Analysis and opinion about Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: design, screen, performance, battery, camera, multimedia, sound, competitors, and price.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note series is one of the oldest in the history of smartphones since the first model was launched in 2011. At that time, it was a revolution due to the “large” size of its screen – it’s 5.3 ″ so they looked huge compared to the 4.3 ″ of the Galaxy S20 – and the presence of a pointer.
Although over time the differences in design and screen size concerning the Galaxy S series have been reduced, there is a differential element that distinguishes the Galaxy Note: the presence of the S Pen pointer.
Samsung presented a couple of weeks ago the new Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra, the latter being the more powerful of the two models and the one I have had the opportunity to test.
The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra has all the features you would expect in a high-end range. It has a large 6.9 ″ OLED screen, Exynos 990 processor, 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 256/512 GB of UFS 3.1 storage expandable via micro-SD, 108MP (wide angle) + 12MP (5x telephoto) + 16MP (wide) rear camera angular) + Laser AF, 10MP front camera, 5G connectivity, and 4,500 mAh battery with a fast charge at 25W.
The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra is on sale for $ 1043 with 256GB or $ 1049 with 512GB of storage on the Samsung website.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Review
Like last year, Samsung has launched two models of its new flagship with S Pen: the Galaxy Note20 and the Galaxy Note20 Ultra. The latter is the one that offers the best technical characteristics and larger screen size.
The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra is a very attractive smartphone. Its front is dominated by a huge 6.9 ″ screen surrounded by minimal frames, which allows it to achieve a very high screen-to-body ratio of 92% – the highest we have seen to date with the Huawei P40 Pro.
Samsung has repeated the formula of the perforated front camera on the screen but has reduced the diameter compared to the Galaxy Note10 +. Its position in the center of the screen is hardly annoying on a day-to-day basis, although it can cover up some element of the interface in games that run in full screen.
The new Galaxy Note20 Ultra has the honor of being the first smartphone with Gorilla Glass Victus, the new generation of glass protection that has been designed by Corning to better withstand bumps and scratches.
The smartphone is available in black, white, and bronze colors. The latter is Samsung’s trendy color for the second half of the year since all its products launched in August arrived in a variant of this original color.
At 8.1mm thin, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra is quite a thin smartphone. Now, in the back, we find a huge rectangular module for the cameras that protrudes significantly and makes the phone dance if we use it while it is resting on the table.
Samsung has moved the power and volume buttons to the right side to unify the design of all its Samsung smartphones. Consequently, the compartment for the S Pen has been moved to the left side. At first, it looks weird but you get used to it.
The Galaxy Note20 Ultra has an ultrasonic fingerprint reader under the screen, although we do not know if Samsung has finally leaped the second generation of Qualcomm readers.
Recognition is quite fast if you manage to place your finger in the reading area that, luckily, is marked when the screen is in Always On Display mode. Samsung has also incorporated a facial recognition system that, despite not being 3D, I have not been unable to fool with a photo.
As usual, the screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra is magnificent. It features a 2X Dynamic AMOLED panel with HDR10 + support and a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz. New, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra panel offers an adaptive refresh rate, which means it adapts to the displayed content to save battery life when not. you need such a high refreshment.
Samsung offers two color modes called Natural and Vivid that cover the wide DCI P3 color space. In the Natural color mode, the color fidelity is excellent, while the Vivid mode produces oversaturated colors that, for many users, are more striking but less realistic.
The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra display offers pure blacks and wide viewing angles, although the screen tends to look darker on the curved sides, especially with white wallpapers.
The screen brightness is the highest I have measured on a smartphone as it reaches 877 nits with a 100% white screen and I have measured 1,275 nits by reducing the illuminated area to 18%.
Of course, Samsung incorporates the Always On Display functionality, which shows the time and the notification icons to be read, and has implemented the double-tap to turn on the screen.
The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra is sold with the Exynos 990 chip, although in some regions it comes with a more powerful Snapdragon 865 Plus. I would have liked to see the Snapdragon 865 Plus (or even the Snapdragon 865) in the European Galaxy Note20 Ultra, but in any case, the Exynos chip is very powerful.
In the tests carried out, the performance of the Galaxy Note20 Ultra is excellent, both in the results obtained in the benchmarks and my experience of use. This sensation is probably also helped by its 12 GB of RAM, more than anyone needs on a mobile device.
Not only do apps move smoothly, but demanding 3D games like Asphalt 9, Dead Effect 2, and Call of Duty move at full speed with stable rates of 30 or 60 FPS, depending on the limitations of each game, in-game mode. maximum quality.
I haven’t noticed the smartphone getting too hot after long periods of gaming, but it does after using the camera for a few minutes, especially when shooting video at high resolutions.
The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra arrives with 256 or 512 GB of eUFS 3.1 storage, the fastest we can find today. It is expandable via micro-SD cards, in case you need even more capacity.
Regarding connectivity, the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra supports WiFi 6 (802.11ax), the new protocol for WiFi networks, and 5G cellular connectivity both in the sub-6GHz and mmWave.
Samsung has equipped the Galaxy Note20 Ultra with a 4,500 mAh battery, an amount that is below what we find in other smartphones with a similar screen size due to the space occupied by the S Pen hole.
In my tests, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra has obtained rather fair results of autonomy. In practice, you should not have much trouble getting to the end of the day but you will not walk as much as with other smartphones.
Samsung has incorporated a 25W cable fast-charging system and, surprisingly, it is a small step back from the Galaxy Note10 + that reached 45W. In my tests, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra was fully charged in 1 hour and 8 minutes, reaching 55 percent in just half an hour.
Samsung has also incorporated fast wireless charging and allows you to power other devices wirelessly (for example, smartphones or other accessories) although quite slowly.
The Galaxy Note20 Ultra has stereo speakers, one located next to the USB-C connector and the other seems to be the screen itself, although I have not been able to confirm this point. These speakers emit sound with great power and good quality.
The smartphone offers Dolby Atmos surround sound, which can be enjoyed both with headphones and the phone’s speakers. In the absences section, we must mention the 3.5mm headphone jack, which as expected is not present in this smartphone.
Samsung has added Ultra-Wideband (UWB ) technology to the Galaxy Note20 +, which allows you to precisely locate objects. The first use that Samsung is giving is to facilitate the sending of files through Nearby Share by just pointing to the device to which we want to transfer (as long as it also has this technology), but later it will be possible to search for objects with the help of AR or use the mobile as a digital key.
Samsung has launched the Galaxy Note20 Ultra with Android 10 and, on top, its Samsung One UI 2.5 customization layer. The good news is that Samsung has announced that its latest smartphones will receive three years of major Android version updates and security patches.
The One UI layer adds a large number of software functionalities above Android such as gesture control, energy-saving modes, secure folder, dual messaging, Game Tools, Edge panels, Samsung Pass, Samsung Pay, or the virtual assistant Bixby.
Another interesting feature of Samsung is DeX, which allows you to use the phone as if it were a computer by simply connecting it via an HDMI cable to a screen or even now wirelessly if you have a compatible Samsung television.
Also, it is possible to connect it to a Windows 7/10 or macOS computer and access DeX in a computer window. Later, it will even be possible to pin apps on the phone to the Windows 10 taskbar so that they can be quickly opened in windows as if they were local apps.
The most characteristic aspect of the Galaxy Note family is its S Pen pointer, which allows you to write and draw on the screen as if we were doing it on paper. The S Pen offers 24-hour standby autonomy and charges automatically when stored in the compartment.
Samsung has reduced the latency of the S Pen to just 9 ms, which in practice means that there is no lag when writing or drawing on the screen.
The S Pen not only allows you to draw or write on the screen, but it also offers gestures in the air to control certain apps from a distance. These gestures are used to move between songs, increase/decrease volume, or switch between front / rear camera, to name a few examples. Although it is good to have this possibility, in practice I have never felt the need to operate the smartphone from a distance.
Samsung has made several improvements to its Samsung Notes app for taking notes. The app allows you to straighten text that you have written at an angle on the screen and offers excellent recognition of handwritten text.
Samsung Notes allows you to take notes while recording the ambient sound (useful for classes), allowing you to later see at what point in the recording you wrote each annotation. It is also possible to synchronize the notes between devices, export them to multiple formats (Word, Powerpoint, PDF), and organize them in folders.
Samsung has incorporated three cameras on the back of the Galaxy Note20 Ultra that offer great versatility as they allow you to take shots in ultra-wide-angle (12MP f / 2.2), wide-angle (108MP f / 1.8), and a telephoto lens with 5x zoom (12MP f /3.0). These cameras are accompanied by a laser sensor for better focus in low light or at short distances, but there is no trace of the ToF depth sensor that was so fashionable.
The ultra-wide-angle camera offers good image quality in good light conditions, but it is not a camera intended for night photos due to its limited aperture and lack of optical stabilization.
The telephoto camera is a periscope lens camera that offers 5x optical zoom and, from then on, achieves magnifications up to 50x by software. A camera with 5x zoom allows you to get closer to distant objects as few smartphones can, although its limited aperture means that, in low light situations, the phone opts for a crop of the image captured by the main camera before using the telephoto camera.
You must bear in mind that any magnification less than 5x is a digital magnification of the main camera, so the quality at zoom factors less than 5x is reduced compared to other smartphones that offer native 2x or 3x optical zoom. In this regard, I would have liked to see a second 2x telephoto camera for, for example, taking portraits, as on the Huawei P40 Pro Plus.
Finally, the main camera (wide angle) is capable of capturing excellent images both in good light conditions and when it is scarce. In the comparisons that I have carried out, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra has maintained the type very well compared to other smartphones, with minimal differences in quality.
One small drawback that I have found with this camera is that it has a difficult time focusing at short distances in low light conditions. I don’t know why this limitation is due, but getting a good focus can be frustrating if there is not abundant light.
Samsung incorporates a functionality called Scene Optimization that, through AI, detects an image such as food, vegetation, or up to 30 scenes and applies certain adjustments automatically, usually related to color saturation, brightness, etc.
We also find a Night mode that increases the brightness of the scene as if we were taking a long exposure photograph but without the risk of it being blurred. The photo takes longer to capture but the result is a brighter photo – although, in my experience, it is sometimes out of focus.
And of course, you cannot miss a “portrait” mode called Dynamic Focus that allows you to blur the background of a photograph (even afterward) to simulate the well-known bokeh effect. In this regard, the result is the best I’ve seen, so it seems that the absence of a ToF sensor doesn’t take its toll. It is even possible to record movies with a dynamic focus mode.
The front camera of the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra has a 10MP sensor and f / 2.2 aperture and allows taking individual selfies or group selfies with a wider viewing angle. The image quality is very good and it is even possible to take selfies with an out-of-focus background.
Samsung has focused on the Galaxy Note20 Ultra’s camera enhancements on video. The rear camera is capable of recording video in 8K resolution at 24 fps, both in standard 16: 9 and 21: 9 cinematic formats.
It is also possible to record in UHD / 4K (3840 × 2160) at 30 / 60fps, Full HD / 1080p (1920 × 1080) at 30/60 / 120fps and HD / 720p (1280 × 720), while the front camera can record videos in UHD, Full HD and HD formats at 30fps.
Samsung’s Professional Video mode now allows you to choose the direction of sound recording (front, rear, or omnidirectional microphone) as well as use a microphone via Bluetooth or USB.
We can also check the audio level live and amplify/reduce the sound if necessary. Another improvement that it incorporates is the possibility of gradually zooming while recording video, as well as seeing a histogram of the live image.
In the videos I have recorded, the image quality has been excellent in all modes, although videos at 60fps at night have more noise. Samsung offers a Super Stabilization mode but it is only available at 1080p @ 30fps.
In conclusion, the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra is a highly recommended smartphone for its design, screen, performance, and photography, which also has an S Pen pointer that makes it unique in the market.
Now, if you do not plan to use the S Pen, the Galaxy S20 + or Galaxy S20 Ultra offer practically the same with greater autonomy and a lower price, so in my opinion, it can be a more recommended alternative.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Full Specifications
|Dimensions & Weight||Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm|
Dimensions: 5.8 x 4.35 x 105.08mm
|Display||6.9″ edge Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O Display (3088×1440)|
120Hz refresh rate
|S Pen||Bluetooth enabled|
Lithium Titanate Battery: Up to 24 hours of battery standby time
Pressure levels: 4096
Pen tip diameter: 0.7 mm
Screen off memo
Write on calendar
10MP Selfie Camera
Dual Pixel AF
Pixel size: 1.22μm
F.No (aperture): F2.2
12MP Ultra Wide Camera
Pixel size: 1.4μm
F.No (aperture): F2.2
108MP Wide-angle Camera
Pixel size: 0.8μm
F.No (aperture): F1.8
1/1.33″ image sensor size
12MP Telephoto Camera
Pixel size: 1.0μm
F.No (aperture): F3.0
Laser AF Sensor
5x Optical Zoom
Up to 50x Super Resolution Zoom
OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
|Charging||Improved wireless charging speeds with Fast Wireless Charging 2.0|
USB PD 3.0 (PPS) certified Fast Charging for wired charging (AFC and QC2.0 compatible)
|Memory||12GB RAM (LPDDR5) with 512GB internal storage|
12GB RAM (LPDDR5) with 128GB internal storage
Memory & SIM Card
|Single SIM model|
One Nano SIM and one MicroSD slot (up to 1TB)
|Sensors & Buttons||Sensors|
Ultrasonic Fingerprint sensor
Ambient Light sensor
|In the Box||Device|
Quick Start Guide
All images and specifications credits for “Samsung“.
The Best and Worst about Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Price and Competitors
The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra has a fairly high price, as expected given the characteristics and functionalities of the terminal. It is on sale for $ 1,043 with 256GB or $ 1,049 with 512GB of storage on the Samsung website and in online stores such as Amazon.
If we look at other high-end smartphones, we have several interesting options in which they can be alternatives to the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, among which we highlight the following.
First of all, we have the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 ( $ 799.99 ), which has some limitations compared to the Galaxy Note20 Ultra but maintains the S Pen. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 has a 6.7 ″ AMOLED FullHD + screen, Exynos 990 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage (without microSD), 12MP (wide angle) + 64MP (telephoto) + 12MP (ultra wide-angle) rear camera, 10MP front camera and 4,300 mAh battery
Without leaving the Samsung ecosystem, another good alternative with a great camera is the Galaxy S20 Ultra ( $ 1,186.85 at Amazon) if you don’t need the S Pen. It has a huge 6.9 ″ Dynamic AMOLED screen, Exynos 990 processor, 12GB of RAM, 128GB of UFS 3.0 storage, 108MP (wide angle) + 48MP (10x hybrid optical zoom telephoto) + 12MP (ultra wide-angle) + rear camera ToF, 40MP front camera and 5,000 mAh battery.
If you like photography, the Huawei P40 Pro 5G ( $ 889.00 at Amazon) is a good reference. It has a 6.6 ″ Full HD + OLED screen, Kirin 990 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256 GB of storage, 50MP rear camera (wide angle) + periscope with 5x optical zoom (12MP) + ultra-wide-angle camera (40MP) + 32MP front camera depth, 5G connectivity and 4,200 mAh battery with direct and reverse wireless charging. Now, it does not bring Google services pre-installed.
A smartphone that stands out in the photographic section is the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro ( $ 1073.00 at Amazon) that has a 6.7 ″ Super AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 865 processor, 8/12 GB of RAM, 256/512 GB of UFS 3.0 storage, 108MP (wide-angle) + 12MP (2x telephoto) + 8MP (3.7x telephoto) + 20MP (ultra-wide) rear camera, 20MP front camera and 4,500 mAh battery
The OnePlus 8 Pro ( $ 958.32 at Amazon) may also be interesting, which has a 6.8 ″ 120 Hz Fluid AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 865 processor, 8/12 GB of RAM, 128 / 256GB of storage, wide-angle rear camera (48MP ) + telephoto (8MP) + ultra wide angle (48MP) + depth (5MP), 16MP front camera and 4,510 mAh battery
Another smartphone to consider is the Oppo Find X2 Pro ( $ 1420.00 at Amazon) with a 6.7 ″ AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 865 processor, 12 GB of RAM, 256/512 GB of UFS 3.0 storage, wide-angle rear camera (48MP ) + 5x telephoto lens (13MP) + ultra wide-angle (48MP), 32MP front camera and 4,260 mAh battery
We cannot stop talking about the iPhone 11 Pro ( $ 1373.00 ), which has a 5.8 OLED screen that occupies almost the entire front (except for the cutout at the top), an A13 Bionic processor, 4G / LTE connectivity, and a triple camera of 12MP.