Samsung Galaxy S20 vs S10 – Peak Smartphone Achieved?
Samsung just announced the Galaxy S20 and it comes in three flavors: The S20, S20 Plus, and the S20 Ultra. Now these phones share a lot of things in common, but there are a few unique features that make the S20 Ultra stand out from the other two. But in this video I want to focus on the Galaxy S20 and compare it to its predecessor the Galaxy S10. I will walk you through some of the changes they have done both externally and internally, and also talk about some of the features that they have added to the Galaxy S20. Next I will wrap things up by going over the differences between the S20 Plus and the S20 Ultra, so sit tight and let’s get started.
Let’s start with the design, and honestly there isn’t a lot going on with the S20 family. The differences are very minimal compared to the S10, but I did notice a few things. First up, the obvious, the rear cameras are now placed vertically instead of the horizontal implementation of the S10. I’m not a fan of it, but let me know what you all think about it. The front facing camera has been shifted from the top right-hand side to the center of the S20, it’s essentially following the footsteps of the Galaxy Note 10. The corners on the display are more curved, but interestingly enough the edges are less aggressive compared to the S10, so watching videos will be a lot less distracting compared to the S10. However, the metal frame around the S20 has been shrunk and they have added more glass, so I’m not sure how that’s going to translate into long-term durability, because of one thing that I loved about the Galaxy S10 is that solid metal frame all around the phone. It just feels amazing in the hand. In fact, after spending just a few hours comparing both these phones, I felt a lot more comfortable holding the Galaxy S10 over the S20.
Also, Samsung didn’t really talk about this, but they silently removed the headphone jack. Let’s just take a moment to say farewell to our beloved headphone jack. It’s gone, but I guess most of you probably don’t care.
Moving onto the display, and this is where you are going to notice a significant difference between the S10 and the S20. The size remains relatively the same, we are talking a difference of 0.1 inches between the two, but the main highlight is the implementation of a 120Hz dynamic AMOLED screen. As you would expect from a flagship Samsung device, it looks absolutely gorgeous with even deeper blacks, better contrast, and vibrant colors. But on top of that, when you add the 120Hz refresh rate the experience is just amazing, at least after spending a few hours with.
When navigating through the UI the phone just felt a lot faster and more fluid, and I think that’s definitely something that was missing on last year’s flagship. I’m glad that they have finally delivered it with the S20. However, there is a catch, the phone can run at that higher refresh rate at Full HD+, which is the default resolution that Samsung ships these phones in the first place. If you were to bump it up to QHD+, which is its native resolution, you are limited to 60Hz. This is a bummer, but honestly I’m not sure if I’m disappointed with this limitation because I was actually pleased with the experience at that resolution and refresh rate. That was while spending just a couple of hours with it though, I still have to spend more time with the phone to eventually give you my full verdict on that experience.
Taking look at the specs, the S20 comes with the latest Snapdragon 865 processor versus the 855 found in the Galaxy S10. The RAM has been bumped up to 12GB versus 8GB, and storage remains the same at 128GB. Yes, you can still expand the storage up to 1TB via the microSD card slot. I do respect Samsung for keeping that option on the Galaxy S20. You also get the well known features that are found on the Galaxy S10, like the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, IP68 water resistance rating, wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging, though I do wish that they included a faster version of that feature. The battery capacity has also been improved on the Galaxy S20, so you are getting a 4000mAh battery versus a 3400mAh battery on the Galaxy S10. This is actually amazing considering the size of the device, and it’s also kind of awesome given that these phones run at a power-intensive 120Hz. A bigger battery means that we don’t have to worry about shorter battery life.
Samsung has also added a cool feature called Music Share. It essentially allows your Galaxy S20 to act as a Bluetooth hub for other devices to stream music through. Say for instance you are in a situation where you have the S20 paired to your car’s audio system, and you have someone else who wants to stream music to your car’s audio, with Music Share you can simply connect to the Galaxy S20 rather than having to go through the process of connecting to the car’s Bluetooth. It’s a way more simple setup and I think that’s a pretty cool feature that a lot of people will take advantage of.
And finally let’s talk about those cameras. It’s a very interesting setup just like the S10. The S20 comes with a triple camera setup, which includes an ultra-wide, standard, and telephoto lens. They all come with a combination of optical image stabilization and electronic image stabilization. Now the sensors themselves come in a weird setup, so pay close attention here. The ultra-wide angle sensor features 12MP at F2.2, the standard sensor is 12MP as well but at F1.8, and the telephoto sensor is rocking a whopping 64MP at F2.0. Keep in mind that this is pixel binned four times, meaning your final result is a 16MP capture, which leads to better low light performance. I’m not sure why Samsung decided to choose the telephoto to highlight the 64MP sensor, because it would have been nice to include that with the standard camera cause that’s what people typically use to take photos. I’m definitely curious to test it out in-depth, but let me know what you all think about this choice cause it feels really odd to me.
They have also added a feature called Space Zoom, which is a combination of optical and software cropping that results in a 30X zoom range on the S20. Basically, you have a 3X optical range and then a 10X range via software, which eventually results in an image with some sharpening added to the end. Now if you switch over to these 64MP setting through the app, the zoom range is only limited to 6X. I absolutely positively don’t see myself taking advantage of this feature because I don’t want to be that guy creeping into another person’s backyard. Maybe you might be interested in this zoom technology if you are into sports photography, because typically that’s it’s used for, but I’m pretty sure there’s some other use case scenarios. Nevertheless, 30X zoom looks pretty interesting and I’m curious to test that out as well.
They are bringing in pro grade controls on both photo and video modes, which is awesome. Speaking of video, the S20 can shoot up to 8K at 30 FPS. That’s right 8K! Now it does that by recording 4GB files, so it’s not continuous meaning you will have to stitch it together in post-production. They have also added 8K video snap. In other words, single take mode. With just a tap of a button it records 8K video for about 10 seconds, then you can pick your desired frame of choice, and the end result is a 33MP photo in JPEG. It’s certainly a cool feature, just being able to capture an expression from a video, and I think Samsung is targeting the S20 for users who want the best camera experience by giving them a lot of options. I think that’s something that you will notice coming from the S10, just a lot more photo and video options.
I almost forgot to mention that all three of these phones will support 5G out of the box. Now I’m not sure how valuable 5G is for you, but here in Canada it doesn’t look like it’s taking off anytime soon. Nevertheless, it’s good to have that future tech built into a phone that’s launching this year.
Now before I wrap up I do want to quickly talk about the S20 Plus and the S20 Ultra. The S20 Plus is basically a copy and paste of the smaller S20 in terms of specs and features, except for a few things. The screen spans across 6.7 inches, it has a bigger battery coming in at 4500mAh hours, it comes with up to 512GB of storage, and it has a Time-of-Flight (ToF) 3D depth sensor at the back. This unique sensor should help with better depth detection in light focus mode.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra is really the Cream of the Crop in the Galaxy series. The first thing I noticed right away is just how big and thick this phone is. The screen spans a whopping 6.9 inches and you can pick this up with up to 16GB of RAM, a 5000mAh battery which I’m sure is going to last for days, and perhaps the biggest selling feature of this phone is the implementation of a 108MP standard wide-angle camera at F1.8. It’s absolutely bonkers to see specs like that on a phone, but again keep in mind that Samsung is using a technology called nona-binning. Essentially during low light the sensor bins itself to produce a 12MP image for better low light performance, but during daylight it reverts back to its full 108MP setting. This is all done automatically, which is pretty cool.
They have also implemented a folded zoom lens on the Ultra to give it a longer focal length. How far you may ask? Well it’s 100X. The telephoto lens on the Ultra is also pretty impressive coming in at 48MP at F3.5, and you get the standard ultra-wide as well at 12MP. The front facing camera on the Galaxy S20 comes with a 40MP sensor versus 10MP found on the S20 and the S20 Plus, so if you are into those super high resolution selfies for Snapchat or Instagram the S20 Ultra is probably the phones to get. Again though, I’m pretty sure there are alternatives on the market.
Although you are getting some amazing specs on the S20 Ultra, it certainly does come at a cost. You basically have to pony up $1,400 USD to get the S20 Ultra, which is just absolutely insane. The regular S20 starts at $1000 USD and the S20 Plus goes for $1200 USD, which is about a $100 premium compared to last year’s model. This is definitely very interesting because the features don’t really justify that $100 premium, at least that’s what I think at the moment.
For our Canadian audience, this is what pricing looks like for the S20 family, and it is not cheap. As you can see, the S20 Ultra goes for up to a whopping $2,110. I can build a PC for that. Now I do have some thoughts about this launch. First is the fact that they decided to eliminate the Galaxy S20e, because last year the Galaxy S10e was an amazing smartphone. It offered a lot of the flagship features from the Galaxy S10 and the S10 Plus at an affordable price point, and a lot of people love that. However, I guess we are not seeing a lower tier version of the S20, which is a little bit disappointing.
I think the biggest improvement compared to the S10 is the display. At 120Hz it definitely makes the phone faster, and makes navigating through the UI much more fluid. Having tested the Pixel 4 and the OnePlus 7T and the 7 Pro I can say that having a high refresh rate display really leads to an awesome experience when you using an Android smartphone. I think that’s more important new features, especially for the end-user. The next thing is of course the camera performance, because I’m really curious to compare to the S20 to the S10 and see how well it does in both detail and low light. It will also be interesting to the compare the Galaxy S20 series to the Pixel 4, because to me this is definitely an awesome Android smartphone for photography. That is definitely something that I’m curious to test out. Now 8K video is something that you can brag about, but I’m pretty sure not a lot of people are going to shoot in that resolution because it’s going to chew through storage.
Overall, I don’t think that is a noticeable improvement compared to the S10 in terms of features and all that kind of stuff. Sure there are a few gimmicks here and there, but is it enough? Let me know what you guys think about the new Galaxy S20 models. Do you find some of these features to be minor or major? I’m also really curious to know which one of these phones would you like me to check out? Would it be the regular S20, the S20 Plus or the super expensive flagship S20 Ultra? I’m really curious to know.