Opinion, Smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S20: Spiritual Successor to the Galaxy S10e

I’ll be honest: I was quite bummed when Samsung didn’t introduce a successor to the Galaxy S10e. Instead, the Korean company only unveiled follow-ups to the Galaxy S10 and S10+ with the Galaxy S20 and S20+ respectively. Of course, there’s also the most premium (and biggest) device of the bunch, the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

While there is no direct successor to the Galaxy S10e, there is one device that comes pretty close: the Galaxy S20. Yes, it is technically the Galaxy S10’s successor, but it actually has a number of qualities that made the S10e such a compelling little device.

I consider the Galaxy S20 the spiritual successor to the Galaxy S10e, and that makes it my new favourite smartphone in the S20 series. Not quite convinced the S20 is similar to the S10e? Well, let’s break it down.

One of the best appeals of the Galaxy S10e is its compact form factor, and believe it or not, the Galaxy S20 is actually quite a compact smartphone too. In fact, the S20 is actually narrower than the S10e; the former measures only 69.1mm wide, while the S10e is wider at 69.9mm. Granted, that’s only 0.8mm of difference, but it will make the S20 easier to use with one hand. This is especially the case when you need to reach for the other side of the screen.

However, Samsung actually made a rather interesting decision with the new Galaxy S20 smartphones: their screens are now taller than ever. Previously, the S10 series had 19:9 displays, but Samsung changed the aspect ratio to a taller 20:9 format with the S20 phones.

This, in turn, makes the Galaxy S20 an unusually tall device. Measuring 151.7mm tall, it’s not quite as compact as the S10e, which is only 142.2mm tall. Nevertheless, the S20 is still small enough to fit in most pockets.

Dimensions of the Galaxy S20 aside, it also has flagship-tier hardware under the hood like the S10e. The S20 is powered by the same Samsung Exynos 990 chipset found in the more costly S20+ and S20 Ultra, just like how the S10e had the same Exynos 9820 SoC as the S10 and S10+. Basically, you’re getting the same level of processing power regardless of which device you get in the S20 series.

That being said, one of the biggest shortcomings of the Galaxy S10e was the fact that it felt like a “compromise.” Sure, it had the same processor as the rest of the S10 devices, but it still had a lower resolution 1080p display, no telephoto camera, and a rather average battery capacity – it was only packed with a 3,100mAh cell.

Thankfully, the Galaxy S20 doesn’t share the same fate. While it still has the smallest battery capacity of the bunch, its 4,000mAh battery should be able to deliver above average battery life. On top of that, the S20 also has a similar camera system as the S20+, which include a 12MP f/1.8 main sensor, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle shooter, and a 64MP f/2.0 telephoto lens.

Of course, the Galaxy S20 is still a “compromise” in some way. For example, only the Galaxy S20 Ultra comes with the sophisticated quad camera system capable of doing 100x digital zoom. The regular S20 and S20+, on the other hand, can “only” achieve 30x zoom. Not quite as impressive, but still very commendable zooming performance.

But what the Galaxy S20 lacks in any possible area is made up by the fact that it doesn’t cost quite as much. See, the Galaxy S20 Ultra costs a whopping RM4,999, which makes the S20’s RM3,599 price tag a lot easier to swallow. Don’t get me wrong, RM3,599 is still a lot of money, even for a flagship smartphone like the S20.

Unfortunately, that’s one area where the Galaxy S20 is unlike the Galaxy S10e; the latter went for only RM2,699 at launch. That’s almost RM1,000 price difference, so the price of entry for Samsung’s 2020 flagship smartphone is markedly higher this year.

Even so, it doesn’t change the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S20 is a worthy (spiritual) successor to the Galaxy S10e. It’s not quite as affordable anymore, but it does come with a number of excellent upgrades. There’s the bigger, sharper 6.2-inch 3200 x 1440 Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a fast 120Hz refresh rate, an ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint sensor, and a versatile camera system.

If you, like me, are not thrilled by the absence of a successor to the Galaxy S10e, you should really give the Galaxy S20 a consideration or two. It may not be quite as compact as the S10e, but the S20 is still one of very few flagship smartphones in the market now that you can use comfortably with only one hand.