Top class or standard model?

No doubt – the Samsung S20 series has belonged to the premier class of the current smartphone elite since March 2020. The high-end products S20, S20 + and S20 Ultra, which have been available since mid-March, also set themselves apart from the competition in terms of price, because you have to put a whole lot of money on the table for the new top smartphones from Samsung. We will find out for you whether the handsome price of the Samsung Galaxy S20 is justified and how it performs in the performance test.

With the new Galaxy S20 series, our editors already had the pleasure. In the last CURVED test I had the opportunity to take a closer look at the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, my colleague Felix took care of the Galaxy S20 +.

In summary, the Galaxy S20 flagships tested are among the most exciting Android smartphones of the year so far and were particularly impressive with their large AMOLED displays and high-quality camera equipment. It is therefore all the more interesting to compare the “weakest” brother in the series: the S20; however in the somewhat stronger 5G variant. If we can speak of “weak equipment” in this upper price category.

What is the verdict on the compact Samsung Galaxy S20 after a long practical test and has the standard model, as the manufacturer intended, secured a place on the smartphone throne?

Galaxy S20 in hands-on

The Samsung Galaxy S20 comes in an elegant black packaging. When opening the high-quality package, the S20 presents itself in the matt gray Cosmic Gray robe, which I already liked very much with the Galaxy S20 Ultra. In other areas, too, Samsung has foregone optical extravagances in its S20 series and, on the other hand, focuses more on high-quality workmanship, elegant design and technical sophistication. You will receive AKG in-ear stereo headphones with USB-C connection and a 25 watt quick-charging power supply.

Compared to the seemingly huge Galaxy S20 Ultra, the S20 with the dimensions 151.7 mm x 69.1 mm x 7.9 mm and a weight of 163g is very good in the hand. The S20 is longer than its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S10, but not as wide and thick and can be easily gripped even with smaller hands. Smartphone fans, for whom a handy format is important and should also fit in their pocket, are best advised with the S20 as the smallest variant of the new Galaxy series.

Quality you can touch

As with the other variants, you will find volume and power buttons on the right edge of the S20. These have a pleasant pressure point, are high-quality processed in the aluminum frame and make a very stable impression. The dual SIM card slot is installed at the top of the frame, while the USB-C port is in the middle at the bottom of the flagship smartphone. The Galaxy S20 also supports the eSIM function.

Contrary to the current trend of smartphone manufacturers, I am a fan of separate 3mm jack inputs that allow listening to music and charging at the same time. Unfortunately, this separate jack input is missing on all devices of the Samsung S20 series, which I personally find very unfortunate.

The surface of the Galaxy S20 is adorned with stable Gorilla Glass 6. The main difference to Gorilla Glass 5 is that the micro-structure has fewer bumps and therefore offers fewer weak points for cracks. Thanks to IP68 certification, you should be prepared for all outdoor activities. Splashing water or immersing in fresh water should not cause any major problems.

The 6.2-inch AMOLED display is millimeter-thin with the rounded sides of the smartphone. I would also call the protective film that was already stuck on as a round thing, which is not particularly noticeable when scanning the side edges.

High-performance equipment on the Galaxy S20

As you know, the first impression counts. So it is also noticeable with the S20 that the Android market leader has obviously made an effort with its standard version. As with its big brothers, you will find the current Android 10 version, 8 GB RAM (working memory) and up to 1 terabyte of expandable storage capacity in the S20 model.

The operation of the smartphone such as the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor in the display or the unlocking via face recognition, opening, closing and switching between apps are extremely smooth and fast. Even if the Samsung S20 Trio differ in terms of their display sizes, they all resolve in Full HD + and offer an optional 120 Hertz refresh rate. The streaming via the S20 is extremely enjoyable in detail.

In this respect, there is no reason for complaint with the S20 display either, since it is in no way inferior to its larger siblings with its 3,200 x 1,440 pixels in terms of contrast ratio and powerful color rendering. Nice that Samsung has not cut corners here.

Performance for the eye

If you want to enjoy a smoother experience as mentioned, you can also change the refresh rate of the S20 from 60 Hertz to 120 Hertz. Although this draws additional battery, I can recommend this setting for Samsung fans with love for the technical detail: Seldom have you seen such a smooth process when scrolling quickly through your apps and browsers. For me personally one of the absolute highlights of the S20 series, even if the screen resolution is then reduced to 2,400 x 1,080 pixels, but this is not particularly noticeable in practice and can still be seen as a treat for the eyes.

Even if currently one Debate about the Exynos 990 installed in the S20 Processor has burned because Samsung has installed the latest Snapdragon processor in some countries of the world, but mainly the Exynos 990 in Europe, even when using the S20 during the test period, I had no major abnormalities in everyday performance, even if with the Look at the benchmarks the Snapdragon 865 should be slightly ahead in terms of battery life and energy efficiency.

Battery life and charging functions

Speaking of battery life: As a power user of the Galaxy S20, you can of course expect a certain amount of endurance with fast performance due to the impressive price and will not be disappointed: The S20 has a battery capacity of 4,000 mAh and can withstand up to 7.5 hours of intensive use .

Also noteworthy is the 25 watt quick charge function, with which you can recharge the Samsung smartphone up to 55 percent within 30 minutes. The entire charging process is completed after a good 90 minutes, which are quite solid values ​​compared to the S20 Ultra and S20 +.

For comparison: The flagship Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is fully operational again after 74 minutes thanks to “Fast Charging”. Another plus for the Samsung Galaxy S20 is inductive charging, which allows you to charge other devices, such as Samsung SoundBuds, wirelessly.

Galaxy S20 camera: high-end or standard?

As already described in the previous test of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, the showpiece of the Ultra is of course the huge camera module on the back of the smartphone. Does the same apply to the S20? When I was holding the smaller smartphone brother in my hand, I naturally had to try out what it also has to offer in terms of performance and camera technology.

What is immediately noticeable: the main camera on the S20 also protrudes about two millimeters from the housing, but it is not quite as generous as the S20 Ultra. However, if you want to avoid signs of wear and tear such as scratches on your camera, you should get a smartphone protective cover that surrounds the camera team accordingly.

With the S20 series, a new camera trend has developed at Samsung: The focus is on the zoom. The S20 as a standard model cannot keep up with the 100x “Space Zoom” of the Galaxy S20 Ultra. However, the Samsung mobile phone comes with a triple optical zoom and a 30x digital zoom. With the telephoto lens, the Galaxy S20 uses a 64 megapixel sensor that standardizes but only processes images with 12 megapixel photos. Simply put: the high number of pixels enables a smaller image section to be magnified almost three times without loss.

The camera module of the Galaxy S20 consists of:

  • 12 megapixel wide angle camera
  • 64 megapixel telephoto camera with triple optical zoom
  • 12 megapixel ultra wide angle camera
  • Time-of-flight sensor for bokeh effect
  • 10 megapixel front camera

In the practical test, the S20 delivered razor-sharp images and was able to convince me with the various shooting modes. As with the other S20 variants, you can choose between the HDR, Timer, Pro, Panorama and night mode standards in the camera settings.

The “Single Take” that you got to know at the Ultra, with which you can create several AI-created photo motifs from a single ten-second video recording, still delivers surprisingly good results. Videos can be recorded in 8k resolution at 30 frames per second.

Conclusion and price-performance ratio

Compared to its big siblings, the Galaxy S20 is on the same level with regard to the display – it is just smaller. It also cuts a good figure due to its handy design. Only the somewhat more expandable battery life and the missing jack input are to be noted from criticisms.

The S20 flagship is currently available as a 4G and a 5G version. Almost a month after the start of sales you get the 4G version from 777 euros. The 5G model is currently relatively stable at just under 1,000 euros, but a drop in prices is also evident here. Tip: Anyone who is still satisfied with the 4G mobile radio standard is also very well advised with the 4G version of the Samsung Galaxy S20. The Samsung devices are available in gray, light blue and light pink.

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