The Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G is the highest end Galaxy phone while the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the top end of the current Apple iPhone lineup. The next tier down has the S20 Plus and iPhone 11 Pro and after using the iPhone 11 Pro for six months I traded it in for the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus last week.
Prior to visiting the local T-Mobile store, I tried out the Galaxy S20 Ultra that Samsung sent along for testing. That phone is incredible, but I found it to be quite large and didn't see much utility in zoom levels past 10x. As ZDNet's Jason Cipriani clearly wrote in his full review, the S20 Plus hits the sweet spot for Samsung this year and may be the best current smartphone of 2020.
With the Galaxy S20 line now available from all major US carriers, and around the world, you may be considering a move to it from another phone. Here are seven reasons I prefer the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus over the Apple iPhone 11 Pro:
- Cellular performance: My daily commute consists of a train running through the outskirts of several communities and is a good area to test weak signals. Samsung blows away Apple when it comes to cellular performance and I continue to see significant gaps as Apple continues to develop its cellular radio technology.
- 5G: Carriers continue to roll out 5G service, but as a T-Mobile customer I've seen it everywhere I work, play, and live. The penetration and range mean far fewer service dead spots for me and with the S20 Plus supporting all bands of 5G the phone is future proof for expanded coverage and speeds. We may not even see 2020 iPhones with 5G so Samsung is likely to be the leader in 5G.
- 128GB internal storage: Apple should start at 128GB for all of its Pro model iPhones, but instead 64GB is the entry level. This is unacceptable for $1,000 starting price and if the 2020 models don't start with at least 128GB then I'm not buying one.
- microSD expansion: The S20 Plus starts with twice the internal storage and then makes the deal even sweeter with low cost expansion through a microSD card slot. Unlimited storage options abound with the S20 Plus.
- Better telephoto camera: The iPhone 11 Pro has a 2x optical zoom while the S20 Plus is 3x. The S20 plus also has hybrid zoom, mixing optical, digital, and AI, so that 10x hybrid is actually quite good while 30x hybrid is acceptable some of the time.
- Samsung DeX functionality: Samsung DeX means you truly can use your phone to power your computing experiences and with something like the NexDock 2 you can even make that a mobile experience with a Samsung phone. Apple has nothing like DeX available for iPhone users and the future may see far fewer home computers as Samsung Galaxy phones serve as the main computer for the masses.
- Wireless PowerShare: It's nice to have the ability to top up your Galaxy Buds or Galaxy Watch with your phone and I've actually had to use this three times when my accessories died while on the go. It's not essential, but the convenience can mean the difference between using an accessory or leaving it in a bag.
Even though the iPhone 11 Pro display has a 60 Hz refresh rate and the S20 Plus has 120 Hz, the OS makes the user experience about the same. I've been spoiled by the 120 Hz refresh rate on the S20 Plus when compared to other Android phones at 60 Hz, but the performance gains are only seen on the same platform.
Apple beats the S20 Plus when it comes to facial recognition technology, price, and consistent operating system upgrades. Samsung has vastly improved with updates and its Android security updates are release shortly after Google releases them to manufacturers.
While I am currently enjoying the S20 Plus, I do miss the S Pen in the Note 10 Plus and think I may have to start holding out for annual Note updates. The good thing about T-Mobile's Jump On Demand program is that I can keep the S20 Plus and move onto the Note 20 (or whatever it may be called) when it is released later this year.
To be honest, I don't really miss the iPhone 11 Pro because there are so many other key features and functions the S20 Plus does better. It helps that I have one of the new entry level iPad devices to satisfy my iOS desires, but maybe I'll pop over and give an iPhone 11 Pro Max a try before the next iPhone is released.