Like clockwork Samsung is out with their yearly update of the S-series Galaxy phones. This year, as often is the case, the phone is sleeker, the screen is better and the cameras are the best they’ve ever been. Is the new S20 worth your hard-earned cash and worth the upgrade? I took the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G for a test on the T-Mobile 5G network here in the Denver metro.
The new Galaxy S20 design will feel familiar but upgraded. Samsung knows what works and continues to improve on a classic design. The S20 has a smooth rounded feel to it. It feels thin but thick enough and light but heavy enough. Does that makes sense? I like the feel of it so much that I would hate to cover it with a bulky case. The new screen is simply gorgeous. The 6.2″ AMOLED Quad HD+ screen packs a 1440×3200 resolution. Soak that in… that’s likely a higher DPI than you’re 1080p HDTV. The colors pop, the screen looks bright and goes edge to edge minus the small hole in the top for the selfie camera. Like the previous S10 the new Galaxy also has a fingerprint sensor built into the screen. Press your finger in the designated spot and it unlocks your phone. I’ve heard complaints about the time it takes to scan your finger but in my testing it seemed to work great.
All about the cameras
The big focus of the new S20 line of phones is the camera. For the first time in years Samsung has made a huge jump in megapixels on the Galaxy. Instead of the normal 12 or 13MP cameras, the S20 packs an insane 64MP camera! The more expensive S20 Ultra actually has a 108MP camera! (mind blown!) While these numbers are impressive there is a very specific reason Samsung packed this camera in. You can’t just go around shooting 64MP pictures nor would that be very practical. Instead, Samsung combines this high-resolution camera with a small optical zoom to create what they call Hybrid Optical Zoom. What you end up with is an impressive range between the ultra-wide camera all the way to the 3X hybrid optical zoom without losing quality. These are easily the best cameras Samsung has ever packed into a smartphone and possibly the best ever in any smartphone. You’ll have to try really hard to take a bad picture.
All the other Samsung goodness
Something that is easy to take for granted is all of the improvements and features that Samsung has added throughout the years that continue to add up in their latest Galaxy. Wireless charging, wireless powershare, Samsung Pay, AR Emoji and other features that aren’t new but are still pretty awesome. It’s easy to take these for granted, especially features like Samsung Pay (and the ability to use it at ANY place that can swipe your credit card) that aren’t something you can get on an iPhone.
So what’s the rub?
In my opinion there is no rub, per say. This is an awesome new phone from Samsung. What I will say is that as phones getter better and better the argument for upgrading yearly becomes more difficult. While the new cameras, screen, processor and design of the S20 are awesome I think many people with the previous Galaxy S10 would be fine waiting another year. Justifying the $1,000+ price tag isn’t easy unless you really want those upgraded cameras.
Flying at 5G
I tested the S20 on T-Mobile’s newly launched 5G network in Denver. The S20 5G supports what’s called Sub6 but not mmWave technology. There are multiple technologies when it comes to 5G. Sub6 covers more area but offers a smaller speed increase while mmWave tech covers a much smaller area (per tower) but cranks up the speed big time. T-Mobile is launching Sub6 first and following up with mmWave towers (where other carriers are doing the opposite) so it’s the perfect network to test the S20 5G. It was exactly as I expected and experienced while originally testing T-Mobile’s 5G. It’s faster than 4G and fast enough for anything I could throw at it but not the insane jump we’ll eventually see with mmWave. I am still pulling down faster speeds on T-Mobile 5G in most places than I get with my Xfinity connection in my home! That, in and of itself, is impressive.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 5G is the best Galaxy yet. The processor, the screen, the cameras and the build of the phone itself are all better than ever before. Personally, the cameras are the game-changer for me. Samsung took a smart approach and waited to include a higher-megapixel camera until they found a better way to use it. Personally I don’t use zoom much on my smartphone and probably still won’t with the S20. I can simply get closer to take a better picture but I like having the option. I also love the ultra-wide camera for those large group photos of the kids.
Bottom line, the S20 is awesome but the price is too high. The S20 series starts at $1,000 and goes up from there. Is it worth it? Maybe. But that’s a big price tag for anyone currently rockin’ the S10 to justify an upgrade after 12 months. Those folks can wait but the rest of us with a 2 year old phone can’t go wrong with the S20 especially when you factor in trade-in discounts, etc. It’s the best of the best and there’s no way you won’t love it.