The year 2020 is rounding up very exciting with some major releases from big players – namely PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Let’s not forget, however, that the next World Mobile Congress is almost imminent and there will be mobile devices we should be excited about too! Samsung is still number one in the mobile world but if the Korean giant wants to keep the top spot with Huawei breathing down its neck innovations has to be made and fast.
Enter the new Galaxy S-series! The official unveiling is scheduled for 11 February 2020 and just like this year three models are expected to arrive. The S20 will be the little one and the cheapest of the lot with a 6.3-inch screen, while the regular S20+ will sport a 6.7-inch display. There will be a S20 Ultra version with a monstrous 6,9-inch screen rounding up the line.
Samsung Galaxy S20 will run Android 10 out of the box and all the models will omit the 3,5 mm headphones jack – for better or worse. We saw this coming with the Note 10 ditching the jack a few months back but nevertheless, it’s still a sad story for the audiophiles and music aficionados. Now let’s get down to business!
New screens with a smaller punch-hole selfie camera
Just like with the Galaxy Note 10, the S20 will be equipped with a punch-hole camera that is placed in the middle. The hole placement is different and arguably less annoying than the right-sided punch-holes of the S10-series but still, there are holes in the display – even in 2020! Oppo already demonstrated it’s under-the-screen selfie camera, so what’s taking Samsung so long?
Apparently, the Koreans are sticking to their so-called Infinity-O design and there’s no doubt that the screens will be gorgeous. Samsung Dynamic AMOLED tech is one of the best in the business and the new Galaxy S20 will get stunning blacks and rich colours as to be expected under Corning Gorilla Glass for extra protection. Refresh rates are the new tech-race so Samsung will probably opt for at least 90Hz and up to 120Hz in the top models.
All the big manufacturers are trying to get this right and for a good reason. High frame rates are the Holy Grail of gaming and mobile gaming is the next big thing with streaming services like xCloud and Stadia gaining momentum.
The under-display fingerprint sensors are back in their ultrasonic glory. The tech is supposedly maturing and the unlocks will get faster and more accurate. There’s also the Face Unlock option for the laziest but face detection is deemed less secure and slower than the fingerprint – under-display or not.
Multi-camera systems and 5x optical zoom
Since Huawei made mobile photography a thing, all major manufacturers are trying to keep up with the multi-camera trend. Samsung was lagging behind but it seems the S20 will catch up and some. The budget-friendly S20 will get a triple camera, consisting of a 64-megapixel main sensor with 2x optical zoom, a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra will probably up the camera count to five. The main shooter will most likely use that 108-megapixel image sensor found in the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha and both devices will support 5x optical zoom – similar to the Oppo Reno 2. The zoom lens will also provide extra bells and whistles, including a Space Zoom function.
A Bright Night camera sensor will take care of those night shots and low-light conditions while an infrared ToF (Time of Flight) camera will likely be present in all models. This will allow for additional 3D and AR image options as well as a more accurate Face Unlock. On the video side of things, there are new functionalities too – Single Take and Video Spin.
Galaxy S20 Ultra gets largest battery ever in S-series smartphone
Larger screens are power-hungry despite being of the AMOLED variety and when we add 5G modems to the equation the need for larger battery become evident. The S20 Ultra will get the largest battery ever used in a Galaxy S-series smartphone, presumably a 5,000 mAh cell. The plus model will take it down to 4,500 mAh and the cheapest S20 will still get a hefty 4,000 mAh.
Samsung is no stranger to such capacities – they’re used in M-series – namely M20 with its 5000 mAh battery and M30s with even more impressive 6000 mAh. Flagship phones always had this waistline diet regime to watch for, so 5000 mAh in a S-series phone is a good thing and a novelty. Bigger capacities will need fast charging although the exact wattage is still unknown. There will be wireless charging in all models too, and the reverse charging option for all the small gadgets in the ecosystem to be able to suck juice from the mothership phone.
Faster chips and more memory
In Europe and South Korea, the S-series will be powered by the Exynos 990 chipset. This 7nm processor with dual-core Gen 2 NPU was announced in October during the Samsung Tech Day 2019 event in The Silicon Valley. Snapdragon 865 will be on duty in USA models and we’ll get more of Qualcomm’s next powerhouse in most 2020 flagships.
The amount of RAM and storage will vary though the line with S20 probably getting 64GB of storage and 4/6GB RAM which is the bare minimum for a flagship. Considering the premium Note 10+ shipped with up to 1TB of storage and 12GB RAM we can expect something similar in S20 Ultra.
Based on all the data we have so far, such as the location of the punch hole camera, the screen size and the camera system at the rear, our Dutch partner Jermaine Smit, also known as Concept Creator, has made the following stunning animation video. The 3D renders in this article are also Jermaine’s work and are made available for LetsGoDigital.
Samsung Galaxy S20 price & release date
There are still some uncertainties concerning the Samsung S20 series – mainly the colours and the price. Judging by the last generation, we’ll get the usual white, black, pink and blue options but extra variety might be added at a later time by Samsung as was the case with Note 10 and S10. Pricewise things may follow the S10 formula. The S10e received a starting price tag of € 750 while the S10 was € 900 and people had to add an additional € 100 for the top S10+ model.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 series will get its official announcement on February 18 but we’ll be able to see the devices in their real-life glory during the MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain a week later – from February 24 to 27. There’s a chance we’ll get to see a new foldable smartphone from Samsung too – probably the Galaxy Fold 2 / Galaxy Z Flip. Samsung made a teaser video showing a different concept – rather close to Motorola’s new RAZR than to the first generation Galaxy Fold. Rumours of a new type of display coating are also circulating the interweb – it’s called UltraThinGlass, supposedly more scratch-resistant than the polymer coating on the current flexible displays.
There are probably new Galaxy Buds in the pipeline, ready to debut at the same time as the S20 series. With the S10 and S10+ models, people got these earbuds free during the pre-order period. The affordable S10e didn’t get the Buds, and it’s very likely Samsung will use the same scheme with the new release.
Samsung usually offers a wide range of covers and cases, such as the Clear View Cover and the LED View Cover. We can also assume that a Leather Cover and a Silicone Cover will be released for the Samsung S20 models. Various charging accessories will also be available for the S20 – like the Wireless Charger Duo Pad and the Wireless Battery Pack which can also be used with the S10.
When the S10 showed up last February, two new smartwatches joined forces with the flagship – the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit. Halfway through the year, the Watch Active 2 was unveiled with a rotating touch screen and The Fit 2 Pro followed around the same time. Whether Samsung will add new smartwatch models to the S11 is still unknown but we might see a Watch Active 3 and a Fit 3 (Pro) on February 18 so don’t act surprised.