If you’re looking for a new smartphone, Samsung’s are some of the best around. And they don’t come much better than its Galaxy S range – this is Samsung’s premium line-up of handsets, offering superb specs and features.
The Galaxy S range has been running since 2010. It’s evolved significant since then, and competes directly with Apple’s iPhone.
If you’re a little confused by its naming conventions, allow us to explain. The range started being numbered sequentially – the original Galaxy S was followed by the Galaxy S2 the following year, then the S3 the year after that, and so on. That carried on until the Galaxy S10 line-up in 2019. This was followed in 2020 by the Galaxy S20 – it’s thought the name change was to make the phones sound more modern.
Now, each handset bears the year it was launched, so the S20 launched in 2020, and the S21 this year.
Each line-up consists of more than one handset. The standard S model is often joined by a Plus variant (also written ‘+’) which is bigger and more powerful. In recent years, there’s also been an ‘Ultra’ model, which is bigger and more powerful still.
There have also been other variants like ‘FE’ and ‘e’, but these are less common. And we’ll explain them as we come to them.
There have been dozens of Galaxy S phones over the years, many of which are still on sale. Wondering which is for you? Let’s find out.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The S21 Ultra is Samsung’s latest and greatest handset, the top-of-the-range phone in the new S21 line-up. It packs a bigger screen than its S21 siblings (a mammoth 6.8 inches), as well as more advanced cameras: as well as a ridiculous 40-megapixel selfie camera, there’s a quad camera set-up on the back, comprising a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens, 108-megapixel wide-angle, and two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses with a 100x space zoom.
It has a bigger battery too, and comes in a 512GB model (the other two top out at 256GB), giving you more storage. It also works with the S Pen stylus, making it the first of Samsung’s handsets outside the Galaxy Note range to do so.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is right for you if:
- You want the best Samsung phone around, with the most storage and longest battery life
- You want one of the best cameras to be found on a smartphone
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is available to pre-order now, and will be in stores from Friday 29th January.
Check out the best Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra deals
Samsung Galaxy S21+
Like the other phones in the S21 range, the S21+ has 5G connectivity for super speedy web access, downloads and streaming. With a 6.7-inch screen, it’s smaller than the S21 Ultra, but only a smidge, and it has the same cameras as the standard S21 – that’s a 10-megapixel selfie snapper, and a triple-camera rear array (a 12-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens, 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 64-megapixel telephoto lens).
The battery is also bigger than the standard S21’s (a bigger screen is more of a power drain), but not quite as big as the S21 Ultra’s.
The Samsung Galaxy S21+ is right for you if:
- You want a bigger screen, but don’t need the extra camera options of the S21 Ultra
- The standard S21 isn’t quite powerful enough for you
The Samsung Galaxy S21+ is available to pre-order now, and will be in stores from Friday 29th January.
Check out the best Samsung Galaxy S21+ deals
Samsung Galaxy S21
The S21 is the standard option in the S21 range. While smaller than the S21+ and S21 Ultra, the screen is still a very respectable 6.2 inches big, and it has the same 120Hz refresh rate as its siblings (that’s higher than Apple’s iPhones, and means fast-moving action like sports and games won’t blur).
It has the same waterproof and dustproof rating as the others in the S21 family, and the same camera set-up as the S21+. The battery is also a little smaller than the S21+’s, but so is the screen, so you shouldn’t notice much drop in battery life.
For most of us, the S21 is more than enough smartphone. And of course, 5G comes as standard.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 is right for you if:
- You want the latest Samsung smartphone without an oversized screen
- You don’t want to spend as much as the S21+ and S21 Ultra command
The Samsung Galaxy S21 is available to pre-order now, and will be in stores from Friday 29th January.
Check out the best Samsung Galaxy S21 deals
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
The S20 range launched last year, but that doesn’t mean it’s old hat. Far from it, especially with the S20 Ultra – it’s 2020’s top-of-the-range model, packing many of the same features as the S21 Ultra.
What’s good about the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Like the S21 Ultra, it has a bigger screen than its stablemates (6.9 inches), 5G, a 40-megapixel front-facing camera and a ridiculous 100x space zoom for really getting up close and personal.
What’s bad about the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
It doesn’t work with a stylus – this is a new feature for the S21 Ultra (previously only Samsung’s Galaxy Note range worked with the S Pen stylus). That means you can’t write, sketch, doodle or draw on the screen.
Many will love the 6.9-inch screen, but for some it will be just too big. Our advice? Try it for yourself if you can before you buy. Two-handed phone use is not for everyone.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is right for you if:
- You want a big-screen phone but don’t need the S21 Ultra's extra features
- You’re very into your smartphone photography
Check out the latest Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra deals
Samsung Galaxy S20+
Another phone from last year, this is the bigger take on the standard S20. The screen is a little smaller than the S20 Ultra, and the cameras are a bit less powerful.
What’s good about the Samsung Galaxy S20+
It has plenty of power under the hood – with 12GB of RAM at your disposal, menus will load in the blink of an eye. You can record video in 8K, which is a stunningly high resolution. And the bigger battery will last you all day long and then some.
What’s bad about the Samsung Galaxy S20+
Not really bad, but you don’t get some of the highest-spec camera features of the S20 Ultra. There’s no 100x space zoom, for example, or 108-megapixel selfie snapper. Though many would find those overkill anyway – do you really want to take selfies in that much detail?
The Samsung Galaxy S20+ is right for you if:
- You want a big-screen Samsung without the extra photography skills
- You need expandable storage for more films, photos, games and songs
Check out the latest Samsung Galaxy S20+ deals
Samsung Galaxy S20
The Galaxy S20 is the standard entrant in the S20 range. It’s smaller than the S20+ and Ultra, but at 6.2 inches it’s still anything but small. The battery is smaller too, but because of the smaller screen, it saps power less quickly.
What’s good about the Samsung Galaxy S20
It’s a flagship Samsung phone, so there’s plenty to like. Such as? The screen has a 120Hz refresh rate, so fast-moving action like games and sports will have minimal blur. 5G is on board for super speedy browsing, streaming and downloads (Netflix addicts, rejoice!). And the cameras do everything most of us could ask of them.
What’s bad about the Samsung Galaxy S20
It misses out on some of the best features of Samsung’s pricier phones – there’s no time-of-flight camera, for instance, so it loses some of the more advanced photography abilities.
There’s also no 512GB model, which is a shame if you have a lot of content to cart around with you. Instead, you’re limited to 128GB. Though you can always slot in a memory card to add more storage.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 is right for you if:
- You want a flagship Samsung experience without a massive screen
- Smaller phones don’t quite do it for you
- You enjoy games and sports on your phone
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
FE stands for ‘Fan Edition’ – this is basically a stripped-back version of the S20, offering many of then same features and an almost identical shell for significantly less money. It came out towards the end of last year.
What’s good about the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
It’s a cheaper take on the S20, saving you some money. It comes in either 4G or 5G models, so you can decide depending on your network provider and how much you rely on an internet connection out and about. And it has a superb AMOLED screen, with the 120Hz refresh rate making light work of fast-moving action.
Wireless charging comes as standard, as does the same waterproof rating as the rest of the S20 range.
It also has three cameras on the back, giving you plenty of shooting options, and a very powerful selfie snapper on the front. Say cheese.
What’s bad about the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
At 6.5 inches, the screen is a little smaller than some models of S20, and it’s not quite as sharp, either. The device also feels less premium than the standard S20 phones – the back feels a little plasticky rather than the usual build quality we would expect from a premium Samsung phone.
The cameras are less advanced than the rest of the range, and there’s less power under the bonnet.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is for you if:
- You want a cheaper version of the Galaxy S20
- Photography isn’t your priority
- You don’t mind a less premium-feeling phone
Check out the best Samsung Galaxy S20 FE deals
Samsung Galaxy S10+
The S10+ launched back in 2019 – that makes it pretty old in terms of smartphones. But the upside of that is that it’ll be a lot cheaper than the newer Samsung models. As the + name suggests, it’s bigger than the standard S10, and shares many of the same features.
What’s good about the Samsung Galaxy S10+
It’s just like the Galaxy S10, only more so. That means you get a slightly bigger screen (6.4 inches to the standard S10’s 6.1 inches), a bigger battery and wireless charging, plus the ability to juice up another device wirelessly by just placing it on top of the S10+. Neat.
It also comes with the option of a whopping 1TB of internal storage (in the Performance edition), which is more than most laptops. And the front camera is more advanced too, with dual snappers for better selfies.
What’s bad about the Samsung Galaxy S10+
While the screen is big, bright and beautiful, it actually loses a little sharpness because of its bigger size. Though whether that’s noticeable to the naked eye is debatable.
It’s not as big as later ‘+’ variants, and because it’s older, it doesn’t support the S Pen stylus either.
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is for you if:
- You want a phone that’s big, but not too big
- Wireless charging appeals to you
- You like your selfies to be on point
Check out the best Samsung Galaxy S10+ deals
Samsung Galaxy S10
A great screen, superb operating system and awesome camera setup resulted in rave reviews for the Samsung Galaxy S10. And two years after it first launched, it’s still a great option.
What’s good about the Samsung Galaxy S10
The 6.1-inch Super AMOLED display is an absolute beauty to behold, and its resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels gives it a pixel-per-inch sharpness of 550ppi. That’s actually higher than the bigger, pricier Galaxy S10+.
It’s an Infinity-O display, too. That means it has a cut out in the top corner to house the front-facing camera, resulting in even slimmer borders and more screen for you to enjoy. It’s the same style of screen as seen on the newer S20 models.
Wireless fast charging is onboard, and you can use the device as a wireless power bank to juice up another device just by placing it on top. And the triple rear camera array maintains the usual excellent Samsung standard.
What’s bad about the Samsung Galaxy S10
Because it’s older, its camera arrangement lacks some snazzier features, like the ability to see what other lenses could capture from within the viewfinder itself while shooting with a different camera. The battery is also quite a bit smaller than more recent models, which could prove noticeable in day-to-day use.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is for you if:
- You want the core Galaxy S experience without newer features
- You’re never far from a power socket to recharge
Check out the best Samsung Galaxy S10 deals
Samsung Galaxy S10e
The Galaxy S10e is cheaper than the standard S10, the tradeoff being that it’s lower specced too. But slight compromises in the screen and battery department don’t detract from what is still a very capable smartphone indeed.
What’s good about the Samsung Galaxy S10e
That price, for starters. For that, you get a 5.8-inch AMOLED screen whose size many will prefer, finding it more pocketable than its larger siblings. Wireless charging is here, as is fast wireless charging which juices the handset up in even less time.
You get two storage options too, along with a memory card slot for loading on more films, games, pics and tunes. And the cameras are eminently capable with plenty of shooting options.
What’s bad about the Samsung Galaxy S10e
Not only is the screen smaller than the standard S10, it’s a lower resolution too, so images won’t look quite as sharp. The battery is smaller as well, which could mean shorter times between needing a recharge.
While you do get 128GB and 256GB storage options, there’s no 512GB model, so you might find yourself reaching for that memory card sooner than you’d like. And there are only two rear cameras, not three like on the S10, so your shots won’t come out quite as stunning.
The Samsung Galaxy S10e is for you if:
- You want a Galaxy phone without spending big
- You want a smaller Galaxy S handset
- You’re happy to use a memory card to store content
Check out the best Samsung Galaxy S10e deals
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
This was something of a landmark: the first Samsung smartphone to have 5G capabilities, which means faster web browsing, downloading and streaming. Back in 2019 that was quite groundbreaking, but now that 5G coverage is more widespread, 5G phones are ten a penny.
But 5G isn’t the only thing setting this apart from the standard S10...
What’s good about the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
5G is much faster than 4G speeds, which means greater connectivity to the internet. That means films will load quicker when streaming, your downloads will take less time, and general web browsing will be much slicker.
The S10 5G has a bigger screen than the normal S10 – it stands 6.7 inches across – at the same stunningly high resolution. And it has four rear cameras, while the standard S10 can only manage three. It has a much bigger battery, too.
What’s bad about the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
The screen might be bigger, but because it has the same number of pixels as the S10, they’re spread over a wider area, meaning the image will be a little less sharp. The cameras, while advanced, aren’t quite as powerful as on newer models. And there’s no 128GB model (just 256GB and 512GB), so you’re out of luck if you’d rather pay less for less storage.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is for you if:
- You want 5G without spending big on a newer Galaxy phone
- You prefer a bigger screen
- All-day battery life is a must
Check out the best Samsung Galaxy S10 5G deals
Samsung Galaxy S9+
The S9+ launched back in 2018. It has an older screen design than the current models, a smaller battery and fewer bells and whistles generally. But it’s still a fine phone. And you can now pick one up at a bargain price.
What’s good about the Samsung Galaxy S9+
A Quad HD+ Super AMOLED display is the order of the day here, which makes whatever appears on it look stunning. It supports microSD cards for adding extra storage, and it’s a little more powerful than the standard Galaxy S9.
The cameras still stand up today, and it packs Super slow-mo video support, which really lets you get creative when making home movies.
What’s bad about the Samsung Galaxy S9+
The screen is an Infinity Display – that’s a slightly older design than the Infinity-O displays Samsung currently uses. The battery is smaller than on more recent models, too, and it can’t charge up wirelessly.
While you do get microSD card support, you’re going to need it – internal storage is limited to 64GB, which will soon fill up if you take a lot of photos or like to take plenty of films with you. And while still decent, there are only two rear cameras, not three or even four as seen on newer Galaxy S models.
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ is for you if:
- You want a mid-sized Galaxy S phone
- You don’t mind the older design
- You are happy using memory cards for more storage
Check out the best Samsung Galaxy S9+ deals
Samsung Galaxy S9
The S9 is smaller than more recent Galaxy S phones, but that doesn’t mean it’s not mighty. Indeed, many will like the stripped-back approach the handset takes, with fewer distractions and more of a focus on pure performance.
What’s good about the Samsung Galaxy S9
The screen is actually a little sharper than the S9+, because the same number of pixels are crammed into a smaller space. It has the same water- and dust-resistance rating as newer Galaxy S phones, and is a lot more pocketable.
What’s bad about the Samsung Galaxy S9
The battery is smaller than the S9+, there’s no wireless charging, and it has less RAM, making it less powerful. The cameras are also less capable – there is a slow-motion video mode, for example, but it’s not quite as captivating as the S9+’s.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is for you if:
- You don’t mind an older, less powerful Galaxy S phone
- You have smaller pockets or less space in your bag
- Smartphone photography isn’t top of your list
Check out the best Samsung Galaxy S9 deals