During the Unpacked event, Samsung announced a total of 3 smartphones within the Galaxy S20 series. There’s the base model Galaxy S20, then there’s the S20+, and the Galaxy S20 Ultra which we have already reviewed here.
Today, we’re reviewing the base model of the Galaxy S20 series. When this smartphone was officially announced, I am in awe for a few reasons.
I started getting into Samsung devices since the Galaxy S9. That was a powerful and featureful yet tiny smartphone which I enjoyed using. However, it had its drawbacks.
Fast forward to today, we have the Galaxy S20. This is also a powerful and featureful yet tiny smartphone but I feel that Samsung has addressed the drawbacks of the Galaxy S9.
The box in itself is similar in design with the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Even its contents are the same. Opening up the box reveals this list of contents:
- The Galaxy S20 itself (we have the Cloud Pink)
- 25W charger with USB-C output
- USB-C to USB-C cable for charging
- USB-C AKG earphones
- TPU case
The Galaxy S20 has a much more traditional design compared to its predecessors. It retains the sex appeal that the previous generations of Samsung Galaxy S series of smartphones have – thin and nice to hold.
While we had some fancy colors on the Galaxy S10 series (Prism Green is still my favorite), the Galaxy S20 is available in a total of 5 different colors – Cosmic Grey, Cloud Pink, Cloud Blue, Cloud White, and also Aura Red.
The Galaxy S20 we have here is in the Cloud Pink color option. I honestly think that this shade of pink actually looks pleasing. In a way, it’s not the “in-your-face” type of pink color. It’s subtle and surprisingly, the pink color here is very calming.
Connectivity & ports
It’s identical to the Galaxy S20 Ultra except for the 5G part. For us here in Malaysia, the Galaxy S20 is only available in the 4G version. I think that’s sufficient, though.
As a quick run-through, the Galaxy S20 supports all the usual like NFC, Samsung Pay, microSD card, WiFi-6 that we’ve tested here, and many more. However, the Galaxy S20 series does not have a headphone jack – which is why the USB-C AKG earphone is included with the Galaxy S20. I still wish that Samsung included a USB-C DAC with a headphone jack, though.
The Galaxy S20 also comes with the standard SIM card + hybrid slot combo. But we can use double SIM cards + microSD card with the help of eSIM. Yes, there is eSIM support on the Galaxy S20 series.
Just like the Galaxy S20 Ultra, this phone also uses the Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. It can also run at 1080p 120Hz or at 2K 60Hz. Of course, the Galaxy S20 is the smallest in size within the family, measuring at 6.2-inches.
While 6.2-inches of display does sound big for a smartphone, remember its display is 20:9 in aspect ratio which means the phone is long instead of wide. The size of this phone isn’t that much larger than the Galaxy S9 thanks to the tiny bezels around the screen.
On the subject of bezels, the Galaxy S20 also has the Infinity-O notch – a circular cutout at the center top of the display for its selfie camera.
And the phone also comes with a high-quality film screen protector pre-installed, by the way.
In terms of specs, it might not look that surprising. The main camera has same number of pixels as its predecessor but comes with a new camera sensor instead. However, the telephoto camera is the one that got a big boost in resolution – 64MP.
- Triple rear-facing cameras
- Ultra-wide: 12MP f/2.2 with Super Steady video
- Main: 12MP f/1.8 with Dual Pixel PDAF; OIS
- Telephoto: 64MP f/2.0 with PDAF; OIS; 3x hybrid optical zoom
- 10MP f/2.2 selfie camera with Dual Pixel PDAF
Okay, so let’s take a look at the pictures that this smartphone can take. For more pictures, take a look at our video at the top of this review.
I like the colors, sharpness, and clarity of the pictures taken with this main camera. The picture quality is similar to the Galaxy S20 Ultra, but just that we can’t take it in 108MP.
It’s fast and snappy, and we can also take beautiful night shots with it. We should also note that Samsung is no longer using the dual-aperture smartphone lens anymore, so we’re lock down to f.1/8 all the time.
This is the same ultra-wide angle camera as the Galaxy S20 Ultra. It’s a bit tighter in terms of field of view compared to the S10 series, but the distortion is very minimal. I’m loving this new ultra-wide angle camera, to be honest.
This is where things get funky. This new telephoto camera has a 3x optical zoom lens and a 64MP sensor. So, that means we’ll need to use the telephoto camera to take 64MP pictures and everything is zoomed in, correct?
Well, not really. Toggling 64MP mode does change to use the telephoto camera, but does not change the field of view by much. But, the focal length remains to be far like a typical telephoto camera.
I don’t know what magic Samsung did to the camera here, but the pictures still turn out to be really sharp. You can also take night shots in 64MP while in auto mode, just like the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Believe it or not, it’s the same as the Galaxy S20 Ultra. It can take the gimbal-like Super Steady videos with its ultra-wide angle camera. Other than that, this phone can also take 8K 24fps videos – just like the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Software – Android 10 with Samsung One UI 2.1
It’s the same as the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra as per our review here. I still absolutely love the Samsung One UI’s user experience and all that it provides.
Combining the beauty of Samsung One UI with the smaller sized Galaxy S20 reminded me of how much I love smaller phones – even though I do have pretty big hands.
Performance & Gaming
For us Malaysians, we’re getting this list of specs:
- 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with Infinity-O notch
- Up to 3200×1440 @ 60Hz or 2400×1080 @ 120Hz
- Exynos 990 chipset
- 8GB LPDDR5 RAM
- 128GB UFS 3.0 internal storage (expandable via microSD)
- 4,000mAh battery
- Supports up to 45W, 25W charger included
This time around, we shook things up. Since our discovery of how broken these benchmark apps are, we revamped VRMark to only include the average frame rate. The score is intangible anyway.
Then, we repeated the VRMark test again with different resolution and different refresh rate to see the tangible difference in performance. The overall result is as expected and just the same as what we’ve seen on the Galaxy S20 Ultra too.
Battery & Charger
My love for small phones always come with a catch – battery capacity. However, Samsung surprised us all as the base model Galaxy S20 now comes with a relatively massive 4,000mAh battery. I mean, even the Galaxy S10+ only has a 4,100mAh battery!
And the battery life is pretty good as it can last you throughout the day on 1080p 60Hz.
However, when we turn up the refresh rate to 120Hz, the battery life is cut short substantially. This is pretty much what we have t odeal with as there are no chipsets that can handle high refresh rates efficiently now.
The Galaxy S20 also comes with a 25W charger in the box. The phone itself does support 45W fast charging, but we do not have that power supply as of now.
In terms of charging speed, I’m surprised that the Galaxy S20 also took about 60 minutes to charge from 15% to 100% battery level, which is the same as the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Maybe this is caused by the non-linearity of fast charging curves?
Wrapping up the Galaxy S20 review
Alright, so we went through all the important aspects of the Samsung Galaxy S20. I am also drawing comparisons between the Galaxy S20 and the Galaxy S10+ because, in my books, the new Galaxy S20 outright replaces the Galaxy S10+ entirely. But comes in a smaller size, of course.
We have a similarly-large battery, a better camera setup with features to match, the option for high refresh rate, and also 25W fast charging. Let’s not forget – there’s eSIM support too, so we can put have double SIM cards inside and a microSD card at the same time.
For the price of RM3,599, I think the Galaxy S20 is a great buy. For those who are looking to upgrade from the Galaxy S8 or the Galaxy S9, I will not hesitate to recommend this phone. Heck, even for those who are using the Galaxy S10e or the Galaxy S10 can upgrade to this phone!