This is the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, it’s bold, beautiful, it’s sharp, it’s a perfect marriage of glass and metal, it’s got an SPEN, an incredible Dynamic AMOLED Quad HD screen, it’s got an insane 91.7% screen to body ratio, it’s covered by the latest and greatest Gorilla glass Victus, it’s IP68 rated so you can go swimming with it, literally, it’s a professional camera, it’s fast, its a full fledged wireless computer in your hands and it’s….. EXPENSIVE. $1,299 expensive
But I think it’s totally worth it. Let me tell you why?
This is Samsung Greatest and best smart-phone yet and it shows. Samsung put their heart into making this device. Compared to the S20 series, the Note 20 Ultra is like a Rolls Royce Phantom while the S20 Ultra is…. well just look at em.
If you’re looking for a good looking phone that just sets you apart from the crowd, this is it. This is the absolutely the best looking phone out there period. If you choose to buy this device, you’re also getting some of the best specs out there in the Android space and you’re pretty much covered for the next two years.
It’s solid, there’s no creaking and is just feels very good in my hands, except I’m freaking scared every time I pull it out of my pocket. It’s so sleek and translates to an unnerving slipperiness. You definitely need a case here which in itself is a bummer cos then you don’t see the beauty of this piece of gorgeousness. As for me this is going to be sitting at home until I get a cover case. Just kidding.
So Samsung upped its game in the Camera department in the Note 20 Ultra, no thanks to the problem laden cameras in the S20 Ultra. We have just three cameras here and they’re fantastic. There’s a 108MP F/1.8 26mm Main wide angle camera with OIS, which we also saw in the Xiaomi MI Note 10, a 12MP 120mm Periscope telephoto Lens with OIS. This lens supports 5X optical zoom and 50X hybrid zoom. And we have a final 12MP F/2.2 120 degree Ultra-wide angle lens. There also laser auto focus with the main lens for super fast auto focus, something the S20 Ultra struggled with.
In a word, the photos from the camera array were, beautiful. I mean it just shines every time I pulled it out to take photos. I don’t what else to say, the photos were very impressive.Have a look for yourself.
The Note 20 Ultra can shoot video at the following resolutions: 8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@960fps (for incredibly awesome slow motion), videos are also in HDR10+ format and you also get stereo sound recording (this helps you manually determine where you want your video to pick it’s sound. It works, pretty well, but is still one of those things you’d probably use only once). You also have gyro-EIS & OIS while recording video.
For the selfie camera, we have a 10MP f/2.2 punch hole camera. It’s decent and is actually much better than what we have on the S20 ultra. Photos from this camera were detailed and portrait shots were impressive. You can also shoot video at 4k30, 4k60 or 1080p30.
Battery and Performance
I must say I’m not so impressed with the battery life on the Note 20 Ultra, it kind runs down pretty fast. This could be due to my usage… I don’t know, but it just feels like it depletes faster than that of my S20 ultra. It’s a 4500mah battery and support fast charging at 25Watts. It also serves reverse wireless charging at 9Watts. You can also charge this battery wirelessly.
As for performance, this phone just blow everything away. There’s nothing I want to do that I cant. All my 3D games run flawlessly and you should be absolutely fine with performance. In the US and South Korea, you get the Snapdragon 865+ processor with Adreno 650 GPU variant. While the rest of the world gets the Exynos 990 with Mali G-77 variant. A lot of people have complained about this, but Samsung claims to have worked on the Exynos chip in the Note 20 Ultra to improve its performance and speed. But I’d really like to see a comparison between both versions, to determine if this is the case.
You get an 8+256 or 8+512 Storage option (this is for the 4G Note 20 Ultra), while the 5G option gets 2+128 or 12+256 or 12+512GB options. Asides the storage option and 5G connectivity, both variants are exactly the same. Except for the price. We’ll get to that later.
Display and Speakers
Look I can rant for days on how good this display looks, it’s beautiful and is probably one of the best screen on any smart-phone. It’s a 6.9 inch 1440X3088 Dynamic Amoled Display, it refreshes variably between 1 and 120Hz. But it can only do 120Hertz at 1080p resolution and It boast a crazy high peak brightness of 1,500nits. You’re definitely not going to be having any problems with outdoor visibility.
The 120hz mode just makes everything much more fluid and makes the phone a joy to use.
Gestures are much enjoyable here and scrolling and closing or opening apps just look really good.
Image and video quality here is stellar. And it all just looks brilliant.
120Hertz at 1440p resolution would have been incredible, but then it’d tell on the battery. 1080p at 120hz looks very good and I’m not complaining.
We have a dual stereo speaker setup and they’re loud. There’s no headphone jack but you can listen wirelessly with Bluetooth 5.0 for high fidelity audio. You do get an AKG tuned pair of earphones in the box and the sound very good.
The Note20 Ultra adopting a 120Hz screen with a 240hz sampling rate enhances the S Pen experience. The S-Pen now has a latency of 9ms, down from the old Note’s 42ms, making for an even more paper-like feel.
You also have Anywhere actions that work across the UI as opposed to the limited availability in certain apps in the old Notes. Five new actions have now been introduced, and you’ll able to launch Smart Select and Screen write with two of them, while the other three serve for basic navigation – Back, Home, and Recent tasks.
The S Pen also comes with improved handwriting recognition and Samsung’s software will allow for straightening of slanting handwritten text, there are new background colors and templates, audio-synced annotations in the Samsung Notes App, PDF imports and PowerPoint integration
The Note 20 Ultra and Note 20 come with Android 10 and OneUI 2.5 out of the box. It’s a newer version of Samsung’s Android overlay. It’s smooth and Samsung has done a lot of proper clean up here. The Note 20 phones have been promised to get three major OS updates – so expect to see Android 13 on the Note 20 in 2022.
This is a beautiful device but there are some things I do not really like about the Note 20 Ultra.
1. The Camera bulge. It’s huge and I’m constantly cautious when placing the phone on any surface just so that glass covering doesn’t break.
2. The curved edges, I have experienced a good number of palm interference. The palm rejection doesn’t always work. I guess they can fix this with software and
3. The S-Pen position. I honestly don’t know why they moved the S Pen from the right corner to the left. I think it’s much better on the right.
That being said, the Note 20 Ultra will set you back $1,299, here in Nigeria, you’d be paying N525,000 to own this beauty. The price is steep and may be too much for most persons, but ultimately, the Samsung Note series has a loyal fan-base, and I think that group will be very happy with this year’s update. If you want the Best from Samsung. This is it. (or maybe the Z Fold 2).
Pre-orders run from the 14 through the 25th of August and you get a free Galaxy Buds Live with your pre-order.