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The best Samsung smartphones available in 2020

Looking for the best Samsung phones? Samsung’s lines, particularly the well-regarded Galaxy series, include a wide range of models for different types of users and there’s something to suit all budgets. Picking one out on your own can be hard, but we’ve fully tested the range to create our list of the best Samsung smartphones.

After much debate, we’ve landed on the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus as our choice for the best overall Samsung smartphone because of it’s impressive screen and battery life. We’ve got suggestions for the best Samsung smartphone under $500 and Samsung’s best productivity smartphone coming up too, among others. Our list of the top Samsung phones includes details on what makes them great plus links to detailed reviews for each phone. Check it out below to see which phone is best for you.

If you are shopping on a budget, don’t forget to check out the best Black Friday smartphone deals we found.

Best Samsung phones at a glance

Best overall Samsung smartphone: Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

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Why you should buy this: You get a slim, lightweight smartphone with a beautiful screen, a camera that gives great results in most environments, and excellent battery life.

Who it’s for: Anybody looking for the latest smartphone from Samsung — you’d be hard-pressed to find better.

Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Nicely proportioned, the S20 Plus is neither too big nor too small. With a 6.7-inch AMOLED screen and slim lightweight design, it weighs just 6.5 ounces and is 0.3 inches thick. It costs a little more than its stablemate the Galaxy S20, as you might expect, but less than the larger Galaxy S20 Ultra, and comes in a range of colors including the (rather dreary) Cosmic Grey, Cosmic Black, and eye-catching Cloud Blue.

One of the best things about the S20 Plus is its screen — with a 120Hz refresh rate and 3200 x 1440-pixel resolution, it provides fantastic dynamic range, with bold, vibrant colors.

The S20 Plus is a powerful smartphone, although the processor varies depending on where you buy it. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 processor is what you’ll get if you’re buying in the U.S., while in the U.K. and Europe the S20 is sold with Samsung’s Exynos 990 chip, with 12GB RAM and 128GB storage (with an upgrade to 512GB available). Though there’s not much difference between the two, some independent tests bring the Snapdragon 865’s Adreno 865 graphics chip out ahead, meaning you may experience better battery life when using the screen at full resolution or gaming on your phone. The handset itself is lightweight and doesn’t heat up while playing games, even when settings are maxed.

You won’t run out of battery either thanks to its powerful 4,500mAh battery, which should see you through a full day of fairly heavy use including gaming and watching videos. On days where you use your phone moderately, the S20 Plus’ battery won’t even get close to running out of juice. Did we mention the cameras? The 64-megapixel telephoto camera has a 3x optical zoom, and there’s a time-of-flight camera, as well as a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera. A dedicated night mode works well in dark environments, there’s 8K video recording, and Single Take mode — which records several photos and videos using all the phone’s cameras — is great for those times you can’t decide whether to share stills or video on social media.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is also 5G ready, so when the new network comes to your area, you’ll be good to go.

Read more in our full Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus review

Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy S20

Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends.com

If your budget can’t quite stretch to the S20 Plus, the Galaxy S20 is a great alternative that’s around $300 cheaper. With a slightly smaller (6.2-inch vs the Plus’s 6.7-inch) screen, the S20 has the same processor as the S20 Plus, although it has a 4,000mAh battery and the rear camera is a triple rather than a quad lens. It weighs a little less too, coming in at 5.7 ounces, so if you prefer more compact, lightweight phones, the S20 is likely to be the better phone for you.

Read more in our full Samsung Galaxy S20 review

Best productivity Samsung smartphone: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: You get Samsung’s biggest, most powerful phone yet, with a stunning 6.9-inch dynamic AMOLED screen, 5G, and the S Pen for note-taking and sketching.

Who it’s for: Anybody who takes notes on their phone and wants more than the standard features.

Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: It’s by no means a small phone, and will be a two-handed device for most, yet the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is super thin and still fairly light, weighing in at 7.34 ounces. If you get the chance, pick up the eye-catching Mystic Bronze color. The Note 20 Ultra boasts a 6.9-inch dynamic AMOLED screen with 3088 x 1440 resolution — it’s also HDR10+ certified and is the first phone to offer Samsung Display’s variable refresh rate technology, which automatically adapts depending on what you’re doing. For example, it switches to 120Hz when playing supported games, and back to 60Hz for movies, with the aim of being more power-efficient. You can turn this off and stick to 60Hz to conserve battery, if you like.

If you’re buying in the U.S., you’ll get Samsung’s Snapdragon 865 Plus processor — elsewhere it’s the Exynos 990 — and 12GB RAM, making the Note 20 Ultra an excellent multitasker, with 256GB internal storage (or pick up the 512GB model) and a MicroSD card slot. The 4,500mAh battery should see you through most days with plenty of change, and the phone comes bundled with a 25-watt charger that supports Quick Charge 2.0 — it takes around an hour to reach full charge. It’s worth noting that the Note 20 series doesn’t support 45-watt charging, although 15W wireless charging is supported — and you can also use Wireless PowerShare to charge other Qi-certified devices, like your Galaxy Buds Live.

The Note 20 Ultra doesn’t disappoint on the camera front either, with a 108-megapixel sensor, a 12-megapixel periscope zoom lens, and a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens. There’s a new laser autofocus system, and the main and periscope lenses have optical image stabilization. You can record video at up to 8K resolution at 24 fps, and 4K at 60 fps, with both optical and electronic stabilization, plus support for HDR10+.

The S Pen has all the usual features like Air Actions, where you can wave the stylus like a wand to control apps, and fun additions like AR Doodle, letting you sketch in 3D using the phone’s camera. On the productivity front, the handwriting to text conversion feature will come in handy for many users, although this only works with MS Word and text is placed in a text box, so you’ll need to cut and paste it if you want to make changes. The Note 20 Ultra also works with Samsung’s DeX mode, turning your smartphone into a desktop computer, as well as providing access to Microsoft’s Xbox Games Pass. In short, it’s everything you want from a phone, and 5G connectivity ensures it will last for years to come.

You can pick up the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra right now on Amazon for a shade under $1,050.

Read more in our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review

Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy Note 20

Galaxy Note 20 Back
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Our runner up is the Galaxy Note 20, which will set you back around $300 less than the Note 20 Ultra. Weighing just 6.77 ounces, its smaller size and 6.7-inch screen with 2400 x 1080 resolution make it an excellent runner up, and it boasts 8GB of RAM, and the same processor as the Note 20 Ultra. It comes in an amazing Mystic Green color, but it’s worth noting it only has 256GB of storage, and unlike the S20 Ultra, there’s no MicroSD card slot to expand this. With a 4,300mAh battery, it comes bundled with a 25W fast charger and supports 14W wireless charging, and is definitely a worthy contender to the Note 20 Ultra if you don’t want to drop over $1,000 on a new phone.

Read more about the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 

Best Samsung smartphone under $500: Samsung Galaxy A71 5G

Why you should buy this: It’s a fantastic midrange phone with a gorgeous display, quad lens camera, and excellent battery life.

Who it’s for: Anybody looking for the best bang for their buck — or an alternative to the iPhone SE.

Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy A71 5G:

You’d be hard pushed to find a better midrange phone than the Galaxy A71 5G. Boasting a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display with 1080p resolution, its razor-thin bezels give the phone an ultra-modern look, and it weighs just 6.63 ounces.

The Galaxy A71 5G runs on Samsung’s Snapdragon 765 processor making it excellent at multitasking and gaming, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage, expandable up to 1TB via microSD. The 4,500mAh battery is impressive for a midrange phone and should see you through most days with plenty of change. The phone comes bundled with a 25-watt charger that takes it from empty to 50% in around 30 minutes — but there’s no wireless charging. There’s a headphone jack too — great if you’re not a fan of wireless earbuds.

When it comes to the camera, the A71 5G boasts a quad-lens deal, with a 64-megapixel main sensor, a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens, a 5-megapixel macro lens, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. It takes great shots, but isn’t the best in low light conditions, as you might expect from a midrange phone.

With support for both mmWave and Sub-6GHz 5G, this is the phone to buy if you want 5G connectivity on a budget. If we had one criticism, it would be that it’s only available in one shade: Prism Black — but if you can live with that, you can pick one up on Amazon right now for just under $500.

Read more in our full Samsung Galaxy A71 5G review

Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy A51 5G

Samsung Galaxy A51 Main

Available for under $350 on Amazon, the Samsung Galaxy A51 5G runs Android 10 and boasts a 6.5-inch OLED display, Exynos 9611 CPU, 128GB storage, and 4GB of RAM,. Add to that a quad-lens camera, a 4,000mAh battery, a headphone jack, and 5G, and the A51 is hard to beat for the price.

Read more in our full Samsung Galaxy A51 5G review

Best Samsung smartphone under $300: Samsung Galaxy A50

Why you should buy this: If you’re on a budget, this is one of the best under-$300 phones around, with its 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, triple-lens camera, and impressive battery life.

Who it’s for: Buyers on a budget looking for a stylish, slim phone that packs an impressive processor and all-day battery life.

Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy A50: For under $300 the Galaxy A50 has the best display you’ll find for this price with its impressive 6.4-inch super AMOLED screen with 2340 x 1080 resolution. The A50 has Samsung’s Exynos 9610 processor, 4GB RAM, and 64GB (or 128GB) internal storage — expandable up to 512GB with a Micro SD card. This is a solid midrange processor that’s comparable to the Snapdragon 670 (also used in the Google Pixel 3a) and although it offers excellent performance, things can get a little heated when playing the latest games with maxed visuals.

The A50 has a headphone jack and a triple-lens camera with a 25-megapixel wide sensor, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor, as well as a 25-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies. The 4,000mAh battery provides enough juice to get you through a busy day, although charging is a bit slower than some of Samsung’s flagship phones, with a 15W charger, and wireless charging isn’t supported. In-screen fingerprint recognition proves a reliable feature that’s a definite boost for such an inexpensive device, although expect a slight delay when using it compared to traditional capacitive sensors.

You can pick up the Samsung Galaxy A50 for just under $300 on Amazon right now (prices may vary on other networks).

Read more in our full Samsung Galaxy A50 review

Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy A20

With its 6.4-inch Super AMOLED screen (1560 x 720-pixel resolution), Exynos 7904 processor with 3GB RAM, 4,000mAh battery (with 15W fast charging), and dual-lens camera, the Galaxy A20’s specs are impressive. It may only have 32GB of onboard storage, but that can be expanded up to 512GB with a Micro SD card. You can pick up the Samsung Galaxy A20 for around $170 from Amazon right now.

Best rugged Samsung smartphone: Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro

Why you should buy this: It’s a rugged, military-grade phone with IP68 rating against sand, water, dust, and dirt that can withstand falls up to five feet — and it boasts a replaceable 4,050mAh battery.

Who it’s for: Those who want a rugged phone that can withstand anything.

Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro: Although it’s designed for industrial use, the Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro is a great choice for anybody who is tough on their phone. It can withstand falls up to five feet, has an IP68 rating making it resistant to dirt, dust, water, and sand, and is MIL-STD-810 certified, meaning it won’t pack up at high altitudes or in hot conditions. There’s more to this phone than its rugged features though — it boasts a 6.3-inch 1080p edge-to-edge display with Gorilla Glass 5 and a 2GHz octa-core Samsung Exynos 9611 Octa-Core processor with 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage (that can be upgraded to 512GB with a Micro SD). The screen boasts Enhanced Touch capabilities so that you can use it with wet hands or gloves and the phone runs Android 10 and Samsung One UI 2.0.

Its best feature is its replaceable 4,050mAh battery that supports 15W fast charging and can be swapped out, not to mention the pogo pin connectors for docked charging or connecting accessories like scanners and card readers — the XCover Pro is EMV Level 1 certified, so you can use it as a point-of-sale terminal.

There are two cameras on the back — a main 25-megapixel camera and a secondary 8-megapixel ultra-wide one — plus a 13-megapixel front-facing camera and a headphone jack so you don’t need to worry about losing your wireless earbuds at work. You can pick up the XCover Pro for under $500 on Amazon right now.

Read more about the Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro

Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy S10e

Samsung Galaxy s10e hands-on
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

You might be wondering why we’ve included a phone that isn’t particularly rugged as our runner-up. You can pick up a Rebel Armor military-grade case for the S10e for under $20 on Amazon, with a 10ft impact rating, solid core frame, and edge-to-edge rubber protection to absorb impact. We’ve chosen the phone itself as it boasts a smaller screen than many of the Samsung smartphones on our list — 5.8-inches — with dynamic AMOLED display, Full HD+ resolution, and HDR10+ certification. The S10e is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, with 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage plus a MicroSD card slot, and runs Android 9.0 Pie and Samsung’s One UI interface. The only downside? The 3,100mAh battery supports Quick Charge 2.0 and Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, and should see you through most workdays. But if you’re planning a late one, pack your portable battery pack. Right now you can pick up the S10e on Verizon for under $600.

Read more in our full Samsung Galaxy S10e review

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