- Very expensive
- Heavy and awkward to hold
- Protruding camera hub
The Samsung Note has been around for a decade. As such, enthusiasts were thrilled to hear about the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. With its reputation, it’s obviously going to be a chart topper. But does the phone offer enough performance and value to justify its price point?
The Galaxy Note Ultra is quite large, so one-handed users beware. Color choices include mystic bronze, mystic black, and mystic white. The stylus holster is located on the left side of the phone versus the right on previous versions. Otherwise, it’s the solid slab of a phone people have come to expect of the Note series.
The camera hub is the only thing reviewers were not so happy with. It sticks out, making the phone wobble when sat on a flat surface.
The upgrade to a 120Hz refresh rate display is the most notable thing about the new Samsung Note 20 Ultra. But it comes with some caveats.
If you want to enjoy QuadHD you will need to settle for 60Hz. To keep that silky-smooth refresh rate, you’ll need to lower the resolution to 1080p.
Otherwise, the 6.9-inch curved screen has reviewers saying its great in some ways and not so much in others. Accidental taps, for one, have reviewers hesitant to sing its praises even if it is beautiful for media consumption.
There’s no denying the phone is super fast and capable, even when streaming games. It has one of the most powerful processors available on an Android phone right now.
Add on the 120Hz refresh rate display and it feels that much faster. Better still the phone’s software can adjust the frame rate on the fly, depending on what you’re doing. This means you won’t waste precious battery life when doing basic tasks such as checking text messages or emails.
Software & Storage
As with most top-tier phone these days, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra runs Android 10. But Samsung has customized the software to take full advantage of the S Pen. Reviewers said that the new air gestures were addictive and useful. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes with 128GB onboard storage and a MicroSD space for further expansion.
As expected of Samsung, the cameras tout some insane specs -- like their 50x AI assisted digital zoom. There is also a 5x optical zoom -- a rare feature on phones today.
If that wasn’t enough the rear-facing lens is 108MP an astounding amount among newer smartphones.
In ideal lighting, the cameras pleased reviewers. However, low light situations were left some reviewers wanting.
Tech Radar says, “Then... the sun started to set. This is where Samsung’s phones tend to compensate for noise with aggressive texture smoothing, and the Note 20 Ultra is no different.”
Being such a large device, you wouldn’t think the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra would hold a charge well, but reviews indicate otherwise.
You’ll want to leave it to charge every night.
Reviewers noted that the phone lasted all day but ended the day with about 20% battery left. Still if you find yourself low during the day, fast charging and wireless charging options allow you to pick between convenience and speed when topping up your charge.
The phone features stereo speakers. Reviewers had no issues with the sound. But you will need wireless headphones or earbuds for private listening -- or a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter -- as the Note 20 Ultra does not include a headphone jack.
Specs at a Glance
- Gorilla Glass "Victus" chassis
- 6.9-inch OLED, Quad HD display
- Octa-core, 3GHz Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865 processor
- 8 or 12GB of RAM
- Android 10
- 128GB of storage with MicroSD option
- 108MP rear-facing camera with 12MP ultra-wide and 12MP telephoto lenses
- 10MP front-facing lens
- 4500mAh battery
- S-Pen stylus
The Samsung Note 20 Ultra seems to check all of the boxes for an amazing smartphone in 2020. But it comes with some trade offs. It’s very big, so those with small hands might struggle to use it. That said, the massive screen is great for games and movies. The cameras are awesome but the way they stick out on the back of the phone is not.
Still, overall complaints are few and most reviewers seem pretty impressed.
The Verge says, “The Note 20 Ultra is a very ostentatious, flashy phone. But this year, it didn’t get a flashy update. It got what amounts to a spec bump (and a camera bump to match). But that’s enough to make it perhaps the best flagship Android phone you can buy right now. Even for a phone as big as this, that is no small thing.”
Forbes remarks, “Samsung’s latest, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G is out. I’ve been testing it for three weeks and it’s a pricey but powerful phone that is the highest point Samsung phones have yet reached. The design is classy, the performance is strong and in Samsung Notes it has the best app the company has built.”
Prices (Where to Buy)
Ask the Community
No questions for the moment.