Galaxy Note 20: Here’s who should buy it and who should upgrade to the Ultra

    LikeBrilliant screenSolid digicam with 3x optical zoomPowerful, high-end efficiency featuresAll-day battery life

    Don’t LikeLacks premium look and feelPlastic backing can really feel sharp and poorly constructedToo costly at full retail worth

    Samsung has a knack for turning out highly effective telephones, particularly in its Galaxy Note line. This yr, it has two, the usual Galaxy Note 20 5G at $1,000 (£849, AU$1,499, each 4G) and the Note 20 Ultra at $1,300 (£1,179, AU$1,849, once more each 4G). Both have sharp shows, glorious cameras, all-day battery life and spectacular inner efficiency, together with an S Pen stylus that makes the Note distinctive. But you may solely purchase one, so which is able to or not it’s?This Galaxy Note 20 evaluate focuses on the variations between 2020’s Note telephones within the hopes it’s going to assist reply your questions whereas making a decision — or simply drool over Samsung’s large-screen units. On the entire, I can advocate each Notes, simply not at their retail costs.  

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    I counsel maintaining a watch out for offers, bundled affords, reductions and trade-in values that carry the costs down by $300 or extra. Samsung costs are inclined to fall because the months go on, so your probability of snagging a deal are excessive. Plus, a shock advice on the finish should you’re not bought on utilizing the S Pen stylus day by day.

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    Galaxy Note 20 vs. Ultra: Which do you have to purchase?


    Design variations matter: Screen, plastic vs. glassThe Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra clearly appear like completely different units, however not simply due to the Note 20’s barely smaller 6.7-inch display screen to the Note 20 Ultra’s 6.9-inch show. It’s obvious that the Ultra has a glass backing (Gorilla Glass Victus, the truth is,) whereas the Note 20 makes use of polycarbonate (that is plastic). If you utilize a case, it may not make a distinction to you, however in any case these years of being conditioned to equate a premium, $1,000 machine with glass development, plastic makes it really feel cheaper than its price ticket, though the specs are robust. I additionally observed a pointy edge the place the Note 20’s plastic backing joins the steel body, assembly in a spot sufficiently big to run my fingernail all the best way round. If you are going to use a case, it may not trouble you, however Samsung can and may do higher.Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 in mystic inexperienced.
    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
    There’s no curved display screen on the Note 20 the best way there may be on the Ultra. That would not trouble me, however the edge-to-edge show on each telephones means there are nonetheless loads of unintentional display screen presses once you’re merely holding the cellphone. For instance, should you’re passively watching a video and shift your finger to discover a extra comfy grip, chances are you’ll wind up inadvertently triggering a button.The remaining design distinction price noting is the 120Hz display screen refresh price on Ultra, in comparison with the usual 60Hz price on the Note 20. It will not make a distinction should you’re switching from a 60Hz cellphone, however it could actually really feel comparatively “slow” should you’re switching from a cellphone with a 90Hz or 120Hz show.The Galaxy Note 20, left, has a plastic again, in comparison with the Note 20 Ultra, proper, which has a glass again.
    John Kim/CNET
    The Note 20 Ultra is the clear digicam winnerThe Ultra’s has a large and protruding digicam array on its again to accommodate bigger sensors and maybe assist it stand out. Meanwhile, the Note 20’s digicam bump makes the cellphone much less top-heavy and vulnerable to rocking once you write on it whereas it is on a flat floor.But the Note 20 Ultra took higher pictures total. You’re going to get nice nice photographs regardless of which cellphone you utilize, once you’re taking pictures in brightly lit circumstances: saturated shade, crisp edges, the works. But should you’re in any respect fascinated with zoom pictures, the Ultra’s 5x optical zoom takes the crown. Not solely does it get you superb telephoto pictures as much as 5x, it could actually additionally go as much as 50x. This cute harbor seal was photographed at 30x on the usual Note 20.
    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
    Same seal, shot on Galaxy Note 20 Ultra at 50x zoom.
    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
    The Note 20’s 3x optical to 30x AI-assisted zoom remains to be good as properly, and higher than the Galaxy Z Fold 2 (which has 2x optical zoom), however picture high quality at 30x was higher on the Ultra than on the common Note 20. Most of the time the Note 20 will fulfill your photographic wants. But once I took them each to the moody Northern California coast, lots of my nature photographs have been merely higher on the Ultra and I finished reaching for the word 20 altogether.The Ultra has a 108-megapixel digicam you should use to crop into photographs for extra element, a characteristic I’ve discovered to have uneven outcomes.Camera: Note 20 vs. Note 20 Ultra

    Galaxy Note 20

    Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

    Main digicam

    12-megapixel (f1.8, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, 1.8μm, 79-degree FOV, 1/1.76-inch picture sensor)

    108-megapixel (f1.8, OIS, 0.8μm, 79-degree FOV, 1/1.33-inch picture sensor)

    Ultra-wide angle

    12-megapixel (f2.2, 1.4μm, 120-degree FOV)

    12-megapixel (f2.2, 1.4μm, 120-degree FOV)


    64-megapixel (f2.0, 0.8μm, 76-degree FOV)

    12-megapixel (f3.0, 1.0μm, 20-degree FOV)

    Front-facing digicam

    10-megapixel (f2.2, 1.22μm, 80-degree FOV)

    10-megapixel (f2.2, 1.22μm, 80-degree FOV)


    3x hybrid

    5x optical

    Super Zoom



    Laser auto-focus sensor



    Video seize



    Features the Note 20 and Ultra share5G knowledge speeds (some areas have 4G fashions)Signature Note S Pen stylusAndroid 10 out of the fieldSnapdragon 865+ processor (different markets use a Samsung Exynos chip)Extras like quick wi-fi chargingOther notable variationsScreen measurement, battery (4,300 vs. 4,500)MicroSD card512GB choice with Ultra8GB RAM versus 12GB RAM on Ultra
    Samsung’s Note 20 Ultra 5G is hanging from each angle
    See all pictures

    Should you purchase the Note 20, Note 20 Ultra, or a unique cellphone?The Note 20 Ultra is simply too huge, too heavy and too costly. But I’d nonetheless personally purchase it over the Note 20 as a result of I do discover myself utilizing the additional digicam options. However, I do not truly suppose it is price $300 greater than the Note 20 simply to have a 120Hz display screen, 5x optical zoom as an alternative of 3x, a glass backing and a microSD card storage choice — plus all the opposite extras.Most individuals will likely be happier with the cheaper Note 20 over the Ultra, however once more, I believe Samsung has overcharged for each telephones at their full retail worth, and I discover the Note 20’s $1,000 price ticket for what is basically a plastic cellphone cheeky at greatest and insulting at worst. For both cellphone, search for a deal. I’d be happier to pay $1,000 for the Ultra and $700 for the usual Note 20, if we’re maintaining Samsung’s $300 worth delta intact.The Galaxy S20 FE is available in a spread of colours.
    Angela Lang/CNET
    Here’s one other different throughout the Samsung cosmos. The model new Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition) is a center means. It merges a few of the Ultra’s greatest options with the Note 20’s cost-cutting trade-offs, bringing you a 6.5-inch show with a quick 120Hz refresh price, an enormous $4,500-mAh battery, 3x optical zoom and a rear plastic backing. There’s expandable storage, too, and naturally, assist for 5G knowledge speeds. While the cameras will not be fairly nearly as good, and there is no S Pen stylus, the Galaxy S20 FE is one of the best purchase by way of worth, if not a standing image — although it does are available enjoyable colours.Best but, it begins at $700 full retail and was already on sale for $600 in some shops by the point it hit the market. With trade-in values and seasonal offers, I anticipate that worth to fall.Galaxy Note 20 vs Note 20 Ultra vs S20 FE

    Samsung Galaxy Note 20

    Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

    Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

    Display measurement, decision

    6.7-inch; 2,400×1,080 pixels

    6.9-inch; 3,088×1,440 pixels

    6.5-inch tremendous AMOLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels

    Pixel density




    Dimensions (Inches)

    6.36 x 2.96 x 0.33 in

    6.49 x 3.04 x 0.31 in

    6.29 x 2.97 x 0.33 inches

    Dimensions (Millimeters)

    161.6 x 75.2 x 8.3 mm

    164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm

    159.8 x 75.5 x 8.4mm

    Weight (Ounces, Grams)

    6.84 oz, 194g

    7.33 oz, 208g


    Mobile software program

    Android 10

    Android 10

    Android 10


    12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto)

    12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 108-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)

    12-megapixel (normal), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 8-megapixel (3x telephoto)

    Front-facing digicam




    Video seize





    Snapdragon 865+

    Snapdragon 865+

    Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (5G) Samsung Exynos 990 (4G)



    128GB, 512GB






    Expandable storage


    Up to 1TB






    Fingerprint sensor








    Headphone jack




    Special options

    S Pen stylus; 5G connectivity; Wireless PowerShare; waterproof (IP68)

    120Hz display screen refresh price, 5x optical zoom, UWB sharing, S Pen stylus; 5G connectivity; Wireless PowerShare; waterproof (IP68)

    120Hz display screen refresh price, assist for 30W quick charging and 15W quick wi-fi charging

    Price off-contract (USD)


    $1,300 (128GB), $1,450 (512GB)


    Price (GBP)

    £849 (4G), £949 (5G)


    £599 (4G), £699 (5G)

    Price (AUD)

    AU$1,499 (4G), AU$1,649 (5G)

    AU$1,849 (4G), $AU$1,999 (5G)

    AU$999 (4G), AU$1,149 (5G)

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