Which Samsung phone is best in 2020?
Google may make its own Pixel phones, but Samsung is the king of Android hardware. Ever since the Samsung Galaxy S2, it has consistently made a contender for phone of the year, if not the winner.
But which Samsung phone should you buy in 2020? As usual, Samsung’s brightest stars are its high-end models, and we’ve seen plenty of activity as usual. However, let’s take a look at all the top Samsung options, including whether you should consider one of it’s older phones.
Below is our summary of the best Samsung phones for most people, based on our comprehensive phone reviews. Scroll down to read our in-depth verdicts for the full list.
- Best all-round performance: Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
- Best S20 alternative: Samsung Galaxy S10
- Best S10 alternative: Samsung Galaxy S10e
- Best camera and screen: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
- Best on a budget: Samsung Galaxy A7
Now read our list of the Best Android phones.
1. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
The optimum option from the S20 range
- Cool design
- Great screen
- Nippy performance
- Decent battery
- Ugly UI
- 8K video recording is pointless
For our money, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is the pick of the bunch when it comes to the S20 series. Crucially, it delivers in all the key areas: battery, performance, and camera. The battery easily lasted us through the day (although it wasn’t as impressive with the screen running at 120Hz), it packs a punchy performance that should satisfy mobile gamers, and the versatile camera delivered good results even in low light.
We have only minor grumbles about this phone; the software skin might not be to everyone’s tastes, and the 8K video recording option is more of a gimmick than anything. But we reckon that this is the best Samsung handset you can buy right now.
- Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus review
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2. Samsung Galaxy S10
The best alternative to the S20
- Enthusiast’s phone, accessible design
- Triple view rear camera
- Headphone jack
- UK version not quite as powerful as US
Sometimes Samsung leaves the standard-size S-series phone a little less feature-rich than the XL-side Plus version, but the Samsung Galaxy S10 is every bit as good as the Plus model.
It has a smaller 6.1-inch screen, but you still get the triple-view camera on the back, and one of Samsung’s new Infinity-O displays. The Galaxy S10’s is better, if anything, as the cut-out, is smaller and therefore less distracting when you watch videos.
Unlike most flagships, the S10 series phones also have 3.5mm headphone jacks. That’s the best kind of blast from the past.
What does the Plus have that the standard S10 doesn’t? An extra front camera, which adds an additional field of view for selfies and enables smart depth effect processing.
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- Read our Samsung Galaxy S10 review
3. Samsung Galaxy S10e
The best alternative to the S10
- Lower price than the S10
- Some of the same high-end features
- Lacks the curved front of the S10
- Still pricey
The Samsung Galaxy S10e is the lower-cost option in the S10 family. It has elements of the high-end duo but misses out on a few extras in each area.
The parts it keeps? Glass on the front and back, the Exynos 9820 processor and high-quality rear cameras led by a stabilised 12-megapixel one.
And the snipped-out bits? The Galaxy S10e has a much flatter screen, with clearer surrounds and a less glossy appearance. There’s no zoom lens on the back, the screen is smaller, and lower-res at 1080p and 5.8 inches, and the battery shrinks to suit too.
Samsung has tried to avoid this seeming like the “cheap” Galaxy S10, perhaps because the price isn’t all that low, by giving it some bolder colours. Most are still reasonably tasteful, but the highlighter pen yellow is an eye-opener.
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Samsung Galaxy S10e
- Read our Samsung Galaxy S10e review
4. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Best camera (and screen)
- Zooming up to 10x is fantastic
- The screen is a delight
- Samsung’s software has never been better
- Very fast charging
- It’s very expensive
- Battery can struggle to cope with 120Hz
- It’s just so big
If you’re after versatility in your camera phone, then the Galaxy S20 Ultra is a great choice. It packs three main rear cameras (wide, ultra-wide and tele), a sensor for calculating depth, shoots 8K video and captures selfies with a 40-megapixel front camera.
Instead of focusing on computational photography like the flagships from Google and Apple, the S20 Ultra goes for big wins with loads of megapixels. There are 108 in the primary wide camera, 60 in the telephoto and 12 in the wide.
That telephoto is arguably the pick of the bunch, allowing you to zoom up to 100x. While 100x photos aren’t the best, use it to zoom 10x, and you’ll capture some delightful shots with lots of detail.
When it comes to viewing photos you’ve got a 6.9-inch OLED panel that’s the best in the business. It’s big, bright, smooth and very responsive to the touch. Samsung has shrunk down the notch from the S10 to make it less obvious, and the curved edges feel steeper.
Inside the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, you’ll find a 5000mAh battery that can be charged via 25w fast charge or wirelessly, either a Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 and 12 or 16G RAM. It’s a 5G phone too, so if you’re on a 5G network transferring snaps, uploading to social media and backup services should be very fast. Storage options range sit at 128GB or 512GB, but there’s microSD expandability too – which might come in handy if you’re shooting a lot of 8K videos.
- Read our Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra review
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5. Samsung Galaxy A7
The best budget Samsung phone
- Triple rear camera
- Fairly weak GPU
The Samsung Galaxy A7 was a test drive for Galaxy S10 range. It has three rear cameras, including a wide and an extra depth sensor, and a fairly large 6-inch screen.
As you might expect, no element, from the screen to the camera to the design, is quite Galaxy S10-level. But you get that Samsung Galaxy look and feel for around a third of the price. And, of course, one of Samsung’s famous bright and colourful OLED screens.
Cutbacks to consider include a relatively weak graphics processor and plastic coated sides, rather than metal ones. You can’t play high-end games like PUBG with the graphics maxed out here. However, we still consider the Galaxy A7 a pretty good phone for gaming thanks to its large display and extensive storage. Can gamers do better for the price? Yes, from a more value-driven series like the Moto G, or an Honor line.
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Samsung Galaxy A7
- Read our Samsung Galaxy A7 review