Every year, Samsung stuffs more and more tech into its phones—this year it’s touting 8K video recording, 5G, and 100X digital zoom on the Galaxy S20 range. But the added features give those phones staggeringly high price tags. Earlier this spring, the Galaxy S20 launched at an eyebrow-raising $ 1,000, and it is the most affordable phone of the lot. Compare that to the cheapest phone in last year’s Galaxy S10 range, the S10e, which started at $ 750. Yikes. What a jump.
In no way does it mean you need to spend $ 1,000 on a new phone. There are plenty of good alternatives that won’t make your wallet want to sew itself shut. But if you must have the greatest from Samsung this year, we’ve laid out everything you need to know about the Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, S20 Ultra, and even the new foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Flip. Below, you’ll also find every notable Galaxy S20 deal and order page we’ve found so far. For more details on the phones, check out our full recap of Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event.
Updated for June 2020: We’ve added details on Samsung’s Access plan, mentioned the new Verizon S20 that supports sub-6 5G and mmWave, and updated pricing throughout.
The Right Galaxy for You
The differences between all three Galaxy S20 phones aren’t as great as you might think. Samsung has a handy comparison that breaks it down here.
The whole Galaxy S20 line is a spectacle: I’ve spent plenty of time with all three phones now, and you can expect excellent performance in all of them thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 processor. The hardware is top-notch, perhaps a bit excessive with specs like 12 GB of RAM, but the 120-Hz screen refresh rate is a highlight as it makes scrolling and gaming on the phones look a whole lot smoother. They all have in-display fingerprint sensors, 8K video recording, 5G connectivity, and the usual flourishes like wireless charging, a MicroSD card slot, and IP68 water resistance (but no headphone jack).
Galaxy S20 ($ 1,000+) is the smallest of the lot: If you want Samsung’s best but don’t want to carry around a phablet, get the S20. It has a reasonable 6.2-inch screen and all the same specs as the S20 Plus, except for a slightly smaller 4,000-mAh battery (that still lasts a really long time). It’s missing the time-of-flight camera from its bigger sibling, which is used for improved depth with Samsung’s portrait mode and better augmented-reality effects, but it’s not a huge loss at all. It is the only phone in the lineup to come in pink, if that’s worth anything. Our review (9/10 WIRED Recommends) has more details.
Galaxy S20 Plus ($ 1,200+) is for big-screen lovers: The only reason to buy this over the S20 is if you want a sprawling 6.7-inch screen, though at that point you may as well shell out for the slightly better S20 Ultra. The bigger battery over the S20 doesn’t mean it lasts longer since it needs to power more screen, and the extra time-of-flight camera doesn’t add much. Like the S20, the 64-megapixel telephoto camera maxes out at 30x digital zoom, which doesn’t matter because you don’t get flattering results anyway—everything looks blotchy.
Galaxy S20 Ultra ($ 1,400+) is for shutterbugs: The standard camera on the previous two phones opts for 12 megapixels and a 1/1.76-inch image sensor, but the S20 Ultra goes the extra mile with a larger 1/1.33-inch sensor and an absurd 108 megapixels. That larger sensor does mean better photos at night, and the giant megapixel count nets more details in your shots (and larger file sizes). But wait, there’s more! The 48-megapixel telephoto camera goes up to 100X digital zoom, which is absolutely overkill, but the 10X hybrid zoom is what makes it shine—the other two S20 phones do offer this, but the quality isn’t as good. Did I mention it also has a 40-MP selfie camera and a gargantuan 6.9-inch screen? Naturally, there’s an even bigger battery. Check out our review (8/10, WIRED Recommends) for more.
Galaxy Z Flip ($ 1,380+) is for early adopters: I spent 24 hours with Samsung’s newest foldable phone, and I didn’t want to give it up. The clamshell style has grown on me, but it’s not going to make you more productive or anything like that. It purely saves a little more space in your pocket, but it’s damn fun to flip it open (or snap it shut to end a call). It’s the most polished foldable phone I’ve used so far, but despite a glass screen, there are multiple reports of it scratching or cracking at the crease. Buy it at your own risk if you want something different and have the money to spend, but in a year or two, expect foldables to be cheaper and look and feel even more mature.
Word to the Wise
Here’s some friendly advice before you drop four figures on a new phone.