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iPhone 11 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: which is better?

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Apple iPhone 11: which is better?
(Image credit: Apple)

Whether it's gaming, apps, or video streaming, it pays to have a decent smartphone in your pocket. Finding the right phone can be tricky but this comparison will put you on the path to handset happiness. In the market for a new flagship phone? We've compared two of the best smartphones to help you decide on your next phone... 

The Apple iPhone 11 and the Samsung Galaxy S20 are telephonic titans. Both offer kick-ass screens and cutting-edge technology galore – but which is better? Whether you're after the the best Android phone, the phone with the best camera or simply the biggest battery, you'll find all the answers below to help you make an informed choice.

iPhone 11 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: price

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Apple iPhone 11: which is better?

(Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy S20 (5G) hit the shelves at £899 ($999, AU$1499). Prices have since dropped by around 10 per cent, so you should be able to pocket some savings. 

The iPhone 11 is priced from £729 ($699, AU$1199) at the Apple Store, but shop around and you'll almost certainly bag a discount. We've listed today's cheapest iPhone 11 deals below. 

If there's one thing Apple is known for it's expensive mobile phones. But, strangely, the iPhone 11 is the cheaper option here.  

*Winner* Apple iPhone 11

iPhone 11 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: battery life

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Apple iPhone 11: which is better?

(Image credit: Apple)

Today's best smartphones double up as Walkmans, tiny TVs, games consoles, maps, diaries, calendars, personal trainers and much more besides. If your phone conks out, your life can grind to a halt. Thankfully, there's little chance of that happening with the iPhone 11 or Galaxy S20 – both go the distance.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 has a bigger battery (4000mAh vs 3110mAh), but it also has power-hungry features (120Hz display, 5G connectivity). As a result, both these flagship phones offer a comparable "all-day" battery life.

Samsung has the upper hand when it comes to charging. The S20 charges faster than the iPhone (15W wireless charging vs 7.5W wireless charging). It also boasts 'Wireless PowerShare', which allows you to use your phone's battery to wirelessly charge other compatible Samsung devices, such as the Galaxy Buds Live.

The S20 wins the battle of the batteries by a whisker.

*Winner* Samsung Galaxy S20

iPhone 11 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: design and build

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Apple iPhone 11: which is better?

(Image credit: Samsung)

Splash out on a premium phone and you can expect premium materials and a flagship-worthy design.

That's certainly the case with the iPhone 11, a classier version of the iPhone XR. It's available in six colours: black, green, yellow, purple, white and red. The casing is a tad bulkier than its iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max siblings but it's still extremely desirable and feels typically luxurious.

The Galaxy S20 is smaller and lighter (163g vs 194g) than the iPhone 11, so it doesn't feel quite as premium (though you may prefer the lighter handset). However it does boast an edge-to-edge screen that emphasises the thinner bezel. It comes in a range of stylish mirror finishes, including Cosmic Grey, Cloud Blue and Cloud Pink.

For charging, the iPhone 11 has a Lightning port while the Galaxy S20 sports a USB-C port. Neither device has a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you might want to invest in some wireless headphones

Love to conquer the great outdoors? Both these handsets are rated IP68 water-resistant, so they should survive a dunk in water up to 1.5m deep.

This one's a draw – both phones cut a dash, it's really down to which one catches your eye.

*Winner* Draw

iPhone 11 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: display

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Apple iPhone 11: which is better?

(Image credit: Apple)

Streaming apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video offer a veritable feast of on-the-go TV and films, so it's wise to choose choose a smartphone with a high-quality display. Time to see which phone your eyeballs will appreciate...

The Samsung Galaxy S20 features a mighty 6.2in WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED display with a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. That means the S20's screen refreshes twice as fast as the iPhone's 60Hx screen. In theory that means the S20 will provide a smoother picture, particularly when gaming. There's also support for HDR10+, Samsung’s own HDR processing technology.

The iPhone 11 misses out on an OLED display and makes do with a 6.1in Liquid Retina LCD. That might sound like a bad deal but remember, you're still getting a stunning True Tone, Wide colour display with a contrast ratio of 1400:1. Even better, the iPhone 11 support Dolby Vision and HDR10. 

Want the best smartphone for movies and gaming? The iPhone 11's sharp, vibrant display will impress most. But if you're a fan of high refresh rates, and appreciate fine detail, the S20 is the phone for you.

*Winner* Draw

iPhone 11 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: features

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Apple iPhone 11: which is better?

(Image credit: Samsung)

If you're the kind of person who likes to 'go big or go home', you'll like the cut of Samsung's jib. The South Korean giant has loaded up the S20 with features, including a triple camera (12MP main, 12MP ultra-wide and 64MP telephoto). 

Pictures taken with the Galaxy S20 are hugely impressive, and having the flexibility to shoot with three distinctly different lenses will win over keen photographers. The S20 also sports a more powerful zoom than its rival.

Pixels aren't everything, though. The iPhone 11 might only use two rear lenses (a 12MP main and 12MP ultra-wide) but Apple's flagship phone takes sharp, colourful detailed images – even in the lowest of low light. 

The S20 can record 8K video – handy if you're considering an 8K TV – while the iPhone 11 shoots 4K at up to 60fps. The latter will be more than adequate for most users.

Both phones perform their own AI-powered camera trickery. The S20 boasts Single Take, which picks out all the best moments you capture and compiles them in one shot. The iPhone 11's claim to photography fame is its brilliant Portrait mode. 

Of course, you'll want to secure those photos and videos. The iPhone 11 unlocks using Apple's FaceID class-leading facial recognition technology while the S20 uses a slick in-screen fingerprint sensor. (The S20 also has facial recognition unlock but it's not as fast or secure as Apple's Face ID).

Now, onto the thorny subject of raw power. The Samsung Galaxy S20 uses the Snapdragon 865 processor, one of Qualcomm's newest, fastest chips. The iPhone 11 is powered by Apple's new A13 Bionic chip and third-generation Neural engine, which is said to put even more processing power at your fingertips and conserve the battery. 

The takeaway: both these flagship phones are insanely powerful and packed with features. You should have no trouble firing up apps, streaming high-quality video, listening to hi-res music files or editing video on the fly. 

That said, it's worth remembering that the Samsung Galaxy S20 supports 5G and offers the option of expandable storage. If you prefer Apple's proven technology and slick iOS software, go for the iPhone 11. If you're open to Android and appreciate the S20's extra bells and whistles, go for the Samsung.

*Winner:* Draw

iPhone 11 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: sound quality

Samsung Galaxy S20 vs Apple iPhone 11: which is better?

(Image credit: Apple)

US-based audio firm AKG tuned the Galaxy S20's built-in speakers and supplied headphones, so expect a decent amount of detail and scale from this phone. Bass is well-rendered, too, and vocals sound natural. In fact, we called the S20 "one of the best Android phones for sound quality". 

Of course, the key word in that sentence is "Android". We’ve come to expect musicality and rhythm where Apple’s smartphones are concerned and the iPhone 11 doesn't disappoint. As far phones go, the iPhone 11 is very good and its speaker offers a bit more weight and detail. 

Plug in a decent pair of in-ear headphones or wireless earbuds and the iPhone 11 comes alive. Treble is sparkling and there's a level of refinement that you don't get from the Galaxy S20.

The iPhone 11 supports Apple’s new ‘spatial audio’ playback, which is claimed to deliver an ‘immersive surround sound experience’ and also Dolby Atmos. The effectiveness of phone-based Dolby Atmos is of course up for debate, however.

Want the best-sounding phone? That'll be the accomplished Apple iPhone 11. 

*Winner:* iPhone 11

iPhone 11 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: verdict

After going toe-to-toe in every category, it's time to pick a winner. And based on our focus on audio and video performance, it has to be the iPhone 11. If you want a powerful, feature-rich flagship phone at a (relatively) affordable price, the iPhone offer all-round excellent wrapped in a luxe design. 

It was a tough decision, though. The Samsung Galaxy S20 outguns the iPhone 11 in lots of areas and is one of the best Android phones we've tested. It offers 5G and sports an incredible 120Hz OLED display. It's also got an extra camera and doubles as a power pack to charge other devices. It's pricer but you certainly get what you pay for. Bravo Samsung.