48 hours with the Samsung Galaxy S20+

Getting a new phone is always exciting. There’s nothing more satisfying than taking a phone out of the box for the first time and peeling off the protective plastic film from the screen and carefully examining the glass on the front and back of the phone before getting my greasy fingerprints smudges all over it.

I picked up the Samsung Galaxy S20+ from Best Buy over the weekend and have started my typical review routine. The process typically includes camera comparisons with other flagship devices, some benchmarking and speed tests to get a better feel for its performance and a deep dive into the software to see there’s anything truly useful in all the bloat that manufacturers add on top of Android.

While that whole process typically takes 5-7 days, I thought I’d share my experience with the phone after owning it for two days. This isn’t a comprehensive review by any means; simply a few initial thoughts worth considering if you’re planning to buy the phone before our full review comes out.

The phone ain’t pretty

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I’m pretty confident that the Samsung Galaxy S20+ is the ugliest flagship smartphone Samsung has build since the Galaxy S7. This isn’t an issue of build quality or the finish materials. The phone feels really good to hold and I truly appreciate the flatter screen which reduces glare and makes far more usable, but it just feels like the design team phoned it in this time.

Samsung forgot to add a sense of flair, something that makes a statement. Of course, most people aren’t going to care about this since you’ll likely be protecting your Galaxy S20+ with a case to protect it, but it’s still disappointing when you consider the phone’s price tag.

The cameras are amazing

You may have gotten caught up in all the hype around the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 108-megapixel camera and its 10x hybrid zoom, but I’m here to tell you that the S20+ has amazing cameras as well. The quad-camera setup on the back with its 12MP main sensor, 64MP 3x telephoto and 12MP ultra-wide cameras deliver incredibly dynamic shots and I love the seamless transition between the lenses when zooming in and out while recording video. In that regard, Samsung is miles ahead of the competition.

Samsung Galaxy S20+ VS Pixel 4 camera shootout: taking on the champ

As you’d expect, there’s that unique Samsung feel to the images, but the results are pretty spectacular. Add in 8K video capture and the phone delivers a future-proof experience that most of us won’t be able to enjoy for another 2-3 years.

Best software Samsung has delivered in years

For a long time, I hated the software experience Samsung delivered with its phones. I was incredibly excited a few years back when they unveiled One UI and the cohesive design language which touched every aspect of the phone. This year, Samsung has tweaked a few things to make the interface slightly better than before.

I still prefer the look of stock Android, but using the Galaxy S20+ right next to my Pixel 4 the same dramatic shift that it would have been just a few years ago. Personally, I think One UI’s rounded corners and bubble-shaped pop-up look a bit childish, but that’s just a personal aesthetic preference and I can live with. Fortunately, Samsung’s theming engine is quite powerful with thousands of amazing themes that can give your phone a unique look and feel.

Impeccable performance and display

We all know that performance on a new flagship smartphone will always be better with every new generation. The Snapdragon 865 chipset is spectacular, but the new 120Hz refresh rate of the display takes things to a whole new level. Since getting the phone, I’ve probably put in at least 10 hours of mobile gaming. The experience has been flawless.

I have no clue how much better the Galaxy S20+ over last year’s S10+ (I have not run the benchmarks yet), but the overall experience is much more enjoyable. The added RAM definitely makes a difference when it comes to multi-tasking, but there’s a good chance that Samsung has simply tweaked the RAM management a bit, simply to keep more apps in memory.

Final thoughts

After 24 hours with the Samsung Galaxy S20+, I have not stumbled upon any issues or red flags. My only real disappointment is with the design. If you can get over that, I see no reason why anyone wouldn’t want to own this phone. Yes, the $ 1200 price tag is a bit steep, but if you don’t need a phone this big, the smaller Galaxy S20 is just as good for $ 200 less.

My Samsung Galaxy S20+ review is still in the works. Be sure to check back in early next week for my in-depth analysis.


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