After checking out the Galaxy S20 Ultra, it’s difficult to forget it’s brawny build, avalanche of specs, and the impressive reach of Samsung’s Space Zoom. Unfortunately, at $1,400, it’s also a bit too expensive to love. At that price, the S20 Ultra has to be head and shoulders better than every other phone on the market, and it just isn’t. But perhaps the best argument against the S20 Ultra is the existence of the S20+, because for 15 percent less money, the S20+ delivers 95 percent of what you get from its more expensive sibling. So if you’re looking for a high-end Android phone with tons of bells and whistles, the S20+ is the one to get.
Starting with its build, the Galaxy S20+’s 6.7-inch screen isn’t that much smaller than the 6.9-inch panel on the S20 Ultra, so you’re not really missing out on much when it comes to your overall viewing experience. And because the S20+’s camera module isn’t a huge, boxy thing that sticks out like a ravenous overbite, it’s lighter, sleeker, and much more suited to one-handed operation too.
As for its display, the S20+ still has support for a 120Hz refresh rate (but only at FHD+ resolution, mind you), which when combined with an excellent peak brightness of 729 nits and incredibly vivid colors, there’s absolutely no compromise in image quality. In fact, the only phone in recent history with a display that comes anywhere near matching the S20+’s screen is the Oppo Find X2, which isn’t officially available in the U.S. and costs around $1,350. Also, like the standard S20 and S20 Ultra, the S20+ features slightly less rounded sides, which reduces distortion around the edge of the screen while still providing an extremely comfortable and polished in-hand feel (and IP68 water-resistance).
The S20+ doesn’t fall short on specs either, boasting the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chip, 12GB of RAM, 128GB of base storage (or 512GB if you go for the optional upgrade), and microSD card slot you get on the S20 Ultra. The only thing you’re really missing is the built-in headphone jack found on last year’s Galaxy S10. Although since 3.5mm jacks are becoming an increasingly rare feature, it’s not like the S20 is really losing ground there either.
I also want to call special attention to the 12GB of RAM in the S20+. Putting that much memory in a phone might seem as silly as Scrooge McDuck trying to swim through a pool of coins (which would be physically impossible btw), but after using the S20 Ultra and now the S20+, I’ve really grown to appreciate having access to that much RAM. That’s because by clicking on the icon of an app in Android’s recent apps list, you can select up to three different apps that the phone will always keep running in the background for instant multitasking, something that even works with more resource-intensive things like games and editing apps. So despite the incredibly powerful A-series chips Apple uses in iPhones and iPads, I’d argue the S20+’s mountain of RAM makes it faster in the real world, with tests like this helping support that hypothesis.
Next we come to cameras, which is the really the only main point of difference between the S20+ and S20 Ultra. As someone who uses a phone’s zoom camera way more than its ultra-wide cam, I sometimes find myself longing for the 10x lossless zoom from the S20 Ultra. However, even with just a 3x lossless zoom (which doesn’t even use a true optical zoom to achieve that reach), the Galaxy S20+ compares quite favorably to the Pixel 4’s 2x telephoto camera and Google Super Res Zoom, with the S20+ often producing the better looking zoom pic.
In a shot of New York City at 3x, the S20+’s photo is slightly sharper, resulting in crisper text on various signs (see below), while the Pixel 4 XL using its 2x optical zoom lens and digital Super Res Zoom processing to get to that full 3x produced an image that looks just a tiny bit softer, darker, and fuzzier….Read More>>