a whole lot of stuff and utilizing the requirements.
I feel Samsung will get a whole lot of criticism from tech media as a result of they aren’t into offering the fundamentals or naked minimal software program expertise like Apple or Google do. And whereas I can see a number of the attraction there, since a primary cellphone allows you to add onto it as you see match, I’m coming round to being advantageous with Samsung throwing all of it at you.
Why? Because Samsung is letting you determine what to make use of and to not use. Want a brilliant obtain mega booster factor that makes use of your cell and WiFi connection? Cool! Use it. Don’t care? Ignore it. Do you need entry to their bizarre digital camera modes and Bluetooth music sharing and safe folders and Bixby and numerous Windows integrations? Use no matter you need. If you don’t need any of that, you possibly can ignore it or flip it off.
My setup with this Galaxy S20 has been fairly easy. I instantly ditched their sh*tty launcher and put Nova Launcher on, which I do know seems like a foul transfer throughout a evaluation interval, however their launcher could be the worst within the trade. I simply can’t, OK?
But past that, Samsung lets me customise the lock display screen look, offers me all the show modes I really like, I get numerous quantity and vibration controls, and there are a number of candy “Advanced” options. I don’t use many of the crap Samsung places on right here and that’s OK. I exploit what I would like and that’s given me a software program expertise I get pleasure from as a result of the bottom of the UI and design are very Android-familiar.
I feel the purpose I’m making an attempt to make right here is that individuals discover it cool to trash Samsung for providing you with options as a result of they’ve created this fantasy world the place solely Google’s minimal method to Android is correct. I feel that’s small-minded.
On one other software program observe, we must always speak about software program updates. Samsung was once terrible at them, however the firm has turned a nook over the previous 12 months. They at the moment are issuing main model updates inside a few months of Google doing so and pushing month-to-month safety patches faster than nearly anybody. Their safety patch schedule is really higher than Google’s at this level, as a result of they’re providing these updates for Four years on some telephones. Google solely does three. Now, we want them so as to add an additional 12 months of Android model updates, since they at present solely do 2.
If there’s one space that I’ve discovered myself considerably disenchanted, it’s the digital camera. You might have been hoping I’d come to a distinct conclusion than others on this space, however I’m simply undecided I can with a straight face. The Galaxy S20 digital camera expertise is finest described as…OK.
To recap the setup, you’ve gotten a 64MP telephoto lens with 30X zoom, 12MP primary shooter, and 12MP ultra-wide angle digital camera. That mixture offers you nice flexibility for any shot. It’s additionally not making an attempt as exhausting to be new, like Samsung did on the S20 Ultra, so you must really feel extra assured in taking pictures with this common S20. Do I? Eh, generally?
I can inform you that of all of the photographs I took with the Galaxy S20, there aren’t many I completely love. There are a number of, for positive. I suppose I simply hoped that it being a Galaxy S20 with a brand new digital camera setup that it could do one thing particular and grow to be the digital camera that I by no means needed to half with.
On a sunny day, the digital camera can take a very nice shot. Add some clouds and issues get dramatically drab, perhaps much more so than what your eye can see. Add some low mild and I’m undecided you’ll get a outcome that can impress you want the identical shot may from a Google Pixel cellphone. So we’re getting that kind of blended bag the place some photographs are nice, however the corrections to carry out higher photographs in difficult conditions aren’t there.
I’ll say that the portrait algorithm Samsung is utilizing is tremendous good, although. The edge detection is superb and I really like the real-time bokeh sliders you need to use. The selfie digital camera could be one of the best within the enterprise too.
During my testing, I used the cellphone for weeks with the out-of-box digital camera that had points with autofocus. I’ve since up to date and brought one other batch of pictures. I do assume the focusing scenario is now mounted, however the outcomes of pictures in-focus are principally the identical.
I feel the Galaxy S20 digital camera will likely be advantageous for most individuals, simply don’t go in anticipating one of the best digital camera or a digital camera you hoped $1,000 would get you.
The Galaxy S20, just like the S20+ and S20 Ultra, is a 5G cellphone. Since it runs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 and Qualcomm pressured everybody into shopping for their 5G modem with it, you’ll be capable of get on chunk of 5G networks within the US.
Out of the gate, this cellphone has entry to principally low-band 5G from AT&T and T-Mobile, in addition to Sprint’s mid-band. You’ll discover I didn’t point out Verizon there and that’s as a result of this cellphone doesn’t help 5G mmW, which is the high-band 5G that Verizon has deployed. Verizon is supposedly launching its personal Galaxy S20 with mmW help later this 12 months.
Should you purchase this cellphone, you’ll get a blended bag of 5G expertise and your expectations for what 5G will produce ought to be low. For instance, I’ve been on T-Mobile’s 5G right here in Portland from the minute I pulled it out of the field. The 5G connections I’m getting will not be nice. In truth, I’m fairly positive my 5G speeds and connections are decrease and fewer secure than the earlier 4G LTE connections I had from related areas. Your 5G world could possibly be higher than mine, simply know this cellphone has some 5G limitations for now and that the networks aren’t fairly able to wow you.
5G is right here, technically, but it surely’s no the place close to the long run we maintain listening to about from all the events seeking to get wealthy(er) off of it. Unfortunately, we’re being pressured to pay for it now.
I’m undecided I’ll ever be capable of take a look at a cellphone for any time frame after which inform you it’s fully price shopping for at a worth of $1,000. And that’s precisely what this cellphone prices. It begins at $999.99. The S20+ and S20 Ultra solely go up from right here.
Sure, I genuinely like utilizing this cellphone each single day, however $1,000 is some huge cash to ask from somebody for a cellphone the corporate promoting it most likely hopes you’ll exchange inside 2 years. And this isn’t simply because we’re dwelling by means of a worldwide pandemic and cash is tight both. Spending $1,000 for a cellphone, after spending years paying $600-$700 for them, hurts. It most likely all the time will as a result of I refuse to make $1,000 telephones a standard factor.
I’m nicely conscious that our telephones immediately do way over telephones from years in the past. The shows are loopy, the processors may energy a pc, and the cameras can rival point-and-shoots, however there isn’t any getting round that this can be a hefty sum of cash for anybody.
Samsung is at the least making an attempt some new concepts to push the Galaxy S20. They are nearly all the time doing their loopy trade-in program that we love, however now they’re doing a 50% buy-back assure the place they’ll pay you 50% of the unique worth of your S20 inside 2 years of buy. I’ll allow you to guys determine if any of that makes $1,000 extra appetizing.
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The Galaxy S20 is so near being the cellphone I’d inform everybody to purchase for 2020. You gained’t discover a higher show. You may not discover a higher in-hand really feel. Battery life is strong. Performance is superb. The software program expertise is clean and feature-packed. There is a lot good happening right here.
With that stated, I needed only a bit extra from the digital camera on a $1,000 cellphone. It’s a very nice digital camera, I’m simply undecided it’s going to impress you in methods we hoped it could. And yeah, the cellphone additionally prices an unlimited amount of cash for anybody, to the purpose the place you anticipate perfection.
If you’ll find the Galaxy S20 at an honest low cost (even $200 off), go for it. You will likely be comfortable. Do your finest to keep away from paying full worth, although.