The Ultra difference
Unlike last year with the S10e, there is no cheaper version of the S20. Instead, we’ve seen Samsung slash prices for the entire S10 family, and release “Lite” versions of its popular Galaxy S10 and Note 10. With the “affordable flagship” base amply covered, Samsung had the freedom to run in the opposite direction and build a phone that’s essentially excess incarnate.
While the other S20s feel as manageable in the hand as the models that came before, the Ultra is a full millimeter thicker than the S20+ and 34 grams heavier. That doesn’t sound like a dramatic variance, I’ll admit, but I promise you’ll feel the difference when you pick the Ultra up. It is, for lack of a more elegant phrase, a chonker. Thankfully, Samsung is putting that extra girth to good use — beyond the bigger, 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen and the huge camera hump on its back, there’s also a 5,000mAh battery tucked away inside. The Ultra also packs a significantly different camera setup than the other two Galaxy S20s, including a 40-megapixel front-facing camera (for some reason) and a more ambitious zoom system around back — we’ll get to that, though.
All of this excess comes at a cost, though: The base Ultra with 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage will cost you $1,400, and there’s an even higher-end model if you’d rather bump yourself up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. (Note: All versions of the Galaxy S20 have microSD card slots, so you won’t need to fret much over running out of room.)
5G for all (sort of)
This is the year 5G will really start to matter for regular people, so it’s no surprise that Samsung is going wide with support for these super-fast wireless networks. Last year, if you really wanted a 5G-friendly Galaxy S10, you only had one choice: the super-sized Galaxy S10 5G, with its enormous battery and relatively exorbitant price tag. Not this time.
Every version of the Galaxy S20 has 5G support baked into it, though only the bigger S20+ and S20 Ultra support both sub-6 and mmWave networks. The smaller, standard S20 is purely a sub-6 device, which means this version of the phone will never play nice with the super-fast-but-geographically-limited mmWave networks that are slowly coming online around the US. If you absolutely can’t abide the S20+ or Ultra’s bigger bodies and need a new Android phone, the S20 will certainly do, but it’s hard to recommend since it’s not nearly as future-proof as the others.