Samsung has recently — and quietly — launched the Galaxy A20 in the Philippines, further expanding its line of impressive-yet-affordable A series smartphones in the country.
This latest offering is priced at P9,990 (roughly $192) and is the company’s most budget-friendly device with an ultra-wide lens. Come to think of it, we don’t recall seeing a phone with a wide camera sell for this cheap on the local market as of late.
Perhaps more impressively, especially if you’re not into photography at all, the Samsung Galaxy A20 boasts the company’s Super AMOLED Infinity-V Display, making it suited for displaying content such as photos, videos, and games, as compared with most phones in this price range. The size of the screen — 6.4 inches — is a huge plus as well. You can read the rest of our hands-on review below.
Like other smartphones in the A series lineup, this thing looks and feels more premium than its price tag would have you believe. Yes, the body is made of plastic with a shiny metallic finish, the kind that’s prevalent these days; but no, it doesn’t look cheap and poorly built or feel too lightweight and insubstantial in the hand. The casing is available in three solid colors — black, blue, and red.
Physically, it could be too large to grip comfortably with a case despite the relatively slim side bezels and curved-back design. One-handed use won’t be easy with some added protection around the frame.
The new software experience courtesy of Samsung’s One UI based on Android 9.0 Pie includes a redesigned interface for easier one-handed use, if you’re up for it. A quick side note: The Samsung Galaxy A20 doesn’t ship with a case in the retail box. This handset is made of plastic that isn’t as strong as aluminum, so a case might be in order if you’re on the clumsy side.
The back of the unit features two cameras stacked vertically and an oval-shaped fingerprint reader that works surprisingly well despite its shape, but might be positioned too high, too close to the main camera module, to be used comfortably by people with smaller hands.
All the hardware buttons are located on the right-hand side for convenience. But what’s even more interesting is that Samsung decided against including a dedicated Bixby button on the Galaxy A20. Hopefully, this sticks with future devices from the company.
Bixby isn’t exactly the most popular digital assistants around, and it has been slow to improve compared with chief rival Google Assistant. Of course, Bixby is still present in the software of the Galaxy A20, even if you decide not to use it.
At the bottom, you’ll find a headphone jack, a USB-C port, and a mono speaker. The latter can get decently loud at higher volume levels. This device also has Dolby Atmos audio technology to enhance sound when using headphones or other compatible audio sources.
Meanwhile, the port supports fast charging up to 15 watts, which can refill an empty battery to full in about two hours. The Galaxy A20 comes with a 15-watt fast charger and cable in the box. Very generous, Samsung.
Moving to the front, this handset rocks a sizable Super AMOLED screen with small side and bottom bezels and a notch at the top where the front camera sits. It looks reasonably crisp at 1,560 x 720 pixels. It is taller, too, with a trendy aspect ratio of 19.5:9. Watching movies, viewing pictures, and playing games on this display is a pretty good experience. The color reproduction offers enough punch, and the viewing angles are wide.
The rounded-edge glass on top of the panel, meanwhile, provides comfort as you swipe through the user interface and scroll down your social media feed.
On a related note, you can switch between navigation keys that appear at the bottom of the display and full-screen gestures that are designed to leverage on the large, rounded screen of the Galaxy A20. Samsung’s gestures aren’t similar to those on the Apple iPhone X, iPhone XR, and iPhone XS, though. The idea here is you swipe up where the navigation buttons would be placed if the navigation bar wasn’t hidden.
For some reason, however, the screen lacks Samsung’s signature always-on function, which lets check on the time and pending notifications while the display is off.
The camera array at the back of the Galaxy A20 is a big selling point, as we pointed out earlier. This is one of the most affordable — if not the cheapest — handset with an ultra-wide-angle lens, which makes it easier to shoot landscapes, interiors, and group shots. Basically, if you travel a lot, or even if you simply want to take good pictures of scenic locations, then a wide camera such as the one found on this Samsung model will serve you well.
Hats off to Samsung for including an ultra-wide-angle lens in a smartphone as affordable as the Galaxy A20
As for the specs, you’re looking at a 13-megapixel main sensor behind an f/1.9 aperture lens paired with a 5-megapixel secondary sensor with an f/2.2 wide-angle lens.
Shots from both cameras are good in daylight, capturing enough detail and delivering vibrant yet accurate colors, with balanced exposure and decent dynamic range. The digital zoom goes up to 4x, and we wouldn’t mind using it to get closer to a subject.
Picture quality understandably dips in low-light scenes, especially when it comes to photos taken with the wide camera, which has a smaller lens opening. There’s no Night mode, or even AI mode, to enhance your pictures like some competitors.
Another downside? There’s no tap-to-focus function when shooting with the wide camera, so night shots could really be better. Also: The extra-wide shooter produces a fish-eye effect where details around the edges bend in toward the center of the frame depending on where and what you’re shooting.
The front camera is 8 megapixels and f/2.0. It offers ample detail and can snap photos with adjustable bokeh when using the Live Focus mode, though skin tones don’t always look convincingly natural.
Live Focus mode: Disabled vs enabled
Inside, Samsung’s latest Exynos 7884 powers the Galaxy A20. The processor is mated to Mali-G71 graphics, 3GB RAM, and 32GB of internal storage that can be expanded to 512GB by adding a microSD card. The device performs admirably for its price range. It’s responsive and snappy enough, but you’ll probably notice some stuttering when running multiple apps or graphically intensive games like PUBG Mobile.
The battery pack is 4,000mAh, which Samsung quotes can deliver all-day usage on a single charge. That’s actually pretty conservative based on our testing. With moderate use, our review sample lasted us more than 24 hours with some juice left over for our morning routine the next day.
Samsung says the Galaxy A20 can deliver all-day usage on a single charge. That’s pretty conservative; with moderate use, our review unit lasted us more than 24 hours with some juice left over for our morning routine the next day
This is by no means an objective way to measure battery life, and your mileage may vary, but suffice to say the battery is good enough to get you through a day fine. Once the battery is depleted, it doesn’t take a long while to get to a full charge using the 15-watt stock charger.
The Samsung Galaxy A20 is a seriously good budget phone for two reasons. The first is that the screen is large and uses the manufacturer’s Super AMOLED technology to deliver above-average brightness and vibrancy. Then there’s the second reason — the wide-angle camera that is ideal for landscapes and interiors that require wide-angle views.
The rest of the hardware delivers a mostly solid experience. The Exynos 7884 inside can run modern games, while the 4,000mAh battery should last a full day on a single charge and boasts fast charging. If you’re after a good phone for under P10,000 ($192), there’s no walking past the Galaxy A20.
Samsung Galaxy A20 specs
- 6.4-inch Infinity-V screen, Super AMOLED, 1,520 x 720, 268ppi
- Octa-core Exynos 7884 processor
- Mali-G71 MP2 GPU
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB storage
- microSD up to 512GB (dedicated slot)
- 13-megapixel, f/1.9 + 5-megapixel, f/2.2 rear cameras
- 5-megapixel front camera, f/2.0
- 4G LTE
- Fingerprint sensor
- USB Type-C
- Samsung One UI, Android 9 Pie
- 4,000mAh battery with support for 15-watt fast c
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