Galaxy S20 in the test 2021: is it still worth it?

The Galaxy S20 is Samsung’s flagship from last year. It packs in a ton of features that were left out of the Galaxy S21 and is now significantly cheaper too. But should you buy the Galaxy S20 2021 or look at other options in the same price range? Let’s take a look at the Galaxy S20 in 2021.


When we talk about the design of the Galaxy S20, 2 words come to mind. Minimal and understatement. I mean, look at the cosmic gray variant that I have here. It looks high quality, classy and even secretly. But at the same time, it’s a very, very mainstream design with a camera module on the top left. It’s not noticeable at all and Samsung’s somewhat mundane color options don’t help its case either. However, not all of us want our phones to stand out, and if that’s the case with you, the Galaxy S20 is as simple a smartphone as you can get today.

Check out our roundup of the best cases for the Galaxy S20

Processing quality and hand feel

When it comes to the build quality and hand feel, I think this phone is one of the few phones that is close to perfect. The size is small enough for one-handed operation yet large enough to carry a decently sized display. The front and back are made of curved Gorilla Glass 5 and feel extremely high-quality in the hand. The phone itself is surprisingly light and, quite frankly, comfortable to hold. The only criticism I have is that the glossy glass back attracts a lot of smudges and fingerprints. That being said, the Galaxy S20 is still among the best of the best in the business for hand feel.

Battery life

Checking the battery life of the Galaxy S20

What isn’t the best, however, is the battery life. I usually talk about battery life later in the test, but it was such a huge negative in my usage experience that I need to talk about it first. This phone won’t last even a day of heavy use. I charged the phone at 6 p.m. when I started on a full charge in the morning. Even mine iPhone 12 Mini had better battery life!

Of course it is Battery life was better with some energy saving measures like using the 60hz refresh rate instead of 120, but hey, that kills the point of getting a 120hz display in the first place.


Galaxy S20 120Hz display review

When I dive into this display, it’s simply the best display I’ve used on any smartphone. Seriously, the colors are beautiful, the text is crisp, and the saturation, while on the higher side, makes everything look larger than life. I love this display and it is honestly my favorite feature of this phone. If you got yourself a Galaxy S20, your photos would look more vivid, your games would look more immersive, and even the text you read would become so much smoother. I know I sound crazy, but Samsung really is the best of the best when it comes to making smartphone displays, and the Galaxy S20 is living proof of that.

OnePlus 8T vs. Galaxy S20

Software (OneUI)

Galaxy S20 software (OneUI) review

Now let’s talk about the software and the performance. My Galaxy S20 is up to date Android 11 OneUI 3.0 supports and my experience has been good. Everything is simply put together very well and works like clockwork. The animations are very fluid. There’s even a ton of customization options out there if you’d like. The huge feature load can be overwhelming, but I appreciate that everything is well polished and not half-baked.

You get a version of the Samsung ecosystem for every Google service in your phone, so there’s Bixby for the Google Assistant, Galaxy Store for the Play Store, and even Samsung Internet for Google Chrome. It even comes pre-installed with a bunch of Microsoft stuff, but luckily, you can at least uninstall it if you want. Some users also report seeing ads all over the UI and while I haven’t seen a lot of ads in my personal experience, that ad thing just doesn’t fit well with the overall premium flagship software experience.

Best accessories for Galaxy S20


A word about performance. It was mostly slick on my Exynos variant S20 and I can only imagine how much smoother it would be on the Snapdragon variants sold in some regions. Everyday things like texting, social media run smoothly without even stuttering, but when you turn up the heat the Exynos CPU starts to struggle visibly. Don’t get this phone if gaming is your thing. I’ve also noticed a slight warming from using the phone continuously for a long period of time, but if I’ll be completely honest with you, that’s not a problem at all.

A plus for the overall Samsung software experience is the 3 year software support guarantee. 1 of those years has already passed, but if you get the Galaxy S20 now, expect software updates through 2023.


Galaxy S20 camera reviewLet’s talk about the cameras now. I won’t go into depth, if that’s what you want I have a link in the description for one of our older videos. For now, I’m going to talk about using the Galaxy S20 as a camera in my daily life.

I’m not a camera expert, I just point and click in hopes of good results. The Galaxy S20 offers one of the best camera experiences of any Android smartphone. The photos are usually very vivid and engaging. Photos in low light also look great. However, I have 2 complaints. First, the selfie camera smooths a lot by default, but somehow looks natural after it is turned off. Second, in low-light environments, the Galaxy S20 takes a few seconds to analyze and focus before preparing to take the picture. If you click on a photo during those 2 seconds the result will be a blurry mess. These are not deal breakers, just minor annoyances.

Call quality

Check Galaxy S20 call quality

Now let’s talk about the phone calling experience. It is amazing. Seriously, I don’t know what Samsung does differently, but their phones usually always offer the best calling experience of any smartphone. The signal consistency is amazing, the clarity is best in the industry, and even the earbuds, speakers, and microphone are crystal clear. There’s something about Samsung antennas – I don’t know what, but there’s something that makes them a lot better than the competition.

Best fast chargers for Galaxy S20


Galaxy S20 review should you buy it in 2021

Now for the bottom line, as you must have seen in the video, the Galaxy S20 has some flaws of its own. And yet, I love using it and it is still one of my favorite phones. Why? Well because it’s quite difficult to get a well built phone this size with such a great display and sophisticated software experience. Of course, I wish it had better battery life and more horsepower, but it is what it is. Even if the Galaxy S20 is definitely not for everyone, it is just the right smartphone for a few people. Whether you are one of the few is up to you to find out for yourself.

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