Galaxy Note 20 ongoing review: Here’s how Samsung’s $1,000 phone stacks up so far

    Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 in mystic inexperienced.
    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
    I used to be excited to unwrap Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, a supercharged $1,300 flagship telephone that offers the Galaxy Note 10 line a big improve, for a worth. But in some methods, I’ve anticipated the usual, cheaper Galaxy Note 20 much more. Retailing for $1,000, it slashes $300 off the value, whereas serving up the identical core options and skimming again the extras throughout the board, together with display expertise, digital camera specs, construct materials and RAM (scroll to the top for the total specs comparability). Order from Amazon | Samsung | Verizon | AT&T | Xfinity Mobile | T-Mobile | US Cellular | Best Buy | Walmart | Sam’s Club |
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    What makes the Note 20 such an attention-grabbing gadget is that it has to win you over as a telephone in its personal proper, but additionally persuade you its trade-offs do not make it really feel like a food plan Note 20 Ultra. There’s additionally the Galaxy S20 Plus to match it to as nicely and I’ll get there ultimately. I’ll preserve updating this submit as new observations develop, simply perceive that my opinion may change because the expertise all comes collectively — and that is a very good factor.

    Newest Galaxy Note 20 impressions The Note 20 feels good as a standalone telephone, however is overshadowed by the Note 20 Ultra.A flat display brings sure benefits in comparison with the Ultra’s curved display, although the bezels are nonetheless whisper skinny and the telephone does have points with “accidental presses” once I maintain it. For instance, it fast-forwarded in 10 second increments whereas I held the telephone and watched a Netflix present.Anyone used to a 120Hz display refresh charge will word that the Note 20 feels “slow” when scrolling.Battery life appears a minimum of on par with the Note 20 Ultra, if not higher — probably a results of the usual 60Hz display refresh charge. It nonetheless towers out of my pockets and fills my hand, however feels much less treacherous and fewer top-heavy.
    Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are available a putting bronze shade
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    Note 20’s plastic backing feels cheaper, however lighterOne main — and really apparent — distinction between the Note 20 Ultra and customary Note 20 is the backing. You get Gorilla Glass Victus on the again of the Note 20 Ultra and a polycarbonate (meaning plastic) backing on the Note 20. This could not appear to be an enormous deal, however Samsung and different high-end smartphone makers are maybe victims of their very own success, coaching shoppers that cup is stylish and complex, whereas plastic, a sometimes much less shatter-prone materials, is now seen as much less refined. Samsung despatched alongside my first alternative Note 20 end, the mystic inexperienced coloration, which is an attractive, shimmery, inexperienced with blue undertones in the best mild. It appears downright satiny. However, $1,000 nonetheless looks like so much to pay for a telephone with a plastic backing, even whenever you slap on a case. Side by aspect with the Note 20 Ultra, the Note 20 appears and feels midrange, which does not line up with the asking worth. 

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    Here’s one other problem. I additionally seen that the corners snag my fingertips as I maintain the gadget with no cowl. It is not painful or disruptive, however it does not really feel as luxe as a $1,000 telephone ought to. Samsung was gracious sufficient to ship alongside a couple of instances, which makes the issue disappear, however it’s vital to attempt the telephone each methods. There is one benefit, although. The Note 20 is considerably lighter than the Note 20 Ultra, in hand, in my pocket and in my purse. It’s a lot simpler to carry when writing, watching movies for an prolonged time and simply carrying round. That’s an actual plus for me.Note 20 versus Note 20 Ultra digital camera

    Galaxy Note 20

    Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

    Main digital camera

    12-megapixel (F1.8, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, 1.8μm, 79-degree FOV, 1/1.76″ picture sensor)

    108-megapixel (F1.8, OIS, 0.8μm, 79-degree FOV, 1/1.33″ 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 digital camera

    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



    How about that Note 20 digital camera? Differences matterAfter two weeks with the Note 20 Ultra, images on the Galaxy Note 20 are comparatively good, however the Ultra’s 5x optical zoom and laser auto focus give it all of the benefit. Images are nonetheless colourful and sharp on their very own and it is good that the Note 20 lacks the Ultra’s monumental, awkward digital camera bump. As a end result, writing on the Note 20 with the S Pen made it rock a lot much less deeply (with no cowl) than the Ultra.

    However, when attempting to shoot lots of nature pictures out on a day journey to the coast and round my neighborhood, I missed pictures extra regularly on the Note 20 and the 3x optical zoom and 30x AI zoom images I took did not excite me in comparison with the Ultra’s 5x optical and 50x digital zoom. I used to be much less bothered by the pared-back element seize (64-megapixels on the excessive finish as a substitute of 108-megapixels). Although I do not normally use excessive zoom in on a regular basis conditions, watching a hawk tear right into a snack within the branches excessive above, or attempting to seize a seal hauling itself out of the ocean had been two inspiring exceptions. Enough to undoubtedly purchase the $1,300 Note Ultra as a substitute? Maybe not, however there’s a discernible digital camera distinction.

    For all of the bulbous faults of its protruding digital camera array, the Note 20 Ultra’s enhanced images received me nearer to nature than the Note 20 and seemed much less grainy within the course of. After some time, I ended reaching for the Note 20 altogether. I may nonetheless share the Note 20 footage and movies with my birder and nature-loving good friend — who I knew would flip for them regardless — and the images are nonetheless efficient and usable. But aspect by aspect, it is apparent the place Samsung made its investments. Coming up: Screen high quality, battery life, storage, extraThis is only the start of my Note-versus-Note Ultra testing interval. Screen specs, battery life and lots of minor options will go face to face to find out which telephone gives the very best worth for the cash (proper now it is anybody’s to lose) and if there are different components that would push one above the opposite — or above competing units. Keep checking in as this review-in-progress evolves. Meanwhile, brush up on the total specs comparability beneath. Note 20 versus Note 20 Ultra

    Samsung Galaxy Note 20

    Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

    Display measurement, decision

    6.7-inch; 2,400×1,080 pixels

    6.9-inch; 3,088×1,440 pixels

    Pixel density



    Dimensions (Inches)

    6.36 x 2.96 x 0.33 in

    6.49 x 3.04 x 0.31 in

    Dimensions (Millimeters)

    161.6 x 75.2 x 8.3 mm

    164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm

    Weight (Ounces, Grams)

    6.84 oz, 194g

    7.33 oz, 208g

    Mobile software program

    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)

    Front-facing digital camera



    Video seize




    Snapdragon 865+

    Snapdragon 865+



    128GB, 512GB




    Expandable storage


    Up to 1TB




    Fingerprint sensor






    Headphone jack



    Special options

    S Pen stylus; 5G connectivity; Wireless PowerShare; water-resistant (IP68)

    5x optical zoom, UWB sharing, S Pen stylus; 5G connectivity; Wireless PowerShare; water-resistant (IP68)

    Price off-contract (USD)


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

    Price (GBP)

    £849 (4G) and £949 (5G)


    Price (AUD)

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

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

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