Announced on August 5, 2020, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G is Samsung’s latest flagship to hit the market. After about 3 weeks of intensive use, and as the main phone, the time has come to make our review available on this smartphone from the South Korean manufacturer.
For those who have used the Galaxy S20 Ultra before, the differences won’t be that much, and I consider this Note series gear to be another upgrade and great gear, and with a different design.
Material and performance
It is a device with a 6.9 inch AMOLED screen and QuadHD + resolution with a total of 496ppi. It has a variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz, which Samsung’s software can handle very well. This rate adapts dynamically to the needs of use, and always with the aim of preserving the autonomy of the equipment. So when it is needed the phone uses very high bitrates, and when it is not needed it drops to just 10Hz.
That same display supports HDR10 +, and in terms of quality it’s the best the market has to offer, from its color accuracy, viewing angles to brightness, everything is excellent, and most importantly, we Do not have any problem when using it outdoors under strong sunshine.
Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G has the best display on the market
Obviously, and being the best screen for smartphones, I had never tested such a good screen, which is also protected by Corning Gorilla Gall Victus.
Inside we have a Samsung chip made using the 7nm process, the Exynos 990, which has an octa-core processor running at a maximum of 2.73GHz. If we add this chip to its GPU, the Mali-G77 MP11 and its 12 GB of RAM, then we have a real “combat smartphone”. You will not find an app that does not work quickly and efficiently on this smartphone. We’re up against a real top of the line, and the best in the market, so in terms of performance, nothing will fail.
As always, I leave here the Antutu tests which prove the excellent performance of the equipment.
It has a 4500mAh battery which although in theory it is short, the truth is that its performance is impressive. With heavy use I was able to get almost 1.5 days of use. The whole system seems very well prepared not to abuse the battery. And when it comes time to recharge, there are also no problems, it supports charging with 25W wire, which can charge the battery from 10 to 100% in about 65 minutes. With about 30 minutes on the charger, we were able to get about 60% battery power, which is a good result.
While charging is still one of the points where Samsung seems to lag behind the competition, the truth is that it has 15W Qi / PMA wireless fast charging and charging. 4.5W wireless reverse charge. Wireless charging can charge the battery from 10 to 100% in just over 80 minutes.
Note 20 Ultra also supports 5G networks, which as you can imagine was not possible to test because it is not yet available in the national territory. Its ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is integrated directly into the screen and works quickly and accurately.
One of the strengths of the Note line is its S-Pen, and this Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G is no different. However, this S-Pen is improving and compared to the Note10’s S-Pen it is 80% faster, as Samsung has reduced its latency to 9ms. With this S-Pen, it finally looks like we’re writing with a pen on a piece of paper, but in a much smoother way. I’m not a big fan of the S-Pen, but in this Note20 I have used it a lot, and a lot more than I expected to use, since two or three days after you start using it you will find it much more comfortable to use the same, than the virtual keyboard.
No matter which angle you tap, this S-Pen is very well connected to the screen of this phone, it’s like a perfect marriage if it does.
I can’t finish the hardware details without revealing that it has stereo speakers, Bluetooth 5, NFC, MST, IP68 certification, and DeX wireless support over Miracast.
The arrival of this equipment marked the arrival of version 2.5 of OneUI, the latest version of Samsung’s operating system, which is based on Android 10. It will probably be the last version of this system, since Korea South is already working on Android 11, which will arrive on devices in the form of OneUI 3.0.
There isn’t much to say about the software as it packs everything Google made available with Android 10 and with many improvements that can already be seen in many of the company’s devices, even in the tops of the 2019 range and smartphones of the Galaxy S20 series.
However, I can’t help but reveal that Samsung is promoting Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service. Although I did not use it in my tests, when this equipment was officially presented in Portugal, I had the opportunity to test the service, and it seemed to be going very well.
The truth is that in recent times Samsung has lost some discipline in software design. The company is always tempted to launch strange resources, which we often end up not even realizing what they are used for.
Regarding Bixby, he is listening more and more to Portuguese, but he is still far from having a good experience of use in Portuguese. It has responded to many requests in the Camões language, but still has to work hard to deliver a Samsung-worthy experience.
This is a strong point of this Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G, even if it is visual, since it has a big “impact” on the back that I admit to hating, and is anything but functional in terms of design (see photo below). For what it serves, DxOMark’s staff reviews speak for themselves, this is one of the best smartphones ever made for photography. In addition to their tests, mine reveals precisely the same result.
And let’s start by talking about the front sensor, which is a 10MP sensor that uses and abuses Artificial Intelligence to “edit” photos. In practice, this retouching is much more than that, since the selfies taken with this equipment often make us look like real wax dolls. Obviously you can change the settings, but there is a clear exaggeration on the part of artificial intelligence that urgently needs to be addressed by Samsung.
As for the rear sensors, the story is different, and in this equipment we have three cameras. The former is a camera with a 12MP ultra-wide sensor, a 12MP telephoto lens with a periscope lens, and the main one is a 108MP wide-angle sensor.
In general, any phone’s ultra-wide sensor is the weakest of the bunch, and this phone is no different. However, the results obtained with it are very satisfactory.
The telephoto sensor, which has a periscope system, can do a true 5x optical zoom. Samsung also has something it calls “Space Zoom” which allows you to combine optical and digital zooms to up to 50x. Interestingly, the S20 Ultra has a higher megapixel count and offers 100x zoom, which means Samsung cut it down on that note. And we can say that this sensor does nothing wrong, the photos are very good, even when we are at maximum zoom.
Finally, we have the 108MP sensor, which is the crown jewel of this phone, if it weren’t for the Samsung-designed sensor. Focus works great, colors are great, and precision is something that is only really possible with the best phones on the market.
Photos in low light are really impressive and unlike other equipment, we don’t have to hold the equipment too long to take photos in the dark.
Regarding the video, we have the possibility of recording in 8K and this explains the quality of the sensors, and of the Samsung software. However, I think 4K is still the best solution to use on this phone. 4K recordings with image stabilization give truly impressive results.
Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G Review: final verdict
Whatever the price, the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G is guaranteed to be one of the best smartphones money can buy. It offers the best display we can have on a smartphone, a truly awesome S Pen experience because it has a host of new features for work and play. Their cameras are fantastic, correcting some issues that occurred with the Galaxy S20 Ultra. In terms of performance, it’s on top of what one can get in a device like this, even for anyone who likes to play on the smartphone.
The only negative point that I must underline, apart from its price which is around 1150 €, is really the protrusion of the module which contains the rear photo sensors. It’s not ugly … it’s horrible. Many would argue that the solution to this problem is to purchase a cover flush with the sensors. This is still true, but the phone is not made with a shell, and this solution hides the beautiful color of this equipment.
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Founder of Noticias e Tecnologia, and this is his second online project, after several years connected to a portal focused on the Android system, of which he was also one of its founders.
IT professional and passionate about new technologies, mechanical sports and mountain biking.