Does the Galaxy S20 come with a built-in screen protector?

Galaxy S20 Screen Angle
Galaxy S20 Screen Angle (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Best answer: Yes, the Galaxy S20 comes with a plastic screen protector, but if you want a better one it needs to be compatible with the in-screen fingerprint reader.

Fingerprint-friendly protection

Normally with a screen protector, you just want to keep the fingerprints off. With the Galaxy S20 and other phones that use ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint scanning, you'll need something different — a screen protector that lets fingerprints through. Without an area of the screen designed to work with ultrasound, a screen protector will kill the cool invisible print feature. Thankfully, Samsung gets you started by including a film screen protector in the box that willl work with the Galaxy S20's security.

Is it a good idea to protect your $1,000 phone with plastic film? Maybe. Plastic doesn't break as easily as glass, but it does scratch much easier. That plastic film protection will start to look cloudy and ragged after a bit of wear and tear. A tempered glass screen protector will give you a look that matches the snazzy screen you want to show off. It will stay clear longer and it will clean easily as well. You won't get the impact protection you would from plastic, but a direct hit to the protector will likely break the extra layer of glass without damaging your screen.

We're still doing this, huh?

That said, we kind of don't like in-screen fingerprint sensors — like at all. We'll reserve judgment on the Galaxy S20 fingerprint scanner until we've given it a proper and fair review, but the tech has failed to impress us on any of the devices that shipped with the newly-hatched feature in 2019. It just doesn't work quickly and reliably like a hardware sensor can, and it felt like a step backwards just to support a flashy new feature.

Unfortunately, you can't give it up entirely. Some organizations and some apps may insist on fingerprint scanning over other forms of biometric security available. It would be silly to simply block the sensor entirely and give up on it, so we suggest making sure your screen protector is compatible, and then make a wish for good luck that it works.

Philip Berne