Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus evaluation
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is essentially the most spectacular ‘center youngster’ handset we’ve ever examined – and almost definitely the perfect pound-for-pound S20 cellphone, interval. It’s a powerhouse that packs the perfect perks of its siblings, and strikes the proper stability between them.
That’s, it’s received an even bigger show and extra battery life than the Samsung Galaxy S20, but it surely’s not fairly as massive and dear because the Samsung Galaxy S20 Extremely. If you’d like affordability, or the perfect of the perfect, go along with one of many different two; nevertheless, we predict that for most people the S20 Plus will hit the candy spot.
Leaving the ultra-premium Extremely apart, that is additionally the yr’s first huge 5G cellphone – and one which operates on each the mmWave and sub-6 frequencies. Crucially, the usual S20 solely works on sub-6, which suggests some US carriers gained’t even promote that cellphone. In flip, meaning the S20 Plus shall be their most inexpensive S20 mannequin.
Add to the combination some really stellar cameras that includes amped-up zoom and top-tier specs, and the S20 Plus earns its place as the perfect of the S20 trio. The cellphone is not good –- there are many nitpicks that we’ll get into beneath –- but it surely’s an amazing all-around selection with the perfect of this yr’s prime options, although you may should pay to get them.
Sure, the S20 Plus has gotten a worth bump over final yr’s Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, presumably as a result of added 5G compatibility. It pushes the cellphone to new heights of flagship costs, which is irritating – particularly given the restricted availability of the cheaper 4G mannequin.
But when the S20 Plus pushes up the worth ceiling, at the least it does in order probably the greatest telephones in the marketplace.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus worth and availability
- Preliminary launch date: March 6, 2020 within the US and Australia, March 13 within the UK
- 128GB + 12GB of RAM + 5G: $1,199 / £999 / AU$1,649
- 512GB + 12GB of RAM + 5G: $1,299 / £1,099 / AU$1,899
- 128GB + 8GB of RAM + 4G solely: AU$1,499 (not accessible in US)
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is obtainable now within the US, UK and Australia. There are two variants of the cellphone; one with 5G, and one other with solely 4G.
The 5G model of the cellphone begins at $1,199 / £999 / AU$1,449 with 128GB of storage. That goes as much as $1,349 / £1,099 / AU$1,699 for the 512GB mannequin.
The 4G-only variant is obtainable in Australia (it isn’t offered within the US or UK) for AU$1,299 with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. All of the 5G variations of the cellphone include 12GB of RAM.
We reviewed the 5G model of the cellphone, and this evaluation will largely concentrate on that gadget as it is the extra generally accessible handset.
In different phrases, Samsung is pitching this Plus mannequin as extra of an intermediate step than merely a bigger model – which is a little bit of a stretch. There aren’t that many extra extras within the S20 Plus than there have been within the S10 Plus that warrant the relative worth bounce… other than 5G connectivity.
The S20 Plus is available in a plethora of cool, muted colours: Cosmic Grey, Cloud Blue, Cosmic Black, and Aura Blue. UK shoppers may get the cellphone in Cloud White coloration, however solely by way of the provider O2.
Count on the Samsung Galaxy S21 sequence disclose to drop the worth of the Galaxy S20 Plus although as that Plus variant is more likely to construct on what we have seen right here from the S20 Plus.
- Bigger than the usual S20, smaller than the S20 Extremely
- Rectangular digital camera block on an otherwise-sleek glass shell
- Bixby button is gone, however so is 3.5mm headphone jack
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus doesn’t look a lot completely different to its predecessor, however that is the sleekest gadget in an extended line of flagships – and that isn’t a nasty look.
As cellphone makers fumble round looking for the perfect enclosure for increasingly lenses, the oblong block on the again of the S20 Plus isn’t the worst. It’s a bit extra refined and fewer obtrusive than the sq. bump on the Pixel 4’s rear – though it’s possible you’ll not suppose it a lot of an improve over the horizontal strip housing the cameras on the S10 Plus.
The only center-aligned punch-hole for the front-facing digital camera seems cleaner, and obstructs much less of the show, than the lozenge-shaped cutout housing two lenses on the S10 Plus. Much less noticeable until the 2 telephones are side-by-side is that the brand new Plus mannequin has no prime lip or backside chin – its bezel is evenly sparse.
What’s likewise much less apparent is how minimal the design has change into: with no rear fingerprint sensor (this was dropped from all of final yr’s S10 telephones), no Bixby button and, sadly for some, no 3.5mm headphone jack, the S20 Plus is fairly lean.
Heck, it’s even thinner by a hair than the usual S20. The draw back? Pump up the amount on the twin top-and-bottom audio system and the entire rear cowl will vibrate. They put out respectable audio, although we nonetheless haven’t discovered sound projection and stereo stability that tops what the Google Pixel 4 is able to.
- 6.7-inch AMOLED show, WQHD+ (3200 x 1440) decision
- 120Hz refresh fee, however solely at FHD+ decision or decrease
- In-screen fingerprint sensor is lackluster
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus’ 6.7-inch AMOLED show is sharp and vibrant, with WQHD+ decision (3200 x 1440). The show is a shade taller than the S10 Plus’ QHD+ (3040 x 1440) display, which is probably going as a consequence of it having much less bezel on the prime and backside. However you probably gained’t discover a distinction given how comparable they’re – at the least till you get to the refresh fee.
Sure, the S20 telephones be part of a number of different late-2019 and 2020 fashions in including the choice to refresh the display extra often. Most telephones function at 60Hz (which means the display refreshes 60 instances per second), however on the S20 Plus and its siblings you may decide to up this to 120Hz.
Whereas that’s a sooner refresh fee than the 90Hz on the Google Pixel 4, OnePlus 7T Professional or Razer Cellphone 2, you probably gained’t see a distinction until you set these telephones facet by facet with the S20 Plus whereas it’s bumped as much as 120Hz. And sure, the ASUS ROG Cellphone 2 additionally presents 120Hz, making Samsung’s flagship line the primary non-gaming telephones to get the cutting-edge display tech.
So what does this imply in day-to-day use? Technically, it ought to allow smoother motion in video games that help 120Hz, though we discovered the impact to be extra noticeable in on-line video games like PUBG quite than motion/journey titles like Alto’s Odyssey (see this Android Authority listing for different video games that harness 120Hz screens). However you’ll most admire 120Hz within the silky-smooth animations flowing by way of the Android interface – sure, many of the enjoyable is available flipping between apps and thru menus, though you’ll get the identical impact when gliding by way of Instagram or Twitter.
Granted, you may’t go full-throttle on each refresh fee and show decision: if you would like 1440p visuals you’ll must set the display to 60Hz, and if you wish to bump that as much as 120Hz you then’ll must accept 1080p (or 2400 x 1080). And it’s a must to toggle each settings individually, which makes it too onerous for tinkering: you’ll probably set it to at least one combo or the opposite and depart it.
As for the show’s common properties, anticipate a lot the identical as from the S10 Plus, with a really clear and detailed image when watching content material as much as 1440p decision. Regardless of technically having a higher-resolution display than the one on the iPhone 11 Professional Max, each that cellphone and the S20 Plus confirmed roughly the identical image when demoing, say, a 1440p video on YouTube – although the Apple cellphone’s display does have a slight edge in distinction, exhibiting high-contrast topics (like a lizard within the solar) in larger readability.
One final level: you would possibly wish to activate facial recognition for the reason that in-screen fingerprint sensor is poor.
- 12MP primary + 12MP ultra-wide + 64MP telephoto (3x optical)
- The latter is vastly improved, zooming as much as 30x
- Shoots video in 8K 24fps…if you could find a show to point out it on
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus packs a trio of rear cameras, plus a time-of-flight depth sensor. Whereas the primary and ultra-wide lenses haven’t modified an amazing deal from the corresponding lenses on the S10 Plus, Samsung has amped up the telephoto lens to ship incredible constancy far past what its predecessor was able to.
The place the S10 Plus packed a 12MP 2x optical telephoto digital camera, which prolonged to a decent 10x digital zoom, the S20 Plus is rocking a 3x optical lens mixed with a 64MP sensor, permitting for an astounding 30x digital zoom. Test it out beneath, beginning with a broad picture of the Troopers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Brooklyn, New York Metropolis – after which zooming in 10, 20, and eventually 30 instances.
True, the element will get muddy on the tail finish of that zoom vary, however the intermediate steps – the digital camera app helpfully offers 2x, 4x, 10x, and 20x interval choices – make it so much simpler to hone in on topics of curiosity. It’s not fairly the Samsung S20 Extremely’s a lot vaunted 100x Area Zoom, however the idea is similar – and given how hardly ever you’d must get that near a distant topic, we expect 30x will swimsuit you simply wonderful.
Higher nonetheless, at 20x and upwards there’s a picture-in-picture inset that exhibits which a part of the bigger picture you’re zoomed in on – it’s a very nice contact that we anticipate different cellphone manufacturers to repeat after they get to this stage of zoom functionality.
Samsung has likewise boosted its Evening mode with software program methods – and whereas our shot of the total moon at 30x digital zoom wasn’t very clear, the nocturnal mode nonetheless works at varied ranges of the S20 Plus’ zoom.
Samsung has packed in its common slew of options (Reside Focus, panorama, and so forth), together with a brand new one: Single Take, which is mostly a predictive ‘panic button’ for images. Choose the mode, hit the shutter button, and the digital camera will seize a choice of customary images, depth-enhanced Reside Focus stills, video, and GIF-like brief animations. One of the best half? AI will routinely choose the perfect photos and clips and put them in a mini-album.
Stills images apart, the S20 Plus’ different huge characteristic (together with its siblings) is the aptitude to seize 8K video at 24fps. That’s way more of a showcase characteristic than it’s a sensible one, given how few commercially-available shows can really show video in 8K, however you may drop right down to UHD (aka 4K, 3840 x 2160) in 60fps, in addition to FHD and common HD should you so select.
The S20 Plus forgoes its predecessor’s dual-lens front-facing digital camera array for a single 10MP shooter. Predictably, the brand new cellphone’s depth sensing is a bit off as compared, with portrait-style Reside Focus struggling a bit as software program picks up the slack from the optics. Once more, it’s not fairly the 40MP front-facing digital camera on the S20 Extremely, but it surely will get the job accomplished.
- Connects to each mmWave and sub-6 frequencies
- This makes it extra 5G-accessible than the usual Galaxy S20, which is sub-6 solely
- Our prime pace on US provider Verizon’s mmWave 5G: 1.38Gbps
The Galaxy S20 Plus connects to each mmWave and sub-6 5G networks, making it one of many first mainstream telephones to take action. That quantity would possibly develop as extra telephones are launched in 2020 with the characteristic, besides, it’s a lovely possibility – in concept, anyway.
That’s as a result of we’re nonetheless within the early days of 5G, so don’t anticipate this expanded connectivity to be a serious promoting level this yr as carriers construct out their networks. In our New York Metropolis testing, we bounced by way of Verizon’s still-piecemeal mmWave 5G space, which offered spectacular speeds after we didn’t by chance step outdoors the protection bubbles.
That mentioned, having each mmWave and sub-6 makes the S20 Plus accessible on extra carriers, particularly ones that solely have one or the opposite. Assuming carriers preserve constructing out these networks and, crucially, in ways in which keep compatibility with the S20 Plus, the cellphone may very well be future-proofed for years to return, in contrast to the mmWave-only Samsung Galaxy S10 5G or sub-6-only OnePlus 7 Professional 5G.
- Snapdragon 865 chipset within the US, Exynos 990 elsewhere
- 12GB of RAM (until you go for the 4G-only, which has 8GB of RAM)
- 128GB or 512GB storage choices
Samsung’s S-series telephones have at all times boasted top-tier specs, and the S20 Plus isn’t any exception. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset within the US or Exynos 990 in different nations (together with the UK and Australia) and 12GB of RAM baseline breeze by way of video games, media binges, and multi-app multitasking.
That is 12GB of RAM for the Galaxy S20 Plus 5G, however should you go for the 4G model you may get 8GB of RAM. We have but to check that model of the gadget, however we consider 8GB of RAM must be sufficient to get you thru on a regular basis duties.
In accordance with Geekbench 5, the S20 Plus is likely one of the strongest smartphones in the marketplace, with a multi-core CPU rating of three,034 with the Snapdragon 865 (2774 with Exynos 990) that beats most different telephones whereas, not surprisingly, arising in need of the S20 Extremely, which scored 3,286, and in addition trailing the iPhone 11 Professional Max, which scored 3,424. Nevertheless, in terms of day-to-day efficiency you are unlikely to note vital efficiency variations between similarly-priced flagship rivals.
In real-world use, the S20 Plus can deal with just about any app, recreation or media you throw at it, making it a real powerhouse in your pocket. Mixed with its 5G functionality, this bodes nicely for the longevity of the handset, at the least in terms of efficiency.
So whether or not you are enhancing images in Photoshop or Lightroom, or parachuting into your one-millionth spherical of PUBG, the Galaxy S20 Plus has the grunt to maintain up. We examined it with media and video games, and the cellphone dealt with the whole lot with out a downside – even when pumped as much as 1440p decision or 120Hz refresh fee, the cellphone didn’t warmth up below strain.
The Samsung S20 sequence packs Android 10 out of the field, so anticipate all the good options the newest model of Android presents, akin to common Darkish Mode. As a Samsung cellphone, it has the anticipated model apps and interface overlay packaged in its newest model of One UI – if the particularly slim keyboard annoys you as a lot because it did us, swap it out for Gboard pronto.
- 4,500mAh capability – in informal use, lasts practically two days – although 120Hz and 5G might eat that up sooner
- 25W quick charger within the field
- Quick Wi-fi Charging 2.0 + Wi-fi PowerShare to lend cost to different gadgets
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus packs a 4,500mAh battery, which feels enough: in our testing, we discovered that it held up far past a day’s price of typical use, which for us included binging video, scrolling by way of Twitter, taking images, and enjoying a number of video games.
That’s not particularly exceptional, however plainly battery life is kind of conserving tempo with innovation: you may eke out a bit extra life by decreasing the show decision or dropping the refresh fee right down to 60Hz; conversely, you may max-out the display tech that’s on supply, however battery life will undergo accordingly.
The cellphone consists of an ordinary 25W USB-C Samsung charger within the field, and it additionally helps Quick Wi-fi Charging 2.0. And, just like the S10 sequence telephones earlier than it, the S20 Plus can share its cost with different gadgets through Samsung’s Wi-fi PowerShare characteristic – that is notably helpful for equipment like your Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, but it surely works for any gadget that helps Qi-charging.
Purchase it if…
You’re prepared to pay for practically the perfect
We gained’t beat across the bush: the Samsung Galaxy S20 Extremely is a superior cellphone, particularly the cameras. However if you wish to avoid wasting cash, the S20 Plus has practically all its greatest perks at a notably decrease value.
You like taking telephoto footage
Not all telephones are good at taking zoomed-in images. The S20 Plus has a decent 3x optical zoom mixed with a 64MP sensor that allows some really neat close-in images. It could not seize the clearest images at 30x zoom, however it’s going to gather context at a farther vary than nearly each cellphone in the marketplace – apart from the S20 Extremely, after all.
You wish to be on the reducing fringe of 5G
Given the S20 Plus connects to each mmWave and sub-6 5G, it’s an amazing cellphone for individuals who wish to bounce on the reducing fringe of 5G – as a result of, likelihood is, the cellphone will hook as much as the 5G community of your provider of selection.
Don’t purchase it if…
You need low cost 5G
Sure, the S20 Plus is probably going essentially the most inexpensive technique to get 5G on each mmWave and Sub-6. However should you needed a extra inexpensive technique to get to 5G, decide up a cellphone that’s 5G-capable and matching your provider’s explicit community. For example, in case your community runs on mmWave, examine if there’s a reduced Samsung Galaxy S10 5G; in case your community exists on a sub-6 then see if a OnePlus 7 Professional 5G works.
You need an inexpensive flagship
As a lot as we loved the S20 Plus, it’s definitely costly – and past the technique of some shoppers. If you’d like flagship specs at a decrease value, take into account the OnePlus 7T Professional or an older cellphone. They’ll serve you simply wonderful.
You desire a good-looking cellphone
If the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus has one other nice flaw, it’s that its design isn’t notably inspiring. In truth, you is likely to be shocked its worth goes so excessive – as a result of all it’s paying for goes on the within. When you can’t take pleasure in all of the cellphone can do, discover one which has the type and trimmings that make it worthwhile.
First reviewed: March 2020