Samsung Galaxy S20 or iPhone 11 Pro?

You got $999 and looking to buy a premium smartphone but don't know whether Samsung Galaxy S20 or iPhone 11 Pro?

Well, that's a tough question.

Apple's iPhone 11 Pro and the new Samsung Galaxy S20 are the lower-end gateways into super-premium smartphones. And the long-time competitors are pushing for much bigger specs to win the clients over.

Samsung Galaxy S20 or iPhone 11 Pro
Samsung Galaxy S20 or iPhone 11 Pro

The iPhone 11 Pro was launched in September of last year with iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Max. But, the iPhone 11 Pro fits right in the middle of the lineup – and it has great specs to back up its pro name. The available iPhones in the line up offer:

  • 4k 60fps video
  • Algorithmically generated photos (using a new engine in the A13  Bionic Chip)
  • Better screens than any iPhone before

Samsung, on the other hand, announced four new smartphones at their Galaxy Unpacked 2020 event. And boy do they have some amazing specs. The comparison in this article will be between the cheapest of the four phones announced as it matches the price of the 11 Pro.

The Galaxy S20 has:

  • The all-new rear camera system
  • Relocated the front-facing hole-punch camera
  • Aluminum and glass frame
  • Features a new flat screen


Samsung Galaxy S20 or iPhone 11 Pro by the numbers

Spec for spec, feature for feature, both the devices look almost identical, and yet they're so different.

iPhone 11 Pro vs Galaxy S20 by the numbers
iPhone 11 Pro vs Galaxy S20 by the numbers

As you can clearly see, the usual specs imbalance between Android and iPhone exists. This is defined with the bigger battery, more screen resolution, and more RAM being the norm with Android. The only outliers here are 5G and the new telephoto camera on Samsung's phone.

Camera's compared

iPhone 11 Pro (left) and Galaxy S20 (right) both offer low light photography
iPhone 11 Pro (left) and Galaxy S20 (right) both offer low light photography
iPhone 11 pro

The iPhone 11 Pro cameras are all 12 MegaPixel and color corrected in the factory. This ensures that each photo or video you take is accurate and well balanced between the different lenses. Interestingly, the entire iPhone 11 line can record up to 4K 60fps from any camera (including the selfie camera). Another unique feature of the video is when you record at 30fps capture. It records it in 60fps, but every frame is used for extending the dynamic range of the video.

Recording in 4K will drain your battery faster, but it will give consistent results regardless. And you can also zoom in and out between lenses if you're recording below 60fps. The iPhone 11 Pro has been rated with one of the best cameras in the industry.

Apple's Deep Fusion is automatic and creates highly detailed images using machine learning
Apple's Deep Fusion is automatic and creates highly detailed images using machine learning

When you're taking pictures, the iPhone 11 Pro also is tremendously good at shifting shooting modes on the fly. This makes sure the best image is captured at any given time. Night mode, Depp Fusion, and Smart HDR are all always active without user interaction. This is a very imporant feature because most users just point the camera and take the picture with all the default settings on.

Also, the selfie camera offers some great quality pictures as if it were the rear camera. It also has 12 MegaPixel and 4K video. The iPhone 11 Pro can even record slow-motion selfies at 1080p, or capture portrait mode selfies using the True Depth sensor array. And the front-face camera also deals with Animoji and Face ID.

Samsung Galaxy S20

The Samsung Galaxy S20 cameras are different this time. Very different.

Samsung introduced a much larger sensor for capturing images and a brand new style camera system which utilizes more pixels. Te front-face camera for the standard Samsung Galaxy S20 is (sadly) only 10 MegaPixel and doesn't really have any flash features. Well, except that it can still record in 4K.

The rear cameras, on the other hand, really did steal the show. And while the other expensive models got the most of it, the Samsung Galaxy S20 wasn't very far behind. Utilizing the new Snapdragon chipset, there's a brand new camera feature that records many different formats at once for 10 seconds. It does so using algorithms, and this is called “Single Take”.

The wide-angle (and ultra-wide angle) cameras are both 12 MegaPixels like the iPhone 11 Pro. But, due to the larger sensors, they should be able to perform better at night, or in dim rooms. It's also worth mentioning that while the resolutions stayed the same, the photos will be very different from an iPhone due to how Samsung uses post-processing in its images.

How this all affects the images taken is purely a personal preference.

Samsung's Galaxy S20 can pull 33MP stills out of 8K video
Samsung's Galaxy S20 can pull 33MP stills out of 8K video

The new telephoto lens is one of the most curious additions to the new Galaxy S20. It has a 65 MegaPixel sensor and can record up to 8k videos at 24fps. But, the other two cameras are limited at 4k and 60fps. How this video will look like when compared to the iPhone's one will have to be decided when it's reviewed in person. Samsung claims that while recording the 8k video, a user can also pull a full 33 MegaPixel still and utilize the extra pixels to zoom in.

4G, 5G, and mmWave

The iPhone 11 Pro still has the same 4g LTE we've been using for years now. When it launched the 4G back in 2019, the 5G was only just seeing proper installation and activation in the major cities. Even today 5G has barely reached other cities in the US, and a slow global rollout overall. People have been saying the 5G iPhone this fall, but for the average user, it will make no difference whatsoever.

While the 5G is still being rolled out across the US, we can already get a better 4G speed in a couple of areas. Well, it's not 5G but it does come close to it as it reaches hundreds of Mbps. This is referred to as sub-6GHz 5G and it's currently being used alongside the 4G equipment.

The Galaxy S20 only has the lesser sub-6GHz band, and this will not be available in Verizon. Since Verizon decided to begin the rollout with mmWave, it won't implement sub-6GHz until later this year. This places the Galaxy S20 as a disadvantage since the S20+ and S20 Ultra have both forms of 5G at launch.

mmWave has, of course, it's own limitation and may even take longer to roll out across the whole US. This version of 5G operates at a very high radio frequency (up to 300GHz) and can transfer a massive amount of data very fast. But, it doesn't do it efficiently enough. Even walls and glass can severely limit it.

But what about the iPhone 11?

The new iPhone 11's entry-level device is at $699 and was previously combatted prices and specs with the Galaxy S10e. But, this year Samsung has eschewed the cheaper devices off in favor of getting more attention at the premium line. The iPhone 11 is still very, very comparable to the Galaxy S10e, and may even be better due to the prices and specs.

Samsung has a lot of phones below $999, and Apple's move upmarket with the aggressive pricing clearly indicated that the market would pay these kinds of prices. Because of all this, it seems like Samsungs is following up on the Apple strategy in the premium space. It does so by moving all the way up to a $1,400 base model.

When looking at the Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 (as with the iPhone 11 Pro) spec per spec, they are very close too. All the discussion still remains the same for the standard iPhone 11, except for the screen. The screen does have a lower resolution and is LCD and OLED. The iPhone 11 also doesn't offer telephoto lens. But if all these things don't matter to you, then the iPhone 11 is a very strong competitor of the Galaxy S20.

The three S20 colors: Cosmic Gray, Cloud Blue, and Cloud Pink
The three S20 colors: Cosmic Gray, Cloud Blue, and Cloud Pink

Check out the review for iPhone 11 Pro below: