Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus vs. Galaxy S9 Plus: Should you upgrade?

Galaxy S20 Plus Lock Screen Angle
Galaxy S20 Plus Lock Screen Angle (Image credit: Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy S20+

Samsung Galaxy S20+

The Galaxy S20+ has all the upgrades you can ask for, and then some. There's a stunning 120Hz AMOLED display that changes how you use a phone, the latest internal hardware, 25W fast charging, and 5G connectivity. But the most exciting change is the rear cameras, including a 64MP lens that offers 30x hybrid zoom.

Samsung Galaxy S20+

Huge upgrades

Incredible 120Hz AMOLED display
Snapdragon 865 chipset
Exciting new cameras
25W fast charging
5G connectivity
No headphone jack

Samsung Galaxy S9+

Samsung Galaxy S9+

The Galaxy S9+ is two generations old, but it has aged very well. The QHD+ display is still fantastic in 2020, and the hardware has plenty to offer. The industrial design also looks modern, and there's even a 3.5mm jack. But the cameras are starting to show their age, and the phone is not going to receive further Android updates.

Samsung Galaxy S9+

Still going strong

Vibrant QHD+ display
Headphone jack
Robust hardware
Decent battery life
Wireless charging
No more software updates
Camera dated by comparison

Samsung introduced the Infinity Display aesthetic with the Galaxy S8 series, and it has refined the design over the last three years. With every new generation it trimmed the bezels and increased the screen-to-body ratio, trying out new ways to integrate the front camera sensor. With the S20+ it is offering a centered cutout that debuted on the Note 10, but the biggest change is the cameras at the back. Samsung has overhauled its cameras for the first time in four years, and that means a lot of exciting new features.

The Galaxy S9+ is still great, but the S20+ has exciting upgrades

It's hard to believe that the Galaxy S9+ is two years old at this point. To its credit, the phone has aged remarkably well. The hardware still has a lot to offer, the design doesn't look dated, and overall the phone holds up very well in 2020.

But if you've been using the S9+ for two years and are looking to make the switch, the S20+ is the obvious choice. The phone offers a laundry list of new features, including a few standout additions like a 120Hz AMOLED display. The high refresh rate makes a huge difference in day-to-day use, and everything from scrolling social media posts to browsing and playing games feels that much more instantaneous.

With a 120Hz AMOLED display and enticing new cameras, the Galaxy S20+ is the obvious upgrade pick.

But the marquee feature on the S20+ is the camera array at the back: Samsung is offering four cameras in a square housing, with a primary 12MP camera joined by a 64MP zoom lens, 12MP wide-angle sensor, and a ToF module. The wide-angle lens alone makes the camera much more versatile than the S9+, but the real highlight here is the 12MP sensor. Samsung is offering a brand new lens with the S20+, and it takes fantastic photos in any lighting condition.

Samsung has been playing second fiddle to the likes of Google and Huawei over the last two years, but with the S20+ it is finally delivering a camera that can hold its own in this area. There's also the fact that the 64MP module has 3x optical zoom and 30x hybrid zoom, giving you that much more flexibility when taking photos.

Then there's the hardware: the S20+ comes with Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 865 chipset, and has 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM as standard along with 128GB of base storage. You also get 5G connectivity, and the 4500mah battery should easily deliver ovr a day's worth of use.

Another reason for switching to the S20+ is software updates. the Galaxy S9+ has received two platform updates, and it will not pick up any further updates. It will still get security patches for one more year, but it won't be updated beyond Android 10. So if you want to take a look at what Google has to offer later this year with Android 11, you should pick up the S20+.

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CategorySamsung Galaxy S20+Samsung Galaxy S9+
Operating systemAndroid 10
One UI 2.0
Android 9.0 Pie
One UI 1.5
Display6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED
3200x1440 (20:9)
Gorilla Glass 6
6.2-inch 60Hz Super AMOLED
2960x1440 (18.5:9)
Gorilla Glass 5
ChipsetSnapdragon 865
1 x 2.84GHz A77
3 x 2.42GHz A77
4 x 1.80GHz A55
Adreno 650
Snapdragon 845
4 x 2.80GHz Kryo 385
4 x 1.70GHz Kryo 385Adreno 630
Storage128GB/512GB UFS3.064GB/128GB/256GB UFS 2.1
MicroSD slotYes (Up to 1TB)Yes (Up to 512GB)
Rear camera 112MP f/1.8
1.8um, OIS
12MP f/1.5-2.4
1.4um, OIS
Rear camera 264MP, f/2.0
0.8um, OIS, telephoto
3x optical zoom, 30x hybrid
12MP, f/2.0
1.0um, OIS, telephoto
2x optical zoom
Rear camera 312MP, f/2.2
1.4um, wide-angle
Rear camera 4ToF sensor
Front camera 110MP, f/2.2
4K video, autofocus
8MP, f/1.7
Front camera 22MP iris scanning sensor
Connectivity5G NSA, Sub-6/mmWave
Wi-Fi ax 4x4 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0
Stereo speakers
3.5mm jack
Stereo speakers
ChargingUSB-C PD 3.0
25W fast charging
15W wireless charging
Fast Charging
Wireless charging
Water resistanceIP68IP68
SecurityIn-display fingerprint sensor (ultrasonic)Rear fingerprint
ColorsCloud Blue, Cloud Pink, Cosmic Gray, Cosmic BlackMidnight Black, Coral Blue, Titanium Gray, Lilac Purple,
Dimensions161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8mm
158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm

Get the Galaxy S20+ if you want a better camera and 120Hz display

Galaxy S20 Plus Grey Back

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

There's no need to upgrade from the Galaxy S9+ just yet: the phone has aged astonishingly well, and in day-to-day use it is still going strong. But if you're looking to upgrade, the S20+ is the obvious choice.

You don't need to upgrade from the S9+ just yet, but if you want to switch the S20+ is the obvious pick.

The Galaxy S20+ has an incredible 120Hz display that is a delight to use. The AMOLED panel has vibrant colors and excellent contrast levels, and is in a league of its own. The S9+ is also packing a great AMOLED screen, but two years of refinement have allowed Samsung to deliver more vibrancy and brightness on the S20+. And once you start using the 120Hz panel, you would not want to go back to a regular 60Hz phone.

But the main reason for switching to the S20+ is the cameras: the 12MP sensor takes fantastic photos in any lighting condition, and Samsung has finally rolled out a camera that goes toe-to-toe with the best that Google has to offer. The 64MP zoom lens is also exciting, offering 3x optical zoom and 30x hybrid zoom. The ultra-wide lens and ToF sensor make the S20+ that much more versatile in this area.

Then there's 5G connectivity. Sure, 5G coverage is limited to a few dozen cities right now, but it will be going mainstream in the near future, and the hardware on offer here means the S20+ should easily last a few years without any issues.

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.