Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus vs. Pixel 4 XL: Which should you buy?

Galaxy S20+
Galaxy S20+ (Image credit: Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy S20+

Galaxy S20 Plus Cosmic Black Cropped

The Galaxy S20+ has an array of upgrades that make it stand out. There's a gorgeous 120Hz AMOLED panel with silky smooth interactions, the latest internal hardware you'll find on a phone today, 5G connectivity, and a 64MP zoom lens with 30x hybrid zoom. Combine all of that and you have one of the best phones of 2020, even if you have to pay a lot of money to get it.

Samsung Galaxy S20+

Latest and greatest

Outstanding 120Hz AMOLED display
Snapdragon 865 chipset
Meaningful camera upgrades
5G connectivity
25W fast charging
No headphone jack

Google Pixel 4 XL

Google Pixel 4 XL

If camera quality is what you're looking for, the Pixel 4 XL is the obvious choice. Google is still the brand to beat in this particular area, and the Pixel 4 XL brings a host of new features to what was already the best camera on Android. Sure, there are a few drawbacks with the hardware itself, but when it comes to the camera side of things the Pixel 4 XL is a winner.

Google Pixel 4 XL

Camera king

Incredible cameras
Vibrant 90Hz display
Snapdragon 855 chipset
Wireless charging
Fast updates
64GB storage is far too limited
Sub-par battery life
Poor value

Samsung is taking things to the next level with the S20+. The phone has meaningful upgrades in every area, including a stunning 120Hz AMOLED display, 64MP camera with 30x hybrid zoom, 5G connectivity, and a 4,500mAh battery. Google, unfortunately, played it safe with the Pixel 4 XL.

The Galaxy S20+ is better than the Pixel 4 XL in almost every aspect

Both the Galaxy S20+ and Pixel 4 XL are aimed at the premium segment, but they could not be more different. The S20+ is all about delivering the latest internal hardware money can buy, whereas Google focused instead on the overall software experience.

The Galaxy S20+ offers the latest internal hardware backed by great new cameras.

As such, the S20+ easily beats the Pixel 4 XL when it comes to the hardware side of things. You get twice as much RAM, double the storage, a bigger battery that lasts longer, 25W fast charging, and much more.

Let's break it down. The Pixel 4 XL has a 90Hz OLED screen, and it's great to use on a daily basis — interactions are silky smooth, and that makes a tangible difference. You get the same experience with the S20+, but the 120Hz display takes things to a whole new level. Interacting with the display is an absolute joy, and the color vibrancy on offer with the AMOLED panel makes the screen on the S20+ the one to beat in 2020.

The Pixel 4 XL has 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM, whereas the S20+ has 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM on all variants. That makes the S20+ a much more worthwhile investment for long-term use. There's also a microSD slot on the S20+. The Pixel 4 XL has a paltry 64GB of storage for the base variant, and you'll have to shell out an additional $100 to get the 128GB model.

The Pixel 4 XL has a great camera, but there are far too many drawbacks elsewhere.

The obvious highlight with the Pixel 4 XL is its camera, and in this area Google is the brand to beat right now. We'll have to wait until the S20+ retail units show up to see if Samsung is able to measure up to Google this year, but the new 12MP sensor shows a lot of promise. There's also the fact that the S20+ has a 64MP zoom lens with 3z optical zoom and 30x hybrid zoom, and a 12MP wide-angle lens. The Pixel 4 XL, meanwhile, is the only flagship to not offer a wide-angle lens.

With the S20 series, Samsung is going all-in on 5G connectivity, with all three models featuring a 5G modem. The S20+ variant sold in the U.S. lets you connect to both sub-6 and mmWave networks, making it that much more versatile.

The S20+ also beats the Pixel 4 XL when it comes to battery life. The Pixel 4 XL lasts a day with medium use, but more often than not you'll have to plug in before the day's through. With a 4,500mAh battery and 25W fast charging, the S20+ wins this round. Both phones offer IP68 dust and water resistance and wireless charging, but the S20+ has 15W wireless charging and it also charges other devices wirelessly through Wireless PowerShare.

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CategorySamsung Galaxy S20+Google Pixel 4 XL
Operating systemAndroid 10One UI 2.0Android 10
Display6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED3200x1440 (20:9)HDR10+Gorilla Glass 66.3-inch 90Hz OLED3040x1440 (19:9)HDR10Gorilla Glass 6
ChipsetSnapdragon 8651 x 2.84GHz A773 x 2.42GHz A774 x 1.80GHz A55Adreno 6507nmSnapdragon 8551 x 2.84GHz Kryo 4853 x 2.41GHz Kryo 4854 x 1.78GHz Kryo 485Adreno 6407nm
Storage128GB/512GB UFS3.064GB/128GB UFS 2.1
MicroSD slotYes (Up to 1TB)
Rear camera 112MP f/1.81.8um, OIS12.2MP, f/1.81.4um, OIS4K at 60fps
Rear camera 264MP, f/2.00.8um, OIS, telephoto3x optical zoom, 30x hybrid16MP telephoto
Rear camera 312MP, f/2.21.4um, wide-angle
Rear camera 4ToF sensor
Front camera10MP, f/2.24K video, autofocus8MP, f/1.8Autofocus
Connectivity5G NSA, Sub-6/mmWaveWi-Fi ax 4x4 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0NFC, AptX HD, A-GPSWi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0AptX HD, NFC, A-GPS
AudioUSB-CStereo speakersUSB-CStereo speakers
ChargingUSB-C PD 3.025W fast charging15W wireless chargingUSB-C PD18W10W wireless charging
Water resistanceIP68IP68
SecurityIn-display fingerprint sensor (ultrasonic)Face unlock
ColorsCloud Blue, Cloud Pink, Cosmic Gray, Cosmic BlackJust Black, Very White, Oh So Orange
Dimensions161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8mm186g158 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm184g

Here's why you should buy the Galaxy S20+

Galaxy S20 Plus Lock Screen Angle

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

It's an easy decision to choose between the two phones. The Galaxy S20+ has better hardware, a more versatile camera, better battery life, 5G connectivity, and more memory. You're just getting more for your money, and that makes the S20+ the obvious choice.

It's just not worth it to pick up a Pixel 4 XL for $800.

If you're buying a premium phone, you'll ideally want to use it for a few years and then trade it in or sell it. If the last two years have shown us anything, it's that Pixels' resale value is horrendous — it's unlikely you'll make much money by selling off your Pixel 4 XL in a year or two. Samsung's Galaxy S flagships have fared considerably better in this regard, and you should get better resale value for the S20+ a few years down the line.

I like using the Pixel 4 XL. I love all the little additions that Google offers on the software front, and features like Now Playing and At A Glance make a difference. But would I recommend the phone for $800? No. You just don't get enough value to justify the price tag, and when you know that Google will eventually launch the Pixel 4a with most of these features at $400, there's no reason to buy the Pixel 4 XL.

Honestly, if you want a premium phone in 2020, the S20+ is the obvious choice. Samsung has nailed the basics here, and features like 120Hz screen and 30x hybrid zoom make it a great all-rounder.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.