Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: Which is top dog?

Samsung revealed a new batch of phones at its February 11 Unpacked event: the Galaxy S20, the Galaxy S20 Plus and the Galaxy S20 Ultra handsets.

There are obviously a fair few differences between the basic S20 model and the deluxe Ultra handset here’s how they compare on paper…

At a glance

  • The Galaxy S20 is the latest flagship phone to arrive from Samsung – it was introduced alongside the pricier S20 plus and the S20 ultra counterparts.
  • The standard Galaxy S20 has a 6.2-inch display, whereas the buffed-up S20 ultra boasts a 6.9-inch screen. Both use Samsung’s dynamic AMOLED screen-tech, so they’re HDR10+ certified.
  • There are only three cameras on the rear of the S20, but the S20 Ultra has four squeezed onto its back. That additional snapper is a ‘DepthVision’ camera, which judges depth and distance when you take a pic.
  • The Ultra has a 5000mAh battery but the S20 has a slightly smaller 4,000mAh battery – both have fast, wireless charging.

Specs and Camera

People have long been heralding the arrival of 5G, so it’s not surprising to see that most of Samsung’s latest phones come 5G-ready. For the S20 Ultra and S20 Plus, you’re getting 5G whether you like it or not – but there is a 4G version of the S20 model.

Both the standard and the Ultra handsets have a 120Hz refresh rate, so movies should appear super smooth on the new phones. And given that the Ultra has a hearty 6.9-inch display, watching shows and gaming on the phone should be fairly enjoyable.

Related: The best Android phones for 2020

The S20 has a smaller 6.2-inch display, which makes it more pocket friendly. But all the new phones use Samsung’s AMOLED screen-tech, so you can expect great colour-contrast.

As with previous Samsung flagships, you’ll get a different chipset depending on where you live. Buyers in Europe will get Samsung’s flagship Exynos 990 chipset, while those in the US model will have the latest chip from Qualcomm – that’s the Snapdragon 865. All the phones will come with Android 10 preinstalled to boot.

One of the big hardware upgrades from the new series is the main camera on the Ultra handset – this has been bumped up to a whopping 108-megapixel f/1.8 sensor. The model also has a 12-megapixel f/2.2 ultrawide lens and a 48-megapixel f/3.5 telephoto cam crammed onto its rear.

Throw in the fourth ‘DepthVision’ camera on the back of the phone along with the 40-megapixel selfie snapper and the S20 Ultra looks like an exciting piece of kit for mobile photographers.

In comparison, the S20’s camera specs are a little closer to those of its predecessor. It comes with a 12-megapixel f/1.8 main camera and a 12-megapixel f/2.2 ultrawide. But the telephoto on the S20 might be slightly better than that of the Ultra, as it uses a 64MP f/2.0 lens.

The standard S20 also has a 10-megapixel front snapper instead of the 40-megapixel option found on the Ultra and it lacks the additional ‘DepthVision’ option.

Related: Here’s what we made of the Samsung Galaxy S10

There are some hefty storage options from the handsets, which is heartening to see. Both the S20 and the Ultra models come with 128GB of storage as standard and have MicroSD slots to bump that number up. You can also grab a pricier version of the Ultra that comes with a healthy serving of 512GB.

Battery life and charging

Samsung has chosen to bang in a 4000mAh battery for the S20 but has opted for a beefier 5000mAh battery on the S20 Ultra, so we’d expect the S20 Ultra’s juice to last a little longer.

Like the rest of the tech world, Samsung is embracing the wireless trend. As such, both new phones have speedier wireless charging thanks to the company’s deployment of “Fast Wireless Charging 2.0.” They’ll also come with wireless powershare.

Look and feel

There are a few design changes here but nothing radically different. On the back of the phones, the cameras now sit in a dark rectangle on the left, while the selfie-cam has been shifted to the centre-front of the handset.

The S20 still has the divisive curved-screen feature and definitely feels more grown-up than its preppy competitors – think glass and metal rather than quirky, bold colours.

Cost

The regular S20 will cost £799, but you’ll have to fork out £899 if you want the full 5G version. Similarly, the basic S20 Ultra model will cost £1199, but you can pay £1399 for the all-singing, all-dancing version (which has better storage and RAM.) The S20 Plus will cost £999, as there’s only one price option for that model.

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Which one to buy?

We haven’t been able to fully review either phone yet, so its impossible for us to say whether it’s worth spending the extra quid for the better specs. Once we’ve done a direct comparison, we promise to give you a verdict.

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