If it weren’t for the new Galaxy Note 20, Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Plus would be the best phone on our list, though the S20 is so similar (and only slightly inferior) that we’ve lumped them together here. There are minute differences, but mostly in price: the standard S20 starts at AU$1,349, while the S20 Plus starts at AU$1,499. That’s a bigger jump than last year, owing mostly to the S20’s newly added 5G capabilities.
Of course, you also have the option of picking up Samsung’s top-tier model in the range, the Galaxy S20 Ultra, though you may want to consider whether its questionable 100x zoom functionality and inconsistent 108MP camera are really worth the much higher AU$1,999 starting price point.
Screen: The Infinity-O AMOLED displays on both phones – 6.2 inches for the S20, 6.7 inches for the S20 Plus – are gorgeous, with a maximum WQHD+ resolution of 3200 x 1440. Thankfully, the notches are both centralised like the Note 10, and they’re much smaller this time around, however, it’s worth noting that the S20 Plus only has a single lens. The result: more screen.
Also new this year is a 120Hz maximum refresh rate for silky-smooth media and gaming, though it’s likely that you’ll mostly notice it while browsing. Admittedly, you will to drop your display resolution down to FHD+ to enjoy it, however, the trade is far less of an issue than you might think – the S20’s display still looks incredibly sharp outside of its full QHD+ setting.
Battery Life: The S20 packs a 4,000mAh battery, while the S20 Plus has 4,500mAh of capacity. That is, to put it lightly, a lot, and frequently got us through over a day without the need to recharge. Keep in mind that battery life estimate will dip down if you set the refresh rate at 120Hz, frequently use 5G connectivity or lend juice with the handset’s Wireless PowerShare feature, so adapt accordingly if you’re looking to keep your phone going longer.
Camera: The S20 and S20 Plus have truly spectacular cameras. No, not their 12MP main shooters, which are fine – it’s the 64MP telephoto that really shines. While it only has 3x optical zoom, it still manages to crop zoom in to a muddy 30x digital zoom – which means the interim intervals are still a good deal more impressive than the competition. The 12MP ultra-wide performs adequately, while the 10MP front-facing camera works just fine.
Another first-time bonus: 8K 24fps video from the rear camera, allowing for truly cinematic footage. Of course, few people actually own an 8K display this early in the tech’s life-cycle, however, the higher resolution does allow video editors to crop in close without losing a whole lot of detail.
Mini verdict: While the Samsung Galaxy S20 is impressive enough, it’s the S20 Plus that we vouch for as the best phone right now, even if it’s slightly more expensive. The combination of incredible cameras with top-tier specs and a great display makes it an unquestionable winner with more battery life than its
Specification: Samsung Galaxy S20 / S20 Plus