As expected, Samsung announced its new mainstream phone line at today’s Unpacked event in San Francisco. The Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra, all of which come with 5G radios standard, will be available in the US starting on March 6th. These will be Samsung’s more conventional designs, as opposed to the bombastic new folding phone shown off at the Oscars.
The cheapest Galaxy S20, with no extra adornment in its title aside from its “5G” badge, starts at $1000. Yup, you read that right. It’s a beefy phone, no “e” or “mini” variant, with a 6.2-inch AMOLED display boasting quad HD+ resolution (2560×1440, plus a bit more for the taller aspect ratio). More interestingly, it has a 120Hz refresh rate, allowing it to compete with recent flagships from the likes of Google, OnePlus, and Razer. Note that the screen is flat this year—Samsung seems to be doing away with the curved glass that’s dominated its design language since 2014.
Around back the S20 gets three cameras: 12 megapixels on the wide and ultra-wide angles, and a 64-megapixel telephoto lens. That includes “hybrid” optical zoom and super resolution options at up to 30x magnification. The front-facing camera, a single module, is a respectable 10 megapixels. It’s a “hole punch” camera in the center of the screen, following the design of the Galaxy Note 10, with rounded corners at all edges. All three cameras can capture photos and videos at once, and Samsung’s software will select the best one to use for you. In an impressive feat, the cameras can capture video at 8K resolution with DSLR-style image controls.
Underneath the hood is Samsung’s latest 8-core Exynos processor running at 2.7GHz, though that may be swapped out for Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 hardware in some territories. It’s paired to 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, with the usual MicroSD card slot. The “small” Galaxy S20 gets a 4000mAh battery, an impressive inclusion in its 7.9mm-thin frame, with even faster 25-watt charging.
Visually, the phone is all Samsung, with the usual curves and rear glass panel. The camera module is striking, a rectangular bump as opposed to the rounded squares on recent Pixel and iPhone models. (The white circle is the LED flash.) What can’t be seen is a new under-screen fingerprint sensor, which can accommodate two fingers at a time. Samsung’s phones support face unlock, but don’t feature the faster and more advanced biometric scanning of some of its competitors.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, there’s no headphone jack.
Moving up to the Galaxy S20+, you get a bigger 6.7-inch screen at the same resolution, and a beefier 4500mAh battery. It steps up the camera array to four sensors, with an added “Depth Vision” sensor as seen on the Galaxy S10 5G and Note 10+. It uses the same processor and RAM as the standard S20, with 512GB of storage as an option. With those upgrades, the price starts at $1200.
Galaxy S20 Ultra
The big daddy of Samsung’s 2020 lineup, the Galaxy S20 Ultra packs no less than 6.9 inches in its AMOLED screen, though the resolution and other capabilities are the same as the smaller phones. Its battery is a full 5000mAh with support for 45-watt charging, though it’s also a little thicker at 8.8mm. It comes in two models, one with 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and an even more outlandish model with 16GB and 512GB respectively.
But the big headline feature is undoubtedly the upgraded camera. It’s using the same four-sensor array as the S20+, but the wide-angle lens gets bumped to 108 megapixels. Yup, that’s one hundred megapixels, plus eight more just for fun. This gives the S20 Ultra a maximum zoom factor of 100X. It’s dramatic, to say the least.
Samsung had to make a sacrifice in that huge camera module: the telephoto lens is bumped down to “just” 48 megapixels with a higher aperture, 3.5 vs 2.0. But with Samsung’s image processing tech, it’s safe to say that the S20 Ultra will have its best camera performance ever. Whether that’s the best on the market…well, we’ll have to see.
How much will the Galaxy S20 Ultra cost? Hold onto your wallets: $1400 for the base version.
When Can You Get One?
The S20 series will go on sale starting March 6th in the United States, for both carrier variants and unlocked versions. All three phones get a “cosmic grey” color, with the S20 also available in pink, the S20 and S20+ in blue, and the S20+ and S20 Ultra in black.
Pre-orders will begin on February 21st. If you pre-order the phone you get $100, $150, or $200 in Samsung credit (for the S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra respectively). Carriers will no doubt be offering their own promotions.