Samsung’s new Galaxy S20 series is all about marking a break. For one, the S20 follows the S10 series, and Samsung has skipped the S11 moniker. The last time Samsung jumped a number (the Note 7), things didn’t pan out so well. But with the Galaxy S20, the South-Korean tech major wants to script a different story. For one, it is setting a new bar in the premium segment and has pushed the dollar price.
More importantly, Samsung appears to be determined to get back some of the glory in the camera department. Each S20 variant has its own special camera: the S20 has a 48MP camera, the S20+ gets a 64MP camera and the 108MP camera is reserved for the flagship S20 Ultra. There’s 8K video recording as well, and the ability for up to 10X hybrid zoom on all three variants. The S20 Ultra takes it all the way to 100X, the other two can do a 30X zoom. The camera appears to be on steroids if one were to go by the specifications and features alone.
The base Galaxy S20 is priced at Rs 66,999 with 128GB storage, the Galaxy S20+ will cost Rs 73,999 for 128GB storage. The most expensive is S20 Ultra at Rs 92,999 for 128GB storage. Prices for higher storage variants are not yet out. The earlier Galaxy S10 started at Rs 66,900 for the 128GB version, while the 512GB variant cost Rs 84,900. So yes, the Galaxy S20 series is slightly more expensive this time, but it packs a completely different proposition.
But how does Samsung Galaxy S20+ deliver on its promises? Does it set the standards for what we should expect in a flagship phone in 2020? And what about the price? Is it really that ‘expensive’? Here’s our review.
Samsung Galaxy S20+ camera
Let’s start with the camera since this is the USP of the phone. The Galaxy S20+ has a 64MP main camera module, which also includes a 12MP ultra-wide angle and another 12MP wide-angle lens as well as a depth sensor.
The camera performance is stunning and I can’t help but think that Samsung has launched the phone at a very opportune moment, especially if you live in Delhi, where spring is in full bloom. The Galaxy S20+ captures very sharp, vibrant and detailed images as I found out when I took it with me during a walk in Lodhi Garden.
The photos are very detailed. The colours are a little too sharp, but they look stunning. Yes, the sky might seem a little too blue at times, but it does give very Insta-ready pictures. The wide-angle camera doesn’t feel like a compromise either. And yes, if you take in 64MP mode, the camera packs a lot more details, which can be useful if you are capturing a packed scene.
But let’s talk about the zoom feature since this is what Samsung is really touting. My favourite option was the 4X zoom. It ensures you don’t have to move too close to the object, gives excellent crisp details and the colours are right.
The 10X zoom is also excellent. It can give a crisp image as well, provided you keep your hands very steady and the object in question is steady. For instance, in Lodhi Garden, I could take the 10X zoom shot of the old walls standing far, and the results were just excellent. And no, I don’t have the most steady hands.
I was also impressed by the Live Focus on the Samsung Galaxy S20+. I’ve always found that Samsung phones need to improve on this feature and they have done so significantly with the S20. The Live Focus works well even when shooting with smaller objects, and the results are detailed and sharp.
Samsung does a very good job with the Night Mode as well, though again you need to be ultra-steady when taking a picture. The camera will brighten up the dullest scene possible and make the object visible and keep noise to a bare minimum; exactly what you want. But the colour accuracy can be off for photos taken in this mode, and you also want to make sure there is at some light source, even if not directly in the room, otherwise it is too much noise.
There are some chinks in the camera department that Samsung needs to fix. The camera has issues with the focus latching on. And Samsung probably needs to push out a software update to fix this.
With 20x and 30x zoom, things just start to get out of hand. The results are not so sharp, especially in low-light. You will need a tripod for this in my view, and that’s a hassle for most users. Frankly, the 10x zoom is really good to get the results you want.
The selfie camera is over-processing images and was not that much fun to use. It is so aggressive and the skin appears far too smooth, as though a terrible filter has been applied all over it. This happened even when I turned off the beauty mode on the camera. The Night Mode on the selfie camera results in just over brightening the image, which is at the cost of details. An update for the camera has been pushed out, though I’m yet to install it and see what changes it will bring because it does mention camera improvements without getting into specifics.
One interesting feature of the S20+ I would like to mention is the Single Take. Basically, it lets you shoot a 10-second video and then creates a mini album out of that with best shots, images with a filter or an effect, a funny video and actually does a nice job of it. So if you are using it for moments like capturing a cake cutting, it is quite useful and saves you some time.
There is 8K video recording, which is certainly interesting. And it will take up a lot of space on your phone. The only issue is you can’t watch something at 8K resolution unless you possess one of Samsung’s expensive 8K TVs.
Express Tech is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@expresstechie) and stay updated with the latest tech news
Samsung Galaxy S20+ Display, Design
The Galaxy S20+ has a 6.7-inch Quad HD+ SAMOLED display. The display is very slightly curved at the edge, the punch hole camera is bang in the centre and not on the side like with the previous S10 series. The display is one of the best you can get, and if you prefer, you can crank up the refresh rate to 120 Hz. I used it with the standard 60Hz and was more than happy.
The faster scrolling was noticeable on apps like Facebook, Instagram when I switched it to 120 Hz. It is an excellent display if you are one of those who prefer to consume most of their content on the phone itself. In bright sunlight though, the screen is a bit too reflective, which sometimes makes it harder to see your results.
I don’t prefer phones with 6-inch plus display, but this one was different. I was surprised how easily I could use the device with one hand, and the S20+ doesn’t feel bulky to me. It is sleek and did not feel as chunky to hold as my iPhone XS.
We have the Cosmic Gray colour for review and it looks just right and will appeal to most people. I would have liked the Cosmic Pink (yes, pink for a woman sounds a bit of a cliche) since I feel it adds a little bit more personality than the Gray, which is just playing it too safe.
Samsung Galaxy S20+ Performance, Battery
The S20+ in India is powered by the Exynos 990 processor and we had the 8GB RAM +128GB version for review. This is a flagship phone, and performance is not a problem here, and you don’t expect it to be either. Be it games like Asphalt 9 or Nova Legacy or just switching between apps, the phone does not stutter at all. It scored 470,000 plus on Antutu, which actually puts it below phones like OnePlus 7 Pro, etc, but then these scores are not the sole factor for determining performance. The Face Unlock and the in-display fingerprint sensor work accurately and quickly to open the device.
There were instances when the Galaxy S20+ got warm, especially towards the top, when I ran some of these benchmark tests and when I was out shooting photos with the camera.
What impressed me the most about the S20+ was the battery. With heavy-duty usage, which involved hours of Netflix, camera usage, different apps being used, I was easily getting more than a day’s worth of battery life. The phone charges in just over an hour with the in-box charger, and this is what you want in a flagship phone.
Samsung Galaxy S20+ Verdict
The Galaxy S20+ is no doubt an excellent flagship, which looks stylish and works flawlessly. I was most impressed by the camera for the most part. The selfie camera is what really needs to improve, and quickly. If you were waiting to upgrade from your S9 or S8, I would say the S20+ is an excellent pick on that front, unless you want to wait and see if the S20 Ultra and its 108MP camera is a better option.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines