Samsung introduces their latest flagship phone.
Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event hurled a whole stack of products on us all at once, from the Galaxy Watch3 and bean-shaped Galaxy Buds to the Galaxy Tab S7 and the second-generation Galaxy Fold. All exciting stuff, but the highlight of the event was the company’s latest refresh in the decade long legacy of its Note family of phablets. The Note 20 and its bigger (and, arguably, much better) counterpart, the Note 20 Ultra, absolutely stole the show. Like the 2019 release of the Galaxy Note 10 and 10+, which essentially positioned the 10+ as the lead device, we suspect the Note 20 Ultra is Samsung’s real take on the platform.
There’s more to it than a simple design change, squaring off the rounded corners of the Note 20 and switching out the ‘glasstic’ polycarbonate back of the smaller model for a more premium Gorilla Glass 7 rear. Its AMOLED display is significantly different too, upping both the resolution and pixel density, and switching the Note 20’s somewhat pedestrian 6.7-inch 60 Hz screen (inherited from the Note 10 Lite) for a flagship standard 120 Hz 6.9-inch panel. The design is iterative rather than innovative, but that screen is key to this being the best Note yet. Samsung has backed up its variable refresh rate with a massive upgrade to S-Pen processing power, vastly improving its prediction algorithms to make pen-on-screen interaction basically instantaneous; it’s good on the Note 20, but the Note 20 Ultra is on another level.
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CANDID CAMERA: The Note 20 Ultra gets a three-camera array, this time with a 108 MP ƒ/1.8 main camera sensor, a 12 MP ƒ/3.0 telephoto and a 12 MP ƒ/2.2 ultra-wide. Thecamera isn’t the highlight here, but it’s still remarkable.
PART OF THE PROCESS: The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 uses the latest Exynos 990 processor, backed up with a hefty 12 GB RAM, an upgrade from the 8 GB on the non-Ultra. Other territories get an LTE-only 8 GB version, and some employ the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus; every edition of the Note 20 Ultra packs a 4 500 mAh battery.
PINHOLE PACKING: The lesser Note 20 doesn’t get Samsung’s trademark curved edge screen; the Note 20 Ultra does, and sports one of our favourite cut-out front camera implementations so far. It’s truly tiny, and barely noticeable. There’s also a below-screen fingerprint reader, which is something Samsung tends to excel at, and IP68 waterproofing to keep splashes at bay.