Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: The Next Flagship?

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
Tue, 10 Mar'20
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Introduction

Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S series has been one of our favourites since it was introduced first time back in 2010. The company aims at delivering the best spec-sheet a smartphone can boast in the market, with the help of the Galaxy S series. Premium design, impressive display and jaw-dropping camera performance coupled with the latest hardware and software configuration hardly make anyone not fall in love with these devices. 

As we know Samsung updates its flagship line-up every year with the announcement of new Galaxy devices, we recently got hands on the company’s latest smartphones from the S series, the Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+ and the S20+ Ultra. Yes, Samsung has skipped the S11 moniker and we assume the reason being that it is launched in the year 2020. One of the most interesting and maybe the most wanted device we clued is the S20+. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is the sequel to one of the top smartphones of 2019, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. The device offers an even bigger screen, better cameras, longer battery life, and the fastest 5G speeds (region-specific). We get to experience the market’s top of the line configuration with the S20+. Be it the latest Snapdragon 865 chipset, a 120 Hz Quad-HD Plus display or a glorious camera setup; the device checks up all the boxes. So, without any more holding back, let’s dive into the review to see if the S20+ is worthy to wear the crown for the best flagship smartphone in the market or not.

 

Also Read: New Mobile Launch 2020

Prices in India, Variants, Availability

Before talking about the device in-depth, let us first take a look at the variants as well as the pricing of the phone.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus comes with just one storage option of 8GB+128GB which is priced at INR 73,999. Samsung is offering extra ₹5000 off over exchange value on select models and an exclusive discount coupon after the purchase to buy the new Galaxy Buds+ at just INR 3,999. 

For selling your old smartphone to upgrade, you can sell on Cashify to get the best prices.

In terms of colour options, the phone is available in Cosmic Black, Cosmic Gray, and Cloud Blue. Interested buyers can get the device from Flipkart India, Samsung official website and all the Samsung retail stores. 

Box Contents

The box contents of the S20+ are usual with nothing worth mentioning and differentiating when compared to its predecessor, the S10+. Inside the box, we get: 

 

  • The Handset itself 
  • AKG branded Earphones
  • 25W Fast charging Adapter
  • A Silicon (TPU) case
  • SIM-Ejector tool
  • USB Type-C Cable
  • User Manual

Specs at a glance

Talking about the key on-paper specifications of the all-new Samsung Galaxy S20, here is what the device packs under the hood. 

 

  • Display: 6.7-inch dynamic AMOLED panel, 1440 x 3200 pixels, 525 PPI, 120Hz
  • Processor and GPU: Exynos 990 (7nm), Adreno 650 GPU
  • RAM & ROM: 8GB, 128GB  
  • Software: Samsung OneUI, Android 10 OS
  • Rear cameras: Quad module, 64MP+12MP+12MP+0.3MP
  • Selfie sensor: 10MP pinhole notch
  • Battery: 4500mAh capacity, 25W fast charging 
  • Weight: 186g
  • Dimensions: 161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm
  • Price in India: starts from INR 73,999

 

With key specifications cleared out of the way, let’s see how the device performs in real-life usage scenarios. 

Design & Build

Like any other Samsung flagship smartphone, the first glance at the S20+ is enough for us to quote that it is arguably one of the finest designed smartphones available right now. The design, especially at the front is breath-taking, with almost no bezels; neither at the top or bottom and nor at the sides. Going by the name, the Plus variant of the S10 might sound huge, but it isn’t as huge as we had expected; thanks to the slimmer bezels as compared to its predecessor. As an update to the Galaxy S10’s front design, Samsung decided to relocate the Galaxy S10 series’ front-facing camera to the middle on the S20, just like what you’ll find on the Galaxy Note 10. And unlike the dual punch-hole camera at the front on the S10+, we get to see just a single punch-hole camera at the front of the S20+. Another major update is the removal of curved edges of the display, which we had become quite used to, from previous Samsung flagships.  

 

 

Coming to the back, we see a complete design change with the Samsung changing its handset’s traditional look by placing a big rectangular camera portion at the top-left corner instead of the old-school horizontal/vertical camera setup that we have seen on earlier devices. This new stand-out design highlight was first seen on the Galaxy M30s. Strangely, we didn’t find it as appealing as we first thought we might, but it depends on each individual’s perspective. 

 

 

As for the rest of the phone, we do not get to see much changes from the previous Samsung Galaxy S devices. We get the familiar glass and metal design which is glossy enough to attract smudges and fingerprints. Curved edges and corners along with a glass back give a very solid and premium feel in hand. There’s obviously no physical fingerprint scanner at the back as Samsung moved to in-display fingerprint technology last year. The button placement is simple with the power button & volume buttons beam on the right. Unfortunately, Samsung has ditched the S10’s Bixby button on the S20, which used to reside on the left side. Also, there’s no 3.5mm headphone socket this time around, so you get just a single USB Type-C connection along with the speaker grille on the bottom of the phone. Thanks to the edge-to-edge display, lightweight, a tinier punch hole camera, sleek design and IP68 protection; the S20+ is truly one of the most beautiful and comfortable smartphones you can get your hands on.  

 

 

The S20+ comes in Cosmic Grey, Cloud Blue, Cosmic Black with the first two being the most fingerprint magnets. 

Display

Just a single word for this – ‘Gorgeous’. The display on the S20+ checks all the boxes that you can imagine on your dream smartphone. Now coming to figures, the Samsung Galaxy S20+ boasts a 6.7-inch Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED display with a resolution of 3,200 x 1,440 pixels and an aspect ratio of 20:9. The numbers are enough to give you an idea of how stunning this display is. Another sweet spot and perhaps the icing on the cake is its 120 Hz display refresh rate which feels great compared to past Samsung phones.

 

 

With near-zero bezels, the display looks incredible and it is one of the best you can get. Like with any other Samsung Flagships, the panel looks impressive with vibrant colours, great viewing angles, these are truly appealing colour panels. This gets better when you tweak the display resolution to Quad HD which is set at Full HD by default in order to keep an optimal balance between sharpness and battery life. The screen is also HDR10+ certified, which means the right content will deliver an incredible dynamic range – the HDR10 movies on Netflix look really impressive. The only weak area we could pick about the display is its performance in bright sunlight as the screen is a bit too reflective, which sometimes makes it harder to see your results. Thanks to the 120hz refresh rate (which you need to change from 60hz in settings), we experienced a much faster and luscious smooth scrolling in applications such as Facebook and Instagram. 

One thing to note is that you can either enable the top resolution option or the highest frame rate, not both. This means, in order to achieve that 120-Hz animation, you need to compromise display resolution as the system scales back the display resolution to full HD when you increase the refresh rate, so you can either have WQHD+ at 60Hz or enjoy the faster 120Hz refresh rate at Full HD+ resolution. Another thing which is quite off the radar is the increased response rate. Samsung has also doubled the panel’s touch sampling rate to 240 Hz, making these latest Galaxy handsets feel more responsive than ever. 120hz refresh rate coupled with 240hz response rate at such a beautifully crafted display makes the panel on the S20+ the best you can experience in the market right now.

Performance

Like previous Samsung Flagships, we get to see the Exynos variant of the Galaxy S20+ instead of the Snapdragon one. So, we get to see a powerful package inside the S20+, and perhaps the most powerful one you can find in the market. The S20+ like any other smartphones in the S20 series is powered by the latest Exynos 990 processor coupled with 8GB RAM +128GB of storage. A MicroSD slot can let users expand storage to 1TB.

The Snapdragon 865 chipset has a 5G modem, so Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus handsets with this chipset are 5G phones meaning that in the UK and US, only 5G versions are available. On the other hand, Exynos devices, which are available in India, end up being 4G phones. 

The S20+ won against most of the smartphones in benchmark tests. However, we did find it lag behind some rivals such as those from OnePlus, but then these scores are not the sole factor for determining performance as real-life usage doesn’t differ much. So, as we expected, there were no areas regarding performance to pick flaws from. The device is a beast when it comes to multitasking, taking photos and playing games. There’s no need to even clear that we didn’t notice any stutter or lag while playing graphic intense games at maximum settings or while using multiple applications simultaneously. However, we did encounter instances when the Galaxy S20+ got warm, especially towards the top. This was experienced particularly after using the device for long time intervals or while consuming the camera for long such as during videography. 

Software

Coming to the software, by offering the latest version of Android and Samsung’s OneUI, Samsung has ensured users get to experience smooth and organised software. The latest version of OneUI is more fluent and streamlines the interface to make it easier to jump into your favourite apps, change settings and more. Great new features like Smart Reply, Music Share, a dark mode that covers almost all applications and much better privacy controls are also offered. In short, Samsung has done a rather good job of making the software experience intuitive and easy to use.

Camera

Samsung has always thrown a spotlight on the camera performance its flagship devices offer, claiming it to be better than almost every smartphone in the market. The same goes for the S20+. With the camera being a huge focus for the manufacturer, Samsung tried investing most of the time at the ‘Galaxy Unpack’ event on the S20’s camera capabilities. Adding on an extra camera lens as compared to the smaller S20, the S20+ boasts a quad-camera setup at the back of the phone comprising of a 64 MP (f/3.5) 3x telephoto camera, 12 MP (f/1.8)   wide-angle camera, a 12 MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera, and a depth vision camera. For selfies, Samsung downgraded the dual-punch hole camera setup from the S10+ to a single 10-megapixel camera on the front of the phone, which is housed inside the pinhole notch in the top-centre of the screen.

 

 

The camera setup is quite sweet, giving you all the flexibilities that you can expect in a smartphone camera. Quality is just as you would expect with Samsung’s latest flagship. Be it light sensitivity, low-light performance or any other capabilities you can think related to photography, the S20+ impressed us in all. The primary camera is spectacular delivering crisp, detailed images with a good dynamic range and keeping Samsung’s reputation for offering cameras with accurate and life-like vivid colours. We also didn’t notice any quality drop while shifting either of the other lenses. The telephoto lens offers 3x lossless zoom and you can use Samsung’s new ‘Space Zoom’ feature for up to 30x magnification through a combination of optical and AI-powered digital zoom. 

Another thing we liked in the new S20’s is the new “Single Take” shooting mode. With a single press of the shutter button, you can get shots from all three lenses. The system also presents you with a pick of not only the best images but also different edits, videos and gifs.

Portraits on the S20 series show a massive step up from the portrait mode in Samsung’s prior phones as portraits got more life-like with precise edge detection and background blur. However, we still found the portraits from the iPhone 11 series to be the champ. The low-light performance also seems to be improved from previous Samsung flagships. The camera will brighten up the dullest scene possible and offer more clarity and impressive colours with negligible to little noise.

The 10MP (f/2.2 sensor) at the front does a fine job and you can expect natural skin tones and detailed selfies in good light, even in portrait mode. Sometimes, there was a bit of over processing, but it was acceptable. However, we did notice a drop in resolution, particularly in low light; although the images were clean and bright. 

 

Coming to videos, you can shoot videos up to 8K and simultaneously grab 33MP stills while recording. We also get to see Samsung’s new super steady video mode on the S20s, which activates action camera-grade stabilization. Boosting videography capabilities, the S20+ also allows creating a portrait-like effect when capturing video using its live focus mode which uses the ToF camera to help judge depth. 

Battery Life

While running devices with such a powerful processor and such souped-up displays, that too when using with QHD resolution and 120hz boosted refresh rate, you need a decent amount of juice so that you do not drain out battery too fast. To fulfil all power requirements and keep this fun experience going seamlessly, the S20+ is gifted with an impressive 4500 mAh battery which we found enough to get a comfortable one day of use with heavy to moderate use. We were able to extract more than a day’s worth of battery life even on heavy usage involving tasks such as a few hours of Netflix, different apps being used and taking some photos and videos. We also get 25W fast charging, support for wireless charging reverse wireless charging too, thanks to the glass back.

 

In terms of charging, the 25-watt Fast Charge wall adapter in the box does work decently by charging the device in just over an hour. However, it isn’t that fast considering the fact that most rivals offer a much faster wireless charging adapter in the box. However, you can opt for Samsung’s 45-watt dock, which is sold separately.

Audio & Security

Talking about audio, we get to see Dolby tuned stereo speakers which the S20+ has inherited from its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. The 3.5mm audio jack will always be missing but Samsung does offer a pair of USB-C headphones included in the box which we found to be of premium built and of decent audio quality.

 

Another thing that the S20+ has borrowed from the S10+ is the ultrasonic under-display fingerprint scanner, which clearly shows that Samsung has moved on from physical fingerprint scanners, at least for its flagship devices. Along with in-display fingerprint scanner, you get face-unlock too as an alternative. We found both the fingerprint scanner and the face-unlock working accurately and quickly to open the device. However, we still prefer the physical fingerprint readers may be due to the reliability, accuracy and speed they offer. We also get to see Samsung’s DeX experience, which projects a desktop UI when you hook your S20 Plus to a big screen. 

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Compact design
  • Great cameras
  • Stereo speakers
  • exceptional display

 

Cons:

  • Missing 3.5mm audio jack
  • Moderate battery life

Verdict

After all the offerings Samsung has made in its latest flagship device, we can say that the S20+ is worth considering if you are in the market looking for a flagship device. A very modern elegant design along with a solid configuration comprising of industry-leading camera setup and the latest Snapdragon 865 processor treads a very future proof and price worthy path. If you think that these check all the boxes that you require, then yes, the S20+ is definitely the device you are desiring for. However, considering a high-end price point of Rs 73,999, the phone goes up against Apple iPhone 11 Pro. The rival is an all-rounder flagship offering a wicked processor along with a supreme and somewhat better camera performance, although at a slightly higher price point. Also, if you don’t prefer a large display and want a less slippery device, you can go for the usual Galaxy S20 which packs almost the same configuration and also comes at a much lower price tag.

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