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Best Samsung phones in 2020: Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, Galaxy Note 10 Plus, Galaxy Z Flip, and more

Samsung continues to lead the world in smartphone market share with Huawei recently passing up Apple for the second spot. Samsung offers a range of smartphones with the A-series, S-series, Note line, and new foldable Android smartphones.

The latest figures for worldwide smartphone market share show that Samsung continues to lead the world with 20% of the market. Huawei is just behind at 17%, while Apple follows with 14%. 

Keep in mind Samsung's latest phones are the Galaxy S20 series and new A51, with a new Note lineup launching in the next few months. It's second foldable phone is available -- with rumors of a Fold successor launching soon, too.

But if you're looking for a Samsung handset available now, these are the top choices.

1. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G

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Samsung announced the Galaxy S20 series earlier this year and I've spent a few months with the S20 Ultra 5G. It is clear the phone is built for business and captures the crown for the best 5G device available today.           

The focus on the S20 line this year is universal 5G and improved camera experiences. The camera on the S20 Ultra had some auto-focus issues at launch that has since been fixed with updates. The camera is different than previous Samsung devices and the large main sensor doesn't support macro mode like Samsung phones of the past.

The Samsung S20 Ultra 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, a 6.9-inch AMOLED 120Hz refresh rate display, 12GB RAM (with 16GB option), 128GB to 512GB storage options with a microSD for even more capacity, three rear cameras with very high hybrid zoom levels, IP68 rating, WiFi 6, and Bluetooth 5. A battery capacity of 5,000mAh ensures you can get through a full day.

5G is supported in the S20 Ultra 5G, across all available bands in the US. It's an expensive phone, but future-proof for 5G so that is worth it for businesses. It's a very large phone, but this size also means you can get real work done on the 6.9-inch display.

$1,250 at Best Buy $1,399 at Abt Electronics

2. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus 5G

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Given that the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is a very large phone, the S20 Plus 5G may be the better option for the masses. It feels much better in the hand and offers nearly the same capability as the S20 Ultra 5G, at prices $200 less.            

After testing out the S20 Ultra 5G, I visited my local T-Mobile store and traded in my iPhone 11 Pro for a Galaxy S20 Plus. ZDNet's Jason Cipriani's full review of the S20 Plus accurately depicts the appeal of the S20 Plus and if I was to keep an S20 series the Plus would be the best version for me.

The Samsung S20 Plus is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, 6.7-inch AMOLED 120Hz refresh rate display, 12GB RAM, 128GB to 512GB storage options with a microSD for even more capacity, three rear cameras, IP68 rating, WiFi 6, and Bluetooth 5. A 4,500mAh battery keeps you going for at least a day.

We have seen up to a $200 price decrease on the S20 Plus since the launch, along with various bundles and trade-in offers.

$1,200 at Best Buy $1,200 at AT&T Wireless

3. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 sat on top of our 10 best smartphone list for much of the past year. While the headphone jack is gone, everything else has been improved on the 2019 version of the Galaxy Note.

The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is an excellent enterprise smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, massive amounts of RAM, fast internal storage, microSD card expansion, capable rear quad-camera system, and much more. There is no 5G across the Note 10 series, but there is a variant for 5G on T-Mobile. The focus here is on the S Pen experience and 5G is sure to launch across the series this year.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus has a Link to the Windows button in the quick controls area along with support for the latest version of DeX. Extending it to an external monitor with Samsung DeX is quick and easy, while also providing a full functioning desktop experience. The additional capability to charge up other devices and gear, such as the Galaxy Buds, via wireless technology on the back of the Note 10 Plus is convenient for road warriors.

The Note 10 Plus starts at $950 and will likely drop further when the Note 20 is announced. There are also generous trade-in options available.

$749 at Back Market $1,100 at Sprint $950 at Best Buy

4. Samsung Galaxy S20 5G

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The focus on the S20 line this year is universal 5G and improved camera experiences. The S20 5G is the most affordable S20 model, currently starting at $800. Other than smaller size, there are not many differences between this S20 and the S20 Ultra model.

The S20 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, 6.2-inch AMOLED 120Hz refresh rate display, 12GB RAM, 128GB to 512GB storage options with a microSD for even more capacity, three rear cameras, 4,000mAh battery, IP68 rating, WiFi 6, and Bluetooth 5. The S20 does not support high band (mmWave) faster 5G networks, but these have limited range and in the current coronavirus situation is not as useful as longer-range low-band 5G networks.

$1,000 at AT&T Wireless

5. Samsung Galaxy Note 10

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Image: Best Buy

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 has a slightly smaller 6.3-inch display compared to the Note 10 Plus 6.8-inch display. With this smaller display comes a smaller capacity 3,500mAh battery. It also does not have the TrueDepth sensor on the back.

You still get the full S Pen experience and the Note 10 is easier for people to handle with its smaller size. 8GB of RAM is also provided, which is still plenty to get work done.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 has a Link to the Windows button in the quick controls area along with support for the latest version of DeX. Extending it to an external monitor with Samsung DeX is quick and easy, while also providing a full functioning desktop experience. The additional capability to charge up other devices and gear, such as the Galaxy Buds, via wireless technology on the back of the Note 10 is convenient for road warriors.

The Galaxy Note 10 is currently priced at $800 so as you look across available $800 phones you need to decide what is most important to you.

$950 at Sprint $1,000 at Best Buy

6. Samsung Galaxy Note 9

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was deemed our favorite phone of 2018 and sat at the top of the best smartphones list for much of 2019. It is still a capable phone and worth considering in this time of $1,000 smartphones.

The Galaxy Note 9 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 6.4-inch display, 6GB of RAM, 128GB internal storage with a microSD card slot, IP68 dust/water resistant rating, 4000mAh battery, and much more. It even has a heart rate sensor on the back with an iris scanner for a secure lock.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 can be found on Amazon, and at other retailers and wireless carriers, for about $550. It might be nearly two years old, but it has plenty of features and functions to satisfy most people.

$379 at Back Market $1,000 at Sprint

7. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

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The Samsung Galaxy Fold was one of my favorite devices ever launched by Samsung, but in the end, it just didn't meet my daily needs at a price that was too high to accept. This year Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Flip with the folding mechanism positioned for portrait mode.

It sold with limited availability for a price of $1,400, but the people who did pick one up seemed to love the design and construction.

The phone has a large 6.7-inch AMOLED screen when unfolded and closes in half to make it more portable. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of internal storage, and a small 3,300mAh battery. Battery life is one concern with this phone, especially at a high price.

The Z Flip has dual rear cameras and a side fingerprint sensor. It is a capable phone, but more of a fashion statement than a business phone.

$1,249 at Amazon $1,380 at Best Buy

8. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

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When you see Samsung launch its latest Galaxy S-series device early in each year, it's always a good idea to consider last year's models at reduced prices.

Samsung's S10 Plus has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Super AMOLED Infinity-O display, 8GB RAM (with 12GB option), 128GB to 1TB storage options with a microSD for even more capacity, five cameras, IP68 rating, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5, ANT+, and a stunning design with gorgeous Prism color options.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus continues to have all of the excellent Galaxy Foundation aspects such as a high level of water resistance, fast wireless charging, a stunning Super AMOLED screen, expandable microSD storage, a 3.5mm headset jack, and much more. In addition, extending it to an external monitor with Samsung DeX is quick and easy, while also providing a full functioning desktop experience. The additional capability to charge up other devices and gear, such as the new Galaxy Buds, via wireless technology on the back of the S10 Plus is convenient for road warriors.

The Galaxy S10 Plus can be found in the $600 price range, which pits it against the newest mid-range smartphones, but with high-end specifications that still make it worth consideration.

$431 at Back Market $420 at Amazon $1,000 at Sprint

9. Samsung Galaxy S10e

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While I enjoyed a couple of months with the review S10 Plus, the S10e was more compelling due to its small size and capability packed into such a small form factor. I also like the side button fingerprint sensor and it remains one of my favorite compact smartphones still available.

The Galaxy S10e has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display, 6GB RAM, 128GB internal storage with a microSD for even more capacity, two rear cameras, IP68 rating, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5, ANT+, and a stunning design.

Compared to the S10 Plus, you will find a smaller display, smaller capacity battery, lack of telephoto camera, and a $200 lower starting price. The S10e can be found online for about $550 and is sure to please those looking for a smaller form factor smartphone.

$410 at Amazon $750 at Sprint $750 at Boost Mobile

10. Samsung Galaxy A51

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The 2020 Apple iPhone SE has been garnering attention due to its $400 starting price. Samsung just launched its first A-series device in the US with the Galaxy A51 and it looks to take on the iPhone SE directly with the same $400 price.

For $400, Samsung A51 buyers get a Samsung Exynos 9611 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB internal storage with a microSD card slot, 6.5-inch Super AMOLED screen, four rear cameras (including a depth sensor), 32MP front-facing camera, Android 10, and a large 4,000mAh battery.

Specifications indicate Samsung is launching a serious iPhone SE contender here that even has a 3.5mm audio port. There is no dust/water resistance, but otherwise, it looks to be a capable device.

$399 at Amazon $400 at Best Buy $288 at Walmart