Samsung makes some of the best smartphones in the world, but knowing which one to go for isn't the easiest of tasks.
Do you want the flagship-class experience offered up by the likes of the Galaxy S, the stylus-supported Note line, or one of the Z-series foldables? Maybe Samsung's diverse (and cheaper) Galaxy A-series has what you're looking for?
The company has worked hard to have its phones stand out from the crowd too, with a tailored user experience called One UI and added-value apps and services, like the Samsung Galaxy Apps Store and Themes Store. There are also unique camera modes, plus features like AR Emoji, Game Booster, the company's Bixby assistant and a bunch of other experiences that you won't be able to find elsewhere.
Best Samsung Galaxy phones 2020
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1. Samsung Galaxy S20
The Galaxy S20 is the best phone in Samsung’s S20 series, and simply the best phone the company makes right now. It’s compact, powerful, and packs a versatile camera system that may not match the top-tier S20 Ultra on zoom or detail, but it meets - and sometimes beats - it across the rest of the board, which means it's more than a match for just about any other phone out there too.
The wider 5G ecosystem isn’t quite there yet, but will be within the lifetime of this phone, making it almost worth the upgrade. And while battery life remains a slight concern, that’s really the only major fault here. The Android ecosystem offers more for less elsewhere, but usually without Samsung’s level of prestige or polish, and in this case we think that’s worth paying for.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 review
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Samsung's top 2020 Note is an absolute powerhouse. Provided you're comfortable with the sheer size of it and the high asking price, there's little this phone can't do.
Better yet, Samsung's addressed the camera issues found on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, making the system on the Note 20 Ultra far more capable and competitive.
The S Pen gains a few new remote gestures called Anywhere Actions, Samsung Notes is now far more powerful and the phone's display may be the best in the business as of August 2020.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review for more.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review
3. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
The Galaxy Z Flip isn’t a perfect phone. It’s expensive, there are only two main camera lenses, and the fingerprint sensor sucks.
Price aside, these are minor quibbles however, and even while this may not be the best phone we’ve used this year, it’s one of our favourites. With the Z Flip Samsung has nailed the compact foldable form factor, and by comparison every other 2020 flagship feels ungainly and oversized.
This phone looks great, offers solid performance and flagship features, and is just plain cool. Most people probably shouldn’t spend this much on a phone, but if you can afford to then nothing else right now can match the Z Flip.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review
4. Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite
Due to it's unusual release timing, the Galaxy S10 Lite doesn't really feel like an S10. It has arrived around a year after the other S10 phones and therefore very close to the S20 range.
It also looks like an S20 so we're a bit confused. Naming aside, this is an excellent phone for the money with an excellent screen, decent cameras and more powerful internals than you might expect. There's also features like an in-screen fingerprint scanner, solid battery life and speedy charging
What you miss out on is things like wireless charging and waterproofing - oh and there's no headphone jack. Unless you can find the S10 or S10+ at a similar price, this probably the model to get if you can't afford an S20.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite review
5. Samsung Galaxy S20+
There's no denying that the Samsung Galaxy S20+ is both an exceptional flagship and one of the most well-rounded phones on the market right now, but ironically it stands in the shadow of its smaller sibling, the standard Galaxy S20.
If you prefer the larger 6.7in display that the S20+ offers up, you'll also enjoy its WQHD+ resolution, HDR10+ visuals and most exciting of all, the new 120Hz refresh rate. Performance is also top-notch meaning it's great for enjoying media and gaming, there's 5G onboard and 25W fast charging means you can refill the phone's 4500mAh battery in little over an hour.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20+ review
6. Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
It's pretty clear the Galaxy Note 10+ is a phone that will satisfy fans of the series by offering all the things that Note users love.
A big screen, a gorgeous design, and almost all the high-end specs you can throw at a phone. We particularly love the display and new cameras which just about distract from the missing headphone jack.
It is expensive though, especially the 5G model, so unless you really will make use of the real estate and S Pen, an S10 model might be a better choice - or even the smaller Note 10.
At this point you might also want to wait for the upcoming Note 20 Ultra, available to pre-order now ahead of a 21 August release - either to buy that phone, or in case the Note 10+ drops in price.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review
7. Samsung Galaxy A90 5G
The A90 5G feels like a flagship in most of the ways that matter - slick design, fast specs, and a whopping big 6.1in AMOLED display - and the omissions mostly make sense too - wireless charging, waterproofing, and curved edges are the sort of nice-to-haves that most can live without.
The only major letdown is the camera, which is less versatile than it may at first seem with its triple lens array (48Mp main, ultrawide, and a depth sensor), and particularly struggles in even moderately challenging lighting conditions. It’s fine in good light, and has a few extra modes like super slow-mo, but this is nowhere near a flagship camera, and can’t even match many other cheaper phones from rival companies.
If your priority is getting a 5G phone and you don’t mind a slightly limited camera, the A90 is a solid and affordable-ish option. But if you can live with 4G for another couple of years, you can find better phones for less from other manufacturers.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy A90 5G review
8. Samsung Galaxy Note 10
With so many phones being almost identical to the last model, we're impressed with what Samsung did with the Galaxy Note 10.
The Note 10+ model still provides the classic Note experience, but this smaller model will finally appeal to those that want the S Pen on a much more manageable phone. This is largely due to tiny bezels and the punch-hole camera.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 10 review
9. Samsung Galaxy S10+
The Galaxy S10 Plus is the best Galaxy phone ever with outstanding cameras, build, display and performance. The Exynos version is let down by its merely acceptable battery life.
If you want to spend £100 / $100 less there's the regular Galaxy S10 which has most of the same features including the triple rear cameras and outstanding screen. You could even go for the S10e, but it's a different phone with a smaller screen, less battery and fewer cameras.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review
10. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
The S20 Ultra is not a phone that most people should buy. It’s too expensive for most people to afford, too big for most people to want, and too ugly for the remaining few to ever want to show off.
Still, it’s a phone packed with technical achievements, not least in the camera, which with a 108Mp main sensor and up to 100x 'Space Zoom' telephoto is capable of outclassing every competing flagship, even if it’s maddeningly inconsistent.
The 120Hz refresh rate is the crowning jewel to what might be the best display on a phone right now, but the hit to battery life makes it bittersweet - a problem exacerbated by Samsung’s continued insistence on shipping its inferior Exynos 990 chipsets in handsets outside the US (which gets a better Snapdragon 865 variant), leaving them with reduced battery life and hamstrung performance.
If the camera is the only thing you consider when buying a phone the S20 Ultra makes a compelling case for itself, but for everyone else it just goes a few compromises too far.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra review
Samsung Galaxy phone buying advice
The S20 line is the latest mainstream flagship range - consisting of the standard Galaxy S20, the S20+ and the mighty S20 Ultra. The Galaxy S10 phones remain good options at their lower prices though, and they've also been joined by the Galaxy S10 Lite, which is more like an S20 in terms of design.
If you want a true powerhouse, then consider the newly-launched Galaxy Note 20 devices, which went on sale on 21 August. The standard Note 20 doesn't seem like the best bang for your buck but having reviewed the Note 20 Ultra, we can confirm that it's an absolute powerhouse - just make sure you're comfortable with its gargantuan proportions before laying down cash for one.
Of course, there's always last year's Notes to consider too. As with this year's line, Samsung offered two different sizes of Note 10; with the Note 10 and the Note 10+ - the latter of which also comes in a separate 5G flavour. As with the S10 Lite, there's also a more affordable Note 10 Lite, which didn't arrive until the start of 2020.
Samsung also has a few foldable phones in the Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Z Flip, and upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 2. We don't recommend getting the original Fold, but the Z Flip is the best folding phone so far, and the Z Fold 2 looks like it could be a real contender too.
If all of these are too rich for your blood, then Samsung's A-series spans the super-affordable to flagship-like, across a number of devices; with the Galaxy A10 at one end and the Galaxy A90 5G at the other. The M-series costs even less, but these rarely get released in the West.