Samsung’s Galaxy S range was updated just a few months ago. Samsung decided to launch three new Galaxy S20 models. This time, with the removal of the ‘e’ version and with an S20 Ultra with a 108-megapixel camera. This makes the most economical version of the Samsung Galaxy S20. At Post Journal, we have tested this device: a compact high-end with an excellent screen and a camera that gives a lot of play. This is my analysis.
But first, it is important to know the Galaxy S range, since there are up to two different models of each device. On the one hand, we have the Samsung Galaxy S20. It is the mobile that I have been able to test for more than 15 days. Specifically, it is the version with 128 GB 5G connectivity. There is also a 4G version with a lower price, but with the same memory. On the other hand, we have the Samsung Galaxy S20 +, with a larger screen and one more sensor on the back. The most different is the Galaxy S20 Ultra, which completely changes in camera and screen.
Design of Samsung Galaxy S20
We start talking about the physical aspect of the terminal, which is undoubtedly one of the most positive points of the Galaxy S20. Not because of its design, but because of its compact size. It is a mobile that measures 152 mm high and has a thickness of about 8 millimeters. It is not a very compact size, as the Pixel 4 could be, but it does have the perfect dimensions to hold and navigate with the screen with one hand. Also, the aluminum frames have a rounded finish, and this makes them have a better grip. The back also helps with the curved edges.
And speaking of the rear; It is made of glass, with a glossy finish. In my case, I have been able to test the unit in blue. Personally the most beautiful. It has colored reflections when light hits the glass, and the clear finish means that fingerprints are not so easily marked. On the same back is the camera module: it has a rectangular shape and protrudes slightly from the edge. In that module, we find three sensors and an LED flash. Personally, the design of this camera does not displease me. It’s not as far-fetched as the one on the S20 Ultra.
The frames are made of aluminum, with a thickness of 7.9 mm in the thickest areas (top and bottom) since on the edges, as the rear is curved, they are thinner. The keypad is in the right area. In the lower part, we find the USB C and the main speaker, while in the upper area is the tray for the SIM and micro SD cards. The frames have a shiny finish in a silver tone that goes very well with the back.
Without a doubt, the most striking thing is the screen. It is a 6.2-inch panel and has minimal frames, both at the top and the bottom. The camera is directly on the screen, it’s a little dot at the top that lines up with the notification bar. The loudspeaker for calls is hidden in the upper frame. You can hardly see it, but you can hear it perfectly.
An interesting detail of the front is that the curvature is not as pronounced as in previous models. We do notice that slight inclination on the edges when swiping, but it is much more subtle. This makes the shading less pronounced. Also, we avoid phantom pulsations.
I must admit that I liked the design of the Galaxy S20 a lot. The truth is that, in images, it did not seem like a suitable design for the high-end. However, just taking it out of the box changed my mind. You can see the care that Samsung has put in the appearance, with very premium materials and very well achieved color tones. The feeling when taking the device is very good.
Samsung Galaxy S20, Features
- Dimensions and weight: 152 x 68 x 7.9 mm, 164 grams
- Screen: 6.2 ”AMOLED with QHD + resolution and 120Hz
- Processor: Exynos 990, eight cores and 7 nm
RAM: 8 GB
- Storage: 128 GB, expandable via micro SD
- Main camera: 12 MP + 64 MP telephoto + 12 MP wide-angle Video in 8k
- Frontal camera: 10 megapixels
- Battery: 4,000 mAh
- Connectivity: WI-FI, 4G, NFC, Bluetooth, GPS
- Android version: Android 10 with One UI 2
- Others: USB C, on-screen fingerprint reader, facial recognition, water resistance
Screen of Samsung Galaxy S20
The Samsung Galaxy S20 has a 6.2-inch screen. Supports a maximum of QHD + resolution (3200 x 1440 pixels). As well as a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz. However, to be able to use this frequency, you need to apply the mode in Full HD + (2400 x 1080 pixels). Samsung does not support applying the QHD + resolution with 120 Hz, possibly because the battery consumption would be higher.
The truth is that it is more worth applying the screen in Full HD + resolution with 120 Hz. The reason? Because you will hardly notice a difference between QHD + and Full HD +, but you will notice 120 Hz compared to 60 Hz.
The panel of the Galaxy S20 is one of the best screens that we can find today. In image quality, very similar to that of the iPhone 11 Pro. And this Galaxy S20 beats it in refresh rate. The small drawback is that the curved edges cast a slight shadow on the white backgrounds. Something that is already happening in most devices with a curved screen.
120 Hz has its positive and negative points. The positive, that the movement of the screen is extremely fluid. It is noticeable, especially if you come from mobile with a 60 Hz screen. The fluidity is extreme, everything flows like a charm. Content optimized at 60 fps or higher looks great. Sadly, and while Samsung says they scale 120Hz for unsupported content, there aren’t many games that support this frequency. Also, 120 Hz uses more battery. Fortunately, we can change the refresh rate in the system settings.
And speaking of settings, Samsung allows us to modify some parameters of the screen, beyond resolution or frequency. We can modify the color temperatures, in case we prefer warmer or cooler tones. We can also modify the zoom of the screen, as well as apply the light filter to reduce hiding fatigue.
Let’s go with the photographic section, one of the star points of the Samsung Galaxy S20. In this case, we have a triple main camera. It is the same as the one we see in the Samsung Galaxy S20 +, except that this model does not have a ToF sensor, as we do have in the Plus version. What do we lose with this fourth camera of the Plus model? Mainly, better results in portrait mode, since in the S20 it is not so accurate at the hardware level. We also lose precision when performing activities in augmented reality, as well as some other secondary mode for the camera.
The main camera of the Galaxy S20 is 12 megapixels. It is followed by a second telephoto lens with 64-megapixel resolution, as well as another ultra-wide-angle lens with 12 MP resolution.
We start by talking about the main camera, which has a resolution of 12 megapixels. The photographs in broad daylight are very good, with excellent detail and very well achieved color. The brightness is also very good, although on some occasions we notice some overexposure, especially in those areas with direct light that contrast with the shadow. Of course, the detail on the edges is very good.
Indoors the results are very similar, good color and detail in the photograph. Again, a slight overexposure in the brighter areas. It seems that something is to blame for the final processing, which is something that could be improved in terms of the interpretation of brightness and shadows. However, it is not a worrying thing, much less makes it a bad camera. The tests show that the main camera of the Galaxy S20 is one of the best that we can find today.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 camera allows us to take photos with a resolution of 64 MP, here the second camera is activated, which is also used for zoom. With these 64 MPs, the detail is much better, especially in remote situations. Of course, the difference is not huge compared to the 12 MP camera, so it is only advisable to use this mode when you are going to give it a more professional use (editing, for example) or to print the photograph on a large scale. In this way, it hardly loses quality. However, if you are only going to take the photo to save it in the gallery or upload it to social networks, it is not recommended to use this resolution.
The portrait mode of the Galaxy S20 is also very well achieved. Clipping is good, both on people and objects. Also, we can adjust the level of background blur, as well as the possibility of switching between the normal camera or the ultra-wide-angle.
We move on to the night scenes. As is normal, a lot of detail is lost in the image. In this scenario, the processing is good, since it helps us to get a little more shine. There is no overexposure in the lights. In general, the quality is very good. The camera includes a night mode that helps us get a little more light in dark situations.
A telephoto lens
The second camera, 64 megapixels, is responsible for taking photos with zoom. This telephoto sensor is not a telephoto. Samsung uses a mix of optical and digital zoom to perform 2x. For all other magnifications, Samsung crops the image to 64 MP. It is easy to know if exactly it is a telephoto sensor, with a default of 3x. In this case, it is not, since we can activate a 64 Mpx mode to take pictures with a 1x zoom.
Be careful, this configuration does not have to be bad. As this sensor offers greater detail in remote areas, we hardly notice differences compared to telephoto zoom. At least, that is what I have been able to verify when doing the tests. The 3x Zoom is very similar to what we find in other models. Photos with 3x zoom have good detail and color, with results similar to the main camera. Even indoors, very good results are achieved. The more we increase the zoom, the more loss of detail we will have, although the good color is maintained and stabilization is very good.
Ultra wide-angle camera
The third sensor is an ultra-wide-angle lens. It has the same resolution as the front lens: 12 megapixels. The results? Very good. The angle is wide enough to capture more information in the image, but without distorting the picture. Good detail in the most remote areas, except when you have to capture a lot of information, such as, for example, a forest with many trees (you can see it in the image). Indoors you lose something, but it does a good job. This camera mode is perfect for shooting landscapes, taking group photos, or even pursuing a more artistic approach. For example, capturing in a vertical position.
A very interesting detail: the switching between cameras is extremely smooth. We can go from a 30x to 0.5x zoom (wide angle) in a few seconds, and with a completely fluid interface.
The selfie camera and video recording
The front camera has a resolution of 10 megapixels. It may seem somewhat low compared to the competition. For example, the Huawei P40 is 32 megapixels. However, the results are very good. We did notice some overexposure with the processing, but it has very well achieved colors and excellent detail. Of course, in night situations it lacks a lot.
As for the video, the Galaxy S20 camera allows recording up to 8K. It is a very very high resolution. It is advisable to record at this resolution if you have a Samsung 8K television or if you are going to upload the video to YouTube in this resolution. If not, it is recommended to leave it at a maximum of 4K.
The video quality is very good. One of the best I’ve tried on a mobile. Good color and incredible detail in the scenes. Also, a very successful stabilization. An important detail: we can change cameras during the video with extremely fluid movement and without any cuts.
Camera app and modes
The Samsung Galaxy S20 camera app is very good. The interface has a minimalist design, with user controls and well-placed settings. One of its strengths is that we can place the camera modes in the position we want. And speaking of modes, there are many options that we can find for photography. For example, the AR mode, which allows us to make videos with augmented reality drawings. There are also modes for the camera, such as ‘Professional’, to adjust parameters manually.
In the upper area, there are some very interesting settings, such as the possibility of changing the resolution of the camera, choosing between different filters or effects, or setting the timer. From here we can also activate an animated photography mode, where we can take a picture with a small video shot. The camera also includes a scene optimizer mode, where it adjusts the camera automatically, depending on what you are focusing on, to get the best picture.
This makes some scenes appear somewhat more saturated and with less realistic colors. Therefore, it is best to keep this option disabled.
The Samsun g Galaxy S20 arrives with One UI 2.0, a personalization layer that runs under Android 10. One UI 2.0 is already in some Samsung terminals, and the differences concerning the first version of One UI are minimal, except for minor improvements in some interface elements.
One UI is, in my opinion, one of the best customization layers that we can find on Android, after Android Stock and Oxygen OS, which is OnePlus’s customization layer. It is a very clean interface, with very successful colors and a well-implemented icon design. The content is visible and the elements that we see are just and necessary. Of course, One UI features Android 10’s dark mode.
One UI has some extra features for this Galaxy S20. We have the Edge screen, which has a shortcut on one of the sides. This shows different information in tabs. For example, we can have access to the most important applications, the favorite contacts, or ‘Smart Select’, which gives us the possibility of taking screenshots of a specific area or even creating GIFs through videos. It is not a function that you will use a lot, but there it is, and it comes in handy.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 incorporates navigation with gestures. It is very intuitive and easy to use, in a short time you get used to it. It is very similar to what we see on other devices:
- go back: swipe from one of the sides
- go Home: swipe from the bottom to the center of the screen
- open multitasking: swipe from the bottom and hold your finger in the center of the screen
- open the Google Assistant: swipe from one of the sides.
The only negative point that I have found: when we activate Samsung Pay, the gesture at the bottom overlaps with the tab to open the cards and pay with the mobile. Therefore, when you make the gesture to go home or to open the application drawer, Samsung Pay opens. Solution? disable the home tab in the app.
We also find some own applications, such as Game Launcher. It is a game manager app. We can see all the ones we have installed, as well as the recommended games. It also gives us the possibility of knowing a history with the games played, the most popular ‘Games’ and our Discord to chat with the players.
Bixby: progress properly
Bixby is Samsung’s virtual assistant. It shares space with the Google Assistant, although it is in the background. Bixby is made up of two categories. On the one hand, Bixby Home. It is a kind of ‘Feed’ that appears in the left area of the home screen. From there we can see recommendations and widgets of the applications, recommendations, the weather, or the most important news. The truth is that it is very well implemented, and we can edit it to add compatible third-party apps.
On the other hand is Bixby Voice, the voice assistant. It is summoned by pressing the off button. Bixby speaks in many languages and seems to understand most of the commands perfectly. We can ask you for the weather, the latest news, to put a song on Spotify, to add an event to the calendar, etc. He will respond to us with a natural voice and immediately. Some third-party applications are also supported.
With Bixby, we can also create routines, so that it performs some actions at certain times. For example, we can ask him to put on music and tell us what the weather is like when we wake up.
Smart Things or how the integration with smart objects should be
The truth is that the Samsung ecosystem is very advanced, but it seems that it does not have as much prominence as that of Apple or Google. Smart Things is the app where we can control all the devices in the home. If we have a TV, computer, or another smart device from the Samsung brand, we can control it from there. But we can not only link the products of the brand. We also have the possibility of attaching other accessories. For example, a smart bulb from Philips or Xiaomi.
In this way, we can control the accessories from the App, as well as synchronize them with Bixby Voice for routines or to ask to turn the device on / off / adjust through voice. What I liked most about Smart Thins is the intuitive and beautiful interface, as well as how easy it is to link a device.
It’s not all positive in Samsung’s customization layer. During these weeks of use, I have noticed adjustments that I have not liked. First, the advertising of the brand itself. From time to time Samsung activates promotional notifications for its products. This does not make much sense when we are paying 900 euros on a mobile. Of course, it is not as exaggerated as what we can see in the Xiaomi terminals. In my case, during the 15 days, I have received 3 advertising notifications. In the device settings, you can disable the advertising options, but it is not easy to find it.
Further. some apps, like Samsung Pay, also display quite intrusive advertising. The payments app should be extremely simple and minimalist (a few versions ago, it was). However, it has become an advertising portal, even when paying at a store.
In short, One UI is one of the best layers of customization that we can find today: beautiful, intuitive, with a very mature ecosystem and an assistant that is improving more and more. We hope we can see a little less confusing settings to control, for example, the subject of advertising.
Performance, Autonomy, and Security
Samsung has opted for an Exynos processor for this Galaxy S20. We are not surprised, since in Europe they have been using their chips for some time, while in the United States and other markets they are betting on Qualcomm processors. Specifically, Snapdragon 865. In this case, the Galaxy S20 is accompanied by 8 GB of RAM, as well as internal storage of 128 GB, which is expandable via micro SD.
There is some controversy on the issue of processors, and it seems that the Exynos 990 that it mounts, is somewhat less powerful than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865. It is clear that this is not a problem for most users, because Samsung’s Exynos does an incredible job: it works like a charm, even with the most powerful games that we can find on Android. The 8 GB of RAM is also more than enough for the most demanding tasks. At no time have I found LAG or outages in the system or navigation.
A sufficient battery
We come to the section of autonomy. The S20 has a 4,000 mAh battery, a more than decent capacity considering its screen size and the optimization of a high-end processor. However, the 120 Hz and 5G connection can affect performance quite a bit. In my experience, the 4,000 mAh has held up well, reaching the end of the day with normal/medium intensive use, and using the screen at 60 Hz with Full HD + resolution.
With a somewhat more intensive use: maximum brightness and 120 Hz activated, the results are not so desired and we hardly get to the end of the day. Therefore, if you want to have this screen frequency enabled, you better avoid playing games unless you have a charger handy.
It has a possibility of fast charging: in 30 minutes we can charge 50 percent of the battery. We can charge the device wirelessly with any Qi charger. Also, it supports the ‘PowerShare’ mode, which makes the Galaxy S20 a wireless charger to charge, for example, the headphones.
On-screen fingerprint reader and face unlock
The Samsung Galaxy S20 has a fingerprint reader built into the screen. Also, we have the possibility of activating facial recognition through software.
Let’s go with the fingerprint reader since it is the method that I have used most of the time. It works very well, is very fast, and is in a comfortable position for the finger. Of course, on occasion recognition fails and forces us to position our finger exactly on the reader.
As for facial recognition, this is done through software. There is no 3D sensor that scans our face to have a more precise recognition. However, it works very well: it is fast and just by lifting the terminal it is unlocked. An interesting detail (and that I have loved it), is the small animation that the camera ring makes when the terminal is unlocked with facial recognition. They are unimportant details, but they are very good in a high range.
Price and conclusions
The Samsung Galaxy S20 is on sale now. It comes in three different colors: black, blue, and pink. There is only one version with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, which is priced at $999.99.
It is an expensive terminal, but it offers very good features. One of the most positive points is its screen. The Galaxy S20 has an incredible panel, with excellent quality and a refresh rate that makes you not want to go back to 60 Hz. Although it is small, it is perfect for consuming multimedia content.
Another of the positive points of this terminal is the camera: good shots in most situations, with an excellent app and a wide-angle, very well stopped. The ‘telephoto’ also achieves very good results, and video recording is excellent. A very good option that we can capture up to 64 megapixels.
One UI continues to mature very well. The interface has managed to be one of the best that we can find on mobile. Pretty, minimalist, with good controls and fast. Bixby stays and advances little by little. The performance? It is also excellent, with very good results even in the most demanding games.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 also has some negatives. The battery is somewhat fair when we have 120 Hz activated, and the camera lacks in some points.
In short, the Samsung Galaxy S20 is a good option for those users who are looking for a compact high-end, with a good screen and without sacrificing in the photographic section. This terminal is a very good alternative to the iPhone 11 or the Pixel 4.
- Excellent display
- Comfortable and compact design
- Good camera
- It lacks a little more battery
- Some Samsung apps have too much of their advertising