Samsung are set to launch their latest flagship device range next month; the next installment of the ‘Galaxy S’ Series. We initially thought they were being very clever scheduling the event on the 11th of February, given that naturally, an S11 would follow 2019’s S10 range. As it happens, that was probably just a massive curveball, as the company is looking to drift away from their current standard numerical order of devices, given that they now seem to be chasing Apple’s iPhone range (in 2019 Samsung launched the S10, whilst Apple launched the iPhone 11). The year 2020 gives Samsung an ample opportunity to buck this trend by going with the name ‘S20’, the date being 11-02-20 (11-to-20). Therefore, three of the rumoured devices launching on February 11th are the S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra.
The S20 will be the smallest in the range, although the market suggests that this will still be the same size as the S10 Plus, standing at 6.4-inches, whereas the S20 Plus will be 6.7-inches and the S20 Ultra at 6.9-inches. Personally, a 6.1-inch phone is the biggest device I am happy using day-to-day. The idea of trying to fit anything bigger into skinny jeans, shorts, taking to the gym or simply use with one hand is ridiculous. Cast your mind back to 2010, the Galaxy Tab was first released as Samsung’s answer to the iPad. That had a 7-inch screen. So the screen on the S20 Ultra will only be 0.1-inch smaller than a tablet, and 1-inch smaller than the current iPad Mini. I might be the only one, but if I want a bigger screen, I will use a tablet or a laptop, so it will be interesting to see how everyone else reacts to having a near-tablet sized device as a primary mobile device. You never know, they might also be launching a new range of clothing with pockets & pouches designed to accommodate phablet-style devices.
As far as what’s on the screen is concerned, the ‘hole-punch’ style front-facing camera is expected to stay, being moved to the centre at the top rather than being moved over to the right as was the case with the S10 range, achieving a much more OCD pleasing symmetrical design. The in-display fingerprint sensor is also expected to stay. We’re not sure yet how fans will take to this. At the S10 launch, this was given a lot of praise, but after using the system, it left a lot of people disappointed, so we expect to see some improvements in this area. Other than the camera position, the three devices will feature improved curved 120Hz displays, essentially looking like the S10 & S10 Plus, with higher clarity.
Spare a thought for the headphone jack. The old trooper has slowly been disappearing from mobile phones and tablets, even laptops over the last few years, and the Galaxy S Series seems to be the next in line to drop it. With the rapid growth of wireless earphones and headphones, and small cable adapters being so widely available, this is fairly unsurprising and personally won’t be missed.
Thankfully we don’t need to talk about who has the best camera today. The S20 devices are set to have a whopping 108-megapixel main rear camera, with a 48-megapixel zoom, and a 12-megapixel wide-angle. The two larger devices look like they will also have time-of-flight sensors which will help with the higher-quality portrait modes and of course assist with Augmented Reality.
This sounds fantastic on paper until you see the design. Honestly, people originally thought the iPhone 11 Pro camera was ugly, but some of the renders for the S20 range certainly won’t be winning any awards for its looks. Housing 5 cameras and a flash in a fat rectangle off to the left doesn’t look great; as good as the camera might be, the housing does slightly take away from that. Let’s hope the renders are just rumours, not the final look. Due to the camera depth, a case is a must as this area is particularly vulnerable if a naked device is dropped.
5G is still a bit of a unicorn, at least it is here in the UK. Even though it is available in some cities, finding a connection that gets anywhere close to the speeds promised is very, very, VERY rare. Although this is expected to improve over the next 12 months, which is why all 3 Galaxy S models are set to launch with a 5G option. The S20 and S20 Plus will also be available with 4G only, whilst the Ultra will only have the 5G variant.
As there is no ‘E’ in this year’s line-up, we may well see the S10 and S10e available from Samsung at a discounted price, which would pave the way for the S20 to take that £799-£899 spot for the base model, the S20 Plus at £999 and the S20 Ultra starting at £1099. It would be nice to see prices lower than this but it’s doubtful given the bump up in specs and features. With 5G available in the devices is sure to drive the price up, although this might allow the 4G variants to be a little cheaper.
A new folding device?
There have been rumours of a new and improved foldable Samsung Galaxy named the ‘Galaxy Bloom’ or the ‘Galaxy Z Flip’. Not much is known aside from its 5G capabilities, although it is expected to look more like the Motorola Razor foldable device, so more of a phone than a tablet. The Galaxy Fold took the internet by storm last year, for numerous reasons. It was the first foldable phone by a major manufacturer…first set of 5G ready devices by a major manufacturer. That is in fact the only positives taken from this device. Moments after the launch event, when industry insiders, influencers and the press got hands-on with the devices, there were issues with the screen, or rather the protective layer which people could peel off with ease, and there were bubble issues beneath the screen. The device was also ridiculed online for it not being able to close properly. There would always be a gap between the two halves on the fold due to the design.
A redesign with the fold meant that it missed its initial launch date and was forgotten by consumers, and failed to make an impression in households, which is fair because it was very expensive. Huawei came out with their, more favourably designed foldable device not too long after which was more widely accepted, although certainly didn’t make it to many pockets once again because of the higher price point. If Samsung wants to get the Bloom/Z Flip into consumers’ hands then the price will be the first aspect to consider, so expect this device to be cheaper than its predecessor, although it will still pull a hefty price because it is still a foldable. Oh, and it will also need to stick to a launch date.