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Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Long-term Review: Still a Good Buy!

The Good

  • Excellent super AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Good enough performance
  • Impressive 64MP telephotos lens
  • Above-average battery life

The Bad

  • Exynos 990
  • 120hz refresh rate takes a toll on the battery

Samsung launched its S20 series back in March. Among them, S20+ is the middle child as it sits right in the middle of S20 and S20 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

I have been using this device for more almost 2 months now and I’ve already given my early impression of this device. Check it out first if you want to. This is my long term review and follow up to my early impression.

Samsung Galaxy S20+ Specifications

  • Body: 161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm, 186 g, Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
  • Display: 6.7-inches Dynamic AMOLED, 1440 x 3200 Resolution, 20:9 Aspect Ratio, 525 ppi, Gorilla Glass 6 Protection
  • Chipset: Exynos 990 (7 nm+)
  • CPU: Octa-core (2×2.73 GHz Mongoose M5 & 2×2.50 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • GPU: Mali-G77 MP11
  • Memory: 128GB ROM 8GB RAM, UFS 3, MicroSD up to 1TB
  • OS: Android 10, OneUI 2.0
  • Rear Camera: 12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (Wide), 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
  • Front Camera: 10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (Wide), 1/3.2″, 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 4500 mAh battery, Fast charging 25W, Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging 15W, Reverse wireless charging 9W
  • USB: 3.2, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector, USB On-The-Go
  • Misc: Fingerprint (under display, ultrasonic), Accelerometer, Gyro, Proximity, Compass, Barometer
  • Colors: Cosmic Black, Cosmic Grey

Samsung Galaxy S20+ Price in Nepal: Rs. 1,04,999 (8GB/128GB)

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Review

Same Old Design

  • 161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm, 186 g
  • Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)

I have been using this phone for quite a while and I love how it sits on the hand. Yes, it’s a big phone but it fits just right for me and I can use it easily with a single hand. Though it’s a big phone, it is lighter on the hands.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Design
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Design

About design, I don’t exactly like how it looks from the back. It looks similar to the cheaper phones like Samsung A71.

The rectangular camera module also doesn’t feel unique as we have seen them on previous Samsung phones. However, it has an aluminum frame and glass back protected by Gorilla Glass 6. So, its build is really nice and I haven’t had any scratches on the glass back.

Samsung decided to exclude the dedicated Bixby button on the S20 series and I’m thankful for that. It also doesn’t have a headphone jack but that has not been a problem for me. I generally use a TWS for listening to music and I do have a pair of UBS Type-C earphones just in case I need them.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Buttons
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Buttons

Super AMOLED Display

  • 6.7 inches Super AMOLED
  • 1440x 3200 Resolution
  • 525 ppi
  • 120Hz panel
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 6

I have loved using the AMOLED display of Samsung S20+. First and foremost the 120Hz refresh rate along with a 240Hz touch sampling rate makes this display really fluid. It feels absolutely amazing while you’re scrolling through the app or anything on the screen.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Display
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Display

However, it doesn’t support 120Hz rate at QHD resolution. But, you’re not gotta notice a huge difference in 1080p and QHD resolution. I have been using it at 1080p and it feels fine. I do not feel the need to switch to QHD resolution.

Display quality is top-notch and when it comes to the display panel, Samsung always installs one of the best displays on their flagships models. The colors reproduction is amazing and you choose to go for a more natural tone from the settings menu but I like the colors on vivid profile.

ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Camera Review: Good Photos, Better Videos

It’s an absolute joy to watch video content on Youtube and Netflix. And, if your Wi-Fi is strong you can even enjoy HDR content on the S20 Plus. But I don’t really care about it.

The display panel is plenty bright as well. I haven’t had any issues with the S20+ outdoors. But, the sensors are in such a place that it gets obstructed by the hands while playing games and the auto-brightness really feels annoying at such times.

With that said, I have been using the Note 20 Ultra side by side as well. And, there’s not much difference between these two. But, Note 20 Ultra’s display definitely feels better. I can’t exactly tell what makes it better but side by side, Note 20 Ultra’s display looks sharper.

Camera

12MP Main Sensor

There’s no 108MP sensor on the S20 Plus like the S20 Ultra and the Note 20 Ultra. Its main camera is a 12MP sensor with big 1.8µm pixels. And, there’s no focusing issue on the S20 Plus like the S20 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Camera
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Camera

S20 Plus can produce excellent images outdoors with plenty of light. Colors are saturated and there’s plenty of detail in each shot. The dynamic range is really nice and the HDR also helps in a high dynamic range situation.

I even pitted this against the Note 20 Ultra and you won’t be able to tell the difference between the Note 20 Ultra’s 12MP images and S20 Plus’s 12MP images shot a bright sunny day.

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The Note 20 Ultra has a wider field of view that the S20 Plus but the S20 Plus can keep up with the Note 20 Ultra when it comes to quality.

You cannot get 108MP photos with the S20 Plus but you can get 64MP images from the S20 Plus. It uses the 64MP telephoto lens to capture high res photos. The 64MP photos produce better details and have the same color profile as the main lens but it loses detail in the darker areas of the photos. Also, the images are noticeably darker if captured with the 64MP sensor.

Zoom

The 64MP telephotos lens doesn’t just allow high res photos but it also enables zoom up to 30X. Well, it supports 3X hybrid optical zoom and anything above it is some kind of hybrid zoom. Well, the 3X zoom images have good detail and even the 5X zoom images are usable.

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But anything above that, the quality falls sharply and the 30x images are unusable. Well, that shouldn’t surprise because smartphones zoom is fixed and can only deliver original quality up to a certain level. And, the S20 Plus happens to have the limit of 3X.

Ultrawide Angle Goodness

For the ultrawide angle camera, S20 Plus is using a 12MP ultrawide angle lens. It’s the same as the S20 Ultra and even the Note 20 Ultra.

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The 12MP Ultra wide-angle lens has a pixel size of 1.4µm. It has a really nice FOV and the distortion is well controlled as well. The exposure is nice along with pleasant colors. In one of the samples below, the S20 Plus managed to maintain better exposure than the Note 20 Ultra. Well, they could be using the same sensor on the Note 20 Ultra.

Portrait Mode

S20 Plus has a dedicated depth sensor so it manages to well with portrait photos. The portrait photos have good subject segmentation and the background blur is also close to realistic.

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The images are well exposed and the detail on the subject is also nice. But ofcourse it’s not perfect as the edge detection is still not perfect.

Night Mode

Well, I feel that the low-light images from the S20 Plus are a little underwhelming. It is fine but I think that it should have been better.

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The details are obviously low but it does have good exposure and color in very low-light situations. Using night mode also can be a hit or miss. It will definitely give more detail but sometimes the exposure can get weird and some parts of the images might look like an oil painting.

Front camera

The front camera of the S20 Plus is actually really good. You get good details on the face with good exposure. It doesn’t try anything funny with the color temperature. It seems quite natural.

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You can also do live focus selfies which lets you take selfies with background blur. Well, it does a nice job with the subject separation but the background blur felt a little bit strong. I compared it with the Note 20 Ultra as well and the selfies are quite identical but the S20 Plus images look a little lighter and cooler.

Video

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus supports video up to 8k 24fps. But I only used it once when I had to test it. 8K videos are there just for show off. Also, you need to own an 8K display to view 8K footages, so it’s not practical at the moment.

ALSO READ: Infinix Note 7 Review: Good Performer with A Huge Display!

As for standard 1080p videos, it’s good. The videos have good stabilization and the videos look sharp as well. You can also opt for 4k videos which will shell out impressive quality with a slight compromise on the stabilization.

Then there are features like a single take, a camera mode that captures photos, short videos within a chosen time frame. Then. it has also received Pro video mode with all of the features that we get on the Note 20 Ultra. This feature was enabled by the recent One UI 2.5 update.

Performance

  • Exynos 990 (7 nm+)
  • Octa-core (2×2.73 GHz Mongoose M5 & 2×2.50 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • Mali-G77 MP11
  • 128GB ROM 8GB RAM, UFS 2.1

S20+ features an Exynos 990 chipset which is one of the best performing chipsets but it is not as good as it’s competition; Snapdragon 865. Along with this, it has 8GB RAM and 128GB storage.

Everybody knows that Exynos 990 lags behind the Snapdragon 865 in terms of performance and even the battery endurance. Well, you won’t notice the difference in daily life usage. The phone feels fast, fluid and I haven’t noticed a single lag during general usage.

Now, on to the games. You will feel that games don’t run as smoothly as the Snapdragon counterpart. I was using the Mi Note 10 with Snapdragon 865 and it felt smoother while playing PUBG on high settings and Ultra frame rate.

But, it is still fine. Until and unless you are a professional gamer and every bit of frame matters to you, Exynos 990 won’t do much harm. However, I would like to have a flawless performance of Snapdragon 865 after paying 1 lakh plus on a phone.

Samsung did not care about this with the Note 20 series as well. But I really hope they think about this issue.

Security

In terms of unlocking options, you can use the in-screen fingerprint sensor or face unlock. The fingerprint sensor is not reliable all the time. I still had some moments where it was not unlocking even after 5 tries. Well, Samsung’s ultrasonic scanner is secured but it can be pesky sometimes.

If you prefer, you can use face unlock as well. It’s quite fast and consistent.

Speaker

The speaker on the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is as good as it comes. It uses the secondary mic to give you the stereo setup and it is really loud. It’s great for listening to music, playing games, and watching videos.

The speaker is one of the good ones out there. It’s really loud but the audio quality gets slightly uncomfortable at max volume.

Battery and Charging

  • Non-removable Li-Po 4500 mAh battery, Fast charging 25W
  • USB Power Delivery 3.0
  • Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging 15W
  • Reverse wireless charging 4.5W

Samsung S20 Plus’s 4500 mAh battery is average but considering that I was using a 120Hz refresh rate and always-on display, it’s quite good. It will last you an entire day on a typical usage which includes watching videos, scrolling Instagram, and Facebook feed. It’s not impressive but it feels sufficient.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus USB
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus USB

It comes with a 25W fast charger which will get you a 55% charge within just 30 mins and the full charge will take just over 70 mins.

Software

  • Android 10, One UI 2.5

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus recently received the One UI 2.5 update. So, it’s running the best of what Google and Samsung have to offer.

One UI has been a godsend for Samsung. It’s fast, smooth, and has lots of features baked in. You don’t get boring with the One UI and that’s what matters. Some UI start to feel flat and boring after using it for a long period of time. But, I am more than satisfied with the One UI.

Furthermore, Samsung is more active with software updates these days and the S20 Plus is set to receive continuous updates for 3 more years.

One UI 2.5 has some new features in the camera section as you can use the pro video mode again. And, there’s an option to select a USB or Bluetooth audio source for the videos in the Pro video mode.

Then, it also brings the wireless Samsung Dex option to the S20 Plus along with the Nearby share. Nearby share is the new feature from Google which lets Android users easily hare files when nearby and within the range.

Should You Buy S20 Plus?

Yes! It is one of the Android phones to buy. With the recent price drop, it is even more viable.

Some might say, why are you recommending a phone with Exynos 990? My answer is not everybody is going to play games 24/7 and it’s not like it is annoyingly worse than the Snapdragon variant. It can handle games quite alright. But, if you want better gaming performance then, certainly go for the likes of Mi 10 and OnePlus 8.

But, S20 Plus is a much better overall phone. And, hey there’s OnePlus 8 Pro as well. It is expensive than the S20 Plus right now but you do get the Snapdragon 865 with it. Also, its camera is more or less competitive too.

However, Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is still a good buy.

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