It’s officially Samsung’s starting day. So let’s meet the company’s flagship for 2020: that Galaxy S20.
This phone is the sequel to the Galaxy S10, and no, you won’t miss a thing – the Galaxy S line has been counted from 1 to 10 in the past 10 years and is now jumping to 20 for 2020. Samsung is likely calling these phones as though they were annual Sports video games, and we’re going to launch Samsung Galaxy S (current year) from here.
Samsung has also optimized the size variants. Last year we had the Galaxy S10e, the Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S10 + – taking into account the “small”, “medium” and “large” sizes. This year the smallest cell phone is going away and we have the “medium” Galaxy S20, the “big” Galaxy S20 + and the “extra large” Galaxy S20 Ultra.
The highlight of these new devices are the 120 Hz OLED displays, which now have the highest refresh rates on the market. We used to see phones with 120 Hz LCDs like the Asus ROG II and Razer Phone 2, but now Samsung Display is launching 120 Hz OLEDs. No matter which Galaxy S20 you choose, you get a 3200 × 1440 display with an S20 of 6.2 inches, an S20 + of 6.7 inches and an S20 Ultra with a rich 6.92-inch display – one of the largest displays ever built into a smartphone. The prices are getting bigger too. In the United States, The S20 now costs $ 999The S20 + costs $ 1,199.99 and the S20 Ultra costs $ 1,399.99.
In the U.S. and some other countries, the Galaxy S20 is one of the first phones to ship with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 865 SoC, which should be a standard chip for most 2020 flagship phones. As with last year’s Snapdragon 855, it is still a 7nm chip with eight cores, although Qualcomm has upgraded a Cortex A77-based CPU design instead of the Cortex A76 used for last year’s chips. Qualcomm promises a 25 percent faster GPU and CPU compared to the Snapdragon 855.
The Snapdragon 865 does not have an integrated modem and is only sold together with the separate X55 chip from Qualcomm. The X55 contains the LTE modem, which is normally integrated into the SoC, and it has a 5G modem. Therefore, 5G is mandatory for Snapdragon 865 devices, although 5G networks aren’t really in a useful state yet. The other option for the Galaxy S20 is Samsung’s own Exynos 990 SoC, which supports 5G but is not mandatory. If Samsung sticks to its previous rollout strategy, the U.S., China, Latin America and Japan will get the Snapdragon version, while Europe, Korea and the rest of the world will get Exynos. The Qualcomm versions will all have 5G, but internationally some Galaxy S20s will only be available with 4G and Exynos chips.
We need larger batteries to cover the higher power consumption of a separate modem, 5G, and these larger screens. The S20 receives a 4000 mAh battery, the S20 + a 4500 mAh battery and the S20 Ultra a 5000 mAh battery. Qualcomm’s decision to include mandatory 5G on flagship smartphones could be the reason for the lack of a smaller Galaxy S20e. It may not be possible to install all 5G components in such a small phone together with a correspondingly large battery.
The Galaxy S20 brings 5G to the mainstream, but as Android police Reports say 5G connectivity is not the same on all Galaxy S20. Only the larger Galaxy S20 + and S20 Ultra support both 5G below 6 GHz and the faster 5G mmWave. The smaller S20 only supports Sub-6GHz 5G and not mmWave. With mmWave, several antennas must be placed around the phone. It looks like the S20 has decided to skip the additional space and cost requirements for mmWave.
This year Samsung is expanding the US 5G version by up to 12 GB of RAM across the board, with an option for 16 GB for the S20 Ultra. Storage starts at 128 GB, with 256 GB an option for the S20 and S20 +, while 512 GB is an option for the S20 Ultra. This is UFS 3.0 storage, and everything has a microSD slot for even more storage.
As with previous Samsung phones, these devices are glass sandwiches, on the edges of which a tiny fragment of the metal frame is exposed. They still use Samsung’s patented “Infinity-O” display, which places the front-facing camera under the display and lasers blocking pixels, resulting in a display that looks like someone has taken a picture Perforator to the panel. This year Samsung decided to use the Galaxy S10’s dual front camera setup (with an additional wide-angle lens) and opt instead for a single camera centered on the top of the display. The S20 and S20 + receive a 10-megapixel front camera, while the S20 Ultra receives a 40-megapixel camera.
On the back there is now a large, high camera block in the upper left corner, which contains three or four cameras, depending on the version. The S20 has a 12MP main sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide camera and a 3x tele-64MP camera. The S20 + has all of these cameras as well as a time-of-flight camera (ToF) for bokeh and other 3D sensor apps. The Galaxy S20 Ultra receives a completely different camera package: a 108-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera, a 48-megapixel 4x telephoto lens and a ToF sensor. The 10x 48-megapixel telephoto zoom is referred to as a “100x room zoom”, using a shady reasoning in which the optical zoom, the digital zoom and the filling in of the gaps are combined with AI.
On the video side, all of these phones can record videos in a whopping 8K resolution, which sounds like a great stress test for your phone’s processor, memory, and internet connection. Not many people actually have a device that can play 8K content – I’m sure it looks great on Samsung’s new 8K TVs – but you know that Youtube will at least happily suck and save your ridiculously resolved videos for future generations.
The remaining technical data and functions largely correspond to the older versions of the Galaxy S. The phone is still IP68 waterproof. There is still an ultrasonic fingerprint reader on the screen. It continues to support wireless charging. The only missing feature that was present on previous Galaxy S phones is the headphone jack. This is the first Galaxy S without.
The phones will be delivered on March 6th.
Listing image from Samsung