The Samsung Galaxy S20 phones are here, and that means you can start deciding if you want one – and that means you need to weigh up the new handsets against the Samsung Galaxy S10 models, which are still being sold by Samsung with a generous cut in price.
In this Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Samsung Galaxy S20 showdown, we'll put the newer and older phones up against each other in all the categories that matter. Read on for details of the tale of the S10 vs the S20 in terms of design, specs, cameras, price and more besides.
- Here's our early verdict of the Samsung Galaxy S20...
- ...and here's our early verdict of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S10 handsets were undoubtedly three of the best phones of 2019, and the Galaxy S20 sequels look like being three of the best phones of 2020 – between February and December, we can't see too many handsets managing to better them.
We've got a total of six different Samsung Galaxy models in total to weigh up here, not counting the different configuration options in each case: we'll make the comparison as straightforward as possible, even though the S10 and S20 naming doesn't match exactly.
Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: design
Samsung's familiar design language is evident in both the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S20 ranges: big, beautiful, AMOLED screens, tasteful designs on the rear casing, and a punch hole camera notch on the display (with the S20 range, this punch hole notch has moved from the top right corner to the centre).
The screens are bigger this year, starting at 6.2 inches and going up to 6.9 inches; last year the range was 5.8 inches to 6.4 inches (the resolutions are largely the same though). On both the S10 and S20 models, the fingerprint sensor is embedded under the front display, which means less interruption on the back and smaller bezels on the front.
Rather than a thin strip as on the S10 phones, the S20 handsets have their camera arrays in a rectangular box in the top corner on the back. The Galaxy S20 phones come in grey, blue, black and pink, depending on the model, whereas the Galaxy S10 phones that preceded them were available in white, black, green, blue, yellow, red, blue and pink across the three models.
Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: specs
The Snapdragon 855 and Exynos 9820 processors that Samsung used in the Galaxy S10 phones were the best manufacturers could get in 2019. This year, the Snapdragon 865 and Exynos 990 processors are the top-end processors for 2020. The S20 phones should perform faster, but the S10 phones are definitely no slouches even a year after release.
As for RAM, configuration options have jumped from 6GB-12GB of RAM to 8GB-16GB, depending on which model you buy and whether you opt for 4G or 5G. Internal storage choices start at 128GB for both the S10 and S20 ranges, but last year's S10 offers a 1TB option, whereas the S20 tops out at 512GB. Every one of these phones comes with a microSD card slot so you can add extra storage if needed.
We only had one 5G variant of the Samsung Galaxy S10 in 2019, but this year every Galaxy S20 model – the standard S20, the S20 Plus, and the S20 Ultra – has a 5G option. As 5G roll out is only in its infancy, this isn't necessarily a dealbreaker either, so if you do have a 4G Galaxy S10 model you can hold on to it a little longer.
Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: features
The cameras are perhaps the biggest upgrades when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy S10 vs the Samsung Galaxy S20. All three S20 models have triple-lens cameras, topping out at the 108MP+12MP+12MP fixed to the back of the S20 Ultra, offering what Samsung calls 'hybrid' optical zoom up to 10x, and digital zoom up to 100x.
Considering the best S10 camera was the 16MP+12MP+12MP on the S10 Plus, with just 2x optical zoom, this is quite the jump forward. Samsung is promising better low light performance, better zoom quality, and all-round better snaps on the S20 phones, though the S20 and S20 Plus can't quite match the S20 Ultra in this department.
Elsewhere, the S10 range still holds up to the S20 range very well: waterproofing, dustproofing and wireless charging are all the same across the board. The Galaxy S20 phones come with Android 10 preinstalled, but Android 10 is gradually rolling out on the Galaxy S10 phones now as well.
Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: price
One of the best reasons for going with a Galaxy S10 phone over a Galaxy S20 phone is price: now that the new models are out, the 2019 models are seeing some pretty big price reductions across the board. If you shop around a bit, you should be able to find you can pick up a brand new Samsung Galaxy S10 for a lot less than the launch price (check the widgets on this page for the latest deals).
We've seen the Samsung Galaxy S10e for around £670, the Samsung Galaxy S10 for £700 or so, and the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus for somewhere in the region of £800, though you might be able to better those prices. Contract prices will vary as well, so try and check out the deals from as many places as possible.
As for the starting prices on the 2020 models, you can pick up the 4G Samsung Galaxy S20 for £799 and up, the 5G Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus for £999 and up, and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra for £1,199 and up. Check in with your favourite network for details of what these phones will cost on contract, but expect to pay flagship prices.
Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: verdict
We'd say the jump from the Galaxy S10 phones to the Galaxy S20 phones is quite a substantial one – enough that the Galaxy S20 range is the one to go for, if you have the money. That said, if you already own a Galaxy S10 phone, we wouldn't be in a huge rush to splash out on a brand new Galaxy S20 handset just yet.
The biggest improvements are in the camera modules, so mobile photography enthusiasts might want to seriously consider picking up the Samsung S20 – particularly the Ultra model, which comes with the best camera of the bunch. 5G might be another reason to upgrade, and those large screens and super-fast internal components are tempting too.
As always, weigh up the pricing: the savings you can make on the Galaxy S10 versus the Galaxy S20 are quite substantial, and the S10 was one of the best phones on the market for the whole of last year. Opt for the S10 and you can get a premium smartphone and save yourself some cash too.