Galaxy S20 Plus vs iPhone 11 Pro Which phone will win?

By Yassine Samma - February 15, 2020

It goes without saying that any new Samsung flagship immediately invites comparisons to the best Android phones. But with the launch of the Galaxy S20 Plus, it's clear Samsung has an Apple-shaped target in mind. Specifically, the Galaxy S20 Plus appears to be designed to take on Apple's iPhone 11 Pro for the crown of the best smartphone you can buy right now. It's a lofty bar to clear. The iPhone 11 Pro, after all, sports the most powerful processor you can get in a smartphone, supports a cavalcade of apps thanks to iOS 13 and sets the standard for mobile photography with triple rear cameras and software-powered features. It's that last area where the Galaxy S20 Plus is ready to make its mark. Samsung has released a phone with four rear cameras, including a telephoto lens capable of 3x optical zoom and a VGA time-of-flight sensor. The S20 Plus also adds a bigger battery, large screen, and the latest Snapdragon processor, all to challenge Apple's smartphone supremacy. Will all the changes pay off? We won't know until we get the Galaxy S20 Plus into our office for testing. But based on what Samsung's revealed, we can certainly compare the Galaxy S20 Plus to the iPhone 11 Pro to see how these two leading flagships stack up against each other.

Galaxy S20 Plus vs. iPhone 11 Pro Variations

Galaxy S20 Plus vs. iPhone 11 Pro price and release date

If you're the kind of person to gripe about the high cost of iPhones, don't look to the Galaxy S20 Plus for relief. Samsung's phone starts at $1,199 for a version with 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. For the 512GB version of the Galaxy S20 Plus, you need to tack on another $150, bringing the phone to a robust $1,349.
That puts the iPhone 11 Pro in the rare position of being the cheaper option, thanks to its starting price of $999. Of course, that price only gets you 64GB of storage. To get 256GB of capacity on your iPhone 11 Pro, you'll need to pay $1,149 — only $50 off the S20 Plus' base price. A 512GB iPhone 11 Pro costs the same as the Galaxy S20 Plus with that much storage.
You can save some money on your iPhone 11 Pro if you've got a phone to trade-in. Apple will take up to $320 off the coast of the iPhone 11 Pro with trade-in, though only recent models fetch that kind of return. We'd expect to hear about more Galaxy S20 Plus deals as soon as Galaxy S20 Plus pre-orders start on Feb. 21. Samsung's phone hits stores in March.

Galaxy S20 Plus vs. iPhone 11 Pro design and display

Samsung clearly hopes that bigger is better when it comes to the Galaxy S20 Plus vs. the iPhone 11 Pro. Samsung's new phone features a much bigger screen than what Apple offers — 6.7 inches to the iPhone 11 Pro's 5.8-inch display. As a result, the 6.37 x 2.9 x 0.3-inch S20 Plus is noticeably taller and a little bit wider than the 5.67 x 2.81 x 0.32-inch iPhone.

While both phones use OLED panels, the S20 Plus offers sharper Quad HD resolution to the iPhone's 2436 x 1125 display. The S20 Plus also pulls off the iPhone 11 Plus doesn't support — Samsung's phone offers a very fast 120-Hz refresh rate that's double the speed of the iPhone's 60-Hz screen. That should make for smoother scrolling and better gameplay, though there's a caveat. The faster refresh rate doesn't work at the Galaxy S20 Plus' full resolution; instead, you have to scale down to Full HD, which adds some blur to text and graphics. It's not a very good trade-off.

The Galaxy S20 uses a circular camera cutout to house its front camera in the center of the display. (That's a change from the Galaxy S10 Plus, which featured double cutouts over on the right side of the screen.) The iPhone 11 Pro has that divisive notch that Apple fans don't seem to mind, but that some smartphone users really can't stand.

Each phone gives you a choice of four colors. For the Galaxy S20 Plus, you choose between black, gray, blue and pink. The iPhone 11 Pro comes in gold, space gray, silver, and midnight green.

Galaxy S20 Plus vs. iPhone 11 Pro cameras

Apple's iPhone routinely bests Samsung's smartphones when we compare the photos each device takes. (See our iPhone 11 Pro vs Galaxy Note 10 comparison to get the flavor of how Apple uses software and hardware to stay ahead of the best cameras Samsung can offer.) If the Galaxy S20 Pro is any indication, Samsung's tired of coming up on the short end of any camera comparisons.

The S20 Plus sports four rear cameras. In addition to the 12-MP wide-angle lens and a 12-MP ultra-wide-angle lens, you also get a 64-MP telephoto lens and a VGA time-of-flight sensor. It's those latter two cameras that are the most significant additions to the Galaxy S20 Plus' camera array.

The telephoto lens on the S20 Plus is capable of supporting a 3X optical zoom. Because the focal length of the telephoto lens is similar to the main camera's, the S20 Plus winds up cropping into the center of the frame to pull off that 3x effect. Still, on paper, that outpaces the 2x optical zoom that the iPhone 11 Pro can pull off with its telephoto lens.

As for the time-of-flight sensor, it should help the Galaxy S20 Plus pull off more impressive portrait shots. That's a key feature as portrait shots are one area where the iPhone asserts its dominance over other camera phones. We're eager to see how portraits shot by the Galaxy S20 Plus and iPhone 11 Pro compare.

In addition to that 12-MP telephoto lens on the iPhone 11 Pro, you also get a 12-MP wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle cameras. That triple-lens array has vaulted the iPhone 11 Pro to the top of the heap for best camera phones.

Upfront, the Galaxy S20 Plus features a 10-MP selfie cam. That will go up against the 12-MP TrueDepth camera on the iPhone 11 Pro that not only takes self-portraits but also powers the iPhone's FaceID unlocking feature.



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