Samsung Galaxy Note series has always been the best of what the company got to offer. And with the Galaxy Note 20 series– Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, it’s the same story. Of course, you may say that the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is a compromise to make the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G look like the real deal. Samsung has packed the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G with a range of features to make it the most powerful Android phone of 2020. But the thing is it is not a smartphone for everyone.
The Note 20 Ultra 5G will make you believe that you can accomplish so much on a smartphone with the S-Pen Stylus, Dex, camera and tons of productivity features that no other Android phone has. Having said that the real question is how many of these features will you actually use religiously?
The Note 20 Ultra 5G is a power packed phone. When put in the right hands, it can do stuff that no Android phone can. But if you are an average user looking for a flagship phone to flaunt, play games and click good photos, there are lots of other phones that can do the same.
After using the Note 10+ last year and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra this year, the new Note 20 Ultra 5G appears to be a more refined device but in terms of experience it is not something entirely new. However, it is a completely different world for someone who hasn’t used any recent Samsung flagship phones. After using the Note 20 Ultra 5G for some time, here is our review.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G box content
Samsung Galaxy 20 (4G variant) with 256GB internal storage is priced at Rs 77,999, whereas the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G comes with a price tag of Rs 1,04,999 for 12GB RAM/256GB storage. The Note 20 Ultra 5G supports dual-SIM cards and comes with a hybrid slot. Instead of the second SIM card you can use a microSD card of up to 1TB.
The device comes with a Super Fast Charging adapter (with Type-C port) along with a charging cable with Type-C ports on both sides and Type-C earphones by AKG.
Keeping the form factor similar, Samsung has made every attempt to make the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G stand out. There are two colour options available– Black and Bronze. It goes without saying the Bronze colour with the frost glass back is a head turner. The front of the device looks similar to the Note 10+ but the rear of the phone gives a fresh look altogether.
There is a huge camera module at the back with three massive lenses and a Laser AF sensor. The huge camera module looks attractive but it makes the device wobbly when placed on a table, especially when you are using the S-Pen stylus to scribble something. Talking about the S-Pen stylus, Samsung has shifted the location of the S-Pen slot from right to left but it doesn’t matter much.
Samsung has used the latest Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on both front and back for protection, however, the camera module is protected by Gorilla Glass 6. The Note 20 Ultra 5G is a large phone with a 6.9-inch display and weighs 208 grams. The curved glass on both sides make it comfortable to hold but it will take some time to get used to confidently gripping the phone.
The glass and metal frame body is sturdy and feels tough to hold. Overall, the device looks premium and the design overall makes it appear classy.
As far as ports are concerned, you just get the Type-C port and there is no 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G comes with a 6.9-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O display (3088×1440) with 496ppi and HDR10+ certification and up to 120Hz refresh rate. You either have the option to opt for a 60Hz display or let the software adapt the refresh rate up to 120Hz as per the content played on the screen. It goes without saying that 60Hz refresh rate saves battery. But using the S-Pen stylus with 120Hz refresh rate offers a very smooth experience. The stylus experience is something Samsung does the best and it actually resembles the feel of writing on paper.
Talking about the display quality, it is one of the best you can get in a smartphone be it for gaming or watching movies. However, it would be a tough job to differentiate between the display quality of the S20 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra 5G on a day-to-day usage. But if you are upgrading from a mid-range device, the display quality will surprise you. The colours are vivid, sunlight legibility is good, no problems with the viewing angles and everything looks good on this display. As far as features are concerned, there are no new display features to mention as such. There is an in-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor which does a good job in unlocking the phone quickly.
Samsung has improved the S-Pen stylus and it now supports gestures and is IP68 dust and water resistant. The gesture support may sound cool but in reality you may not want to move the stylus as a magic wand in the front of the phone to get basic stuff done like changing volume or moving up or down a page or changing music tracks.
The range of the S-Pen stylus has been increased and you can use it to take selfies from a longer distance. Apart from that, the S-Pen stylus functions are similar to that of the Note 10+. Samsung hasn’t used the same S-Pen and has made slight design changes.
You can use the S-Pen to control the camera and even use it as a clicker during presentation. With the Note 10+ Samsung has natively enabled handwriting recognition. This means whatever you scribble with the S-Pen can be converted into text format compatible with Microsoft Word. For example, if you write something in Hindi, you can use the feature to convert into text that is Microsoft Word compatible. This saves you the hassle of typing in Hindi. Samsung plans to add support for other India languages as well in the coming months.
On the software front, you can now use DeX seamlessly. For those unaware, with DeX you can convert any monitor into a separate PC. For example, you can play PUBG Mobile on the device while editing a video using an Android app while it is connected to a MacBook via DeX. You can also open two instances of the same app on the Note 10+ and on PC or MacBook via DeX. There’s keyboard and mouse support as well. If you want, you can actually turn the Note 20 Ultra 5G into a laptop via DeX.
Not to forget, Microsoft’s Your Phone app with Link to Windows integration now allows users to easily access their mobile apps directly from Windows 10 PC. You can even make and receive calls all from your Windows 10 PC.
Talking about the user interface, the device comes with the familiar Android 10-based OneUI. Most of the bloatware can be deleted including the Facebook app for the first time. However, there are three hidden Facebook apps which you can’t remove irrespective of whether you use Facebook or not.
The device is powered by an octa-core Exynos 990 processor with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. The hardware specifications are the same when compared to the S20 Ultra. Talking about performance, this device is built to be treated as a workhorse. Be it gaming, multi-tasking on DeX or recording 8K videos you will not face any lags. However, the device does get heated up a bit more when compared to other phones during gaming, recording videos and if you are on Wi-Fi, the device generally tends to remain warm. You can blame the Exynos processor for that but this heat doesn’t affect the performance.
For most average users it would be hard to find performance faults with the kind of task they do which mostly includes gaming, streaming content and camera usage. If you are DeX while gaming on your phone, then expect the device to get heated up and you will find some hiccups.
Overall, it is a smooth performer and build to deliver performance needed to heavy gaming and ultimate productivity.
The Note 20 Ultra 5G offers a 108MP rear camera with a triple-lens setup. There’s a 12MP Ultra Wide Camera (Pixel size: 1.4μm, FOV: 120˚, Aperture: F2.2), 108MP Wide-angle Camera with PDAF, OIS and F1.8 aperture along with 12MP Telephoto and Laser AF sensors. As far as zoom is concerned, the device offers 5x Optical Zoom and up to 50x Super Resolution Zoom. Talking about the zoom, anything beyond 5X zoom doesn’t produce usable photos.
As far as the multiple lenses are concerned, you will be mostly using the middle lens which offers up to 108 MP resolution, for almost all kinds of photos that you click. Samsung could have opted for just two lenses and skip the ‘third-eye’ altogether.
Samsung has packed the Note 20 Ultra with a lot of camera mode and features including support for 8K video recording. It is among the few phones to support 8K video recording in the first place. The camera quality will remind you about the S20 Ultra. In fact, the camera quality is very similar to the S20 Ultra. No doubt, it shoots great photos including good night shots but it is not something that we haven’t already seen.
Overall, daylight shots are the best in almost all conditions while night shots come out good too. But focusing could be an issue in mixed lighting conditions or under different colour lighting and sometimes macro shots may not impress. But overall, this is one of the best mobile cameras out there.
It offers broadcast quality video recording. If you are planning to start a YouTube channel then the Note 20 Ultra suits the best. Interestingly, Samsung has added support for an external Bluetooth mic for recording audio during video shoots. You can use the Galaxy Buds Live as a wireless mic while recording videos. However, not all earbuds are supported.
On the front, there is a 10MP selfie camera with an aperture of F2.2. The quality is decent for social media usage but lowlight selfies may disappoint.
This work horse is backed by a 4,500mAh battery with support for Super Fast Charging. Keeping the tall battery life claims aside, you will have to charge this phone daily. Also, if you are using DeX or play a lot of games, it is a good idea to carry your charger around. The device takes around 1 hour 15 minutes to get fully charged. Battery life is definitely not something Samsung has improved much but then it’s quite a big ask for any flagship phone to run more than a day under moderate to heavy usage after a few months of use.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G offers quite a lot, but in terms of experience there may be very little reason for Galaxy Note 10+ users to upgrade. Like we told in the beginning of the review, the Note 20 Ultra 5G will make you believe that you can accomplish a lot on a smartphone but do you really need those features? The Note 20 Ultra 5G is easily positioned to be one of the best flagships of 2020.
If money is not a problem and you would like to get the most powerful Android phone out there then go for this. But if you are someone planning to get it on EMIs then be sure that you actually need all the features of the Note 20 Ultra because there are cheaper flagships like the S20+ or S20 Ultra or even the OnePlus 8 series. Not to forget, there is the Apple iPhone 11 or even 11 Pro too in this price range. As for the Note 20 Ultra 5G, it offers the best display, good design, smooth performance, good cameras, solid design and it doesn’t get any better.