Having to turn back my review unit of the Galaxy S20+ was painful. It’s simply the best smartphone I’ve ever played with. The love affair wasn’t instant; it took about five days for me to realize how much I love it. Part of my enjoyment was the fact that I live in an area where Sprint provides 5G service. So, imagine getting downloads at 256MB/s!
Let’s take a look at why the Galaxy S20+ is a great phone, even if it costs a wallet-crushing $1199.
Build and Design
The S20+ is a big phone. Its 6.7-inch screen takes up the whole phone since there is barely any bezel space. Because the screen is practically without a bezel, the entire smartphone is not too big for your pocket. It tests the limit of smartphone size, but doesn’t surpass it like the Galaxy S20 Ultra does.
The S20+ is built with curved glass (but not too much curved) on the front and back. I thought the cameras on the back would cause too much of a bulge, but that’s not the case. The Bixby button on the left is now gone, thank God. There is the volume rocker and the power button on the right. The phone feels just right in your hands.
The max resolution setting on the 6.7-inch screen is 3200 x 1440 pixels (525 pixels per inch). It looks absolutely gorgeous. However, at this resolution, you can’t set the 120Hz display mode, which makes everything flow more smoothly, especially scrolling on web pages.
Samsung does allow this mode when you set the phone’s display to HD+. To be honest, the human eye can’t tell much of a difference between HD+ and Quad HD+. Setting the phone at a lower resolution also helps save battery life.
The Galaxy S20+ uses Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 865 processor, which — combined with Android 10 — provides a very smooth and reliable experience. The 12GB RAM may seem like overkill for a smartphone, but it actually helps the phone with gaming and graphics, even if other apps are running in the background. The performance of the S20+ is right on par with that of the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The S20+ doesn’t have the same 100X zoom camera of the S20 Ultra, but what it provides is good enough. It provides a main 12MP camera, a 64MP telephoto camera, and an ultra-wide 12MP camera. Samsung also provides software-enhanced 30X zoom pictures, which turn out decent if somewhat blurry.
There has been some controversy on Samsung’s new cameras. Some say that the pictures come out over-processed and over-smoothed. Many have said that the main camera hunts for auto-focus too long. However, I have not noticed all of this on the S20+, and perhaps it’s because I’m not a professional photographer. But when I compared the pictures of the same scenery on the S20+ with the iPhone 11 Max Pro, Samsung’s were usually as good, and — in some cases (Night Mode) — even better.
The 4,500mAh battery doesn’t last as long as I thought it would, but most of my tests have been done with the screen set to 120Hz mode. As a power user, the phone lasted me nine hours on two separate days. Now, keep in mind that this included watching Netflix, using the GPS, constant scrolling on internet pages, making a couple phone calls, and streaming from Spotify.
The day I turned the phone back to the 60Hz mode (it’s punishing after seeing what 120Hz does), the phone lasted me about 12 hours. For most people, it’s a phone you can take out for a day and not worry about forgetting the charger. However, power users might want to carry that fast-charging plug with you.
It’s true that 5G has just come out, and — at least in Sprint’s case — the speeds aren’t always much better than LTE speeds. However, when I was in a good spot, the speeds were unbelievable. I downloaded a half-hour HD episode of the Simpsons in less than ten seconds!
Even if 5G doesn’t seem absolutely necessary in most cases right now, it defines the future. It will especially be excellent for streaming VR events, which are data intensive. 5G will also change the healthcare industry by allowing patients to stay home and have remote appointments. The list of 5G’s potentials is a very long one.
Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra has received the most attention out of the new Galaxy S series, but the Galaxy S20+ is the one that really gives you the most bang for your buck. It is not only completely worth the $1199 price tag, but it’s the best smartphone on the market you can buy right now.