Samsung Galaxy A20: Owner Review

by Aden Curran

I’m an average Australian. I use my phone for the most average of purposes – messaging, internet browsing, the occasional call. Breaking my smartphone was the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. My old smartphone – that is, a crappy, cheap, 2-year-old thing with a cracked screen, and a charge port on its last legs – carked it without warning. Suddenly bereft of all my contacts and mobile internet access, I soon discovered just how out-of-the-loop I had become – just how far smartphone technology had advanced in the two years since I had last glanced at the market. I am not a rich person. In the shop, my eyes quickly averted from the polished array of $1000+ latest-models lined up front-and-center. At the opposite end of the price spectrum, I found a $69 upgrade of the same model my last phone had been. No thanks. I had lived for quite long enough waiting for a laggy Chrome to load simple webpages. Somewhere nestled in the sweet spot between these two extremes I laid eyes upon the Galaxy A20. A capable piece of hardware, octo-core, with the modest pricetag of $200. An impressive HD display, a large screen. A battery life that dwarfed that of my previous phone by orders of magnitude. For my everyday needs, it seemed this phone would serve me well.

Build Quality – A Large Design, For Better Or Worse

holding smartphone After a few weeks of use, I had enough experience with the device to weigh its actual benefits against the marketing spin. The phone is not heavy for its size, which is considerable. This size comes with the benefit of a large screen which I have found great for watching online videos. The clarity of the HD screen could not be more impressive. I find myself constantly reminding myself that I bought this for only $200. At the same time, the size does come with its downsides. Using the phone single-handedly, it is difficult for my fingers to reach the entire length of the screen (and I have long fingers). This can make some features of certain apps uncomfortable or awkward to use without risking dropping the phone, such as removing conversation bubbles in the Messenger app.

The Long Battery Life

The battery life of this phone is phenomenal. It will last me through the entire day, even if I watch a video, listen to a podcast while walking, find my route with Google Maps, spend an hour browsing online. I almost always come home with at least 30% charge left. Another impressive feature of the Galaxy A20 is its Fast Charging. This, I feel, is a bit of a misnomer. A more appropriate name for it would be Extremely Fast Charging. With all apps closed, it takes five minutes to charge 10%. Perhaps I am still used to waiting hours for my old phone to charge – I am often shocked to come back to my phone after 40 or 50 minutes to find it already fully-charged. For a fast-paced life, this is incredibly convenient.

A Fingerprint Scanner That Actually Works

The device is of solid design, too. One might expect a feature such as fingerprint identification to work only haphazardly – more of a marketing gimmick than a real feature. But the Galaxy A20 delivers well on this front. The fingerprint scanner is actually a reliable way of signing in.

The Performance Is Patchy

The Galaxy A20 has 8 cores – that’s like the phone equivalent of a six pack. This is why I was surprised at my disappointment at the smartphone’s performance. For a newly-bought device (one with eight processing cores!) I find that Google Chrome will occasionally lag or bug-out. This is not a major issue since it doesn’t severely hamper my use of the device, however, it is slightly disappointing when I need to quit out of Chrome and restart it, putting a momentary roadblock in what should (for a new phone) be a seamless experience. It is a minor complaint, but anyone looking to buy this model should be aware that it is not flawless.

A Reasonable Asking Price

Even given this occasional dip in performance, I have found the $200 price tag to be good value for money. You get 32GB storage, 3GB RAM, HD display, versatile cameras, and modern quality-of-life features such as a powerful torch, the option to easily turn on or off location tracking, blue light filter, cloud sync among countless other lesser features. For all of this and the relative speed and stability of the software, I think the product is very well priced.

Other Features

Samsung did well to include lots of little quality of life features in this smartphone, my most used of which has to be the blue light filter and night mode. Night mode is quite standard on many phones and websites these days – it inverts the usual display into white text on black background, which really eases the eye strain. Another relief for your eyeballs is the blue light filter. This option allows you to adjust with a slider how much blue light is filtered out of the screen, slightly effecting the colouration of the display but reducing the toll it takes on your eyes. Research also suggests that blue light is a major factor in phones keeping you awake at night – so no more phone-induced unintentional late nights!

Android Gives You Options

The power of the Android OS is something I am a fan of, though some less tech-savvy users may find there’s a bit of getting used to. It is not quite as intuitive as an iPhone, but Android lets you control many more aspects of your experience which is something that to me is invaluable, even at the price of some added complexity.

The Judge’s Verdict

I have been using my new smartphone for over a month now. Overall, I give the Galaxy A20 a 7.5/10. It is a reliable phone with many quality features, though it can slow down at times and can be a bit too big for its own good. Aside from its few flaws, it is a well-designed and well-priced piece of technology, perfect for those who, like me, want a smartphone but don’t necessarily want to pay the premium price demanded by the latest gadgets.