Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus vs. Galaxy Note 10 Plus: Which should you buy?

Galaxy S20 Plus Grey Back Standing
Galaxy S20 Plus Grey Back Standing (Image credit: Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy S20+

Samsung Galaxy S20+

The Galaxy S20+ has a host of new features, but its differentiating feature is the 120Hz display. Samsung finally made the switch to 120Hz this year, and the result is a display that is the best you'll find on any phone today. You also get the latest hardware, an enticing 64MP zoom lens with 3x optical/30x hybrid zoom, 5G connectivity, and new color options.

Samsung Galaxy S20+

120Hz goodness

Outstanding 120Hz AMOLED display
Snapdragon 865 chipset
5G connectivity
Upgraded cameras
Android 10 with One UI 2.0
No headphone jack

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

The Note 10+ has plenty to offer in 2020, but it falls short in a few areas. The screen's 60Hz refresh rate means you lose out on silky smooth navigation, and it doesn't have 5G connectivity. You still get all the extras, and the S Pen continues to be a standout for the Note series. If you're interested in a stylus, the Note 10+ is the way to go.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Get it for the stylus

S Pen stylus
Robust hardware
Vibrant display
Eye-catching design
Android 10 with One UI 2.0
No headphone jack
60Hz refresh
Limited to 4G

The Galaxy S20 series is launching less than six months after the introduction of the Note 10 series, and Samsung isn't making any radical design changes here. There are a few refinements, but the design aesthetic is unchanged. However, the hardware has received considerable upgrades for 2020, so let's see how Samsung has differentiated the S20+ from the Note 10+.

Similar design on both phones, but the Galaxy S20+ has exciting hardware upgrades

Of all the models in the Galaxy S20 series, the S20+ is the one that resembles the Note 10+ the most. It has nearly the same dimensions, and at $1,000, it costs $100 more than the Note 10+. The design is largely unchanged as well, with Samsung bringing the Infinity-O cutout from the Note 10+ to the S20+. The only major difference on the design front is that the Note 10+ is 3.5mm wider, and that's because of the S Pen housing.

The added width makes the Note 10+ unwieldy, but you won't notice it after a few days. The biggest issue with the Note 10+ is the positioning of the power button — which is on the left side. Samsung fixed this particular mistake with the S20+, with the power button once again taking its place on the right side of the phone. The S20+ is also 10g lighter than the Note 10+ while featuring a larger 4,500mAh battery.

The biggest change from the Note 10+ to S20+ is the 120Hz panel, camera hardware, and 5G connectivity.

While the S20+ doesn't have a lot of changes on the design front, it boasts considerable hardware upgrades. The marquee addition this time is the 120Hz AMOLED panel — after missing out on the high refresh rate bandwagon last year, Samsung is going all-in on 120Hz displays with the S20 series. The S20+ has a stunning QHD+ AMOLED panel, and you get a 120Hz refresh rate, making it the display to beat right now.

Samsung somehow manages to eke out a little more vibrancy and brightness out of its panels with every new generation, and at this point, it is competing with itself. The QHD+ AMOLED panel on the Note 10+ is incredible in its own right, but with the S20+ you're getting just that little bit extra thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate. That makes a huge difference in day-to-day usage — once you get accustomed to the screen on the S20+, you wouldn't want to go back to a regular 60Hz display, even one as good as the Note 10+. To be fair, you'll only be able to unlock 120Hz on the S20+ at FHD+ resolution, so at QHD+ both devices are on an equal footing.

The S20+ also offers considerable hardware upgrades. Running the show is Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 865 chipset, and the highlight this time is that 5G connectivity is standard across all three S20 models. The S20+ offers 5G over both sub-6 and mmWave, and if you're eager to test out the next generation of wireless connectivity, the S20+ is the obvious choice.

Samsung has retained the same 12MP resolution for the primary camera, but the sensor itself is brand new. But the main talking about on the camera side of things is the 64MP zoom lens that offers 3x optical zoom and 30x hybrid zoom. Samsung is touting significant gains in image and video recording abilities with the S20+, with the manufacturer trying to close the gap to Google in this area.

Galaxy Note 10+

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The S20+ is available with 12GB of RAM as standard — same as the Note 10+. Where the latter has an edge is with internal storage: the S20+ has 128GB for the base version and 512GB for the high-end model, whereas the Note 10+ is available with 256GB and 512GB options. So you're essentially getting the same amount of RAM and double the internal storage with the Note 10+.

That said, the S20+ features the latest LPDDR5 RAM module that consumes less power while delivering faster data access. You're also getting a larger 4500mAh battery on the S20+, but the charging standard is unchanged. Both phones support 15W wireless charging, and the ability to wirelessly charge other devices, but only the S20 Ultra supports the same 45W wired fast charging that debuted with the Note 10+ last year — the S20+ only does 25W. You'll also find the same IP68 water resistance as well, and they have the same in-screen fingerprint sensor.

Both phones are also identical when it comes to the software side of things. You get Android 10 based on One UI 2.0, and Samsung introduced a host of new features to its custom skin.

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CategorySamsung Galaxy S20+Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Operating systemAndroid 10
One UI 2.0
Android 10
One UI 2.0
Display6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED
3200x1440 (20:9)
Gorilla Glass 6
6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED
3040x1440 (19:9)
Gorilla Glass 6
ChipsetSnapdragon 865
1 x 2.84GHz A77
3 x 2.42GHz A77
4 x 1.80GHz A55
Snapdragon 855
1 x 2.84GHz Kryo 485
3 x 2.41GHz Kryo 485
4 x 1.78GHz Kryo 485
GPUAdreno 650Adreno 640
Storage128GB/512GB UFS3.0256GB/512GB UFS3.0
MicroSD slotYes (Up to 1TB)Yes (Up to 1TB)
Rear camera 112MP f/1.8
1.8um, OIS
12MP f/1.5-2.4
OIS, 77° FoV
Rear camera 264MP, f/2.0
0.8um, OIS, telephoto
3x optical zoom, 30x hybrid
76° FoV
12MP, f/2.1
OIS, telephoto 45° FoV
Rear camera 312MP, f/2.2
1.4um wide-angle 120° FoV
16MP, f/2.2
Wide-angle 123° FoV
Rear camera 4ToF sensorToF sensor
Front camera10MP, f/2.2
4K video, autofocus
10MP, f/2.2
80° FoV, autofocus
Connectivity5G NSA, Sub-6/mmWave
Wi-Fi ax 4x4 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi ax 4x4 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE
Stereo speakers
Stereo speakers
ChargingUSB-C PD 3.0
25W fast charging
15W wireless charging
USB-C PD 3.0
45W fast charging
15W wireless charging
Water resistanceIP68IP68
SecurityIn-display fingerprint sensor (ultrasonic)In-display fingerprint sensor (ultrasonic)
ColorsCloud Blue, Cloud Pink, Cosmic Gray, Cosmic BlackAura Glow, Aura White, Aura Black, Aura Blue
Dimensions161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8mm
162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm

Here's why you should buy the Galaxy S20+

Galaxy S20+ cameras

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

If you're looking to buy a Samsung flagship in 2020, the Galaxy S20+ is the obvious choice. The 120Hz display is terrific in day-to-day use, and you'll immediately notice the difference when switching from a regular 60Hz screen. The phone is also running the latest internal hardware, and the specs on offer here will easily last you several years.

The Galaxy S20+ has a laundry list of features, but you should pick it up just for the 120Hz display.

There's also the fact that you're getting upgraded cameras on the S20+, including a 64MP camera with 3x optical and 30x hybrid zoom. The camera on the Note 10+ is great in its own right, but you're just getting more versatile lenses on the S20+, and that makes the phone that much more enticing.

There's also 5G connectivity, LPDDR5 RAM, new color options, and a larger 4500mAh battery. Combine all of that with the fact that the S20+ is retailing for just $100 more than the Note 10+ and it's easy to see why it's the default choice. You're getting much more value for your money with the S20+, and the fact that it comes with a high refresh rate screen and upgraded cameras gives it a distinct edge over the Note 10+.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.