On 11 February 2020, Samsung will at a San Francisco Unpacked press conference unveil the next Galaxy flagship: not the Galaxy S11 as anticipated, but the Galaxy S20.
Recently leaked images back up the theory that Samsung will be following in Huawei’s footsteps, jumping through model numbers in increments of 10, rather than one.
Arriving in three variants, with an additional 5G version of each, Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20+ (or S20 Plus) will be joined by an S20 Ultra 5G model.
The Samsung Galaxy S10e does not look to be getting a refresh in the form of the Galaxy S20e, though this makes sense, given the recent introduction of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite.
Also on show at Galaxy Unpacked is expected to be the second version of Galaxy Fold, known as the Galaxy Z Flip and redesigned as a foldable clamshell much like the recently announced Motorola Razr, as well as new Galaxy Buds+ wireless earbuds.
The S20 Ultra 5G has hogged recent headlines, expected to feature a 108Mp 100x zoom quad-lens camera, housed in a large, rectangular assembly that looks very much like a Domino. All three phones will see camera upgrades, however, with S20 and S20 Plus both featuring at least three sensors on the rear.
Also new throughout the 2020 Galaxy S line is a 120Hz display. These screens are capable of Quad-HD+ resolutions, but the fastest refresh rate will be available only at Full-HD+ or lower resolutions to preserve battery life.
Less exciting is news that Galaxy S20 is thought to be the first Galaxy flagship to come without a headphone jack, though you will apparently get a pair of AKG USB-C buds in the box. The dedicated Bixby button for calling up Samsung’s voice assistant is also on the chopping board.
We’ll look in more detail at headline specs for each S20 variant below.
When is the Samsung Galaxy S20 release date?
Traditionally announced on the Sunday immediately before Mobile World Congress, in 2020 Samsung is announcing its new flagship two weeks earlier. It has confirmed it will hold a Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco on Tuesday 11 February 2020, for which there will be a live stream.
We’ll bring you full details on timings and how to watch nearer the time.
How much will the Samsung Galaxy S20 cost?
Official pricing will not be unveiled until the launch, and though there has not yet been any credible leaks on pricing that doesn’t stop those in the know speculating.
It’s unlikely that Samsung will want to move the needle too far from its current pricing for the S10 line, although we would expect a small price hike.
Although these models can now be found online for significantly less money, initial retail pricing for the Galaxy S10 line was as follows:
- Samsung Galaxy S10e: £669/$749
- Samsung Galaxy S10: £799/$899
- Samsung Galaxy S10+: £899/$999
- Samsung Galaxy S10+ 5G: £1099
It’s thought that Galaxy S20 will replace the S10e, while S20+ replaces the S10, and the S20 Ultra replaces the S10+.
Samsung Galaxy S20 design
We’ve recently seen leaked real-world photos of the middle model in the trio, the Galaxy S20+, courtesy of XDA Developers’ Max Weinbach. His contact has allegedly got hold of the phone, albeit one running pre-release software, and has been able to use it to create the below video:
The video reveals the aforementioned Domino-style rear camera, confirming the accuracy of previously leaked renders such as that from Ice Universe further up this article.
It seemingly confirms the sheer size of the phone, with Galaxy S20+ rumoured to feature a 6.7in display, but it also looks to be significantly taller than its predecessor with a 20:9 aspect ratio, as is evident from the comparison shot provided by Weinbach:
The display is shown to feature a 120Hz refresh rate and ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor, with a central punch-hole camera at the top of the Infinity-O panel.
The video also backs up the theory that the Galaxy S20 will lose the dedicated Bixby button and, more disappointingly, the 3.5mm headphone jack.
It’s evident that the phone is much flatter than in its previous generation, with less rounded edges. Weinbach notes that this is due to the use of 2.5D glass.
Samsung Galaxy S20 specifications
Many of the specifications are constants between the three Galaxy S20 models, with the S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra differentiated by their screen size, battery capacity, number and specification of their camera lenses, and overall size and weight. We should also see larger helpings of storage and memory in the more expensive models, potentially up to 512GB of storage and 16GB of RAM in the Ultra.
The Ultra is also said to have a giant 6.9in screen and 5,000mAh battery with 45W fast charging, while the S20+ has a 6.7in screen and 4,500mAh battery with 25W fast charging. The standard S20 is allegedly a 6.2- or 6.3in-screen smartphone, potentially with a 4,000mAh battery, differentiating itself from Plus and Ultra with the loss of the fourth Time of Flight (ToF) camera from the rear.
Although it’s got the naming wrong, the below image of Samsung Galaxy S11 screen protectors from Ice Universe gives some sense of the difference in screen size.
The differences in overall dimensions are thought to be as follows:
- Samsung Galaxy S20: 151.7x69.1x7.9mm
- Samsung Galaxy S20+: 161.9x73.7x7.8mm
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 166.9x76x8.8mm
Only the Ultra will feature a 108Mp quad- (previously rumoured to be a penta-) lens camera, which we have previously seen in Mi Note 10, while S20+ and S20 have quad- and triple-lens cameras respectively, each featuring 64Mp sensors.
Ice Universe shared on Twitter a spec sheet for all three phones, though notes that it has got some things wrong, such as all three featuring 108Mp cameras.
All three phones will feature a 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED display, with this faster refresh rate shaping up to be the next big trend for flagship phones in 2020. Although each has a Quad-HD+ (3200x1440) top resolution, 120Hz will be available only at Full-HD+ or lower resolutions.
The key difference between each model in display is simply their size, with all three featuring Inifinity-O panels that have both punch-hole selfie cameras and in-display fingerprint sensors.
The S20 is the smallest at 6.2- or 6.3in, then S20+ has a 6.7in screen and S20 Ultra 6.9in, according to rumours.
Processor, Memory & Storage
In previous generations Samsung has used a combination of its own Exynos processors and top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon chips inside S-series smartphones, with which version you get dependent on in which country you purchased the phone. It has previously favoured Exynos chips in South Korea and Europe, and Snapdragon chips in the US.
For 2020 there is talk that the S20 will use only Samsung’s Exynos chips, with the recently announced Exynos 990 expected to take centre stage in all three versions. Leaked benchmark results suggest otherwise, however.
The 7nm Exynos 990 is said to deliver a 20% speed- and efficiency boost, adding a new ARM Mali-G77 GPU and support for 120Hz displays and 108Mp cameras. In the 5G versions of S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra it will be paired with the Exynos Modem 5123, which supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave spectrums.
Should we see a Qualcomm chip used in the US and other territories it will be the Snapdragon 865. This brand-new processor is a significant upgrade over 2019’s 855 and 855+, with a Kryo 585 CPU and Adreno 650 GPU promising a 25% speed boost and 35% efficiency improvement over their predecessors, along with enhanced AI features.
It can support screens up to 144Hz with variable refresh rates and camera resolutions up to 200Mp, but relies on the additional X55 modem for 5G over both sub-6GHz and mmWave frequencies.
The Snapdragon 865 running on Galaxy S20+ has been shown to deliver a 3,267-point multi-core (923 single-core) score in Geekbench 5.
Both processors support LPDDR5 memory, and it’s thought that 12GB will be installed on the S20 and S20+ as standard, with up to 16GB on the S20 Ultra.
Also expect UFS 3 storage options ranging between 128GB and 512GB, with support for storage expansion up to 1TB via microSD.
In terms of battery life, Weinbach claims his source sees S20+ runtime on par with the standard Samsung Galaxy S10 (both phones have 4,500mAh batteries), slightly below that of the Samsung Galaxy S10+. Weinbach also claims there is 25W fast charging on the S20+.
Rumours suggest the Ultra 5G model will have a higher capacity 5,000mAh battery with 45W fast charging that can take the phone from zero to 100% in 74 minutes.
Meanwhile, the standard Galaxy S20 may come with a 4,000mAh battery.
We would be very surprised if any of the three models did not support wireless charging and reverse wireless charging.
The top model in the line-up features a quad-lens camera, with Samsung’s 108Mp sensor headlining. The Galaxy S20 Ultra additionally boasts a 48Mp telephoto sensor with 10x optical zoom, a 12Mp ultra-wide sensor and a ToF sensor. Overall it could feature a staggeringly high 100x zoom.
Meanwhile, S20+ has a quad-lens camera comprising 12Mp, 1.8um Sony IMX 555 + 64Mp Samsung ISOCell S5KGW2 + 12Mp 3x optical/30x digital telephoto Samsung ISOCell S5K2LA + ToF sensors, while the S20 loses the ToF sensor in its triple-lens setup. This is not the same 12Mp sensor we saw in the Galaxy S10, which has 1.4um pixels.
Somewhat confusingly, six circular elements are housed in the rectangular assembly of the S20+, though it appears that two of these are the flash and a microphone.
All three models support 8K video at 30fps using their primary cameras, while the front selfie cameras - the 10Mp Sony IMX 374 we saw in Galaxy S10 and Note 10 - supports 4K video at 60fps.
According to XDA-Developers a new Smart selfie camera feature will be coming to Galaxy S20, allowing the camera to detect how many people are in frame and switch to wide-angle mode when needed.
Also new is a Single Take camera mode, which we understand to automatically shoot photos and video as you pan your phone around a room, and then to recommend to you the best ones, along with Pro Video, which applies Pro photo settings to video.