Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy Note 10 lite. Which is better and why? Let’s find out.
In my review of the Galaxy Note 10 Lite I said it was a particularly interesting device because it aims to bring the best features from the Note series at a much more affordable price point. And looking at the Note 20, although not so cheap, kinda falls in a similar bracket as the Note 10 Lite. Basically a less expensive Note. They have similar designs and build materials and both sport an S-PEN. But how do they differ?
Specs and Differences
The Note 10 Lite was released in January of 2020 and the Note 20 in August. Both phones use a 6.7inch 60hertz Super Amoled screen with the Note 20’s being a Super Amoled Plus display. The Note 10 lite has a 19:9 aspect ratio while the Note 20 sports a 20:9 aspect ratio. This results in a very tiny difference in PPIs with the Note 10 lite having 394 against the Note 20s 393 PPIs.
Both phones have glass in front and a glastic back plate. With gorilla glass 3 on the Note 10 lite and Gorilla glass 5 on the Note 20. You have Android 10 on both devices, with the Note 10 lite currently on OneUI 2.1 and the Note 20 on OneUI 2.5. The Note 10 Lite should be getting an upgrade to OneUI 2.5 soon.
Processor and Storage
For processor and storage, the Note 10 lite uses the Exynos 9810 based on a 10nm architecture with a Mali G-72 GPU while the Note 20 uses either an Exynos 990 based on a 7nm architecture with a Mali G-77 GPU or Snapdragon 865+ with an Adreno 650 GPU.
You have UFS 2.1 on the Note 10 lite and the newer UFS 3.1 storage on the Note 20. For storage options, on the Note 10 Lite you get 128+6GB or 128+8GB storage options with an option for expandable storage but you’d have to give up one NANO sim slot for this. Meanwhile on the Galaxy note 20 you have options for 128+8GB and 256+8GB with no option for expansion. You get dual NANO SIM slots as well.
But how do they differ performance wise. Although the Note 10 lite uses a two year old chip, it’s still a good performing phone. But I can’t deny that you’d get to see some significant differences between both phones in app start times and loading games. The Note 20 just has smoother performance, thanks to the inclusion of a faster RAM and a faster UFS storage.
However if you’re on a budget and really need to save some cash, the Note 10 lite is a decent contender here. You also have a faster USB connection on the Note 20. The Note 20 uses a 3rd generation Type C port, while the Note 10 lite uses a 2nd generation USB C port, both phones support OTG.
Another aspect of these phones where we see a major upgrade is in the Camera performance. Both phones have three cameras at the rear. For the main rear camera, both phones sport a 12MP wide angle camera, it’s an f/1.8 26mm lens on the Note 20 and an f/1.7 27mm lens on the Lite.
Both sport a similar 12MP f2.2 120 degree ultra-wide angle camera, with the Note 20s being a 13mm lens and the Note 10 Lites being a 12mm lens. Both also sport telephoto lenses with the Note 20 having a 64MP f/2.0 lens with OIS and the Note 10 lite sporting a 12MP f/2.4 52mm telephoto lens.
So I’m going to give the photo results to the Galaxy Note 20, it absolutely out performs the Note 10 lite and just has a much better dynamic range handling and the images from these cameras on the Note 20 just shine through every shot. See the video for the results
Battery and Video
There’s a larger 4500mah battery on the Note 10 Lite against a 4300mah battery on the Note 20. From my tests, both batteries perform at par, but again this could be as a result of me having had the Lite for the past 7 months, so battery degradation and the likes are expected.
Both phones typically last a full day of use. My full day at the beach with the Note 20 saw me with a full charge at 10 am and by 8pm I had 30% battery left and this was a day where I used the cameras a lot, took calls and also used navigation. Screen on time averaged at between 4 and 6 hours depending on use with the Note 20. for the Note 10 lite I would like to state that this phone is 8 months old already so have that in mind. It also took me through the day at the beach 100% at 10am and by 5pm when I was leaving, I had about 20% left and had to recharge. On my way home. Screen on time averages between 4 and 6 hours on the Note 10 lite as well.
Both phones have fast charging at 25 watts, although the Note 20 has wireless charging and the Note 10 lite doesn’t.
Music and Video
With regards to music playback, both phones sound great and I honestly couldn’t tell any differences using my Galaxy ANC earphones, but switching to the external speakers the Note 20 definitely sounds more refined and balanced. In terms of video playback both phones have support for widevine L1 which enables HD content on platforms like Netflix and both phones will stream content at a max resolution of 1080p. The picture quality on both panels look very similar but it looks slightly better on the Note 20. Let’s see a video of a sound comparison.
One extra feature I would have really loved to see on the Note 10 Lite is DeX. The feature that allows you basically turn your phone into a PC by simply plugging it in or in the case of the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra can now be used wirelessly. This is a nest feature that really all phones should have, but I guess you can have it all.
S PEN and Notes
Finally lets talk about the S PEN on both devices and what you can do with em. So this is an integral part of Samsung’s Note experience and to cut the long story short you can do basically the same stuff on both phone, except for some new features on the Galaxy Note 20 like straightening handwritten text, using the S PEN as a pointer in a presentation and also exporting you handwritten notes to PDF. All of these except the pointer are software features then can be introduced to the Note 10 Lite, but I bet Samsung is going to make it exclusive to the Note 20 series for a while or maybe forever. Unless my dear XDA developer community does something about this.
That being said, the S PEN on the Note 20 is 16ms faster that the one found on the Note 10 lite. Going from 42ms to 26ms. Giving you a more precise and natural feeling while writing on the note. Samsung also introduced writing sounds in OneUI 2.5, to give an even more natural feel to using the S PEN.
The Samsung notes app also allows you sync notes created on the Samsung Notes app to Microsoft’s One Note application on PC. So you can work even more efficiently. Pretty Nifty.
I think that Samsung made the right move in introducing the more affordable Note 10 Lite in January of 2020 and it gave more customers an easier access into Samsung’s Note line of phones. It is affordable and still has a very decent performance even with a two year old chip.
It comes with the S PEN and shares a lot of features with the bigger Notes. Compared with the Note 20, there are a lot of improvements made in the Note 20, but not such that makes the Note 10 lite useless. It’s still a very capable phone and is a Galaxy Note in every way.
On which I would recommend, I’d say if you’re really on a budget go for the Galaxy Note 10 Lite, it’s beautiful and does basically everything the Note 20 does. The Note 10 Lite will cost you anywhere between N197 and N205k which translates to about $430.
The Note 20 on the other hand has great cameras, a very good looking satin back plate, updated internals and a much better design. But it will cost about $999 globally (N409,000) and with this steep price, you’re getting a lower battery capacity and no higher refresh rate as against other phones with 90 and 120Hz displays.
Overall I like both phones and I think that whichever you go for would be just fine for you. But if you have the means, I would recommend buying the Note 20.
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