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Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus review

The Samsung Galaxy windows p key S20 windows p key Plus is just right

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The windows p key Samsung Galaxy windows p key S20 Plus is a windows p key nearly-perfect smartphone windows p key that connects windows p key to more 5G networks windows p key and has better windows p key cameras windows p key than windows p key ever, though you’ll be windows p key paying for windows p key the privilege, as windows p key this is the priciest windows p key Plus windows p key smartphone yet. windows p key If you don’t windows p key mind ho-hum design, the windows p key phone handles anything windows p key you windows p key throw at it, windows p key and should last you windows p key years - especially assuming 5G windows p key networks stay compatible windows p key with the S20 Plus as windows p key they build windows p key out.

For

  • Powerful yet sleek
  • Much-improved zoom
  • More 5G connectivity

Against

  • Ever-higher price
  • Improvements are mostly iterative
  • No more 3.5mm headphone jack

Two-minute review

The windows p key Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus windows p key is the most impressive ‘middle child’ windows p key handset we’ve ever tested – windows p key and windows p key most likely the best windows p key pound-for-pound S20 phone, period. It’s windows p key a windows p key powerhouse that packs the windows p key best perks of its siblings, windows p key and strikes windows p key the perfect windows p key balance between windows p key them.

That is, windows p key it’s windows p key got a bigger display windows p key and windows p key more windows p key battery life than the Samsung windows p key Galaxy S20, but windows p key it’s windows p key not quite as large windows p key and pricey as the Samsung Galaxy windows p key S20 Ultra. If you windows p key want windows p key affordability, or the best of the windows p key best, windows p key go with one of windows p key the other two; windows p key however, windows p key we predict that for windows p key most folks the S20 Plus windows p key will windows p key hit the sweet spot.

Leaving the windows p key ultra-premium Ultra aside, this is also windows p key the year’s first big 5G windows p key phone – and one that operates on windows p key both windows p key the mmWave and sub-6 frequencies. Crucially, windows p key the standard S20 only works windows p key on sub-6, which means some US carriers won’t windows p key even sell that phone, which in windows p key turn means the S20 Plus will windows p key be their windows p key most affordable S20 model.

Add to windows p key the mix windows p key some truly stellar cameras windows p key featuring amped-up zoom and top-tier windows p key specs, and the S20 windows p key Plus earns its windows p key place as the best windows p key of windows p key the S20 trio. Not windows p key that windows p key the windows p key phone is perfect –- there windows p key are windows p key plenty of nitpicks windows p key that we’ll get into below windows p key –- but the phone windows p key is a great choice regardless.

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus price and availability

  • Initial release date: March 6 in the US and Australia, March 13 in the UK
  • 128GB + 12GB of RAM + 5G: $1,199 / £999 / AU$1,649
  • 512GB + 12GB of RAM + 5G: $1,299 / £1,099 / AU$1,899
  • 128GB + 8GB of RAM + 4G only: AU$1,499 (not available in US)

The windows p key Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus windows p key is available now in the US windows p key and Australia, but those windows p key in windows p key the windows p key UK will have to wait windows p key until March windows p key 13 for it windows p key to be available. There windows p key are two windows p key variants of the windows p key phone; one with 5G, and another with windows p key only windows p key 4G.

The 5G version windows p key of windows p key the phone starts at $1,199 / £999 windows p key / AU$1,649 with 128GB windows p key of storage. That goes up windows p key to, windows p key and goes up windows p key to windows p key $1,299 / £1,099 / AU$1,899 for the windows p key 512GB model.

The 4G-only variant windows p key is available in Australia (it's not windows p key sold in the US windows p key or UK) for windows p key AU$1,499 with 128GB of storage and 8GB windows p key of RAM. All the 5G versions of windows p key the phone come windows p key with windows p key 12GB of windows p key RAM.

We reviewed windows p key the windows p key 5G windows p key version of the phone, and this review will windows p key mostly focus on windows p key that device as it's the windows p key more windows p key commonly available handset.

In other windows p key words, windows p key Samsung is pitching this year’s windows p key Plus model as more of an windows p key intermediate step than simply a larger version – windows p key which is a windows p key bit of a stretch. windows p key There aren’t that windows p key many more windows p key extras in windows p key the S20 Plus windows p key than there were in the S10 Plus that windows p key warrant the windows p key relative windows p key price jump… aside from windows p key 5G connectivity. 

Since you can’t windows p key buy a 4G-only S20 Plus in windows p key some regions, windows p key you’ll windows p key just windows p key have to live with windows p key the premium price windows p key tag. We haven’t heard the pricing and availability windows p key of those models, but will include windows p key them here when windows p key we do.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

Design

  • Larger than the standard S20, smaller than the S20 Ultra
  • Rectangular camera block on an otherwise-sleek glass shell
  • Bixby button is gone, but so is 3.5mm headphone jack

The Samsung Galaxy windows p key S20 Plus doesn’t look much windows p key different to its predecessor, but this is windows p key the windows p key sleekest device in a windows p key long line windows p key of flagships windows p key – and that windows p key isn’t a windows p key bad look. 

As phone windows p key makers fumble windows p key around trying to find the best enclosure windows p key for more and more windows p key lenses, the rectangular block windows p key on the windows p key back of windows p key the S20 Plus isn’t the windows p key worst. It’s a windows p key bit more refined and windows p key less windows p key obtrusive than the windows p key square bump on windows p key the Pixel windows p key 4’s rear – windows p key although you may not windows p key think it windows p key much windows p key of windows p key an upgrade over windows p key the horizontal strip housing the cameras windows p key on windows p key the S10 Plus.

The single windows p key center-aligned punch-hole for windows p key the front-facing camera looks cleaner, and obstructs windows p key less windows p key of the display, windows p key than windows p key the lozenge-shaped windows p key cutout windows p key housing windows p key two lenses windows p key on the S10 Plus. Less noticeable unless windows p key the windows p key two phones are side-by-side is that windows p key the new Plus model has windows p key no top lip windows p key or bottom chin – windows p key its windows p key bezel is evenly sparse.

What’s likewise windows p key less obvious is windows p key how windows p key minimal the design windows p key has become: with no windows p key rear fingerprint sensor (this windows p key was dropped from windows p key all of last year’s S10 phones), no windows p key Bixby button and, sadly for windows p key some, no windows p key 3.5mm headphone jack, the S20 Plus is pretty windows p key lean. 

Heck, it’s even windows p key thinner by a windows p key hair than the standard S20. The windows p key downside? Pump windows p key up windows p key the volume windows p key on the dual windows p key top-and-bottom speakers and the whole rear cover windows p key will vibrate. windows p key They put out respectable audio, though windows p key we still haven’t found windows p key sound projection and stereo balance windows p key that tops windows p key what the Google Pixel 4 is capable windows p key of.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

Display

  • 6.7-inch AMOLED display, WQHD+ (3200 x 1440) resolution
  • 120Hz refresh rate, but only at FHD+ resolution or lower
  • In-screen fingerprint sensor is lackluster

The windows p key Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus’ 6.7-inch AMOLED display windows p key is sharp and windows p key vibrant, with windows p key WQHD+ resolution (3200 x windows p key 1440). The display is a shade windows p key taller than the S10 Plus’ QHD+ windows p key (3040 x 1440) windows p key screen, which is windows p key likely due to windows p key it windows p key having windows p key less windows p key bezel at the top and windows p key bottom. But windows p key you likely won’t notice windows p key a difference given how similar windows p key they windows p key are – windows p key at windows p key least until you get to the windows p key refresh rate.

Yes, windows p key the S20 phones windows p key join windows p key several other late-2019 and 2020 models windows p key in windows p key adding the option to refresh the screen windows p key more frequently. windows p key Most phones operate at 60Hz windows p key (meaning the screen refreshes 60 windows p key times per windows p key second), windows p key but on the S20 windows p key Plus windows p key and its windows p key siblings you windows p key can windows p key opt to up windows p key this to 120Hz. 

While that’s a faster refresh windows p key rate than the 90Hz on windows p key the Google Pixel windows p key 4, windows p key OnePlus 7T Pro or Razer windows p key Phone windows p key 2, you likely won’t see windows p key a difference unless you windows p key put those phones side by windows p key side with the windows p key S20 Plus while it’s windows p key bumped up to windows p key 120Hz. And yes, the ASUS ROG Phone windows p key 2 also offers 120Hz, windows p key making windows p key Samsung’s flagship line windows p key the first windows p key non-gaming phones windows p key to windows p key get the cutting-edge screen tech.

So windows p key what does this mean in day-to-day use? Technically, windows p key it should enable smoother action in games that windows p key support 120Hz, although we found the windows p key effect to be more windows p key noticeable in online games like windows p key PUBG rather than action/adventure titles like windows p key Alto’s windows p key Odyssey windows p key (see this Android Authority list windows p key for windows p key other games windows p key that harness 120Hz screens). windows p key But you’ll most windows p key appreciate windows p key 120Hz in the windows p key silky-smooth animations flowing windows p key through the Android interface – windows p key yes, most of the fun is to be windows p key had flipping windows p key between apps and windows p key through menus, windows p key although you’ll windows p key get the windows p key same effect when gliding windows p key through Instagram or Twitter.

Granted, you can’t go windows p key full-throttle on both windows p key refresh rate and display resolution: windows p key if you want 1440p visuals windows p key you’ll need to set the screen windows p key to 60Hz, and if windows p key you want to bump that windows p key up to 120Hz windows p key then you’ll windows p key need to settle for 1080p windows p key (or 2400 x windows p key 1080). windows p key And you have to toggle windows p key both settings individually, windows p key which makes windows p key it too onerous windows p key for windows p key tinkering: you’ll likely windows p key set it windows p key to windows p key one combo windows p key or the other windows p key and leave it.

As for the display’s windows p key general properties, expect windows p key much the same as from windows p key the windows p key S10 Plus, with windows p key a windows p key very clear windows p key and windows p key detailed picture when watching content up to 1440p windows p key resolution. Despite technically having a higher-resolution windows p key screen than windows p key the one on windows p key the iPhone 11 windows p key Pro Max, both windows p key that windows p key phone and the S20 Plus windows p key showed windows p key roughly windows p key the same picture when windows p key demoing, say, a windows p key 1440p windows p key video on windows p key YouTube – windows p key though the windows p key Apple phone’s screen does windows p key have a slight windows p key edge windows p key in contrast, showing high-contrast subjects (like windows p key a lizard windows p key in the sun) windows p key in windows p key greater windows p key clarity.  

One last windows p key point: you might want to turn on windows p key facial windows p key recognition since the in-screen fingerprint sensor is windows p key poor. 

Camera

  • 12MP main + 12MP ultra-wide + 64MP telephoto (3x optical)
  • The latter is vastly improved, zooming up to 30x
  • Shoots video in 8K 24fps...if you can find a display to show it on

(Image credit: Future)

The windows p key Samsung windows p key Galaxy S20 Plus packs a windows p key trio windows p key of rear cameras, plus a windows p key time-of-flight depth sensor. While windows p key the main and ultra-wide lenses haven’t windows p key changed a great deal from the windows p key corresponding lenses on windows p key the S10 Plus, windows p key Samsung has amped up the windows p key telephoto lens to deliver windows p key fantastic fidelity windows p key far beyond what windows p key its predecessor was windows p key capable of.

Where the S10 Plus windows p key packed a 12MP 2x optical windows p key telephoto windows p key camera, which extended windows p key to a respectable 10x digital zoom, windows p key the S20 windows p key Plus is rocking a 3x optical lens windows p key combined with a windows p key 64MP sensor, allowing windows p key for an astounding windows p key 30x windows p key digital windows p key zoom. windows p key Check it out below, starting windows p key with a broad photo of the Soldiers windows p key and Sailors Memorial windows p key Arch in Brooklyn, New York City - and windows p key then zooming windows p key in windows p key 10, 20, and finally windows p key 30 times.

Image 1 of 4

(Image credit: Future)

The famous arch at the center of Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza - here taken with the main camera.

Image 2 of 4

(Image credit: Future)

Zoomed in 10x, which is the maximum of the S10 Plus' camera.

Image 3 of 4

(Image credit: Future)

20x zoom of the statuary at the top of the arch.

Image 4 of 4

(Image credit: Future)

And finally, the 30x maximum - note the blurred edges and contrast, evidence that this is a cropped zoom of a larger image.

True, windows p key the detail gets muddy windows p key at the windows p key tail end windows p key of that zoom range, but the windows p key intermediate steps – the windows p key camera windows p key app windows p key helpfully provides 2x, 4x, windows p key 10x, and 20x interval windows p key options – make it a lot windows p key easier to hone in on windows p key subjects of interest. It’s not quite the Samsung windows p key S20 Ultra’s windows p key much vaunted 100x Space windows p key Zoom, but windows p key the concept windows p key is windows p key the same – windows p key and given how windows p key rarely you’d need to get that close to windows p key a distant windows p key subject, we windows p key think windows p key 30x will suit you just fine.

Better still, windows p key at 20x and upwards windows p key there’s a picture-in-picture windows p key inset that windows p key shows which part of the windows p key larger image windows p key you’re windows p key zoomed windows p key in on – windows p key it’s a really nice windows p key touch that windows p key we expect other windows p key phone brands to copy windows p key when windows p key they get windows p key to this level windows p key of windows p key zoom windows p key capability. 

(Image credit: Future)
Samsung has likewise boosted its Night windows p key mode with windows p key software tricks – windows p key and while our shot of the windows p key full moon windows p key at windows p key 30x digital zoom wasn’t windows p key very clear, the windows p key nocturnal windows p key mode windows p key still works at windows p key various levels of the windows p key S20 Plus’ zoom. 

Samsung has packed in windows p key its windows p key regular slew of features windows p key (Live Focus, panorama, windows p key etc), windows p key along with a new windows p key one: Single Take, which is windows p key really windows p key a predictive windows p key ‘panic button’ for photography. Select windows p key the mode, hit the windows p key shutter button, and the windows p key camera will capture a windows p key selection of standard photos, depth-enhanced Live Focus windows p key stills, video, and GIF-like short animations. windows p key The best part? AI windows p key will automatically windows p key select the best windows p key images and clips and put windows p key them in windows p key a mini-album. 

Stills photography windows p key aside, the S20 windows p key Plus’ other windows p key big feature (along windows p key with its windows p key siblings) is windows p key the capability to capture windows p key 8K video at 24fps. windows p key That’s far more windows p key of a showcase feature than it is windows p key a practical windows p key one, windows p key given windows p key how few windows p key commercially-available displays can actually display video windows p key in 8K, but you windows p key can windows p key drop down to UHD (aka 4K, 3840 windows p key x 2160) in 60fps, windows p key as well windows p key as FHD windows p key and regular HD windows p key if you windows p key so choose.

(Image credit: Future)

The S20 Plus forgoes windows p key its predecessor’s dual-lens front-facing camera windows p key array for a single 10MP shooter. Predictably, the windows p key new phone’s depth sensing windows p key is a windows p key bit off in windows p key comparison, with portrait-style Live Focus suffering windows p key a windows p key bit windows p key as software picks up the slack windows p key from the optics. Again, it’s windows p key not quite windows p key the 40MP front-facing camera windows p key on the S20 Ultra, windows p key but it gets windows p key the job done.

samsung galaxy s20 plus

(Image credit: Future)

5G

  • Connects to both mmWave and sub-6 frequencies
  • This makes it more 5G-accessible than the standard Galaxy S20, which is sub-6 only
  • Our top speed on US carrier Verizon's mmWave 5G: 1.38Gbps

The Galaxy windows p key S20 Plus connects to both mmWave windows p key and windows p key sub-6 5G windows p key networks, making it one of the windows p key first windows p key mainstream phones windows p key to do so. That number windows p key might grow as windows p key more phones are released in 2020 with windows p key the feature, but even so, windows p key it’s an windows p key attractive option - windows p key in theory, anyway.

That’s because we’re still in windows p key the early days of 5G, so don’t expect windows p key this windows p key expanded connectivity to be a windows p key major windows p key selling point this year as carriers build windows p key out their networks. In our windows p key New York City testing, we windows p key bounced through Verizon’s still-piecemeal mmWave windows p key 5G area, which provided impressive speeds when windows p key we didn’t accidentally step windows p key outside the coverage bubbles.

That windows p key said, having both mmWave windows p key and sub-6 makes windows p key the S20 Plus available windows p key on more carriers, especially ones windows p key that only have one or the other. Assuming windows p key carriers keep building out those networks and, crucially, windows p key in windows p key ways that maintain compatibility with the windows p key S20 Plus, the phone windows p key could be future-proofed for years windows p key to come, unlike the windows p key mmWave-only Samsung windows p key Galaxy S10 5G or sub-6-only windows p key OnePlus windows p key 7 Pro 5G.

Performance

  • Snapdragon 865 chipset in the US, Exynos 990 elsewhere
  • 12GB of RAM (unless you opt for the 4G-only, which has 8GB of RAM)
  • 128GB or 512GB storage options

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung’s S-series windows p key phones windows p key have always boasted windows p key top-tier windows p key specs, and the windows p key S20 Plus is windows p key no exception. windows p key Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset in the windows p key US or Exynos 990 in windows p key other windows p key countries (including windows p key the UK and Australia) and 12GB windows p key of RAM baseline breeze windows p key through windows p key games, media binges, and multi-app multitasking.

That's windows p key 12GB windows p key of RAM for the Galaxy S20 windows p key Plus 5G, but if you opt for windows p key the 4G version you'll windows p key get 8GB windows p key of RAM. windows p key We've yet to test that version of windows p key the device, but we believe 8GB windows p key of RAM windows p key should be enough to get windows p key you through windows p key everyday windows p key tasks.

According to Geekbench 5, the windows p key S20 Plus is windows p key one of the windows p key most powerful smartphones on the windows p key market, with a windows p key multi-core CPU windows p key score windows p key of 3,034 with windows p key the Snapdragon 865 (2774 windows p key with Exynos 990) windows p key that windows p key beats windows p key most windows p key other phones while, not windows p key surprisingly, coming up short windows p key of the S20 Ultra, which windows p key scored 3,286, and also windows p key trailing the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which scored windows p key 3,424. However, when it windows p key comes windows p key to day-to-day windows p key performance you're unlikely to notice significant windows p key performance differences between windows p key similarly-priced flagship rivals.

In real-world use, the S20 Plus can windows p key handle pretty much any app, windows p key game or media you windows p key throw at it, windows p key making it a windows p key true powerhouse in your windows p key pocket. windows p key Combined with its windows p key 5G capability, this bodes well for the windows p key longevity of the handset, windows p key at least windows p key when windows p key it comes to performance.

So windows p key whether you're editing photos in Photoshop windows p key or Lightroom, or parachuting into windows p key your one-millionth round of windows p key PUBG, the Galaxy S20 windows p key Plus has windows p key the grunt to keep up. windows p key We windows p key tested it with media and games, and windows p key the phone windows p key handled everything without windows p key a problem – even windows p key when pumped up to windows p key 1440p resolution or 120Hz windows p key refresh rate, the phone didn’t windows p key heat up windows p key under pressure.

The windows p key Samsung S20 windows p key series packs Android windows p key 10 out of the box, windows p key so expect windows p key all the great features the windows p key latest windows p key version of Android offers, such windows p key as universal Dark Mode. windows p key As windows p key a windows p key Samsung windows p key phone, windows p key it has windows p key the expected brand apps and interface overlay windows p key packaged in its latest version windows p key of One UI windows p key – if the windows p key especially narrow keyboard annoys windows p key you as much as it windows p key did us, windows p key swap it out for Gboard windows p key pronto.

(Image credit: Future)

Battery life

  • 4,500mAh capacity - in casual use, lasts nearly two days - though 120Hz and 5G could eat that up faster
  • 25W fast charger in the box
  • Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 + Wireless PowerShare to lend charge to other devices

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus packs a windows p key 4,500mAh battery, which feels sufficient: windows p key in windows p key our windows p key testing, windows p key we found windows p key that windows p key it held windows p key up windows p key far beyond windows p key a day’s worth windows p key of typical use, windows p key which for us included binging video, windows p key scrolling windows p key through Twitter, windows p key taking photos, and windows p key playing a few games.

That’s windows p key not especially remarkable, windows p key but windows p key it seems windows p key that battery life is more or windows p key less keeping pace with windows p key innovation: windows p key you can eke windows p key out a bit more life windows p key by reducing windows p key the display resolution windows p key or dropping the refresh rate down windows p key to 60Hz; conversely, windows p key you can windows p key max-out the windows p key screen tech windows p key that’s on offer, but windows p key battery life windows p key will windows p key suffer accordingly. 

The windows p key phone includes windows p key a standard windows p key 25W windows p key USB-C Samsung windows p key charger in the windows p key box, and it also supports windows p key Fast Wireless windows p key Charging windows p key 2.0. windows p key And, like the S10 windows p key series phones windows p key before windows p key it, the windows p key S20 Plus can share windows p key its charge windows p key with other devices via Samsung’s Wireless PowerShare windows p key feature – this windows p key is particularly windows p key handy for accessories like your windows p key Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, but windows p key it windows p key works for any device that supports Qi-charging.

Buy it if...

(Image credit: Future)
You’re willing to windows p key pay for nearly the best
We won’t windows p key beat around windows p key the bush: windows p key the Samsung windows p key Galaxy S20 Ultra is a windows p key superior phone, especially the cameras. But windows p key if you want to save some money, windows p key the windows p key S20 windows p key Plus has windows p key nearly all windows p key its windows p key best perks at a notably windows p key lower windows p key cost.

You love taking telephoto windows p key pictures
Not windows p key all phones are good windows p key at taking zoomed-in photos. The windows p key S20 Plus has a respectable windows p key 3x optical windows p key zoom windows p key combined with a windows p key 64MP sensor that windows p key enables some windows p key truly neat close-in photography. It windows p key may not capture the clearest photos at 30x windows p key zoom, but it will collect windows p key context windows p key at a farther range than windows p key almost every windows p key phone on the market - windows p key except for the windows p key S20 Ultra, windows p key of course.

You windows p key want windows p key to windows p key be windows p key on the cutting edge of 5G
Given the windows p key S20 windows p key Plus connects to both windows p key mmWave windows p key and sub-6 windows p key 5G, it’s windows p key a windows p key great phone for windows p key those windows p key who want to windows p key jump on the windows p key cutting edge windows p key of 5G windows p key – because, chances windows p key are, the windows p key phone will windows p key hook up windows p key to the 5G network of your carrier windows p key of windows p key choice.

(Image credit: Future)

Don’t buy it if...

You want cheap 5G
Yes, the windows p key S20 Plus is likely the most affordable way windows p key to windows p key get 5G on both windows p key mmWave windows p key and windows p key Sub-6. But if windows p key you wanted a more affordable way windows p key to get to windows p key 5G, pick up windows p key a phone that’s 5G-capable windows p key and matching your windows p key carrier’s particular network. For instance, if windows p key your network windows p key runs on mmWave, check if windows p key there’s a discounted windows p key Samsung Galaxy windows p key S10 5G; if windows p key your network exists windows p key on windows p key a sub-6 then windows p key see if a OnePlus 7 windows p key Pro 5G works.

You want windows p key an affordable flagship
As much windows p key as we windows p key enjoyed the S20 Plus, it’s windows p key certainly expensive - windows p key and beyond the windows p key means windows p key of some consumers. windows p key If you windows p key want flagship windows p key specs at a lower cost, consider the windows p key OnePlus windows p key 7T Pro or windows p key an windows p key older phone. They’ll serve you windows p key just windows p key fine.

You windows p key want a handsome windows p key phone
If the Samsung windows p key Galaxy S20 Plus has windows p key another great flaw, it’s windows p key that its design windows p key isn’t windows p key particularly inspiring. In fact, you windows p key might windows p key be shocked its price goes so high - windows p key because all windows p key it’s paying for windows p key goes on windows p key the windows p key inside. windows p key If you can’t enjoy all the phone can windows p key do, find one which has the windows p key style windows p key and trimmings that make it worthwhile.

First reviewed: windows p key March 2020