Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra – Which should you buy?

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Yesterday evening Samsung unveiled its newest series of smartphones and there is now a choice to be made.

Where once all you had to decide between was whether you wanted a flagship device or not, now you need to decide which specific flagship you want.

Samsung has made this rather difficult what with three new smartphones hitting the market on 6th March, but we’re on hand to help you decide which Galaxy S20 smartphone, is right for you.

The first thing we’re going to look at are specs as this is the easiest way for you at home to compare apples with apples.

Galaxy S20 Galaxy S20+ Galaxy S20 Ultra
Display 6.2inch AMOLED 6.7inch AMOLED 6.9inch AMOLED
Resolution 3200 x 1440 3200 x 1440 3200 x 1440
HDR HDR10+ certified HDR10+ certified HDR10+ certified
Refresh rate 120Hz 120Hz 120Hz
CPU 7nm 64-bit octa-core processor @ 2.7GHz (Turbo) 7nm 64-bit octa-core processor @ 2.7GHz (Turbo) 7nm 64-bit octa-core processor @ 2.7GHz (Turbo)
Memory 8GB 8GB 12GB or 16GB
Storage 128GB 128GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Front camera 10MP F2.2 10MP F2.2 40MP F2.2
Rear camera 12MP Ultra Wide F2.2, 12MP Wide-angle F1.8, 64MP Telephoto 12MP Ultra Wide F2.2, 12MP Wide-angle F1.8, 64MP Telephoto F2.0, Depth Vision Camera 12MP Ultra Wide F2.2, 108MP Wide-Angle F1.8, 48MP Telephoto F3.5, DepthVision camera
Biometrics Face recognition, fingerprint sensor Face recognition, fingerprint sensor Face recognition, fingerprint sensor
Battery (mAh) 4 000 4 500 5 000
Price R18 999 R20 999 R26 999

At first glance things look rather similar across the range. Resolutions are the same, HDR10+ certification is present across the range and all of the displays boast a 120Hz refresh rate.

Sadly, when it comes to storage capacity the non-5G models we will be getting in South Africa are lacking when it comes to choice.

While the S20 Ultra boasts three storage capacities, those are very much dependent on your RAM configuration. The 512GB option for instance is only available with a 16GB RAM configuration and as such will fetch a higher price.

The good news however is that the S20 range supports microSD cards for expansion.

Aside from that storage niggle the S20 range starts to diverge when we start looking at camera. The features you will find in all the S20 cameras are:

  • 3X Hybrid Optic Zoom (10X in the S20 Ultra)
  • 30X Super Resolution Zoom (100X in the S20 Ultra)
  • Optical Image Stabilisation
  • 8K (7680×4320) video recording at 24fps
  • 4K (3840×2160) video recording at 60fps
  • 1080p video recording at 60fps (slow motion at 240fps)
  • 720p video recording at 30fps

The best phone in the range (at least regarding camera tech) is the S20 Ultra but its price will surely put some folks off.

While the features in that camera are rather interesting, we do feel as if it’s a bit overkill for most people.

Sure 100X zoom is fun to show off to your friends but is a starting price of R26 999 really worth it?

We believe that the S20 Ultra is best suited for a content creator that needs a back up camera for events and the like. For the business person or regular Joe who loves new tech, the S20+ seems like the play here.

That thinking extends to other areas as well. As nice as 16GB of RAM is, ask yourself how much multi-tasking you really plan on doing. The Galaxy S10+ sported a mere 8GB of memory and performance on that handset in 2020 is solid. The Galaxy Fold had 12GB of memory and if that’s good enough for a massive handset like that, it will ample for the S20-series.

As for battery capacity, the S20 Ultra does have a massive 5 000mAh battery but with a bigger display and more memory, we suspect battery life will be similar across the range. This is speculation on our part but we won’t know until we can test this for ourselves.

Which S20 is the best bang for your buck?

While we love the sheer weight of the specs in the S20 Ultra we have to be practical here because not everybody is going to be able to make full use of the features.

The S20 is a good baseline with only a Depth Vision camera missing compared to the S20+ but you do get a R2 000 haircut on the price for that and a slightly smaller display.

The S20 also feels a bit more comfortable in your hand and it’s easier to reach around the display compared to the S20+ and S20 Ultra.

Our pick then for the best smartphone from the range for the average Samsung fan is the S20.

The S20+ and Ultra are great handsets but justifying the massive leap in pricing becomes tricky when you’re not vlogging or pursuing a career as an Instagram influencer or TikTok celeb.

You’re also going to need a few extra Rands to purchase Bluetooth earphones as the Galaxy S20 series has ditched the 3.5mm jack.

With that in mind our pick is the Samsung Galaxy S20.

The entire Galaxy S20 range lands in South Africa on 6th March.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.