Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra hands-on review

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Introduction

The Galaxy Note20 series is finally official. Samsung introduced the Note20 and Note20 Ultra last night and now we’re going hands-on with the ultimate S-Pen-packing Galaxy for 2020.

Similarly to the S20 family from the spring, the Ultra comes with exclusive all-out hardware not available on the vanilla model. In a somewhat bizarre turn of events that includes the 120Hz 1440p+ display, while the Note20 has a plain 60Hz 1080p panel. Earlier this year even the smaller S20 had the high refresh rate and the extra pixels.

The Galaxy Note20 Ultra retains exclusivity on some of the camera bits too. The periscope telephoto, is something you won’t be able to get on the Note20, though it’s a different module than the one on the S20 Ultra. For zooming in, the Note20 has the same 64MP non-telephoto telephoto that stirred some controversy on the S20 and S20+ for the way it was marketed.

The 108MP Nonacell primary cam is also an Ultra-only feature and this appears to have been carried over from the S20 Ultra. Same thing with the smaller Note’s 12MP main shooter that you can find on the S20 and S20+.

Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra hands-on review

Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G specs

  • Body: 164.8×77.2×8.1mm, 208g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), glass back (Gorilla Glass Victus), stainless steel frame; IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins); Colors: Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, Mystic White.
  • Display: 6.90″ Dynamic AMOLED, 1440x3088px resolution, 19.3:9 aspect ratio, 496ppi; HDR10+, Always-on display, 120Hz@FHD/60Hz@QHD refresh rate.
  • Chipset: Exynos 990 (7 nm+) – Global, Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865+ (7 nm+) – USA: Octa-core (2×2.73 GHz Mongoose M5 & 2×2.50 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55) – Global, Octa-core (1×3.00 GHz Kryo 585 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 585) – USA; Mali-G77 MP11 – Global, Adreno 650 – USA.
  • Memory: 128GB 12GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 12GB RAM; UFS 3.1; microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot).
  • OS/Software: Android 10, One UI 2.1.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 108 MP, f/1.8, 26mm, 1/1.33″, 0.8µm, PDAF, Laser AF, OIS; Telephoto: 12 MP, f/3.0, 120mm periscope, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS, 5x optical zoom, 50x hybrid zoom; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 1/2.55″, 1.4µm; LED flash, auto-HDR, panorama.
  • Front camera: 10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/3.2″, 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF; Dual video call, Auto-HDR.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR10+, stereo sound rec., gyro-EIS & OIS; Front camera: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30fps.
  • Battery: 4500mAh; Fast charging 25W, USB Power Delivery 3.0, Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging, Reverse wireless charging 9W.
  • Misc: Fingerprint (under display, ultrasonic), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer; NFC; FM radio (Snapdragon model only; market/operator dependent); Samsung Wireless DeX (desktop experience support), ANT+, Bixby natural language commands and dictation; Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified); S Pen Stylus, 9ms latency (Bluetooth integration, accelerometer, gyro).

The Ultra is protected by the brand new Gorilla Glass Victus front and back and both phones get a stainless steel frame – that’s a first on a Samsung smartphone. Oddly enough, the Note20 comes with a plastic back – that one we hadn’t seen in a while on a high-end Samsung handset.

Both Notes get the S Pen too, at least this much is still guaranteed. It’s been moved to the left of the phone now, a major change from all previous generations. It comes with added gestures and it’s got improved latency for an even more pen-on-paper-like feel – on the Ultra, that is, the vanilla model doesn’t get that either.

Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra hands-on review

We’ll go over what’s new and what’s remained the same in a bit more detail on the next few pages, click along.



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