Samsung revealed its latest flagship smartphones for 2020 in the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra. The new devices replace 2019's Galaxy S10, S10+ and S10 5G - with no direct replacement for the S10e. 

You can read how the Galaxy S20 range compares to each other in more detail in our separate feature, but here we are focusing on how the top-of-the-range Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra compares to 2019's hero, the Galaxy S10 5G.

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Design

  • S20 Ultra: 166.9 x 76 x 8.8mm, 220g
  • S10 5G: 162.6 x 77.1 x 7.9mm, 198g

Both the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G feature the same premium glass and metal design we have come to expect from Samsung's flagship devices, but the S20 Ultra changes things up significantly in terms of look.

On the front, the bezels have been reduced, resulting in a narrower taller handset thanks to a slight shift in aspect ratio. Meanwhile, the punch hole camera moves into the middle of the display for a much more symmetrical finish compared to the S10 5G that sees its dual front camera positioned in the top right of the display.

On the rear, it's all about the camera on the S20 Ultra, moving from the centralised horizontal camera array on the S10 5G to a more prominent rectangular camera housing in the top left corner.

Both devices are IP68 water and dust resistant and both feature an under display fingerprint scanner. The S20 Ultra is the larger and heavier device, but we much prefer its design compared to the S10 5G.

Display

  • S20 Ultra: 6.9-inch, Infinity-O, 120Hz
  • S10 5G: 6.7-inch, Infinity-O, 60Hz

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Galaxy S10 5G both offer Super AMOLED displays with vibrant colours and deep blacks. They also both offer a 2K resolution, HDR10+ support and the Infinity-O design, where the display curves slightly round at the edges and the front camera is cut out at the top - negating the need for an ugly notch.

Where these two devices differ however is not only in size - the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 0.2-inch larger display than the S10 5G - but also in refresh rate. The Galaxy S20 Ultra offers a 120Hz refresh rate when the resolution is set to Full HD - which it is by default. The S10 5G meanwhile, has a standard 60Hz refresh rate.

As mentioned, the S20 Ultra also sees its front camera cutout in the centre of the top of the device, like the S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite devices, while the S10 5G has a dual front camera positioned in the top right corner.

Hardware and specs

  • S20 Ultra: Exynos 990, 12/16GB RAM, 128/512GB storage + microSD, 5000mAh
  • S10 5G: Exynos 9820, 8GB RAM, 256/512GB storage, 4500mAh

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is all about specs. Running on the latest Exynos 990 processor in the UK and Europe - likely to be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 in the US - there is 12GB of RAM as standard with the option of 16GB RAM. Storage comes in 128GB for the 12GB of RAM model but jumps up to 512GB in the 16GB RAM model and you'll find microSD on board for storage expansion.

The Galaxy S10 5G runs on the older but still very powerful Exynos 9820 in the UK and Europe, or Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 in the US, supported by 8GB of RAM. There are 256GB and 512GB storage options, neither of which have microSD support for storage expansion.

It isn't just the extra RAM the S20 Ultra offers over the S10 5G though. There's also a bump in battery with the S20 Ultra featuring a huge 5000mAh cell compared to the 4500mAh capacity of the S10 5G.

As you would expect, both models are 5G compatible and both offer wireless and reverse wireless charging.

Cameras

  • S20 Ultra: 108MP main, 12MP ultra wide, 48MP telephoto, DepthVision; 40MP front
  • S10 5G: 12MP main, 16MP ultra wide, 12MP telephoto, ToF; 10MP front + ToF

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra changes up the design and ups the specs compared to the S10 5G, but it's the camera department that it really shows its true colours.

It is worth noting that more pixels don't automatically mean better camera so it's worth waiting for the full reviews of the S20 Ultra to come out before you buy this phone just for the camera. That said, Samsung is making lots of promises with the S20 Ultra, with the main talking point being the 100X Super Resolution Zoom.

Then there is also the 108-megapixel main camera, which is quite a big jump from the S10 5G's 12-megapixel sensor, the 40-megapixel front camera and some interesting features, such as Single Take and the ability to capture 8K video.

The S10 5G meanwhile, offers good camera performance, but it wasn't class leading when we reviewed it, lacking in the zoom department - a feature the S20 Ultra looks to address. It too offers some interesting features, but it only stretches to 4K video capture. This is where the Galaxy S20 Ultra is basically a completely fresh approach to cameras.

Pricing

  • S20 Ultra: TBC
  • S10 5G: £1099

At the time of writing, pricing has not been revealed for the S20 Ultra, though we would expect it to be around the same as the S10 5G launched at - probably more. 

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G cost £1099 when we reviewed it, though it has come down in price since, meaning it will likely be the cheaper of the two handsets being compared here.

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Conclusion

The Galaxy S20 Ultra is Samsung's newest, top-of-the-range phone, which means it offers everything the company currently has to offer.

There's a larger display compared to the S10 5G, a new design that really highlights how much of a focus has been placed on the cameras, and it's packed full of features, including 8K video capture and the option of a 120Hz refresh rate display. And that's before you consider the 16GB of RAM available and the huge 5000mAh battery.

On paper, the S20 Ultra betters the S10 5G in most areas, including support for microSD, but it is likely you'll pay the price for the improvements and ultimately, the S10 5G is still a very good phone, even if it's design is a little dated now.