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Samsung Galaxy S20+ vs Galaxy Note 9: Worth the Upgrade?



This guide compares Samsung’s new Galaxy S20 to the older Galaxy Note 9 for those considering making the switch. Now that the Galaxy Note 9 is more than a year old, upgrading to Samsung’s new phone is something you should be thinking about.

With three all-new Galaxy S20 models available from March 6th, those with older phones have some tough choices to make. And while the Galaxy Note 9 is still a great phone, this new model has upgrades everywhere.

Samsung made all the screens bigger, added more cameras, and extended battery life with the Galaxy S20 series. This comparison goes over all the areas that improved and what’s new so you know what to expect from the Galaxy S20.

Galaxy S20+ vs Galaxy Note 9: Specifications

Galaxy S20+Galaxy Note 9
Screen Size6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED6.4-inch Super AMOLED
Screen Resolution3200 x 1440 & 120Hz2960 x 1440 & Only 60Hz
Storage & RAM128GB & 12GB RAM128GB & 6GB RAM
ProcessorSnapdragon 865 or Samsung Exynos 995Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810
Cameras12MP main, 64MP telephoto, 12MP ultra-wide lens, ToF12MP main, 12MP telephoto
Camera Features3x optical zoom, 30x digital zoom, 8K 30 fps video, 960 fps slo-mo2x optical zoom, Auto-HDR, 2K, OIS, panorama
Front Camera10 Megapixel8 Megapixel
SoftwareAndroid 10 (One UI 2.0)Updated to Android 9/10
Battery Size4,500 mAh4,000 mAh
Charging25w Fast Charge & Fast Wireless ChargingFast Charging & Fast Wireless Charging
Fingerprint SensorUltrasonic In-Display SensorRear physical fingerprint scanner
Other DetailsUSB Type-C, WiFi 6, 5G, Stereo Sound, IP68 Water ResistantUSB Type-C,Stereo Sound, IP68, 3.5mm headphone jack, S-Pen
PriceLaunched at $1,199Launched at $999

As we said above, you have three different Galaxy S20 models to choose from to replace your Note 9. The smallest and most affordable will be the 6.2-inch Galaxy S20. Then, a big 6.7-inch Galaxy S20+ similar to your Note, followed by a massive 6.9-inch Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G.

Looking over our specification chart above, you can easily tell that the Galaxy S20+ is a big upgrade in several key areas. From the display, twice as many cameras, a bigger battery, and more. Not to mention the fancy new 120Hz display, more RAM for improved performance, and the faster charging speeds which actually make a big difference in daily use.

Here’s more information and comparisons for each category receiving a big upgrade.

Galaxy S20+ vs Galaxy Note 9: Display & Design

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 was the last Galaxy Note device that wasn’t huge. Since then, the Galaxy Note 10+ jumped to nearly 7-inches in size, and this new Galaxy S20 series is pretty big too. On the front, the design looks similar, but there are some important changes throughout.

Here’s where things get interesting. Overall, the Galaxy S20+ shouldn’t be that much bigger physically than the Galaxy Note 9, even though the screen is 6.7-inches. That’s thanks to the smaller bezels around the screen, and because Samsung put the front camera in the display, instead of above it. Letting them stretch the screen to the very top and bottom of the hardware. Basically, don’t worry about it being too big for you.

Then, another big change is Samsung’s new 120Hz display technology. Following a trend of higher refresh rates like we saw from OnePlus and Google in 2019, the Galaxy S20 packs a fast 120Hz refresh rate display, up from 60Hz in the Galaxy Note 9. This allows the screen to refresh 120 times per second, which is twice as fast as older models like the Galaxy Note 9.

The higher refresh rate makes everything from apps, games and even the operating system look faster, feel faster, run smoothly, and just seem better. Remember how much better 120Hz and even 240Hz HDTVs looked a few years ago in your living room? That same type of quality and performance jump is happening on our phones. Furthermore, the S20 has a faster 240Hz touch response time, too, up from 120.

  • Samsung Galaxy S20+: 6.7-inch, 120Hz, 3200 x 1440 Quad-HD AMOLED
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9: 6.4inch, 60Hz, 2960 x 1440 Quad-HD AMOLED

Another thing you’ll notice right away is the camera cutout at the top middle of the phone. This is a small circle physically cut out of the screen for the front camera, instead of adding a notch like Apple or Google. This allows for a bigger screen that stretches to the top of the device without making the phone too big.

Most people with a Galaxy S10 or Note 10 got used to the camera cutout and don’t even notice it anymore, like me, so that’s nothing to worry about. Plus, this year the cutout is smaller and not nearly as noticeable, especially with a dark wallpaper.

Another aspect worth mentioning is the screen isn’t as curved on the Galaxy S20. Making the phone easier to hold and use, less accidental touches, and you’ll actually be able to use screen protectors again.

And finally, you’ll notice the Galaxy S20+ doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner on the back either. That’s because Samsung put that sensor inside the screen too, just like the front camera. Samsung is using ultrasonic fingerprint technology that can read the ridges of your fingerprint, accurately and securely, through the screen.

Overall the design isn’t crazy different, it’s just all cameras on the back, and nothing but screen on the front, with a bunch of new technology inside the screen. It’s still clearly a Galaxy phone, and that’s just fine.

Galaxy S20+ vs Galaxy Note 9: Cameras

Perhaps the single biggest upgrade is in the camera department. While both the Galaxy S20+ and Note 9 have a 12MP main camera, the S20 camera is way better. Not to mention there are three other cameras on the back. If you loved the camera on your Galaxy Note, you’ll really want to get Samsung’s newest Galaxy.

  • Galaxy S20+: 12MP main, 64MP 3-30x telephoto, 12MP ultra-wide lens, ToF (Main sensor size is a bigger 1.8um) bigger is better
  • Galaxy Note 9: 12MP main camera, 12MP telephoto 2x optical zoom lens (Main sensor is 1.4um)

While the Galaxy Note 9 does have a second telephoto zoom lens, it’s not all that great plus you still get better photos from the main camera. It was just an option if you needed it. With the Galaxy S20, you have three different focal points, and all the cameras are upgraded from previous years.

The Galaxy S20 telephoto lens is a 3x optical and 30x digital zoom, which works great. You have a solid main camera, a crazy new telephoto zoom lens that can even record in 8k, then an ultra-wide camera for family portraits or landscape photography. It does it all.

Galaxy S20+ vs Galaxy Note 9: Battery Life & Charging

Even though it’s starting to show it’s age, the Galaxy Note 9 still has pretty great battery life. That said, it can always be better, and it will if you upgrade. Looking at the spec sheet above you’ll notice that the battery is substantially bigger and the charging speed got an upgrade too. Both of these are important for day-to-day use.

  • Samsung Galaxy S20+: 4500 mAh (25w fast wired charging, fast wireless charging and reverse wireless charging)
  • Galaxy Note 9: 4,000 mAh (Quick Charge 2.0 wired fast charging, fast wireless charging)

Not only is the battery quite a bit bigger, but the phone will recharge super fast. Samsung added its new 25w fast charging technology to these phones which is great. We are a bit concerned about the bigger 120Hz display and 5G sucking the battery away too fast, but at least it’ll recharge super quick.

Galaxy S20+ Release Date & Price

And finally, perhaps the most important question for you us “when can I buy the Galaxy S20+?” or “how much is the Galaxy S20+?” and we have a few of those answers. With all the upgrades this year you’ll want to think about trading in your Galaxy Note 9 for a new S20 Plus.

These are expensive!

The Galaxy S20 official release date of  March 6th at the pricing you see above. They’re not cheap, and you’ll want to seriously think about trading in your Note 9 to get a discount on the S20 Plus.

As a comparison, the Galaxy Note 9 was $999 when it came out in 2018, depending on which carrier you got it from. Basically, the Galaxy S20+ is only a little more expensive but packs a ton more stuff inside and throughout.

And, for those that have owned the Galaxy Note 9 for over a year, now is a good time to upgrade before the phone starts getting too old, running slow, or loses too much trade-in value.

Final Thoughts

There are also several smaller upgrades everywhere like the 10MP front-facing camera, faster UFS3.0 internal storage, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 and more. Everything is better, basically. On the flip side, you’ll be losing the 3.5mm headphone jack if you upgrade. If that’s important to you, get ready to buy some wireless headphones.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 is a great phone that buyers will enjoy. We think it’s worth buying over the Galaxy S10 even though that phone is seeing several heavy discounts now that the Galaxy S20 is here.

In closing, keep in mind that the Galaxy Note 9 is still a good phone, it’s just getting a little older and might not see too many more software upgrades. Plus, you’re probably envious of friends with triple camera phones and bigger screens.

So, choose which Galaxy S20 model you want, likely the Galaxy S20 Plus and enjoy it.

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