Mobile World Congress may have been cancelled this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

But thankfully for Samsung, they had planned to launch their new range of mobile devices a week earlier at an unconnected event, which went ahead as planned.

What we got from that was a series of new premium smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra.

We've been trying out the S20+ and here’s the verdict.

DESIGN

The S20+ look and styling will be familiar to anyone who has had, used or studied its predecessor.

It consists of a glass front and back (no ceramic offering this time), with a metal frame holding the whole thing together.

The phone is taller than the S10+ and slightly thinner too.

And it is big, perhaps too big for some, often requiring either stretchy or long fingers, or a second hand to operate.

But despite this it feels comfortable to hold in the hand and isn’t too heavy, even though it carrys slightly more weight than the S10+ glass backed version.

The S20+ comes in three different colours - Cloud Blue, Cosmic Black and Cosmic Gray.

There is no 3.5mm audio jack but it is IP68 rated, meaning it can sit in 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes before packing up.

On the rear the camera set up is now in an elongated rectangular shape, rather than horizontal strip.

The power button and volume controls are still on the right side and the SIM card is inserted from the top edge.

Overall, it looks the part, although there isn’t a huge amount of change evident to the average eye.

DISPLAY

The screen on the S20+ however is a step up from what went before.

The phone has a 6.7 inch AMOLED display slightly curved at the edges (the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a massive 6.9 inch screen).

The front facing camera is situated dead centre at the top of the display and peeps out through a relatively subtle hole which overall doesn’t massively detract from the viewing experience.

Resolution on the screen is Quad High-Definition Plus, which apart from being quite a mouthful means it is close to 4K but not all the way there.

The resolution can of course be adjusted though if you want to save some battery.

It is a great viewing experience, crystal clear, with really sharp colours and deep blacks.

The refresh rate (the speed at which the picture is updated) is also very high at 120Hz, making the picture flow smoothly during scrolling and rapid on-screen action.

The edge screens once again enable customisable quick access to certain apps and other functions.

There is an always on display (AOD) available when the screen is locked, which can show the clock, calendar, images, an animated gif or information about the song being listened to.

Widgets can also be added to the AOD and there are downloadable themes for it also.

It all makes for an all round display experience that’s top of the pile.

CAMERA

The big sell as far as Samsung is concerned though is not the screen but the camera.

The quad main camera system is made up of a 12MP ultra wide lens, a 12MP wide-angle camera, a 64MP telephoto sensor and a depth vision snapper for doing tricks like bokeh.

The telephoto is probably the cream of the crop here, with a massive boost in resolution, enabling really high-quality images to be captured that can then be zoomed and cropped without massive diminution of quality.

It also has a 3X optical zoom which can expand up to 30X using the digital capability and artificial intelligence, enabling you to get really close to the action.

Night time mode, Bright Night, also performs well in low light conditions, thanks to a bigger image sensor.

As always there is a host of different features built into the pleasant to use and easy to navigate camera interface, like 3D scanning, Augmented Reality Doodle and photo and video bokeh.

One to note is Single Take, which takes a burst of photos across all the cameras over up to a 10 second period, and then gives you the best options in terms of images and video.

On the video front, the S20+ shoots in 8K. Why, you might well ask? Because it can, is probably the best answer, as few people are really at the point of wanting 8K video or have the means to play it back.

The video stabilisation is impressive though, giving you options when you want to capture video on the move.

There is also a nifty and simple video editing tool built into the camera software.

To the front there is a 10MP selfie camera - no change here from the S10 range, but that isn’t a bad thing as it performs well.

PERFORMANCE

As you would expect for a phone in this category and of this price, the S20+ is a powerhouse.

Driven by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 with 128GB of RAM, which means it laps up tough tasks with ease.

It comes with 128GB-512GB of internal storage, which can be expanded by another 1TB using an SD card.

However, if you don’t need to expand it, then the SD card slot can be used for a second SIM on the Dual SIM model.

The S20+ is 5G capable (there is also a 4G only version), and on testing around Dublin city we were able to realise some pretty hefty download and upload speeds using the eir 5G network.

The device runs on Google Android 10 with Samsung’s own One user interface overlaid, which is simple and easy to get around.

Sound wise, the device has stereo speakers and earphones powered by AKG, featuring surround sound with Dolby Atmos. The result is pretty good on the headphones and the speakers perform as fine as can be expected on any smartphone.

Despite the many draws on it from features like the high refresh rate screen, the 5G connectivity and the super-dooper camera, the performance of the 4,500mAh battery is respectable, lasting a full day with average to high use, although you may need to reduce some of the higher-end display features at times if your use is heavy.

The battery technology also supports improved wireless charging speeds through Fast Wireless Charging 2.0.

The Knox security system has been upgraded through the use of a secure processor dedicated to protecting sensitive data.

CONCLUSION

There is much to like about the Galaxy S20+.

The screen is top-notch (without a notch), the camera system has certainly been brought to another level and using it is a pleasant overall experience.

The design may be a little samey for some and although it boasts some impressive features like that 120Hz screen refresh rate and 8K video recording, you will be paying for some new fangled gizmos that in reality you probably won’t either notice or use.

The biggest issue facing the device is that it is sandwiched in between the S20 and S20 Ultra in the range, and the question for many will be, if they can’t afford the Ultra or don’t like its size, wouldn’t the S20 do just fine and cost them less?

We’ll leave you with that thought.