This guide compares Samsung’s new Galaxy S20 to the older Galaxy S9 for those looking to upgrade or get a new phone. Now that the Galaxy S9 is a few years old upgrading to Samsung’s latest and greatest is something you should consider.
Samsung recently unveiled a bigger, better, faster Galaxy S20 that now comes in three sizes, giving you plenty of options in terms of screen sizes, price, or specs. That said, they’re all a lot bigger than the Galaxy S9, and they’re even bigger than the S9+.
This year everything is bigger and better. Samsung added four cameras to the back and extended battery life substantially. 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 S9: Specifications
|6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED
|5.8-inch Super AMOLED
|3200 x 1440 & 120Hz
|2960 x 1440 & Only 60Hz
|Storage & RAM
|128GB & 8-12GB RAM
|64GB & 4GB RAM
|Snapdragon 865 or Samsung Exynos 995
|Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810
|12MP main, 64MP telephoto, 12MP ultra-wide lens, ToF
|12MP camera (single lens)
|3x optical zoom, 30x digital zoom, 8K 30 fps video, 960 fps slo-mo
|Auto-HDR, 2K, OIS, panorama
|Android 10 (One UI 2.0)
|Updated to Android 9
|Charging & Wireless Charging
|25w Fast Charge & Fast Wireless Charging
|Fast Charging & Fast Wireless Charging
|Ultrasonic In-Display Sensor
|Rear physical fingerprint scanner
|USB Type-C, WiFi 6, 5G, Stereo Sound, IP68 Water Resistant
|USB Type-C,Stereo Sound, IP68, 3.5mm headphone jack
|Launched at $999
|Launched at $720
You have three models to choose from, those being the 6.2-inch Galaxy S20, a big 6.7-inch Galaxy S20+ and a massive 6.9-inch Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G. All three models come with 5G.
After looking at the detailed spec sheet above, the S20 is a big upgrade in several key areas. Samsung added a bigger screen with a high refresh rate, newer internals, more storage, added a bunch of cameras and the bigger battery has faster charging. Even if you have the dual camera Galaxy S9+ getting the Galaxy S20 would be quite the upgrade overall.
The most important changes are to the screen, cameras, then battery life and charging speeds. So, here’s more info for each of those categories.
Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S9: Display & Design
The Galaxy S9 was Samsung’s last small flagship smartphone. Since then, screens have become larger and even the smallest Galaxy S20 is substantially bigger than the Galaxy S9.
However, the Galaxy S20 is physically very similar in size to the Galaxy S9 simply due to smaller bezels, the front camera inside the screen and the edge-to-edge display technology. It sounds big, but it really isn’t.
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 has a high 120Hz refresh rate, up from 60Hz in the Galaxy S9. This allows the screen to refresh 120 times per second, which is twice as fast as older models like the Galaxy S9. As a result, everything feels smooth, fast, and fluid.
- Samsung Galaxy S20: 6.2-inch, 120Hz, 3200 x 1440 Quad-HD AMOLED
- Samsung Galaxy S9: 5.8-inch, 60Hz, 2960 x 1440 Quad-HD AMOLED
- Samsung Galaxy S9+: 6.2-inch, 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 to hold.
Some love it, some hate it, but most people who bought the Galaxy S10/iPhone quickly got used to a hole cutout inside the display. It basically disappears and you just use the phone like normal. Plus, this year the cutout is smaller and less noticeable but it is in the center of the screen. Notifications will work around the camera cutout, so don’t worry about that.
Another big change regarding the display and design is the fingerprint scanner. It’s no longer on the back way up behind the camera. Instead, the Galaxy S20’s fingerprint sensor is inside the screen, just like the front camera. This is known as an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, which reads the ridges on your finger through the screen. It’s fast, accurate, and very secure although physical scanners like the one found on the Galaxy S9 worked a little better in my opinion.
Then, the last aspect of the design is something most people will be happy to hear. The Galaxy S20 screen isn’t quite as curved as the Galaxy S9 and is closer to being flat. If you hated the curve on your S9, get Samsung’s new phone.
Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S9: Cameras
While most buyers will love the bigger screen and new design it’s all the cameras you’ll probably use the most. Cameras are the single biggest upgrade when you compare these two phones. Even though the “megapixel” numbers are the same for the main camera, the Galaxy S20 sensors bigger and much improved. Plus, the phone has three more cameras to help you capture any and every moment.
- 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 S9: 12MP single camera (Main sensor is 1.4um)
You’ll still have amazing photos from the main 12MP camera, but vastly improved over the Galaxy S9. Then, if you want to zoom in to get a particular shot or zoom out and get a huge wide-angle view, now you can. The Galaxy S20 has a dedicated telephoto zoom sensor and the camera app switches to it as you zoom automatically. Then another camera specifically for taking wide-angle photos and videos.
The telephoto lens is a 3x optical and 30x digital zoom, which works great. You can get some pretty impressive photos and videos from this new phone. That 64MP telephoto camera can even record in 8K video.
Y'all better be excited for how good the S20+ camera is!
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) January 15, 2020
Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S9: Battery Life & Charging
Ok, basically every aspect of the Galaxy S20 is better than the Galaxy S9. You probably noticed how much bigger the battery is this year when reading the spec sheet above, but charging speeds are much-improved as well.
- Galaxy S20: 4000 mAh (25w fast wired charging, fast wireless charging and reverse wireless charging)
- Galaxy S9: 3,000 mAh (Quick Charge 2.0 wired fast charging, fast wireless charging)
Obviously a bigger screen with a high refresh rate and fast 5G speeds will drain the battery faster on the S20, but that’s why it has a huge battery cell. Plus, the new Galaxy S20 recharges nearly twice as fast as the Galaxy S9 with that 25w charger.
Galaxy S20 Release Date & Price
And finally, perhaps the most important question for you us “when can I buy the Galaxy S20?” and how much will it cost? The Galaxy S9 is still a good phone, but being two years old the battery life is probably never as good as it once was, and you’re probably envious of friends that have dual or triple camera smartphones. You’ll want to seriously consider upgrading this year.
The Galaxy S20 is available as we speak at retail stores and carriers around the globe. Go ahead and buy one today, if you can afford it. With a big screen and all those cameras, what did you expect? We know it’s expensive, so maybe wait for a few deals this summer if you can.
- Galaxy S20: $999
- Galaxy S20+: $1,199
- Galaxy S20 Ultra: $1,399
- Best Galaxy S20 Deals: Save Over $1,000
As a comparison, the Galaxy S9 was $720 when it came out in 2018, depending on which carrier you got it from. The Galaxy S9+ was a little more expensive, but nothing crazy. This year Samsung really went all-out, and it shows.
For what it’s worth though, don’t be surprised when other 5G phones this year are very expensive too. Samsung will get hate for it, but that’s because these are the first global 5G smartphones. When every other brand releases more expensive devices this year, these S20 price tags won’t seem so crazy.
There are also a few other small improvements like a better front-facing camera, and it runs the latest Android 10 software. On the other 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.
In closing, keep in mind that the Galaxy S9 is still a good phone, it’s just getting a little older and the Android 10 update might be its last big upgrade. Plus, you’re probably envious of friends with triple camera phones and bigger screens.
With the level of upgrades across the board, you’ll probably want to get the Galaxy S20 no matter what, even with those crazy prices. So, choose which one you want and enjoy it. If you do, don’t forget a Galaxy S20 case, some accessories, and then try these cool features.
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