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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
Good battery life
Decent main camera
Large OLED screen
Slim and sleek
The Galaxy A20 is still a decent Android phone if you can find it at a big discount, but there are newer, more enticing options out there.
We purchased the Samsung Galaxy A20 so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Samsung’s top-end premium phones are head-turners, but the gadget giant also makes an array of budget-conscious phones that can do the job for far less cash. The Galaxy A20 is one of the lowest-end options. Released in 2019 but still available as an affordable option, particularly through prepaid carriers, the Galaxy A20 won’t wow anyone with its speed or feature set. Still, it’s a decent all-around phone if you can find it at a low price.
The Galaxy A20 is sleek and slim, but it is unsurprisingly dominated by plastic. That’s typical for budget phones, although the glossy backing plate here is more susceptible to scratches than any phone I’ve tested in recent memory, collecting a number of visible blemishes in just a week of regular testing. Given that it’s a budget phone, at least you probably won’t feel too bad about it taking on scuffs—but it is still annoying.
Samsung’s budget phone does show its age a bit in the fast-moving mobile space by having a water drop-style notch at the top of the screen, given that many phones (including the newer Galaxy A21) now opt for a punch-hole camera cutout instead. There’s also a big chunk of “chin” bezel beneath the screen, but that is common for budget phones. The screen still largely dominates the front of the phone. On the back, the solidly responsive fingerprint sensor sits above the subtle Samsung logo, and the small camera module is found in the upper left corner.
The glossy backing plate here is more susceptible to scratches than any phone I’ve tested in recent memory.
Aside from the thin-feeling plastic backing, the Galaxy A20 feels solidly durable—but like most phones at this price level, there is no water resistance certification. You do get a 3.5mm headphone port on the bottom near the USB-C charging port, however, and the limited 32GB internal storage tally can be expanded with a microSD card up to 512GB in size.
The large 6.4-inch screen here is decent but unspectacular. It’s a low-resolution display at 720p, and I found text and graphics to be fuzzier and less smooth-looking than on the newer OnePlus Nord N100, which also has a 720p screen.
On the plus side, the AMOLED panel means you get punchier colors and deeper black levels than the Nord’s LCD, but the screen is slightly dim, so you can’t make the most of it. In other words, it’s not very crisp or bright, but it works just fine for streaming media, playing games, and your usual everyday smartphone needs.
The Galaxy A20 sets up the same as any other standard modern Android smartphone. Simply press and hold the power button on the right side of the frame to turn it on, and then follow the on-screen prompts through to completion. You’ll need an internet connection, either via your cellular SIM card or a Wi-Fi network, as well as a Google account, plus you’ll need to read and accept the terms and conditions and choose from a few basic settings along the way.
Samsung’s own lower-end Exynos 7884 processor is used in the Galaxy A20 with just 3GB RAM alongside, and it’s no surprise at all that this budget phone is sluggish in use. Phones this cheap just don’t have a lot of processing power to work with, and on top of that, the A20 is about two years old at this point. Getting around the interface and loading up apps is plagued with pauses and hitches, and while I was ultimately able to do everything I expect to with a smartphone, it was rarely ever smooth or particularly responsive. It is functional, though.
Benchmark testing bears out the slow-paced experience: PCMark’s Work 2.0 benchmark test resulted in a score of 5,311, or about 10 percent less than the score of the OnePlus Nord N100 and its Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 chip. That said, in side-by-side testing, some apps did pop up faster on the Galaxy A20 than the Nord N100, and basic usage felt similar on both. Still, the Galaxy A20’s score is less than half that of today’s pricey, top-end Android, so don’t expect smooth sailing here.
While I was ultimately able to do everything I expect to with a smartphone, it was rarely ever smooth or particularly responsive.
The Galaxy A20 also isn’t a great pick for mobile gaming, thanks to the meager processor and GPU alongside. The raucous 3D racer Asphalt 9: Legends is playable but very choppy, sometimes pausing or slowing down to single-digit frame rates during play. Simpler, less graphically-intensive games will be fine, but anything flashier will surely suffer. Scores of 10 frames per second in GFXBench’s Car Chase demo and 41fps in the T-Rex demo are better than the Nord, surprisingly, but not by much.
Given both the age and price of the Galaxy A20, it makes sense that the phone only supports 4G LTE connections, not speedier 5G. Even so, I was shocked to see the phone register the fastest download speed I’ve ever seen on Verizon’s LTE network during testing: 113Mbps.
Granted, I believe that’s due to increased network deployment in the particular testing area I was in (just north of Chicago), but at least you can rest assured that the Galaxy A20 is no slouch when it comes to taking advantage of LTE speeds. An unlocked Galaxy A20 can work with any of the major US carriers, but there are also carrier-specific models available.
You won’t get particularly great sound out of the Samsung Galaxy A20. It has a single mono speaker on the bottom that can get loud, but sounds confined and flat. Some phones, such as the OnePlus Nord N100, utilize the earpiece above the screen to deliver stereo sound, but the Galaxy A20 does not. It’s fine for watching videos and speakerphone, but if you want to play music from your phone, it’s well worth connecting an external speaker or using headphones instead.
The 13-megapixel main camera on the Samsung Galaxy A20 is actually pretty decent for the price, but it has the same issues that plague most low-cost phones. Well-lit daytime shots turn out pretty well most of the time, with balanced colors and solid detail, but low-light photos suffer from noise and softness. Compared to the OnePlus Nord N100, the Galaxy A20 routinely had better overall shots. The Nord’s punchier-looking results were sometimes more eye-catching at a glance but usually showed more noise upon closer inspection.
Well-lit daytime shots turn out pretty well most of the time, with balanced colors and solid detail, but low-light photos suffer from noise and softness.
The Galaxy A20 also has a 5-megapixel ultra-wide camera that is designed for scenes like landscapes and large group shots, but I don’t recommend using it. Shots taken with the secondary camera are not only consistently darker but also much less detailed. They also show a bit of distortion thanks to the curvature of the lens.
The 4,000mAh battery pack in the Galaxy A20 is solidly large and provides more than enough charge to get you through an average day. Even with the low-res screen and weak processor, though, it’s not quite enough power to stretch to two full days unless you use it very minimally. In my own testing, I’d usually finish the day with about 40 percent of a charge left, so there is some buffer for days in which you spend a lot more time staring at the screen.
The unlocked Galaxy A20 unit that we purchased for this review had Android 9 installed, but after a series of updates, it was updated to Android 10. Samsung’s version of the mobile OS is attractive and easy to understand, with plenty of room for customization if you want it. As mentioned, however, the sluggish performance means that menus and interactions don’t always feel as responsive as they will on pricier, more powerful phones.
The Galaxy A20 is expected to receive an Android 11 upgrade at some point, although that will likely be the last major update it receives. Samsung recently committed to providing three generations of Android upgrades to its flagship and mid-range phones, but the older, lower-end Galaxy A20 is not on that list.
Samsung still sells the Galaxy A20 for $250 from its own website, and in no way do I recommend paying that much money for this phone in 2021. The newer Galaxy A21 sells for the same price direct from Samsung and ought to deliver slightly improved performance, at the very least, but there are also other, more compelling phones out there in the $200-300 range.
For example, the OnePlus Nord N10 5G is a markedly better phone than the Galaxy A20 in nearly every way, and it offers 5G support. Even the $180 OnePlus Nord N100 is a better buy than spending $250 on the Galaxy A20. Luckily, some carriers offer the A20 for less than $100 with a service plan, and I’d say that’s an ideal price for an older, functional budget phone like this. It’s a decent handset, but there’s no good reason to spend $150+ on this phone anymore.
Samsung still sells the Galaxy A20 for $250 from its own website, and in no way do I recommend paying that much money for this phone in 2021.
Solid as a bargain-basement pick.
The Samsung Galaxy A20 feels a little bit dated and is a tough sell in 2021 at the $250 list price, but it can be found for much cheaper these days. For $100 or less, this is a decent entry-level phone with good battery life and a decent main camera, even if it suffers from poor performance and a fuzzy-looking screen. If you can’t find it at a significant discount, however, then you might consider the newer Galaxy A21 or the OnePlus Nord N100 instead.
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