The middle child from Samsung’s new range seems to be the one to opt for if you have the money and the inclination to buy something that is premium on the Android side, but is it really worth that asking price?
Samsung S20+ Design and build
As with most Galaxy devices, this year’s S20 range offers premium in oodles. It’s the same old glass back with the camera modules shifted to the top left – a move borrowed by the iPhones. It was the same thing on the Note 10 Lite and makes for a cleaner, neater look and feel at the back.
Around the front, the bezels are almost non-existent and although pushed back, don’t surround the edges as much as they did on the previous Galaxy phones. This makes the device less prone to accidental side touches, which was a tad annoying previously. The entire form factor and the edges make for a surreal experience when you hold the device in your palm. It’s as slick as Modi’s campaigns, not that edgy or sharp. And after a while, it’s just really difficult to leave it alone on a desk, and when you do, you suffer from separation anxiety – yup, it’s that good.
The camera ‘bump’ on the S20+ is on the slimmer side when compared to the big daddy Ultra, and when you do put it on the desk, there’s minimal bobble when you’re prodding around at the display. We’d still recommend you slip it inside the case provided or buy a swanky new one if this problem annoys you a lot.
Samsung S20+ Display and Audio
It’s probably the most beautiful bit of the S20+ and rightly so. The 6.7in Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O Display packs in 525ppi and supports the Quad HD+ resolution. You can now bump up the refresh rate to a super-smooth 120Hz from the regular 60Hz and enjoy the experience in a lower FHD+ resolution, although few games support 120Hz and changing to the higher rate also leads to more battery consumption, albeit it’s just an hour and a half of impact overall. We prefer sticking to the sharper QHD+ resolution as that display deserves to be viewed at its fullest potential.
The colours and that ‘pop’ is typically Samsung and we’re pretty sure it’s the best display on a smartphone we’ve laid eyes on. It’s crisp and detailed and the HDR10+ certification is the cherry on top, making Netflix content irresistible. The audio is top notch too, with Dolby tech under the hood and stereo speakers immersing you in the action or dialogue, no matter what the content, with enough definition and surprisingly good bass too from such a slick form factor.
Samsung S20+ Camera
While the Ultra hits the ball out of the world and into space with its 108MP 100X Space Zoom, the S20+ is more down to Earth and gets the 64MP goodness. The highlight here is the 30x zoom, which surprisingly manages to retain a lot of detail, although the end result does look smoothened and you do notice the software trickery that’s gone into it.
The wide angle does a great job capturing more of the scene and the regular shots come out great too with enough detail, accurate colours and little to no noise in properly lit conditions. The Night mode is now improved and manages excellent shots through the main sensor; zoom in, however, and things start to get a little hazy and there's apparent loss of detail.
Compare it to the year old Huawei P30 Pro and it's clear that the P30 does a better job with its zoom; however, we found the colours to be more accurate on the shots taken from the S20+. 8K videos are a thing of the future and more of a boast here on the S20+ and unless you want to document the apocalypse, we’d stick to the regular 4K at 60fps.
The 10MP front selfie camera gets the job done well and manages decent detail levels and handles exposure rather well. Live Focus works as well as it did before, but we did notice over smoothening of faces, which gets a tad annoying and unnatural if you’ve not switched the AI off.
Samsung S20+ Performance and features
With the Exynos 990P and 8GBs of LP DDR5 RAM under the hood, you don’t get 5G capabilities, but what you get in oodles is high speed performance. It is a workhorse alright and anything you throw at this puppy is handled with the might of a dragon. Clearing your apps from the tray is passe and the S20+ remains fluid even while heavy multitasking and gaming.
The Bixby button is now a goner (thank you, Samsung) and instead you get the option to double press the power button to either quick launch the camera, open Bixby or open an app of your choice. You can also wake Bixby by long pressing it, or choose to switch off your phone like regular.
The new One UI 2.1 is as streamlined as ever and although it offers a lot of nitty gritty features, it doesn’t feel cumbersome or cluttered at all. One great feature Samsung’s added is in the camera app. Finding your way when you’re zoomed in at 30x can get taxing and hence, a pop-up preview window shows up with crosshairs, giving you the entire picture and the exact location where you’ve zoomed in. It really makes it easier to target your shots and saves a lot of time and embarrassment.
Samsung S20+ Verdict
So, what’s new that the Samsung S20+ brings to the tech table? We’ve seen the blazing fast performance on the OnePlus 7T, we’ve seen the camera zoom capabilities of the Huawei P30 Pro, we’ve seen the 120Hz display on the Asus ROG Phone II, but we’ve never seen everything so well integrated into one phone. Add to that the One UI’s superb functionality and what you have in your hand is a ‘do it all’, which begs the question – who wants a boring ‘do-it-aller’? We do.