iPhone 11 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 - $999 premium smartphones head-to-head

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2020
Apple's iPhone 11 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S20 are the lower-end gateways into super-premium smartphones, and the long-time competitors are pushing for bigger specs than ever to win over customers.

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs iPhone 11 Pro
Samsung Galaxy S20 vs iPhone 11 Pro


The iPhone 11 Pro was launched in late September 2019 alongside the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The iphone 11 Pro fits right into the middle of the lineup and has great specs to back up its pro name. The current iPhones in the lineup are capable of 4K 60fps video, algorithmically generated photos using a new neural engine in the A13 Bionic chip, and have better screens than ever seen in an iPhone before.

Samsung announced four new smartphones at their Galaxy Unpacked 2020 event and they have some amazing specs. This comparison will be between the cheapest Samsung phone announced, the Galaxy S20, which is price matched to the iPhone 11 Pro. The Galaxy S20 has an all new rear camera system, has relocated the front facing "hole punch" camera to the top center of the screen, has an aluminum and glass frame, and features a new flat screen rather than one that curves off the edge of the device.

iPhone 11 Pro vs Galaxy S20 by the numbers

Spec for spec, the two $1000 devices look nearly identical, yet iOS and Android make them very different.

iPhone 11 ProGalaxy S20
Price$999$999
Dimensions (inches)5.67 x 2.81 x 0.325.97 x 2.72 x 0.31
Weight (ounces)6.635.78
ProcessorA13 BionicSnapdragon 865
RAM4GB12GB
Storage64GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB
add up to 1TB with microSD
Display type5.8-inch Super Retina XDR (OLED HDR)6.2-inch AMOLED HDR
Resolution2436x1125 pixels at 458ppi 3200x1400 pixels at 566ppi
Screen refresh60Hz60Hz at full resolution
120Hz at 1080p
PortsLightning and no headphone jackUSB-C and no headphone jack
Networking4G LTE5G (sub 6-GHz)
Rear Cameras12MP wide angle
12MP ultra-wide angle
12MP telephoto (2x optical)
12MP wide angle
12MP ultra-wide angle
64MP telephoto (3x optical)
Front Cameras12MP with TrueDepth sensors10MP
Battery Size3,110 mAh4,000 mAh
ColorsSpace Gray, Midnight Green, Silver, GoldCosmic Gray, Cloud Blue, Cloud Pink


As you can see, the usual spec imbalance between a flagship Android phone and iPhone exists, with the bigger battery, more screen resolution, and more RAM being the norm with Android. The outliers here are 5G and that new telephoto camera on Samsung's phone.

Camera Specs 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 12MP and color corrected in factory to ensure each photo or video you take are accurate and well balanced between the different lenses. Notably, the entire iPhone 11 line, pro or not, can record up to 4K 60fps from any camera, including the selfie camera. Another unique feature for iPhone video occurs at 30fps capture, which records in 60fps but every other frame is used for extending the dynamic range of the video.

Recording in 4K is a huge hit to battery and storage, but will give consistent results regardless, and users can even zoom in and out between lenses if recording below 60fps. The iPhone 11 Pro has been rated one of the most accurate 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 shooting photos, the iPhone 11 Pro also excels at shifting shooting modes on the fly to ensure the best image is captured at any moment. Night mode, Deep Fusion, and Smart HDR all automatically activate without user interaction. This is important if features are going to be used at all, because most users just point and shoot with all the defaults on.

The selfie camera allows for great quality photos just like the rear cameras, at full 12MP 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. The front facing camera is also responsible for Animoji and Face ID.

Samsung Galaxy S20

The Galaxy S20 cameras are very different this time around. Samsung introduced a much larger sensor for capturing image, and a new style camera system utilizing more pixels to ensure better light capture. The front facing camera for the standard Galaxy S20 is only 10MP and doesn't have any flashy features, except notably it can still record in 4K.

The rear cameras were the star of the show, and while the more expensive models got most of the new camera tech, the Galaxy S20 was not left behind. Utilizing its new Snapdragon chipset, there is a new camera feature that records many different formats at once for 10 seconds using algorithms, and this is called "Single Take."

The wide angle and ultra-wide angle cameras are both 12MP like the iPhone 11 Pro, but due to the larger sensors, should be able to perform better at night or in dim rooms. It's worth mentioning that while the resolution of the cameras are the same, the photos will be very different from an iPhone due to how Samsung uses post processing in its images. How this affects images, better or worse, is down to 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 the most curious of the new additions to the Galaxy S20. It is a 64MP sensor and is capable of recording 8K video at 24fps, where the other two cameras are limited to 4K at 60fps. How this video looks in comparison to a standard 4K video from a different Samsung camera or iPhone will be determined once reviewed in person. Samsung boasts that while recording 8K video, a user can pull full 33MP stills from the video and utilize the extra pixels to zoom in.

While recording in 8K, the user is limited to the telephoto lens, which is a 3x optical zoom. This means that recording 8K in tight or crowded environments will not be ideal, if not impossible.

4G, 5G, and mmWave

The iPhone 11 Pro still runs at the same 4G LTE we've been using for years. When it launched in 2019 5G was only just seeing proper installation and activation in the biggest US cities. Even now 5G has barely trickled out into other cities in the US and a slow global rollout overall. Rumors point to a 5G iPhone this fall, but for the average user you will not notice a difference between the two anyway. At least not until its more widely available.

While 5G is still being rolled out across the US, users can already get better than 4G speeds in some areas. While not the gigabit speeds promised by "full 5G," it is still much faster than the current 4G speeds, and can sometimes cross into hundreds of Mbps. This is referred to as sub-6GHz 5G and is being used alongside 4G equipment to quicken the rollout. T-mobile and Sprint are focusing on this technology.

The Galaxy S20 only has the lesser sub-6GHz band. Because of this it will not be available on Verizon, since Verizon began its rollout with mmWave and wont implement sub-6GHz until later in 2020. This places the Galaxy S20 at a disadvantage, since the Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra will have both forms of 5G at launch.

mmWave has its own limitations, and may take even longer, if ever, to roll out across the entire US. This version of 5G operates at very high radio frequencies, all the way up to 300GHz, and while it can transfer massive amounts of data very fast it can't do so efficiently. mmWave is effectively only able to work within line of sight of a receiver, and at a close range. Walls, glass, and even other people can severely limit if not altogether block a mmWave 5G signal.

The "iPhone 12" that will launch in fall 2020 is rumored to have 5G capabilities. No word yet on which kind of 5G Apple will implement, if any.

What about iPhone 11?

iPhone 11 is Apple's entry level device at $699, and was previously combatted price and spec wise by the Samsung Galaxy S10e. This year Samsung has eschewed the cheaper device entirely in favor of a more premium line. The iPhone 11 is still very comparable to the Galaxy S20, and may even be a better value proposition due to the price vs spec direct compare.

Samsung has dozens of phones below $999, and Apple's move up market with the aggressive iPhone X pricing, then iPhone 11 Pro Max pricing, showed the market would pay for high priced phones. Because of this, it seems Samsung wants to follow Apple up market in the premium space, all the way up to a $1,400 flagship base model.

When looking at the Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11, as with the iPhone 11 Pro, spec for spec they are very close. All the discussion is the same for the standard iPhone 11, except its screen does have a lower resolution and is LCD vs OLED. The iPhone 11 also doesn't have a telephoto lens. If those things do not matter to a user, then Apple's iPhone 11 is a strong competitive contender to the Samsung Galaxy S20 as well.

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

Specs behind a menu

Many of Samsungs premium features and big slideshow moments surround high number specifications built into their new phones. This isn't a new strategy for Samsung.

The Galaxy S20 does offer impressive specs in a smartphone. 8K video, 120Hz refresh on the display, and even more huge specs on the more expensive devices. What this means for users is more options, as is the Android way. Although great for marketing, these specs do come with some caveats.

If you're shooting 8K video, not only is it a huge file, but its only on the zoomed in telephoto lens. If you want that 120Hz refresh rate, its only going to work at 1080p. These features surely work great, but being behind a menu means that most users will play with it once, if at all, then forget about it. Samsung isn't the only company guilty of this, but using these high specs for marketing then hiding them behind a menu does leave something to be desired.

Apple is guilty of some of these things too. Slow-mo and Animoji are both heavily marketed features that most normal users might have trouble finding organically. As far as front facing specs go though, Apple is consistent.

As mentioned before with the auto switching camera formats, Apple tends to be great at taking the wheel when users should be focused on the task at hand. The Retina Display with True Tone all just works, and by default without sacrificing another spec to do so.

The best example would be Apple's own multi camera system. Apple's cameras are fully calibrated and color matched in factory so that photos and videos all look great without abnormalities or differences between individual units.

Samsung's Galaxy S20 has four different cameras and all offer different specs and experiences. A difference in philosophy between the companies are why these things are so different between the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20, and it will be up to users to decide which approach they like more.






AppleInsider reviewed the iPhone 11 Pro and gave it a 4.5 out of 5. Stay tuned for hands on content featuring the Samsung Galaxy S20 and how it compares to the iPhone 11 Pro.

Where to buy

Pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra begin at 12:01 a.m. Eastern on Feb. 21, with Samsung offering bonus trade-in values for Apple users.

B&H will also begin accepting orders on Feb. 21 with free 2-day shipping on the Galaxy S20 models.

Meanwhile, those looking to purchase an iPhone 11 can find aggressive carrier offers in our iPhone 11 deals roundup.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    FatmanFatman Posts: 513member
    Can anyone explain why the Samsung is a full 1oz lighter even though it has a larger display and battery?
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 2 of 38
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,455member
    I really, really couldn't care less about whatever Samsung has to offer.
    BeatsolsredgeminipaStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 38
    I am still waiting to hear about the biometrics on the new Samsung phones...under the screen fingerprint reader? a FaceID knockoff?  I suspect this will be the Achille’s heel of these offerings.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 38
    Samsung jankiness and Android for $1K is not a very enticing proposition. My last trip into the Samsung/Android world was the Galaxy Tab S4. A beautiful screen tied to an awful operating system and slow processor. Sold it after a few months.
    BeatsredgeminipaStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 38
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,901member
    Fatman said:
    Can anyone explain why the Samsung is a full 1oz lighter even though it has a larger display and battery?
    I believe the frame is part of the reason. Steel vs Aluminum.
    redgeminipa
  • Reply 6 of 38
    GG1GG1 Posts: 452member
    S20 with 12 GB RAM? S20 Ultra with 16 GB RAM? That is 3x to 4x more than iPhone 11 Pro! Is this increase due to Android's "App Pinning"?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 38
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,045member
    badmonk said:
    FaceID knockoff?  
    I think 'knockoff' is inappropriate seeing as how Sammie had it before Apple, even though it wasn't very good. Apple took the ball, ran with it, and scored big. Still Sammie had it first.

    But the new S20 line, like Apple's 11 line, is mostly just more of the same. Improving performance through newer technology, but no new killer feature(s). All the phones score better than the competition in one area or another.

    The Z (Zed) interests me more than the S20 line. I think a dependable, durable folding screen is still a long way off but I like that Sammie isn't giving up on it. I still prefer a small screen on the outside and a larger screen when opened. The Zed doesn't do that. But if it ran iOS, I'd give it a go.

    I'd like a peek into Apple's prototype lab to see what they've done. But it'll be years before an Apple folding phone sees the light of day.


    Carnagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 38
    "Cosmic Gray" jfc is there anything they won't copy?
    redgeminipaStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 38
    So higher resolution screen - but beyond the point it makes a useful real world difference, so irrelevant

    More RAM - but only required because Android runs poorly, even with triple the ram capable of no more than the Apple model

    Screen capable of higher refresh - but no practical purpose for a normal user, phone will not run demanding games at such a high rate anyway

    5G Networking - but 5G footprint is basically non-existent and 4G provides sufficient speed for every consumer use case

    Higher res camera - but no consumer use case for such high megapixels

    Larger battery - but no more or worse real world battery life

    ---
    Wow outstanding Samsung.
    edited February 2020 olsredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 38
    Apples and oranges. Get your technologies correct. Comparing 5G to 4G isn't really possible since no carrier supports 4G. They all stuck to LTE without ever making the jump to 4G. In real world terms, 4G is just as fast as 5G in the non-mmWave implementations. However, mmWave technologies have not been proven with regard to health and are virtually useless because of the line-of-sight/range/ease-to-block problems. The only way to make it useful is to flood the world (okay cities) with interconnecting broadcaster facilities that worsen health problems -- especially when multiple carriers are flooding the same areas.  Please call LTE, LTE and not 4G. 
  • Reply 11 of 38
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,527member
    Why are they selling knockoff iPhones at iPhone prices? People really buy this shit?

    Lazy Samscum doesn't even develop the OS but they wanna charge iOS prices.
    olsredgeminipahammeroftruthStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 38
    GG1 said:
    S20 with 12 GB RAM? S20 Ultra with 16 GB RAM? That is 3x to 4x more than iPhone 11 Pro! Is this increase due to Android's "App Pinning"?

    Android is a memory hog, and shooting 8K video has got to require a lot of memory!

    Insane how much specs today's phones have. Where's the ceiling with this strategy??

    redgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 38
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,901member
    lghulm said:
    So higher resolution screen - but beyond the point it makes a useful real world difference, so irrelevant

    More RAM - but only required because Android runs poorly, even with triple the ram capable of no more than the Apple model

    Screen capable of higher refresh - but no practical purpose for a normal user, phone will not run demanding games at such a high rate anyway

    5G Networking - but 5G footprint is basically non-existent and 4G provides sufficient speed for every consumer use case

    Higher res camera - but no consumer use case for such high megapixels

    Larger battery - but no more or worse real world battery life

    ---
    Wow outstanding Samsung.
    I'm happy with 1080 resolution but higher resolutions are in demand and demand is what moves flagships.

    The extra RAM is always put to good use independently of how RAM efficient the OS is. Better to have that bit more available just in case than not have it as long as battery life doesn't take a whack.

    Screen refresh rates are on the rise. OnePlus is a prime example and again, they are in demand. People who use them say the difference is noticeable. This is where flagships are heading (Apple too). The gotcha in this case is that it isn't available across the phone and games have yet to really support it. However, they have also doubled the tactile response frequency, making the phone respond faster (tie that in with the better graphics, faster processor etc).

    Buying a phone in 2020 means considering 5G. In the useful life of this phone, 5G will reach many of its owners, not least in Samsung's home territory and China, where Samsung has its work cut out. Not having a 5G offering doesn't make sense. non-mmWave speeds in real world settings are already blazing past 4.5G but it seems the U.S is not seeing those speeds. That's unfortunate.

    The higher pixel count, plus pixel binning and the new more advanced version have good uses. Huawei blazed the trail here. Even with Deep Fusion Apple hasn't been able to break into the very top of the league and 'noise' is one of the big reasons a(with detail). However, imagery is the sum of the parts so all the elements need to align and to check on that there is no substitute for clinical testing and real world use. If the new ISPs are good, Samsung might have a recipe for success.

    The battery increase should not be scoffed at. I'd rather have a larger battery and the ability to tune down its use than be short on power to get me through the day,out of the box. We are seeing a trend to higher capacity batteries and they are widely praised. 25W fast charging out of the box is a bit low but perhaps Samsung just wants to play it safer.
    Carnagemuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 38
    lkrupp said:
    I really, really couldn't care less about whatever Samsung has to offer.

    No, neither do I.   But Apple (I am sure) does.   From a hardware perspective, they are leading the pack (except in processor capabilities).   So, just for marketing alone, Apple must stay at least in the same ball park.

    Apple excels not from its high end hardware but from its higher end software and ecosystem.  But, sigh, we continue to compare the two on hardware specs alone.   That's bit like comparing 2 vehicles based on carrying capacity -- which would mean a Silverado would always come out ahead of a Corvette.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 38
    Once again I would take exception to the 5G analysis.   Technically it is accurate.   But overall it attempts to marginalize the technology by talking about the slow roll out in the U.S. (due mostly to a combination of politics and inefficient carrier structures) as well as where the 5G rollout stands today.

    Using the U.S. as the model is like using a third world country as an example of industrialization.  For example, aside from all the redundancy of having 4 separate unregulated carriers compete with each other and generally saturating one area while ignoring others, they also have technical deficiencies.   For instance, in the U.S. wireless carriers must first install fiber optic cable to feed their new transmitters while in other countries, that has already been done because the cable and wireless operators are generally combined instead of separate organizations.  And then we get to the U.S. blocking the world's cheapest yet highest quality vendor while other countries take advantage of their pricing and expertise.

    As for where the 5G rollout stands today:  that works as long as you intend to keep the new phone you buy for a year.   But increasingly people are keeping phones for 4-5 years.  So, the phone one buys today will need to accommodate tomorrow's technologies or become obsolete before its time.
    FileMakerFellermuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 38
    croprcropr Posts: 1,050member
    baylab said:
     4G is just as fast as 5G in the non-mmWave implementations.
    No it is not.  In a saturated network (think of city centers),  non-mm wave 5G is about 3 times faster than 4G. And more importantly it has a much smaller latency, which leads to faster reaction times. In a shooter game, a 4G connected gamer won't have a fighting change a 5G connected one, just because of the latency.
    GeorgeBMacmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 17 of 38
    still fascinates me that people who never owned a single product from a company can still have such an emotional feeling towards it. It's one thing to not like the offerings or feel like the offerings aren't quite as good as another company's but the way some of you react is, well...just sad. Unless a loved one was physically assaulted by and/or murdered by a Samsung device just chill - it's not that deep. Try some yoga or meditation, but I am a bit jealous that the rest of your life is so great that your only source of stress you can find in it is from a company that doesn't know, will never know or care that you exist...  
    Carnagemuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 38
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,455member
    macgui said:
    badmonk said:
    FaceID knockoff?  
    I think 'knockoff' is inappropriate seeing as how Sammie had it before Apple, even though it wasn't very good. Apple took the ball, ran with it, and scored big. Still Sammie had it first.

    But the new S20 line, like Apple's 11 line, is mostly just more of the same. Improving performance through newer technology, but no new killer feature(s). All the phones score better than the competition in one area or another.

    The Z (Zed) interests me more than the S20 line. I think a dependable, durable folding screen is still a long way off but I like that Sammie isn't giving up on it. I still prefer a small screen on the outside and a larger screen when opened. The Zed doesn't do that. But if it ran iOS, I'd give it a go.

    I'd like a peek into Apple's prototype lab to see what they've done. But it'll be years before an Apple folding phone sees the light of day.


     So what’s more important? Having something first or having a superior version of it? That’s all we ever hear from the Android crowd. Android has it first. The never mention the fact that their “firsts” almost always suck, just like Samsung’s folding phones. It takes Apple to do it right.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 38
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,455member

    NinjaMan said:
    still fascinates me that people who never owned a single product from a company can still have such an emotional feeling towards it. It's one thing to not like the offerings or feel like the offerings aren't quite as good as another company's but the way some of you react is, well...just sad. Unless a loved one was physically assaulted by and/or murdered by a Samsung device just chill - it's not that deep. Try some yoga or meditation, but I am a bit jealous that the rest of your life is so great that your only source of stress you can find in it is from a company that doesn't know, will never know or care that you exist...  
    Yeah, well, the reverse is more true. We have a number of users here who have never owned or used an Apple product but constantly post in these forums. And it’s almost always negative or supportive of the competition. What’s that all about? I may be an Apple fanboy but I don’t go posting on Samsung or Android tech blogs about it. Apple detractors seem obsessed with the company and compelled to post negative narratives.
    BeatsStrangeDaysjcs2305watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 38
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,901member
    lkrupp said:
    macgui said:
    badmonk said:
    FaceID knockoff?  
    I think 'knockoff' is inappropriate seeing as how Sammie had it before Apple, even though it wasn't very good. Apple took the ball, ran with it, and scored big. Still Sammie had it first.

    But the new S20 line, like Apple's 11 line, is mostly just more of the same. Improving performance through newer technology, but no new killer feature(s). All the phones score better than the competition in one area or another.

    The Z (Zed) interests me more than the S20 line. I think a dependable, durable folding screen is still a long way off but I like that Sammie isn't giving up on it. I still prefer a small screen on the outside and a larger screen when opened. The Zed doesn't do that. But if it ran iOS, I'd give it a go.

    I'd like a peek into Apple's prototype lab to see what they've done. But it'll be years before an Apple folding phone sees the light of day.


     So what’s more important? Having something first or having a superior version of it? That’s all we ever hear from the Android crowd. Android has it first. The never mention the fact that their “firsts” almost always suck, just like Samsung’s folding phones. It takes Apple to do it right.
    This isn't true. Apple still lacks in fast charging. The tri-camera setup improved upon other iPhones (vastly) but still didn't do enough to shake the board. The low light wide angle is terrible. Wireless charging is still behind (to the point that some phones can charge wirelessly, faster than an iPhone can through its own charger/cable. Those bezels look absolutely huge in 2020. Do you think Apple will do 5G better? It's going to use an Android part ;-).

    Ok, just kidding on that last one but QC will be providing the modem. Antennas? It won't be easy to best Huawei and Qualcomm in their specialist areas.

    And as we enter the IoT age, OSes will have to adapt to a new reality. Apple has iOS, Watch OS, iPad OS. Is that the route?

    What will become of HarmonyOS? Is that the better route?

    Right now, folding phones offer something worth having. The problem is price (still high) and durability (unproven) but without these first gen models, future generations can't get better/cheaper.

    Let's not forget the first generation MBAir which was underpowered, stripped of basic connectivity and overheated. Or the butterfly keyboard etc. Did Apple get those right, right from the start?

    There are plenty of things that Android has done better for a long time.

    All iPhones should be able to do this:



    Isn't that  a 'superior' way of resolving a very common problem?

    Those blanket statements don't really lead anywhere.
    edited February 2020 muthuk_vanalingam
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