Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone Xs: Should You Save or Upgrade?

Samsung’s upcoming flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra, are expected to headline the tech juggernaut’s Unpacked event. Even before the launch, a lot of reliable leaked information on the S20 series has already surfaced. We collate what we know about the top-of-the-line Galaxy S20 Ultra and compare them with the highly-rated, but more affordable Apple iPhone Xs to help you decide whether you should upgrade or save.

Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone Xs Comparison Chart

ModelSamsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5GApple iPhone Xs
Samsung galaxy s20 ultragalaxy s20 ultra vs iphone x
PriceComing SoonCheck Price
Display120 Hz Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED display60 Hz Super Retina HD OLED Display
Screen Size6.92″5.8”
Resolution3200 x 1440 pixels2436 x 1125 pixels
Pixel Density511 PPI458 PPI
Dimensions167 x 76 x 8.8 mm143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm
Weight221 g177 grams
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 865A12 Bionic chip with
second-generation
Neural Engine
5GYesNo
RAM12GB/16GB4GB
Storage128GB, 512GB64GB, 256GB, 512GB
Rear Cameras108MP Wide, 48MP Telephoto, 12MP Ultra-Wide, ToF CameraDual 12MP Wide and Telephoto cameras
ZoomUp to 10X Optical Zoom and 100X Digital ZoomUp to 10x Digital Zoom
Front Cameras40MP12MP Smart HDR
VideoRear: up to 8K 30 fps
Front: up to 4K 60 fps
Rear: Up to 4K at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps
Front: Up to 1080p HD at 30 fps or 60 fps
Face IDNoYes
Battery5000mAh2,658mAh
Battery LifeTBAVideo Playback: Up to 14 hours
Audio Playback: Up to 60 hours
Wireless ChargingTBAYes
Water ResistanceIP68IP68 
Android VersionAndroid 10.0 with One UI 2.0N/A
MicroSDYes, up to 1TBNo
ColorsCosmic Black, Cosmic GreySilver
Space Gray
Gold

Design

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra will have a significantly larger display than the iPhone Xs

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone XS
Leaked marketing images of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (left) and the iPhone Xs (right)

With a 6.92-inch display size, the Galaxy S20 Ultra houses the largest screen size among the S20 series to be launched by Samsung. This is significantly larger than the 5.8-inch display of the iPhone Xs. At 167 by 76 by 8.8 mm, the S20 Ultra’s dimensions are also bigger than the Xs that only measures 143.6 by 70.9 by 7.7 mm.

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Both sport a stainless steel body, but the iPhone Xs comes with durable back glass design. The 177-gram Xs is also lighter than the S20 Ultra that weighs 221 grams. They both feature an all-screen design with physical control buttons on the side and nothing on the front. To achieve slimmer bezels, both the Galaxy S20 Ultra and the iPhone Xs do not have the traditional audio jack anymore. The back of both handsets houses their rear cameras located at the upper left corner, with the S20 Ultra sporting two cameras more than the iPhone Xs’s dual camera.

As for their colors, the iPhone Xs is available in silver, space gray, and gold, while the upcoming Samsung Galaxy is expected to come in black and gray.

Display

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra will have a higher pixel density and refresh rate than the Apple iPhone Xs.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra will have 511 pixels per inch (PPI) while the iPhone Xs has 458

The new Galaxy S20 Ultra features a 120 Hz Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED display, a significant upgrade from the 60 Hz Super Retina HD OLED display of the iPhone Xs. While the ‘Infinity-O Dynamic’ and ‘Super Retina’ are terms coined by Samsung and Apple, respectively, the two smartphones vary in their AMOLED and OLED display. Notably, the AMOLED in the Galaxy S20 Ultra is generally better than the OLED used in the iPhone Xs.

Apple devices are known for their highly responsive and smooth panels. However, its 60 Hz refresh rate can’t match the smoothness provided by a 120 Hz refresh rate available in the soon-to-be-released S20 Ultra. Nonetheless, the million-to-one contrast ratio offered by the iPhone Xs still makes this a good device for movies, games, and the like.

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Performance

The Galaxy S20 Ultra supports 5G and is remarkably more powerful than the iPhone Xs

Major carriers have started rolling out 5G networks with unrivaled speeds all over the US

2018, the year when the iPhone Xs was released, doesn’t seem like a long time ago, but processors have come a long way since then. At the end of 2019, Qualcomm released its latest processor, the Snapdragon 865, that has posted impressive benchmark scores using reference devices.

The slated Galaxy S20 Ultra will presumably run on this powerful processor while the iPhone Xs runs on Apple’s custom A12 Bionic chip. It is also predicted that the S20 Ultra will come with either a 12GB or 16GB RAM, a significant difference from the iPhone Xs’s 4GB RAM.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 supports 5G connectivity, thus the Galaxy S20 Ultra on the horizon is expected to be equipped with 5G capabilities like the Galaxy S10 5G, one of its predecessors. Meanwhile, none of the iPhone devices support 5G connectivity at present.

Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra will have four rear cameras while the Apple iPhone Xs only has two.

The S20 Ultra (left) features up to 100x digital zoom, 10 times the zooming capabilities of the iPhone Xs (right)

Samsung raises the bar with the S20 Ultra’s impressive rear cameras: a 108MP wide, 48MP telephoto, 12MP ultra-wide, and a dedicated ToF (Time of Flight) camera. The high-resolution 108MP was made possible by the smartphone’s powerful processor that can support up to 200MP sensors.

With the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s four rear cameras, 10x optical zoom and 100x digital zoom, the iPhone Xs’s 12MP wide and telephoto with 10x digital zoom pale in comparison. In addition, the ToF camera in the S20 Ultra allows for better 3D space sensing and more stunning bokeh for video recording. As for their resolution, the Galaxy S20 Ultra can capture up to 8K videos while the iPhone Xs can only record up to 4K videos through its rear cameras.

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Users who like taking selfies will benefit from the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 40MP front camera that can record up to 4K videos at 60 fps. Meanwhile, the iPhone Xs comes with a 12MP front camera that can record up to 1080p HD videos. Although not as impressive as the S20 Ultra’s, the iPhone Xs’s front camera is still great as far as front cameras go for phones in this class.

Battery and Additional Features

Both the Galaxy S20 Ultra and iPhone Xs are dust and water-resistant, but the Galaxy S20 Ultra will have a larger battery capacity

iPhone Xs and Xs Max
While they are both IP68-rated, the Galaxy S20 Ultra can withstand lower depth levels

Samsung’s upcoming flagship smartphone does not only have ‘ultra’ camera features. It is also packed with a 5000mAh battery to ensure you can use your smartphone for longer hours. On the other hand, the iPhone Xs is equipped with a 2,658mAh which translates to up to 14 and 60 hours of video and audio playback, respectively.

Even though the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a much larger battery capacity on paper, we can only confirm the actual hours of usage once the actual phones are out as the capacity is not the only factor to be considered.

Both the Galaxy S20 Ultra and iPhone Xs have an IP rating of 68, which indicates that they can withstand rain, splashes, and dust. However, they can survive different depth levels. The iPhone Xs can withstand being submerged up to a depth of two meters while the Galaxy S20 Ultra is water-resistant for up to 5 meters.

Smartphone users who like taking a lot of photos and videos will benefit from the expandable storage that the Galaxy S20 Ultra will have. It is predicted to have internal storage of up to 512GB and can support up to 1TB of expandable storage. On the other hand, Apple’s iPhone Xs does not support external storage and comes in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage options.

Verdict

The Galaxy S20 Ultra packs powerful features that make it worth the price, but the iPhone XS is still a solid smartphone choice for those who wish to save

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Samsung galaxy s20 ultra

Apple iPhone XS

galaxy s20 ultra vs iphone x

These two smartphones command very different price points, with the Galaxy S20 Ultra slated to be at the pricier end of the spectrum. The S20 Ultra is estimated to cost around 1,399 USD, a premium price tag that is not surprising considering all the top-notch features that come with it. On the other hand, the older Apple iPhone Xs comes with decent features at a more attractive price point. At the time of writing, it costs less than half of the estimated price of the S20 Ultra.

If the price tag is not an issue, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra offers overall great value for your money. With its 5G connectivity, 8K video recording capability, ToF camera, 100x digital zoom, higher-resolution photos, and up to 1TB expandable storage, you’ll get your money’s worth.

Make sure to bookmark this page for updates once the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra officially hits the market.