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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

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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

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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.

CategorySamsung Galaxy S20+Google Pixel 4 XL
Operating systemAndroid 10
One UI 2.0
Android 10
Display6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED
3200x1440 (20:9)
Gorilla Glass 6
6.3-inch 90Hz OLED
3040x1440 (19:9)
Gorilla Glass 6
ChipsetSnapdragon 865
1 x 2.84GHz A77
3 x 2.42GHz A77
4 x 1.80GHz A55
Adreno 650
Snapdragon 855
1 x 2.84GHz Kryo 485
3 x 2.41GHz Kryo 485
4 x 1.78GHz Kryo 485
Adreno 640
Storage128GB/512GB UFS3.064GB/128GB UFS 2.1
MicroSD slotYes (Up to 1TB)
Rear camera 112MP f/1.8
1.8um, OIS
12.2MP, f/1.8
1.4um, OIS
4K at 60fps
Rear camera 264MP, f/2.0
0.8um, OIS, telephoto
3x optical zoom, 30x hybrid
16MP telephoto
Rear camera 312MP, f/2.2
1.4um, wide-angle
Rear camera 4ToF sensor
Front camera10MP, f/2.2
4K video, autofocus
8MP, f/1.8
Connectivity5G NSA, Sub-6/mmWave
Wi-Fi ax 4x4 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0
Stereo speakers
Stereo speakers
ChargingUSB-C PD 3.0
25W fast charging
15W wireless charging
10W 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 7.8mm
158 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm

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.