It’s the final stretch of 2020 and we can finally look back at Samsung’s performance over the past twelve months and see how the company treated its customers during one of the worst years in recent history. And there’s good news, as Samsung was able to releases a ton of new and improved smartphones this year, from budget-friendly devices to mid-range value monsters and innovative foldable flagship phones.
But with so many great mobile products to have come out of Samsung’s factory gates this year, it’s nearly impossible to pick a definitive winner. Is the Galaxy A51 the best device of the year thanks to its massive shipment numbers? Definitely, if shipping figures is what you care for the most, which is doubtful.
Nevertheless, this year Samsung had something to offer for everyone, so let’s take a look at some of the most impactful Galaxy phones of 2020, in order of released, and the features that made then stand out the most. Which Galaxy smartphone do you reckon should be on top?
Galaxy Note 10 Lite: First attempt to make the S Pen more affordable
The Galaxy Note 10 Lite was the first smartphone included in this list to have went on sale in 2020. It was released in January as Samsung’s first-ever attempt at creating a budget-oriented smartphone equipped with an S Pen, and it succeeded.
For obvious reasons – mainly the low 600 EUR price in most European markets – the Galaxy Note 10 Lite had to let go of certain key features that are present in the premium Galaxy Note series, such as an IP rating, DeX support, and the premium camera combo.
However, for Galaxy fans who’ve been waiting for an opportunity to experience the S Pen and the suite of productivity apps without breaking the bank, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite represented their best option to date and it still remains a decent choice even after the launch of the base Galaxy Note 20 model.
Galaxy Z Flip: Revitalizing an old, beloved form factor
The Galaxy Z Flip was a great addition to Samsung’s emerging foldable series. The first of its kind, the Galaxy Z Flip revitalized the old clamshell form factor when it was released in February.
It’s the company’s second foldable device ever, and it’s probably one of the most resilient foldable devices on the market. It introduced the UTG and Hinge Sweeper technologies, both of which were later adopted by the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
But perhaps more importantly, the Galaxy Z Flip proved that the mobile world doesn’t have to be confined within the limits of the so-called candy bar form factor.
Galaxy S20 Ultra: The king of optical zoom
The Galaxy S20 series may have had a rocky start due to early issues with Samsung’s new ambitious camera system but problems were addressed via firmware updates and, in the end, we think that the Galaxy S20 Ultra was able to earn its place in history. It remains one of Samsung’s best and most intriguing Galaxy S devices of all time, and it also deserves praise for introducing high refresh rate displays.
It was the first and possibly the last Galaxy phone to carry the Space Zoom branding. The label was accompanied by a massive 108MP main camera and a 48MP periscope telephoto sensor boasting up to 100x zoom.
But the big takeaway is that even if the Space Zoom branding may be gone, Samsung’s bonkers periscope telephoto lens technology that debuted with the Galaxy S20 Ultra is changing the mobile industry, forcing rivals to follow in its footsteps.
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: The best S Pen experience to date
Every year Samsung releases a new Galaxy Note model with better hardware internals and a refreshed version of its Android skin, but this year Samsung went the extra mile, at least in regards to the more expensive Galaxy Note 20 variant.
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra boasts a 120Hz display protected by Gorilla Glass Victus and a new S Pen with an outstanding latency of just 9ms. As a result, writing and doodling on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is almost an analog experience.
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the best flagship in the series for anyone who considers the S Pen and the accompanying suite of apps to be the most important part of the Galaxy Note experience. It was also the first smartphone model to bring Wireless DeX for more freedom.
Galaxy M51: Breaking the 6,000mAh battery barrier
This year Samsung didn’t break new ground exclusively in the premium segment, but instead, the company tried to improve its product lineup across all price points, and the Galaxy M51 was a result of those efforts.
The Galaxy M51 is Samsung’s first-ever consumer-grade smartphone to break the 6,000mAh battery capacity barrier. It features an impressive 7,000mAh unit with the added benefit of 25W fast charging.
The phone’s design is unassuming, the macro camera isn’t fantastic, and features are missing on the software side of things because it’s a Galaxy M-branded device after all. But for a sub-$300 price, the Galaxy M51 offers unbeatable hardware to the point where it challenges even the more expensive Galaxy A71.
Galaxy Z Fold 2: Challenging the mobile world’s limits
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 wasn’t a new entry to Samsung’s foldable portfolio the same way the Galaxy Z Flip was, however, it improved upon the formula established by the original Galaxy Fold in virtually every aspect.
Samsung’s second foldable smartphone-tablet hybrid was released with a considerably larger outer display, a better foldable screen that boasts a high refresh rate of 120Hz, better internal hardware and an updated design. It is the best foldable of its kind, Samsung or otherwise.
And whether you love it or hate it, it’s undeniable that the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has changed the mobile landscape in 2020, arguably for the better. Its existence alone has persuaded other OEMs like LG and Microsoft to think outside the box. Regardless, it’s a dream come true for many smartphone fans who have been following the foldable display scene for many years.
Galaxy S20 FE: Incredible value for money
Last but certainly not least, the Galaxy S20 FE was released in October 2020 and it makes the list for several reasons. It’s not perfect, as some units are suffering from a touchscreen issue, but in normal conditions the Galaxy S20 FE is a killer smartphone.
It offers incredible value for money and it can be described as Samsung’s flagship killer of 2020. Despite the fact that it was released for under $700, the Galaxy S20 FE has a 120Hz Super AMOLED display, an excellent main camera, all-day battery life (even on 120Hz), water resistance, wireless charging, flagship-grade software and lots of colors to choose from.
It’s also one of Samsung’s very few smartphone models to ship with a Qualcomm-made Snapdragon chipset in every market, at least on the 5G variant, and it’s the first FE-branded phone to go on sale in years.
Despite the economic uncertainties caused by the global pandemic, 2020 was a good year for Samsung Galaxy smartphone fans. We had countless models to choose from at varying price points and Samsung continued to innovate in numerous segments, including mid-range.
We believe that every device on this list is worthy of mention or praise for different reasons but we’d love to hear from our readers as well. Have you purchased any one of these Galaxy smartphone models this year or would you add more to this list? Which Samsung smartphone model released in 2020 do you think is the best and why? We invite you to cast your vote and/or leave a comment below.