Samsung Galaxy S20 5G Review

The bottom line here is that the S20 has no real cons to speak of. Sure, the pros may be better with the S20+ or S20 Ultra, but the base model S20 is a great phone, easily recommended.
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The Galaxy S20 line has made quite the ruckus with their space zoom and some camera issues. And, though the Galaxy S20+ Ultra merits discussion, it’s definitely not just academic. It’s the little guy most users will probably buy. If you’re trying to figure out if that should be you, listen in, because this guy packs a big punch.

With the costs of phones continuing to blur the lines in the mid range laptop territory, companies don’t wanna cut into their sales. So, many manufacturers are expanding their options for the consumer who isn’t an early adopter or big tech spender.

Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, S20 Ultra 5G and S20+ 5G Cost

So, we have the Galaxy S20 5G. Before any trade-in offers or discounts, the S20 Ultra 5G will cost you $1,400, the S20+ 5G is gonna run you $1,200, and this here S20 5G will cost you about $1,000.

Differences Between Galaxy S20 Ultra, S20 Ultra and S20+ 5G

The interesting thing about this lineup is that the S20 5G and the S20+ 5G are almost identical in terms of spec, with the key differences being the bigger battery, bigger screen, and depth camera on the Galaxy S20+. We’ll talk about that more in a bit.

So, here’s the S20. It is a beautiful device.

The front is where you’ll find a 6.2 inch, AMOLED, quad HD plus display at 1440 by 3200 pixels. There’s a center hole punched, front-facing, 10 MP (megapixels) camera. The speaker’s slid just above that. And dropping down to the bottom, you’ll get that in-display fingerprint sensor, which feels better implemented than on the Note 10 I recently reviewed. It definitely feels more responsive.

The left side of the phone has no buttons at all because all the action’s on the right side. The power button, the volume rocker, they’re all there. No Bixby button this time around. Top of your phone, you’ll get your Nano SIM tray, which will take expandable storage up to 1 TB. You may need that, because the S20 is only available in the 128 GB option. There’s a microphone up top as well.

The bottom of the phone is where you’ll find the other half of the stereo pair of speakers. Volume and sound quality are great for speakers of this size. There’s also a USB port and a microphone.

The back of the phone is where that 4,000 milliamp-hour battery is housed. Last year’s S10 was 3,400 mA hours. So, definite improvement there. And, you’re gonna get 25-watt fast charging. You’re going to get three cameras on the back. One 12 MPl wide, one 12 MP ultra wide, and a 64 MP telephoto lens. Unlike the S20+ and Ultra, there’s no depth-sensing camera to augment camera effects. Below those cameras, the specs are as modern as you’d expect for a $1,000 phone.

Galaxy S20 5G Specs: RAM, Processor & Battery Life

The Galaxy S20 5G comes with12 GBs of RAM, a beast of a processor in the Snapdragon 865, and a 5G radio with sub6 5G and mid-band 5G, but no millimeter wave 5g radio. Speaking of 5G, I tested T-Mobile’s 5G around Los Angeles County while testing this phone, and the results were impressive.

I’ll get into that in detail with screenshots of my speed test after we talk some more about this phone’s hardware and user experience.

One of the things about using flagship phones, which are really nice, is the refinements you’ll often find. I know this is a little thing, but often when taking photos with a smartphone, you sometimes have to contort your fingers into awkward positions, depending on the angle of the photo you’re trying to take. There’s a little option in the camera to move the shutter button around the screen for the most natural experience while taking the photo. Little things can make a big difference, and bits like this is why I truly enjoy using these phones.

5G is in the name, and it describes the overall user experience with the S20 5G. Everything you do on the device is just fast. Launching and moving between apps is peppy, getting into the camera is peppy, and moving between the camera features is responsive. You’re definitely going to get a top notch flagship experience. The display is gorgeous for watching videos, and the sound from this device is even better than some laptops.

There are plenty of options in the audio menu for you to be able to adjust the sound to your liking, as well as the display. If you like things more natural, you can set it to that preference. If you like the colors more vibrant, those options exist as well. Been hammering the display, watching videos, or maybe it’s been a heavy call day, then you have fast charging. But, when it’s night time and you don’t need to charge up in a jiffy, wireless charging, along with Samsung’s charging pads or other third-party options give you an elegant solution to overnight power.

Galaxy S20+ 5G Worth It?

I guess what’s really interesting to me in terms of the value proposition this phone poses is that if I’m paying this much ($1,000+) for a phone already, I’m gonna have to take a hard look at the Galaxy S20+. It’s just $200 more and you’re gonna get both the sub6 and millimeter wave bands, you’re going to get a battery that is 500 mA hours greater, and a half inch larger display, along with that depth-sensing camera.

Based on the thought that most people are probably not buying these phones outright, instead opting for one of the carrier installment plans, the cost difference becomes a little bit easier of a hit on the wallet. Don’t get me wrong, the cons with the S20 are almost none. If the difference in price were greater, we’d be having a different conversation. But, on a device you may keep around for a few years, this is an investment from the start. And as such, unless you’re one of those users who really prizes a compact phone, I think it’s a pretty tough decision between the two.

Galaxy S20 5G Real World Test

Now, if it’s the fastest band of 5G you’re after, you’re not gonna get that on the Galaxy S20 5G. But, that isn’t a deal-breaker by any means. It’s going to be some time until 5G is fully deployed around the United States. So, having only sub6 and mid band is not a bad thing. Sub6 is the band which actually has better building penetration as opposed to millimeter wave, which is faster but theoretically not as robust inside structures. When using T-Mobile’s 5G network around Southern California, the experience where I had coverage was excellent compared to LTE, even in areas where the signal was weak.

Case in point, I sat in my car while the Misses ran up to our storage unit to grab a few items. I was checking the latest draft version of one of my reviews. The iPhone 11 Pro Max I’m using on T-Mobile’s LTE network would only play the video if I scaled the resolution down to 540p on Vimeo.

The Galaxy S20 5G played the full 1080p resolution upload immediately with no buffering, and I was in a weak 5G signal area. The LTE in the spot was also weak. Inside of buildings, particularly at my desk at work, 5G on that sub6 band was noticeably faster than LTE. Where with a decent signal LTE was giving me generally less than 10 Mbps down, 5G was seeing between 50 and 80 Mbps down and around 40 Mbps up, with peaks at over 50 Mbps. One of the issues I ran into during my testing of connectivity was that the signal strength indicator on my phone sometimes shows 5G while the network through Ookla is registering as LTE.

Galaxy S20 5G Review Summary

At the end of the day, there really isn’t anything negative you can say about the S20. It ticks all the right boxes. Speed, top-notch future-proof specs, camera quality, wireless charging, and great speakers. This is not a device you can go wrong with. And if you’re a Samsung fan, it’s a device that’s familiar without sacrificing everything you’d want in a smartphone purchase in 2020.

Hey! We don’t take it lightly that you took your time out to watch with us. If you have any questions about anything that I didn’t cover in my review, please leave it in the comment section below.