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Samsung Galaxy S10 vs S20 in 2021: Is It Time To Upgrade Yet?

author Luis Silva (April 2020 Updated: August 2021 - 6 min. reading time)

Samsung Galaxy S10, Samsung Galaxy S20

Photo by Dana DeVolk on Unsplash

CONTENTS

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Introduction

Is it time to upgrade yet?

Whether you're considering the Galaxy S10 or the Galaxy S20, you can learn here the main differences between them.

In March of 2020, Samsung launched its Galaxy S20. The Galaxy S10, however, saw the light of day one year sooner.

We are looking at how the Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S20 compare to each other to help you decide which might be the right one for you.

The weight of each section

For additional information regarding our smartphone comparisons, check this FAQ.

to check who their rivals are.

Price*
vs.
Device Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20
Release Date 2019, March 2020, March 1y.
OS Updates 3 years 3 years 0y.
Security Updates 4 years 4 years 0y.

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Which One Has The Best Performance?

Performance-wise, Geekbench 5 scores the Galaxy S20 22% ahead in the multi-core ranking. It's something to consider, but it shouldn't be a deal-breaker.

We can classify the Galaxy S10 as an upper mid-range and the Galaxy S20 more like a lower high-end.

PS: Both the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 (with the Adreno 640 GPU) and the Exynos 9820 (with the Mali-G76), and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (with the Adreno 650 GPU) and the Exynos 990 (with the Mali-G77) are market-dependent. Click here for more info about the Galaxy S10 or click here for more info about the Galaxy S20.

There's a performance increase of about 17% on the 855 for the Galaxy S10 and a performance increase of about 15% on the 865 for the Galaxy S20.

Performance*
vs.
Features Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20
SoC Exynos 9820 Exynos 990
Graphics Mali-G76 MP12 Mali-G77 MP11
Geekbench 5 Score 2153
2631
478
OS Android 9 (Pie) and OneUI Android 10 and OneUI
Tek-Score
5.6
6.4
0.8

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 12.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

Samsung Galaxy S10 front transparent png Samsung Galaxy S20 front transparent png

The Galaxy S20 has a better display, but this is pretty much a tie.

About the Galaxy S10, 83% of its rivals can play HDR content, 96% have an AMOLED screen, and 88% have an Always-On display. At the same time, only 21% of them feature Gorilla Glass 6 or Victus.

Regarding the Galaxy S20, as a reference, 92% of its rivals can play HDR content and have an Always-On display, and all have an AMOLED screen.

Display Density (DPIs)*
vs.
Features Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20
Size 6.1
6.2
0.1
Screen Type AMOLED AMOLED
Resolution (px) 1440x3040
1440x3200
230400
Refresh Rate 60hz 120hz 60
Dots per Inch 551.44
565.98
14.54
Always-On-Display Yes Yes
Notch Hole Hole
Peak Brightness 820 nits
814 nits
-6
HDR HDR10+ HDR10+
Sub Tek-Score
9.2
9.8
0.7
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 6 Corning Gorilla Glass 6
Tek-Score
8.0
8.3
0.2

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

Samsung Galaxy S10 back transparent png Samsung Galaxy S20 back transparent png

I believe that you can get the same performance on both cameras.

There's a dual aperture shooter on the Galaxy S10 that allows you to choose between f/1.5 or f/2.4.

About the Galaxy S10: DXOMARK gave this shooter a score of 116. If you add the telephoto and wide-angle lenses, that will go up to 129**. For a thorough review, click here.

Last (but not least), all of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more and have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and 88% feature Optical Image Stabilization.

About the Galaxy S20: DXOMARK's gurus should be reviewing this shooter anytime soon, I hope. In the meantime, our in-house formula gave it 121* points. And by adding its wide-angle lens, that score goes up to 133**.

Finally, all of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization. Regardless, only 8% of them feature a macro lens.

If you're not a numbers person, we can tag the Galaxy S10 as a lower high-end and the Galaxy S20 more as a high-end.

You can easily isolate a subject in the Galaxy S10, and yield sharper results along the way without introducing camera shake because of its aperture.

*DXOMARK is a world-known reference in the camera benchmarking department. I'd love to see more tests, but some phones are just left out. So when I get my hands on one of them, I take every hardware specs (like lenses, sensor size, OIS, aperture, and so on) and give a comparable score. Our lastest test on our formula showed a maximum of 2 points (up or down) margin of error.

**Please take this with a grain of salt, particularly on mid-end cameras with less than 40MP and no zoom lens. They just changed their protocol, and I need more reviewed devices to fine-tune older scores.

Picture Quality*
vs.
Primary Camera Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 1.5
1.8
0.3
Lens 26mm
26mm
0
Lens Type Wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Flash 1 1 0
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 2160 4320 2160
Score 129
133
4

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20 vs.
Megapixels 12
64
52
Aperture 2.4
2.0
-0.4
Lens 52mm (2x zoom)
-
Lens Type Telephoto lens -
Megapixels 16 12 -4
Aperture 2.2 2.2 0.0
Lens 12mm 13mm 1
Lens Type Ultra-wide-Angle Ultra-wide-Angle
Score 13 12 -1
Selfie Camera Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20 vs.
Megapixels 10
10
0
Aperture 1.9
2.2
0.3
Lens 26mm 26mm 0
Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20 vs.
Tek-Score
7.6
7.8
0.2

Who has the best frame?

There isn't a clear winner, so you can't go wrong here.

The Galaxy S20 is 6 g. (0.24 oz) heavier than the other, weighing about 157 g. (5.54 oz). But because screen size also matters, I've come up with an adapted "display size to phone weight ratio" score. The Galaxy S10 got 7.9, which suggests it's one of the lightest phones for a 6.1 inches display. The Galaxy S20, however, has 7.4, which is pretty nice.

The Galaxy S10 is resistant to water up to 1 to 3 meters, identical to the Galaxy S20. But remember: it's for a maximum period of half an hour, in standby mode, so no underwater photos.

Looks*
vs.
Body Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20
Size 149 x 70 x 7 mm
(5.26 x 2.47 x 0.25 in)
151 x 69 x 7 mm
(5.33 x 2.43 x 0.25 in)
-77
Weight 157 g. (5.54 oz)
163 g. (5.75 oz)
6
Build Front and back glass Front and back glass
Colors Prism White, Prism Green, Prism Black, Flamingo Pink, Canary Yellow, Prism Blue, Cardinal Red, and Smoke Blue Cosmic Grey, Cloud Pink, Cloud Blue, Cloud White, and Aura Red
Screen To Body Ratio 89.05%
89.07%
0.03
Disp.Size To Weight Score 7.9 7.4 -0.5
Looks 10.0/10
10.0/10
0.0
Waterproof IP68 IP68
Biometrics Under Display Fingerprint Under Display Fingerprint
Tek-Score
8.9
8.6
-0.3

*100% = 4+ colors + front and back glass + S2BR: 86+%.

Which has the best battery?

The Galaxy S10 does have a smaller battery, with 3400 mAh, while the Galaxy S20 has 4000 mAh. But as reported by GSMArena, both should theoretically get the same battery life.

The battery life on the Galaxy S10 is worse than other price-liked phones. These results show that it lasts about 9% less.

The Snapdragon 865 also has better battery efficiency (about 10% more screen-on-time) when you compare it to the Exynos 990.

Battery*
vs.
Features Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20
Capacity (mAh) 3400 4000 600
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 78% left
76% left
-2
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 58% left
59% left
1
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 62% left
60% left
-2
Bat. To Phone Size Score 5.9 5.3 -0.6
Sub Tek-Score
6.6
6.5
-0.1
Fast Charging 15w
25w
10
Wireless Charging 15w
15w
0
Reverse Charging 9w
9w
0
Tek-Score
6.5
6.5
0.0

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A31.

Which has more storage?

There isn't a winner here.

Storage*
vs.
Features Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20
RAM (GB) 8GB
12GB
4
Internal (GB) 128GB
128GB
0
Micro SD microSDXC (shared SIM slot) microSDXC (shared SIM slot)
Tek-Score
7.5
7.5
0.0

*Internal Storage + 256GB Memory Card (Max: 512GB).

Which is the most connectivity-friendly?

The Galaxy S10, unless you don't care about a headphone jack.

You can find these two in the LTE or (LTE and) 5G variants. This allows you to get a version of the Galaxy S10 with a 0.3MP depth camera, 256GB of storage, a larger 6.7-inch display, a 4500 mAh battery, and fast charging at 25w. Likewise, there's a 5G version of the Galaxy S20 that has 12GB of RAM.

Connectivity
vs.
Features Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20
Network LTE (also available in 5G) LTE (also available in 5G)
Bluetooth 5.0
5.0
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack Yes No
Tek-Score
8.5
3.6
-4.9

Which is more affordable?

Here are the best prices that we've found:

Samsung Galaxy S10

Reference: $499

Samsung Galaxy S10

Samsung Galaxy S20

Reference: $697

Samsung Galaxy S20

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions, but it will mean a lot if you click on one of these buttons before purchasing your next phone (or whatever else you end up buying). You'll be helping to take this to the next level.

Prices on eBay are in $US but Europe-based. You can click to check the prices in your country.

Prices marked with ! are from renewed/refurbished/carrier-locked phones (except eBay prices that, as a last resort, can be from bids or used devices).

How much of a "phone" can your money buy?
That's how much "score" you can get with $100 based on the global score that you'll see in the next section (higher is better).

Have you found better prices elsewhere? The formula is simple: score/price*100.

Value for money Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20 VS
Amazon - - -
eBay 0.97 1.04 0.07
Best Buy - - -
Walmart - - -

Also, don't forget to check the latest deals from these four stores, and the state of the art on mobile technology, if you don't want to overpay on your next smartphone.


Related articles:


Best smartphone deals


The Best Unbiased Smartphones For All Budgets


Smartphone Specs Statistics: The State Of The Art (Q1 2021)

Want to know about that global score? Let me point out the average of its competitors. The Galaxy S10 class is at 6.6, and the Galaxy S20 7.0.

Verdict: Does any of them really stand out?

It's hard to suggest whether you should upgrade or not, because you may want to listen to reason or listen to your heart. Both phones are a little bit overpriced, especially the Galaxy S20. There may not be a big reason if you already have the S10, and you're considering the S20, at least based on performance and design alone. I also don't see a big difference in the camera department or storage.

If you choose to listen to your heart, then go for it. You'll know what I mean when you get a Galaxy S20 on your hands!

Pros Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20
#1 AMOLED Performance
#2 Always-On-Display AMOLED
#3 Cameras Always-On-Display
#4 Fast Charging Cameras
#5 Wireless Charging Fast Charging
#6 MicroSD Slot Wireless Charging
#7 3.5mm Jack MicroSD Slot
#8 Glass Protection Glass Protection
Cons Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20
#1 3.5mm Jack
#2 Price
Relative Score*
vs.
Global Score Galaxy S10 Galaxy S20
Gaming Score
6.8
7.7
1.0
Tek-Score
7.27
7.27
0.00
Your Score

Scroll the sliders down below to get your own personalized score. Let's suppose you value performance and battery life, and you don't really care about anything else. Then, just set the "Performance" and the "Battery" sliders up to 5 (5+5=10), and then the other sliders down to 0. You'll know what's the best phone for you.

Performance 1.9
Display 1.7
Cameras 1.4
Frame 0.9
Battery 1.9
Storage 2.0
Connectivity 0.4
Total Should be 10 or as close as possible: 9.6

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

For suggestions and bug reports, click here. Your help is appreciated. Thank you.

If you want to know more about them, click here:

About me

Hello!

My name is Luis Silva, and I have a degree in computer management. Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved everything to do with tech. Music, pictures, video editing, I've done it all! This site is a place for me to share some of the knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current trends. This is a wonderful place for tech-geeks and everyone else that just want to learn more about tech and smartphones in general.


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Samsung Galaxy S10 Related Comparisons


Samsung Galaxy S20 Related Comparisons

×

"Display size to phone weight" ratio explained

This indeed is a "display size to phone weight" ratio, but because every phone ended up somewhere between 0.0272 and 0.0421, I've amplified (adapted) those values so they would fit in a 0-10 scale. As of now, the best smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy A40, with 140g. (4.94 oz) for a 5.9 inch display. It got a score of 9.92. While the worse device is the iPhone 8 Plus, which weighs 202 g. (7.13 oz) and has a 5.5-inch display. It ended up with a score of 0.75.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

"Battery to device size" ratio explained

This score should give you an idea about the energy footprint of the devices you're considering. It reflects not only the hardware and the energy that it requires but also the amount of energy that the battery can deliver.

The major spenders on any device should be the display and the SoC. But everything from a notification led to its modems need to be optimized, or else, the OEM should simply include a bigger battery as a compensation. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible due to size limitations. But in the end, if a particular OEM can do a good job and give you excellent battery life on a small device, so should everyone else. That's why I've added a "battery to device size" ratio. But since the real scale went from 119 (for the Galaxy S10e, Snapdragon variant) and up to 164 (for the iPhone 7 Plus), I've decided to convert them so they would fit in a 0-10 scale, being 0 the worst device, (the iPhone 7 Plus) and 10 the one every OEM should look up to.

As an example, Apple did an excellent job on the iPhone 7. It has a score of 8. Despite having a small capacity, the hardware is well optimized, and it still gives you decent battery life considering its size. The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, with those bezels shrinking its display size, clearly could've been the #1 in our top 10 list of best battery devices if Apple simply filled all that empty space with a bigger battery.

As a side note: I haven't included the dept of the devices in this formula because even if a device ended up being 1mm/0.03 inches thicker, it wouldn't matter that much to those who really value battery life.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

Rivals

As of now, these are the rivals that were considered for each of them. They may change every time its prices are updated.

These are the lowest prices found on Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.


 Samsung Galaxy S10 
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $579
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $574
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $564
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro Max
    $500
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS
    $410
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10
    $409
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10e EX
    $428
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $596
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 SD
    $566
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ SD
    $566
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 EX
    $429
  • OnePlusrival7 Pro
    $429
  • OnePlusrival7T Pro
    $515
  • HuaweirivalP30
    $400
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $589
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $579
  • HuaweirivalMate 20 Pro
    $548
  • OnePlusrival8
    $480
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10 Lite
    $425
  • OnePlusrivalNord
    $410
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 FE 4G
    $511
  • OpporivalFind X2 Neo
    $415
  • XiaomirivalMi 10T Pro
    $480
  • OnePlusrival8T
    $561
  • XiaomirivalMi 10
    $529
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A72
    $445
  • OnePlusrival9
    $469
  • OpporivalFind X3 Lite
    $503

 Samsung Galaxy S20 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12
    $799
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $579
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11
    $700
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $574
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $564
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $596
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 SD
    $566
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ EX
    $749
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ SD
    $566
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $795
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $589
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $579
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $749
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $809
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • GooglerivalPixel 5
    $682
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $658
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $650
  • OnePlusrival8T
    $561
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
×

Formula deviation

Since the guys at DxoMark don't review every camera out there, I've come up with a formula based on the ones that they do rate, so I could get an equivalent score for the ones they don't review. After testing it against these cameras, I got the deviation between that and their DxO score.

Device: DxOScore Deviation
Samsung Galaxy A50: 88 -1
Apple iPhone XR: 104 1
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro: 108 -7
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro: 87 1
Sony Xperia 1: 99 -1
Sony Xperia 5: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: 126 2
Apple iPhone 8 Plus: 96 -3
Xiaomi Pocophone F1: 92 -1
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: 90 -1
Apple iPhone X: 101 3
Apple iPhone 11: 112 -1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: 107 1
Apple iPhone XS Max: 110 -2
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 124 1
Samsung Galaxy S10: 124 2
Apple iPhone XS: 110 -1
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: 120 -2
OnePlus 7 Pro: 122 0
OnePlus 7T Pro: 122 0
Huawei P30 Pro: 125 -1
Google Pixel 4: 117 0
Google Pixel 3: 103 0
Google Pixel 2: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: 127 -2
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 132 2
OnePlus 6: 100 0
OnePlus 6T: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: 105 -1
Huawei Mate 20 Pro: 120 0
Xiaomi Mi 9: 115 0
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: 132 0
Huawei P40 Pro: 140 -1
Apple iPhone SE 2: 101 0
OnePlus 8 Pro: 126 0
Xiaomi Mi 8: 105 1
Samsung Galaxy A71: 89 1
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro: 134 0

As you can see, most cameras sit between 1 and -1, while a few of them go up to 2 or -2. That means it's reasonable to assume other similar cameras that they don't review to, in the worst-case scenario, be anywhere from -2 to 2 points from the score that the formula gets.

For example: Given that the Pixel 4 got 117 points and that the Pixel 4 XL share the same year and camera specs, it's reasonable to expect a score of 117 too. But in reality, if they do review that camera, it may end up anywhere between 115 and 119.

Be aware that at DxO, they give a score based on their opinion, not based on any formula. That's why I think there's an odd difference of 6 points between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. In theory, they should have the same camera.

I'm guessing that the Mi 9T Pro got a deviation of 7 points because they tested its Chinese variant (the K20 Pro).

Update: They just changed their protocol to include preview image evaluation and trustability. I'm keeping the old table (for now) for reference purposes, and I'll be adding a new one as soon as they review at least a couple of new mclass-range cameras.

You can expect the same (or a bit bigger) deviation for high-end cameras, but anything with a score below 100-110 should be taken with a grain of salt.

This is valid for all cameras tested with the previous protocol. For those that they dclassn't test, the deviation may be up to twice as much.

×

About GeekBench 5

This is just a quick note to let you know that, if, by any chance, the smartphone you're looking for isn't on the GeekBench site yet, you can check on GsmArena.com, as they also usually test smartphones with that benchmark tool.



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