For all the marketing and hype phone makers and network operators make around 5G, few of them will tell you upfront that not all 5G networks are equal. And, no, we’re not simply talking about which carrier as the fastest 5G in town. 5G bands also differ, with some carriers supporting only one or the other. It also turns out that phones supporting those 5G bands are also different in some ways that neither parties will readily inform you unless you read the spec sheet.
When Samsung launched the Galaxy S20 series earlier this year, it was a mess of models and configurations considering some phones only supported the sub-6GHz kind of 5G while others connected to Verizon’s mmWave 5G network. What was missing from that already confusing set was the base Galaxy S20 that supported Verizon’s Ultra Wideband (UW) 5G. That model did arrive last week but, more than just late, it was silently also less capable than its sub-6GHz counterpart.
For one, the Verizon variant doesn’t have the usual microSD slot in the card tray so the 128 GB that you get is all that you will ever have. Like with the OnePlus 8 5G UW, this structural change may have been to make room for the mmWave modem that’s not present in the sub-6GHz models.
More surprising, however, is the fact that the Verizon Galaxy S20 5G UW only has 8GB of RAM compared to the regular variants. While some will argue 8GB is plenty for multitasking, it does limit the number of apps you can “pin” to just one versus three on Galaxy S20 models with 12GB of memory.
What all these really boils down to is cutting corners to keep this mmWave 5G variant on the same $1,000 price as the sub-6GHz configurations. It might not sit well with some consumers but they will probably also be displeased if the phone were priced higher. And if you’re on Verizon looking for the cheapest Galaxy S20, you won’t have much of a choice anyway.