Samsung produced nearly half of the 10 most-sold smartphones in 2019. With a diverse 2020 lineup that includes S-models, Notes and hinged devices, they will likely have another successful year. If you’re in the market for a new Samsung device, the year’s varied and high-performing lineup lets you have your choice of the smartphone that works for you. Here’s everything you need to know about Samsung’s 2020 phones, including how to choose the best one for your lifestyle.
About Samsung Devices
If you’re new to the world of Samsung devices, you’re probably wondering what sets them apart from the competition. While Apple’s iPhones and Google’s Pixel phones are great devices, Samsung has built up loyalty among tech enthusiasts. Compared to other leading phone manufacturers, consumers praise Samsung for having a wide range of devices that suit different consumer needs and budgets. Their phones give users powerful performance and battery life, with cutting-edge design and impressive camera action.
Samsung’s key characteristics are its Android operating system, its platform and the types of devices they produce.
1. Operating System
The two primary operating systems in smartphone technology are Android and iOS. Though they’re similar, your operating system determines what third-party apps you can download and the overall usability of your device. All Samsung phones use the Android operating system. The Google Play Store, which comes pre-downloaded on most Samsung devices, currently has 2.7 million apps. Apple’s App Store has 1.8 million.
Both platforms have similar layouts across screens but use different digital assistants and cloud storage tools. Samsung devices use Google Assistant and Google Cloud storage, though other options may be available depending on your device and third-party applications.
Samsung releases devices for every type of user, and all phones offer a level of customization you can’t find elsewhere. Samsung’s phones have dynamic widgets, movable app placement and third-party replacements for core services — including your keyboard. The USB-C charging port is also far more universal than the iPhone’s Apple-specific one.
You can also sync some Samsung phones with other Samsung devices, like smart TVs or fitness watches.
Best Samsung Phone 2020
From the Galaxy and Note to the Flip and Fold, these are the best Samsung phones released in 2020:
1. Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra came out in February and March, respectively. The S20 line also includes an S20 Plus and S20 Fan Edition (FE), but the standard and Ultra offer some of the best deals on the market.
The Galaxy S20 is Samsung’s latest in its long line of Galaxy S devices, recognizable by their sleek designs, wide screens and multiple camera lenses. The Ultra offers a premium version of the standard, which comes with slightly more power and screen real estate with a higher price tag.
The Galaxy S20 weighs 163g with a 6.2-inch screen. The Galaxy S20 Ultra weighs 220g with a 6.9-inch screen. Both have 5G support and are listed with an all-day battery that you can charge via a 25w super-fast charger. They each utilize the Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, enabling lightning-fast gaming speed, smooth streaming, desktop-forward rendering and speedy 5G connectivity.
Side-by-side, the S20 and S20 Ultra perform similarly. They both have plenty of internal storage — 128GB for either or 256GB for the Ultra — which you can expand with a microSD card. RAM sits at 12GB for the standard and 16GB for the Ultra. One of the most significant selling points for these 2020 devices is their battery life. The standard S20 has a 4,000 mAh battery, and the Ultra houses a 5,000 mAh — nearly double the battery capacity of the latest iPhone release.
Both phones have powerful cameras and Space Zoom — 20 times for the standard and a whopping 100 times for the Ultra — for clearer resolution from a distance. Samsung’s Night Mode and Single Take are popular camera features, letting you harness the power of its laser autofocus and brightening abilities. You can even shoot 8K video at 24 FPS on either device.
The S20’s front lens is 10MP, while the Ultra’s is 40MP. Each has three rear lenses — a wide-angle, telephoto and ultra-wide. On the S20, these are 12MP, 64MP and 12MP, respectively, and the Ultra’s are 108MP, 48MP and 12MP.
If you’re craving that sleek, edge-to-edge display, either phone will deliver. With a 120HZ refresh rate, you can also expect smooth transitions, scrolling and playback. As far as protection goes, each is rated for IP68 dust and water resistance and has Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and back.
The Galaxy S20 comes in Cosmic Gray, Cloud Blue and Cloud Pink. The Galaxy S20 Ultra offers more neutral selections — either Cosmic Black or Cosmic Gray.
2. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2
Samsung’s September release of the Z Fold2 was the follow-up to their original 2019 Fold. The Z Fold2 is one of the most innovative designs on the market, with a flexible, reinforced hinge that allows you to fold the device down the center or lay it flat for a tablet-like display.
When folded, the display screen is 6.2 inches. When flat, it expands to 7.6 inches. The screen emits less blue light, so multi-angle viewing or gaming will be more comfortable. Enable multi-window layout to use several apps at once and optimize your apps for larger or split-screen viewing. The Fold2 is enabled for a 5G connection.
The second Galaxy Fold has an intelligent display that gauges your activity and adjusts the refresh rate for battery conservation or to optimize your experience. CAM technology lets you lock the screen from different angles. The multi-screen device also allows for multitasking and the ability to drag and drop files, a huge advantage for those seeking a productivity machine.
Like the Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra, the Z Fold2 is powered by Snapdragon 865 Plus for top performance. You get 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage space. With a 4,500 mAh battery, you can use your phone-turned-tablet all day long.
The Z Fold2’s unique abilities don’t stop at it’s multi-screen and split-window design. Its innovative layout comes with auto-framing lenses that center your subject with a clear, constant focus and a lens that adjusts to the number of people in group photos. The three rear lenses are all 12MP, and the two lenses in the front are 10MP. There is even a built-in feature that snaps pictures with only the wave of your hand.
Though only available in two colors — Mystic Bronze or Mystic Black — the Z Fold2 is a unique metallic appearance with a soft finish. Despite the necessary bulk of a foldable phone, the Fold2 has thin bezels, a small punch hole and no notch. The hinge is also discreet and available in custom accent colors.
Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus protects the Fold2’s cover screen, and the back is protected with Gorilla Glass 6. Victus is currently the strongest smartphone glass available.
3. Samsung Galaxy Note 20
Samsung released the Galaxy Note 20 in August, improving upon 2019’s Note 10. If you’re looking for a device that offers you more than the standard smartphone features, a Galaxy Note is the way to go. The device is 5G compatible with a 6.7-inch display screen. The S Pen turns it into a note-taking machine, among other features like Screen Write, AR Doodle and a calendar you can write on.
The Galaxy Note 20 is powered by Snapdragon 865 Plus and Samsung’s powerful AI-processing Exynos 990. The 4,300 mAh battery isn’t quite as long-lasting as the S20 Ultra’s, but it has 2.0 fast charging and wireless charging available. The Note 20 has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage space.
As per premium smartphone standards, the Samsung Note 20 has a 1 MP front-facing selfie cam and three lenses on the back — a 12MP ultra-wide lens, a 12MP wide-angle lens and a 64MP telephoto lens. Both sides offer super-resolution zoom abilities. Shoot 8K videos at 24 FPS or 4K UHD at 60 FPS.
Samsung’s latest devices ship with various camera modes, including Panorama, Pro, Live Focus, Super Slow-Mo, Hyperlapse and more.
In addition to protective IP68 dust and water resistance, the Samsung Note 20 has protective Gorilla Glass 5 from Corning. It’s available in either Mystic Bronze, Mystic Gray or Mystic Green. The Note’s thin, always-on display is complemented by its edge lighting and ability to add an eye-catching video wallpaper.
4. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
If you thought the Z Fold2 was a new take on smartphones, wait until you use the Z Flip. If you’re comparing the Galaxy Z Flip vs. the Fold2, the Flip — which debuted in February 2020 — folds down into a portable compact square that fits neatly in your bag or pocket instead of the Fold2’s centerfold design. When unfolded, the Z Flip is a full-screen phone with a 6.7-inch display.
When in the “flip” position, the half-screen lets you split your apps with control on the bottom and a viewing area at the top. This enables multitasking with two apps at once, with the bonus of saving app pairings as your default for quicker access. 5G support is available.
The Z Flip runs on a 3,300 mAh battery, making it one of the smallest battery options available from this year’s lineup. The Snapdragon 855 Plus is also a slight step back from the other devices’ 865 Plus processors. It does have the standard 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage space.
When you invest in a Z Flip, it’s not necessarily for the impressive performance, rather the unique usability and camera features that come with a fold-in-half phone. That’s not to say the Z Flip won’t get the job done — it certainly will. But if you need a powerful machine for gaming or productivity, it may not be the ideal fit.
Smartphone photographers will enjoy the exciting new options that come with the Z Flip. The foldable design lets you snap photos from new, interesting angles, and the ability to set custom filters means you can capture images unlike anyone else’s. The two lenses are ultra-wide 12MP.
If you opt for the LTE version of the Z Flip, you get your choice between Mirror Black or Mirror Purple for the frame. The 5G-enabled Z Flips are available in Mystic Bronze and Mystic Gray. Each type has thin bezels and a hideaway hinge, with the ability to see your notifications on the outer screen, even when the device is folded shut.
How to Choose the Right Samsung Phone for You
Ultimately, the best Samsung phone of the year depends on what you want out of a new device. Consider the following:
- Intended use: Will your new phone be for work or play? How much battery life do you need for it to last through your shift or class? Do you plan to connect your phone to other Samsung smart devices?
- Wants and needs: Make a list of smartphone wants and needs. Needs might include productivity features, like a stylus or large screen, while wants might be gaming abilities, video streaming quality, music storage space and camera quality.
- Budget and longevity: Buying a new smartphone is all about balancing your budget with your investment. Part of protecting your investment means choosing a durable, long-lasting phone. Always consider the strength of cover glass and whether the phone is rated for IP68 dust and water resistance. Metal body materials, like steel, are often more durable than plastic alternatives.
- Design preferences: Finally, consider your design preferences. Do you prefer the traditional smartphone look, or are you looking for something a little different? Do you want something large or compact? Does bezel width or color matter to you?
Which 2020 Samsung Phone Reigns Supreme?
Now that you have a better idea of what you’re looking for, here’s how Samsung’s 2020 debuts stack up against each other.
1. Work and Productivity Winner
If you’re using your device for work or class and need plenty of screen space, you have a few options:
- Samsung Note20: The S Pen and built-in productivity features make Samsung’s Note series one of the best smartphone investments for those ready to get to work.
- Samsung Z Fold2: The Z Fold2’s phone-to-tablet centerfold makes it ideal for multitasking and operating more than one app at a time. The ability to drag-and-drop is also great if you do a lot of file transfers.
2. Entertainment Winner
If you want powerful streaming or mobile gaming performance, you’ll be satisfied with any device with a Snapdragon 865 Plus processor. From the 2020 lineup, that includes the Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra, the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy S Fold2. If you want a large, crystal-clear display, the S20 Ultra’s 6.9-inch screen leads the pack.
3. Photography and Video Recording Winner
If you use your smartphone for social media shots or hobby photography, you’ll be happy with any of the devices mentioned above. If you want premium video and photo performance, the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s rear lenses shoot at 108MP, 48MP and 12MP with 100 times zoom and 8K video recording, making it the leading option available. The standard Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Note 20 follow.
4. Budget-Conscious Winner
The total cost of your new smartphone depends on where and when you buy it, as well as the condition you purchase it in. Generally speaking, the most affordable of the 2020 models are the Galaxy S20 and S20 Note, while the Z Fold2 and Z Flip top the list as the most expensive.
5. Innovative Design Winner
If you want a bold phone that makes a statement, look no further than the Galaxy Z Flip. It’s square, foldable shape is ideal for portability and lets you capture videos and photos from brand new angles.
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