Samsung has announced the date for its next Unpacked event – and there are only a few weeks left until we see the highly rumoured and leaked Samsung Galaxy S20 officially announced. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming flagship including rumoured specs, pricing, release date and camera details.
iPhone aside, there isn’t a yearly release more hyped than that of Samsung. The S series is the king of Android and it tends to signal the first big flagship of the year.
This year things feel slightly different. There’s likely a new name – it doesn’t look like the S11 will ever see the light of day – and a couple of new members of the family.
Samsung Galaxy S20 specs at a glance
Of course, until the phone is officially announced we’re uncertain of what it will actually offer. However, these are the rumoured Samsung Galaxy S20 specs.
- 120Hz capable display in two sizes
- Up to 12GB of RAM
- 12-megapixel main camera, 64-megapixel secondary
- 4500mAh battery (likely on the Plus model)
- 25w charging
- Exynos 990/Snapdragon 865
- 5G option
Why will it be called the Samsung Galaxy S20?
The most obvious change this year is the reported new naming convention. Instead of sticking with the norm and calling its next flagship that S11, Samsung is seemingly switching things up.
We’ve seen numerous leaks pointing to this name change, from apparently leaked marketing materials to the alleged startup screen of the phone itself.
The big question is why? While we’ll likely never get solid, official information about why this name change is happening there are a number of possibilities. One, and likely the most obvious, is that it matches up with the year – S20 for 2020. It also hints, to the customer anyway, that the leap up from the S10 is a significant one.
It could even be the case that Samsung is trying to discourage comparisons with the iPhone 11.
Samsung Galaxy S20 release date and price
We know that Samsung is holding an Unpacked event in San Francisco on February 11, and this is where we expect to see the S20 range revealed in all its glory. This timing matches up with the release of the S10 in 2019 and it gives Samsung a march on other flagships – Sony, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc. – which we would expect to see to see announced at the MWC show in Barcelona a few weeks later.
In previous years Samsung has used Mobile World Congress (MWC) to announce its new phone, but recently it has preferred the complete spotlight offered by a dedicated Unpacked event.
Whether the phone is immediately available to pre-order on the night remains to be seen, however, we do expect to see the phone on shelves shortly after it’s made official.
In terms of pricing, we’re still in the dark as to how much these devices will cost.
Will there be a Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus model?
It looks the regular Samsung Galaxy S20 will be joined by the traditional plus-sized model. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus will boast a larger display and we can expect a bigger battery too.
Samsung Galaxy S20 camera
Rumours about the camera (or more likely cameras) on the Galaxy S20 have been rife for months, but a recent XDA Developers leak seems to give us our best look yet at what specs the front and rear sensors on the phone will pack. If the leak if to be believed, the S20 will boast:
- A 12-megapixel main sensor with large 1.8μm pixels. The sensor itself will be the Sony IMX555 – an as-yet-unreleased module.
- A secondary 64-megapixel camera (Samsung ISOCell 55KGW2) the use of which isn’t clear.
- A telephoto lens with zoom between 3x and 30x.
The same leak also goes into detail on what we can expect from the video recording skills of this phone. It looks like 8K recording (we’ve yet to see this on a phone) will be supported at 30fps on at least the S20 Plus variant, along with 4K 60fps with both OIS and EIS. Other reported features include a Pro video mode, some smart selfie features and that zoom-in mic feature from the Note 10.
Interesting, a leaked picture of the rear of one of the S20 variants seems to suggest there’ll be a fourth sensor on the back. This could very well be a ToF (time of flight) sensor for improving the depth effect in portrait, or as Samsung calls it Live Focus, mode. Samsung has utilised this tech before so it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see it here.
There have also been leaks suggesting the Plus variant will boast the ToF and the S20 won’t.
The elephant in the room here is the much-rumoured 108-megapixel sensor that was originally set to appear on the S20. The XDA Developers report states we won’t see this on the S20 or S20 Plus, with this sensor instead kept for the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra model. The ‘Ultra’ looks like it’ll be the ‘true’ flagship.
Samsung Galaxy S20 screen
One of the notable upgrades for the Galaxy S20 looks like it’ll be in regards to the display. For the first time on the S series the usual 60Hz refresh-rate could be upped to 120Hz, giving it a much smoother look. We’ve also heard that the next OnePlus flagship will also have a 120Hz display, up from 90Hz on the OnePlus 7T Pro.
A slight disappointment from the IceUniverse leak though is that it seems you’ll only be able to enable the 120Hz mode when the resolution is at its default FHD+ – if you prefer the crisper WQHD+ resolution then you’ll have to make do with 60Hz.
Now, there are a number of reasons why Samsung could have decided on this. The biggest revolves around the battery and the severe impact both high-resolution and high-refresh could have on the phone’s stamina. Restricting the way a high-refresh display works isn’t an unprecedented move as we saw Google force its 90Hz screen on the Pixel 4 down to 60Hz when brightness levels peaked.
Still, forcing users to pick between the two isn’t ideal – especially when the display is one of the best aspects of a Samsung flagship. We’d have also preferred Samsung used a display that would dynamically adjust the rate of refresh depending on the activity – leading to better endurance. You won’t always notice the benefits of 90Hz, especially in video, so it often feels a waste having it enabled all the time.
Another XDA Developers leak reports that the S20, S20 Plus and S20 Ultra will have 3200 x 1440 pixel screens with a 20:9 aspect ratio and include an embedded Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor for secure unlocking. We’d hope this is faster and more reliable than the sensor used on the Galaxy S10.
Samsung Galaxy S20 design
There have been numerous leaked snaps of the S20 and these all seem to point to a phone that feels like an evolution of the design Samsung has been using for years now. These pictures show a phone with a small cutout on the front for the selfie camera, a curved display and lots of glass and metal.
There looks to be a new camera cluster on the back and a complete lack of a headphone jack. Though you might get a pair of AKG USB-C buds in the box to offset that loss somewhat.
It also looks like the S20 Plus will be noticeably taller than the S10 Plus, so we could assume the same for the S20 too.
This design will be familiar to anyone who has seen the recently released Samsung Galaxy A71 or A51. These two mid-range devices look very much like the leaked S20 pictures, with similar front and camera clusters.
Samsung Galaxy S20 specs and battery life
We can make a pretty good guess at what chipset will power the Galaxy S20 series. If Samsung follows its pattern from recent years, the European model will use the flagship Exynos chipset and the US model will use the latest silicon from Qualcomm – that’s the Snapdragon 865.
GSMArena reports that more countries will utilise the Qualcomm chip this time around, possibly even including Samsung’s home nation of South Korea.
There looks like they’ll be various 5G versions available and RAM options across the board at 12GB LPDDR5. You might see that RAM jump to 16GB, however that slightly ridiculous option looks like to be specific to the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Battery size rumours for the S20 seem slim so far, but the massive XDA Developers information dump points to the S20 Plus having a 4500mAh cell and 25w fast charging.
Of course, even though many of the sources here have a good track record we can’t be sure of anything until Samsung officially announces the device. So, as always, take any rumour or leak with a healthy pinch of salt until the big reveal itself.