REVIEW | Samsung Galaxy A20 smartphone

By Ajay Joseph

Samsung is the undisputed leader in the Android space and that has been the situation for several years. Its Galaxy S lineup is the benchmark of sorts in the flagship segment. With an intent to put out some serious contenders in the lower end of the midrange, comes the A20, just a month after the A30. For the most part, it’s very similar to the A30, with scaled-down specs. Let’s take a closer look at the Galaxy A20, and get a sense of whether it has what it takes to be a reliable daily driver. 

Design and Ergonomics   

The design is slick, and the test unit was a Deep Blue, which felt well-designed and unlike a low-cost phone. The screen is almost edge-to-edge, with a slight chin; but unlike the A30, it is not protected by Gorilla Glass.

The rear is plastic and houses a fingerprint reader and the dual-camera module. Sandwiched between the two layers is an aluminum frame, with rounded edges. The horizontal ends of the device taper, creating for an ultra-slim feel when held in the hand. At its thickest the device is 7.8mm.

The buttons are on the right — one for power, and one long one for the volume rocker which is placed fairly high, making it difficult to reach for one-handed use. At the bottom is a 3.5mm audio jack, and a USB Type-C connector; interesting inclusions at this price point. The SIM tray is on the top left and supports dual SIMs and a Micro-SD card simultaneously. 

Specs and Performance 

The Galaxy A20 is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 7884, a mid-range SoC. When compared to the Snapdragon 660, it does perform lower, thanks to the 660’s newer 8 Kryo cores and more competent Adreno 512 GPU. That said, it’s no slouch and in day-to-day use, it’s hard to fault. The A20 is coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

Having recently used the A30, and also 2018’s A7 from Samsung — also a midrange offering at a slightly higher tier — performance is pretty comparable, though the A30 comes with 4GB of ram, and the A7 with 6GB. They both cost more, the A7 a fair bit more. As part of the testing, NBA 2K19 was installed and played, and it seemed to perform well.

The screen is a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, which is again an interesting inclusion at this price point and segment. The resolution is just 720p but isn’t noticeably lacking in terms of sharpness. Colors are vibrant, and there is certainly a pop to the video. Atop is a tiny cutout notch for the front camera.

While the face-unlock isn’t the fastest, it’s much quicker than when last tested on the A30. I’d imagine that Samsung rolled out a system update that improved the performance. Worth calling out that it works even in low light and near-complete darkness, thanks to the light from the screen.

Battery and Charging   

Included in the A20 device is a massive 4000 mAh battery, offering easy all-day use without needing to be charged, unless usage and screen-on time are very high. The battery does support fast charging at 15W and takes just under 2 hours to go from 0 to 100% using the included charger.

Below is the Charge Matrix:

Starting at 0%

  • 10 minutes – 9%
  • 30 minutes – 30%
  • 45 minutes – 46%
  • 60 minutes – 60%
  • 90 minutes – 89%
  • 100 minutes – 95%
  • 112 minutes – 100%

Battery life is pretty strong, and even recording over an hour of continuous video hardly dents the charge level.

Software and User Experience

The Galaxy A20 runs Android 9 Pie, with Samsung’s One UI 1.1. The user interface is light and modern and features the Bixby smart assistant, which I didn’t bother with it.

Since the device allows for some pre-installed Samsung and Google apps to be uninstalled, you can opt to remove the ones you don’t use. This is wise considering the device has just 32GB of storage and can get full quickly.

On first use, in default factory mode, the unit had 22.4GB of space available. Similar to the A30, the Storage section within Settings allows for cache cleanup and other device optimization.

Game Launchers seems to be pretty standard nowadays, and the A20 includes Samsung’s version of this. It allows for call blocking, suppression of chat notifications, temporary deactivation of auto-screen brightness adjustment, and other useful game aids. Also included are video recording and screenshot features.

Connecting the devices via USB to the PC is hassle-free, with the A20 being readily detected and appearing under My Computer. Browsing through the phone contents revealed that screenshots taken on the device were appropriately named, based on where they were taken, with suffixes such as One UI Home, Settings, etc.

Camera and Optics

Camera optics include dual cameras at the rear, a primary 13-megapixel sensor, and a secondary 5-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor. At the front is an 8-megapixel sensor for selfies.

After testing the device under various conditions, it’s safe to conclude the camera capabilities of the A20 are quite average. But given the price point and the limited hardware perhaps it’s understandable. While the A30 captured decent detail in daylight, even outdoor well-lit pictures were just about okay on the A20.

Landscape pictures during sunset were merely average, and while some mid-day pictures had detail, they lacked color vibrancy. Low light and night shots as expected were weak. Some pictures were barely acceptable, with others dipping even lower. Even indoor pictures with afternoon ambient light suffered.

The Ultra-wide angle feature is nice to have, especially in this segment. Results were similar to the A30, given that the hardware is the same. Wide-angle pictures have a fisheye similar to the Go Pro. Quality is noticeably lower though, as compared to the primary sensor. Night pictures using this lens are quite poor, and unusable.

Selfies are also nothing special and are just about okay. It’s more a case of having the capability, but not really about being able to take great pictures. Some well-lit daylight selfies were good, but otherwise, they were decent at best. 

Value and Competition

With an official price of P9,990 and cheaper online options going down to P9,100, the Galaxy A20 is worth considering if you’re looking to have a Samsung device. It’s functional for daily use, with no noticeable lag, and coupled with the massive battery it does last the day easily. That said the camera is merely functional and otherwise forgettable.

Direct competitors include the Honor 10 Lite, the Realme 3, and the Asus ZenFone Max M2. All of which have a good deal on offer, too. So it comes down to your preferences, with the Samsung brand being perhaps the main selling point.

Conclusion   

The Samsung Galaxy A20 is a competent device, offering good functionality in a slick classy feeling package. The specs are good for daily use, and the 4000 mAh battery, with the 6.4 inch Super AMOLED screen being key elements. The camera is perhaps the weak point of the device, and if photography is vital to you, it’s better to pay a little more and step up to the A30 or consider devices from other brands. But if you’re particular about owning a Samsung device, and prioritize functionality over photography, the A20 is right for you. 

Model: SM-A205GN/DS

Price: P 9,990

Verdict: Competent specs, in a well-packaged Samsung device, with a massive 4000 mAh battery.

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