Samsung’s Galaxy Note series is making rounds with regular updates. With each iteration, Samsung does a lot of fine-tuning in each upgrade.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra couldn’t hit the market as Samsung expected it to given the pandemic. It has been months since the device was released. This article covers a full review.
But first, let’s take a look at the specs.
- Display: 6.9″, 3088 x 1440 AMOLED, HDR10+ certified, 120Hz variable refresh rate
- Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm
- Weight: 208gm
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+/ Exynos 990 (7nm+)
- RAM: 12GB
- Storage: 128GB / 512GB, expandable via microSD
- Front camera: 10-megapixel, f/2.2, 1.22μm
- Rear ultrawide camera: 12-megapixel, f/2.2, 120-degree FOV, 1.4μm
- Rear telephoto camera: 12-megapixel, f/3.0, 20-degree FOV, 5X optical zoom, 50X digital zoom, 1.0μm
- Rear main camera: 108-megapixel (binned to 12), OIS, f/1.8, 1.33-inch sensor size, 79-degree FOV, 0.8μm (at 12-megapixels), laser autofocus
- Battery: 4,500mAh with wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, fast charging
- Security: In-screen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor
- Resistance: IP68 dust/ water resistant
Heading on to it straight, the Note 20 Ultra has one of the most beautiful and sharp displays on any smartphone.
The 6.9-inch display has an approximate 91.7% screen-to-body ration. The display has Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection that is HDR10+ certified.
You have two choices – a 120Hz display with 1080p resolution or a 60Hz display, QuadHD. The 120Hz 1080p is definitely more striking. It has amazing fluidity that makes viewing and gaming experiences on the device subpar. The device is smart enough to tone down the refresh rate when unnecessary. This saves up the battery juice.
Design and Build
The 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm phone is massive in size. The girth is very large on this one. The device is available in White, Mystic Black, and Mystic Bronze.
The protruding camera in the back doesn’t go unnoticeable. It protrudes about 2.45 mm. This might give you the push you need to get the right case for the device. The camera module is covered with a matte glass. The fingerprints are still visible on it but this can’t be compared to reflective glass.
This is one of the first devices to feature the new Gorilla Glass Victu. And it has been certified to withstand exerted pressure. It is also built under IP68 guidelines – provides resistance against water and dust.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Connectivity
The smartphone supports both sub-6 and mmWave versions of 5G.
It has a Wi-Fi 6 WLAN module that ensures high transfer speeds in combination. The data reception is very stable. There is only a slight fluctuation when you are sending data.
The hybrid SIM slot on the device can house two nano-SIM cards, one of which can be connected to the 5G network. If you are using the second slot for a memory card, you can make use of the integrated eSIM.
The device comes with the latest iteration of the OneUI software, version 2.5. This is easily one of Samsung’s mostly-liked UI. The stock launcher on the device fares well. Samsung also offers Android’s gesture navigation in third party launchers.
It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor and the Global variant has the Exynos 990 (7 nm+) chip. In the US, it comes with octa-core (1×3.0 GHz Kryo 585 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 585) backed by Adreno 650. The Global variant has an octa-core (2×2.73 GHz Mongoose M5 & 2×2.50 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55. This one has Mali0G77 MP11 GPU.
The device is really fast. Not that any of Samsung’s high-end phones are any lacking in speed. But the animations and gesture tuning on this one is smoother. This makes the device noticeably faster. It loads things more quickly, switching between multiple apps is also very, very fast.
It has a preinstalled “My Smartphone” app. This allows you to receive notifications directly on your own Windows computer. You can also mirror your smartphone in a separate window. This lets you exchange data via drag-and-drop.
The Note20 Ultra also supports the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service. Console titles can be streamed directly from the cloud to the device.
Samsung devices are always experimental with the camera performance.
The front-facing camera on the device is of 10-megapixel and has dual-pixel autofocus. The front-camera has it’s ups and downs. The colors aren’t as accurate as you’d wish for them to be. You can also record videos with the front camera. It offers a maximum resolution of 2160p and 60 FPS.
The back features a much-improved sensor. The autofocus on the camera has improved significantly compared to the S20 Ultra. The camera performs exceptionally in daylight. The night mode gets auto-activated on the device during low light settings. This feature can be disabled manually. The phone takes about 3 seconds to take pictures in Night Mode. The result is better pictures of static objects.
The Note 20 Ultra has a full-fledged 5x optical magnification (digital zoom up to 50x).
You can record 8K videos at 24 frames per second at best. In Ultra HD or Full HD, you can get up to 60 FPS. In addition, super slow motion and numerous other functions are also available.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra S Pen
The S Pen on the device has many upgrades – especially on its performance. The pen also feels a lot firmer than the one on its predecessors.
The pen has a 0.7-millimeter wide tip and recognizes up to 4,096 pressure levels. The input latency has improved to 9 milliseconds. It was at 22 milliseconds.
The standby times of the S Pen has been improved. The S Pen in Note 20 had 10 hours of standby time. Now, it stands at a solid 24 hours. However, the range of functions has not changed much.
The off-screen notes feature is still there. The ability to write on screenshots is still there. Handwriting recognition still exists and texts can also be formatted directly into Word. Samsung Notes can easily become your favorite app on the device.
The capacitive touchscreen recognizes up to ten touch points simultaneously and very reliably.
There is a fingerprint scanner integrated into the display for biometric security. It has a high recognition rate and unlocks the smartphone pretty quickly. The 2D face-recognition feature is there too.
On normal usage, the device easily runs for a whole day on a single charge. Samsung has had more powerful batteries – for example, the S20 Ultra has a 5000mAh battery. But the 4,500mAh battery on the Note 20 Ultra is powerful too.
Samsung offers a fast 25W charging and a fast 15W wireless charging options. The 25W charger took a little over an hour to juice up the device from an empty state.
There is also the Wireless Power Share option. This lets you share the charge for any other Qi-chargeable device. There is also a range of power-saving options that you can choose from.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is a powerful device. And if you are looking for strong camera performance and an excellent display, this doesn’t disappoint. The S Pen is definitely an added asset here. While the difference in choices of SoCs might sway you a little. For those who have supported Samsung’s Note series, this device offers you a tangible option.
The camera also has some strangely soft optics. And the 50x zoom claim is also pretty arguable. The $1,299 price tag on the device is also steep. If money is a challenge for you, you can easily find better options than this device. But if you have been loyal to Samsung and it’s Note series, this device is a great choice for you.