Samsung Galaxy Note20: First impressions

August 5, 2020

We take a look at Samsung’s newest ‘phablet’.

Earlier this week, T3 was invited to get a sneak peek at the new Samsung Galaxy Note20 and the Note20 Ultra. The two devices are part of the Unpacked launch by Samsung held today. The devices were pretty much in line with the recent leaks that have been circulating the interwebs for the past few weeks but to sum up our experience with the device – it’s amazing.

Galaxy Note20 Ultra

Both the Note20 and the Note20 Ultra bear a similar resemblance to each – with size as the only characteristic that separates them. The Note20 comes with a 6.7-inch flat display, which has been requested by users who don’t prefer the curved displays. The larger Note20 Ultra has a 6.9-inch, which Samsung says is made for the ‘Note loyalist’.

Galaxy Note20

As expected, the screens on both Note20 devices are nothing short of stunning. Black levels are on point, with colors brilliant enough that they seem to be popping out of the screen. I wish I had more time with it, considering that I want to see how great the Note20’s screen will perform with HDR content. Note that the faster 120Hz refresh rate is supported on the Note20 Ultra.

The S-Pen has always been a staple part of the Galaxy Note, and for the Note20 series, Samsung has improved the latency so it would feel like you are using a real pen when writing on the screen. The improved latency Samsung claims is 40 percent better on the Note20 and the 80 better on the Note20 Ultra.

Along with that, the S-Pen also gains some new Air Actions for navigation. You can draw a shape in the air and it can launch a corresponding app on the device. Samsung also upgraded its Notes app to include more features that will help showcase the power of the S-Pen.

On the camera front, Samsung has fitted both the Note20 and the Note20 Ultra with a triple-lens camera array. On the Note20 you will find a 64-megapixel telephoto sensor, a 12-megapixel wide sensor, and a 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor. The Note20 Ultra bumps the wide sensor to a beefy 108-megapixels and replaces the 64-megapixel wide lens with a 12-megapixel periscope lens.

Images we took with both devices look great. Detail is present while maintaining proper color accuracy – but we will reserve our judgment once we get to fully test the Note20 and the Note20 Ultra’s camera. Like the S20, the Note20 is also able to shoot video in 8K and even offers a Pro Mode inside the camera app. This mode gives you more control over the videos you are taking, and you can even choose which audio source to record. The Laser AF on the camera is also super fast, and it managed to see what’s on the viewfinder and immediately put it in focus.

Samsung is also implementing AI Game Booster on the Note20 series, which utilizes a vapor chamber to keep the device cool even when rendering console-quality graphics. Touch latency goes up by 240Hz, which gives you more precise presses and instantly registers your fingers for pinpoint accuracy when playing games.

The Note20 series will also come with a new ultra-wideband technology to make it easier to share content. Samsung says that this feature will also be used to introduce a new ‘digital key’ that will let you use the Note20 to unlock vehicles.

The Note20 series will run on the Exynos 990 processor and will have between 8GB and 12GB of RAM depending on the model you want. There’s Wi-Fi 6 along with 5G support and larger battery capacities on the Note20 and Note20 Ultra at 4,300 mAh and 4,500 mAh respectively. 

The Note20 series runs on Android 10 and runs on Samsung One UI 2.1. Navigation is fast and snappy and I hardly felt any lag during my time with it. Samsung continues to refine its own custom skin for the Note, and it blends well with the hardware.

From what we have gathered, only the Note20 Ultra will have both 256GB, 512GB storage, and 12GB RAM options in either 4G or 5G variants. The Note20 will come in just a single 256GB storage with an 8GB RAM option but will be available in both 4G and 5G versions. The devices come in new ‘Mystic’ color schemes, with Mystic Bronze as the newest on the lineup.

Overall, the Note20 series is another solid upgrade for the famous phablet. It may have small differences from previous generations, but we’re happy that the S-Pen continues to evolve as an essential tool for the Note. I personally find the Note20 Ultra too big for my hands, but the regular Note20 is just perfect. 

The pricing details for the Galaxy Note20 are listed below:

Note20 4G – 256GB/8GB RAM: 3,549 AED
Note20 5G – 256GB/8GB RAM: 3,949 AED

Note20 Ultra 4G – 256GB/8GB RAM: 4,499 AED
Note20 Ultra 4G – 512GB/12GB RAM: 4,849 AED
Note20 Ultra 5G – 256GB/8GB RAM: 4,899 AED
Note20 Ultra 5G – 512GB/12GB RAM: 5,249 AED

You can pre-order the Note20/Note20 Ultra here. For a limited time, you can get either a Galaxy Buds+ or Galaxy Buds Live with each pre-order along with a two-year Samsung Care+ warranty worth 499 AED.

Aside from the Note20 series, Samsung has also announced the Galaxy Buds Live, Galaxy Watch 3, and the Galaxy Tab S7/S7+.

Stay tuned for a full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note20 soon!

by Victor
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff.