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Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S8: Should You Upgrade?

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In this guide we quickly compare Samsung’s latest Galaxy S20 to the older Galaxy S8 for those trying to decide if they should upgrade. And if you’re using a phone as old as the Galaxy S8, then yes, you should definitely make the switch.

Samsung just released a bigger, better, faster Galaxy S20 (renamed from Galaxy S11) that 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 S8 and even the Galaxy S8+.

In fact, everything is bigger and better this year, more so than previous releases. Whether that’s the four crazy impressive cameras on the back, all-day battery life and more. This comparison goes over all the areas that improved and what’s new so you know what to expect from the Galaxy S20 when you make the switch.

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Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S8: Specifications

 Galaxy S20Galaxy S8
Screen Size6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED5.8-inch Super AMOLED
Screen Resolution3200 x 1440 & 120Hz2960 x 1440 & Only 60Hz
Storage & RAM128GB & 8-12GB RAM64GB & 4GB RAM
ProcessorSnapdragon 865 or Samsung Exynos 995Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895
Cameras12MP main, 64MP telephoto, 12MP ultra-wide lens, ToF12MP camera (single lens)
Camera Features3x optical zoom, 30x digital zoom, 8K 30 fps video, 960 fps slo-moAuto-HDR, 2K, OIS, panorama
Front Camera10 Megapixel8 Megapixel
SoftwareAndroid 10 (One UI 2.0)Updated to Android 9
Battery Size4,000 mAh3,000 mAh
Charging & Wireless Charging25w Fast Charge & Fast Wireless ChargingFast Charging & Fast Wireless Charging
Fingerprint SensorUltrasonic In-Display SensorRear physical fingerprint scanner
MicroSD ExpansionYesYes
Other DetailsUSB Type-C, WiFi 6, 5G, Stereo Sound, IP68 Water ResistantUSB Type-C,Stereo Sound, IP68, 3.5mm headphone jack
PriceLaunched at $999Launched at $720

As we said above, this year Samsung is giving buyers three different models to choose from. Those being the smallest 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, and they’re all bigger than your Galaxy S8.

After looking at the spec list, the S20 is a big upgrade literally in every single area. Samsung added a bigger screen with a high refresh rate, newer internals, added a bunch of cameras and threw in a huge battery. Everything about this phone will be a big upgrade over the Galaxy S8, more so than any year prior. If you didn’t pull the trigger on the S10 or Note 10, now would be a good time to finally do it.

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 S8: Display & Design

Anyone that has a Galaxy S8 probably knows that each year Samsung has made the screens bigger and better. In fact, your “small” 5.8-inch screen isn’t even an option anymore, at all. Samsung’s Galaxy S20 screen is substantially bigger than the Galaxy S8.

However, the Galaxy S20 overall size, physically, isn’t quite as large as you probably think. Thanks to smaller bezels around the screen (the black bars), the camera inside the screen, and an almost invisible speaker grill, the Galaxy S20 is only a hair bigger than your old Galaxy S8.

What I’m trying to say here is that while a 6.2-inch screen sounds way bigger than your 5.8-inch Galaxy S8, you should try it in a store first to see just how similar they feel, and how easy it is to use.

  • Samsung Galaxy S20: 6.2-inch, 120Hz, 3200 x 1440 Quad-HD AMOLED
  • Samsung Galaxy S8: 5.8-inch, 60Hz, 2960 x 1440 Quad-HD AMOLED
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+: 6.2-inch, 60Hz, 2960 x 1440 Quad-HD AMOLED

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 S8.

As a result, the screen refreshes everything on the screen 120 times per second, instead of only 60 times on older phones like the Galaxy S8. This makes everything feel fast, smooth, fluid and just better.

Another thing you’ll notice is the camera cutout at the top middle of the screen. This is a small circle physically cut out of the screen for the front camera, instead of adding a notch like Apple and Google or having a big bezel above the screen like the S8. 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 quickly got used to a hole cutout inside the display. It basically disappears and you just use the phone like normal. Notifications will work around the camera cutout, so don’t worry about that either.

Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S8: Cameras

Bigger screens and fancy designs are nice, but you’ll probably get the most use out of the impressive new cameras Samsung delivered with the Galaxy S20. Cameras are the single (or multiple) 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 a few more camera sensors 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 S8: 12MP single camera (Main sensor is 1.4um)

The main 12MP camera is still great, and actually received a bunch of upgrades, but then they added a few more cameras that do amazing things. 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. That way one camera isn’t trying to do all three of things with average results. Each one has its own lens and takes amazing photos or 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. Furthermore, the bigger 64MP telephoto lens is capable of recording video in 8k, just in case you want to do that.

Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S8: Battery Life & Charging

People still using an old Galaxy S8 are likely starting to notice the battery just doesn’t last as long as it used to. That’s something known as battery degradation, and it happens to all phones over time. After enough recharges the cells start to degrade.

So, you probably want a new phone for that alone, but then when you notice how much bigger the battery is for the Galaxy S20, you probably got excited.

  • Galaxy S20: 4000 mAh (25w fast wired charging, fast wireless charging and reverse wireless charging)
  • Galaxy S8: 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 S8 with that 25w charger. It’ll last longer than your aging phone while doing and offering more than ever before.

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 S8 is still a good phone, but being nearly three years old the battery life is probably never as good as it once was, the screen likely is all scratched up, and you’re missing out on sweet photos because you only have one camera.

You should really consider upgrading this year.

The Galaxy S20 release date is on March 6th but it’s really expensive as you can see above. Be prepared to trade-in your S8 for a small discount, then make monthly payments on your S20 model.

Unfortunately, phones are no longer $720 or even $800 like the Galaxy S8 several years ago. Things just keep getting more expensive, especially with the bigger screens and all those cameras.

As a comparison, the Galaxy S8 was $720 when it came out in 2017, depending on which carrier you got it from. The Galaxy S8+ was a little more expensive, but nothing crazy. This year Samsung priced these phones a little high, in my opinion, so maybe think about waiting for summer discounts and deals before you snag one.

Final Thoughts

In closing, we want to mention a few other things you’ll get when you upgrade. The front-facing camera is way better, the phone is faster, videos look better, and it runs the latest Android 10 software. Plus, the Galaxy S8 will get Android 10, and that’s all. You’re at the point where Samsung will no longer issue software updates for that phone. Getting a new Galaxy S20 that will get updates until like 2023 is a good idea.

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.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 is a great phone that you will absolutely love. However, if that high price is too much, you could grab the newly discounted Galaxy S10 instead, which is still a solid option. It’s seeing several heavy discounts now that the Galaxy S20 is here.

Finally, keep in mind that the Galaxy S8 isn’t a bad phone, it’s just getting old enough that it’s worth upgrading for almost any and all reasons. From performance and battery to security and updates. Plus, you’re probably envious of friends with triple camera phones and bigger screens.

So, even though the pricing is pretty crazy this year, you’ll absolutely love the Galaxy S20 so choose which model and size is right for you and enjoy all that it has to offer.

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