Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review: Amazing features, but is anyone a ‘power user’ anymore?

samsung galaxy note 20 ultra 5g

Should you’re in search of Samsung’s new Galaxy Notice 20 Extremely to be a do-everything telephone, you will not be dissatisfied. Like different Notice telephones that got here earlier than it, the Notice 20 Extremely is aimed toward a rarified group of Android “energy customers” who desire a telephone with all of the toys and are not afraid of a better price ticket. With the Extremely, there’s loads of each.

Samsung saved its finest options for the Galaxy Notice 20 Extremely, together with a extra refined design than the Galaxy S20 Ultra — a telephone I do not advocate. You may discover an distinctive 6.9-inch display, sharp 5x optical zoom digicam and a swifter stylus for annotating screenshots and taking notes. The Notice 20 Extremely additionally makes small however important enhancements over the Note 10 Plus, particularly within the digicam realm.

Do these options justify the Notice 20 Extremely’s value? It begins at $1,300 (£1,179, AU$1,894) for the 128GB model (you can too purchase it in 512GB). The retail value is a steep ask, particularly if you mix a local weather of deep global recession and mounting unemployment. Add that to the truth that in case your active work and social lifestyle has changed at all, like mine has, you will not actually benefit from all of the options this telephone has to supply.  Will the Notice 20 Extremely nonetheless be the telephone you need to use post-pandemic, or will a greater improve come alongside by then?

Learn extra: iPhone 12 Pro’s camera vs. Note 20 Ultra: Portraits, selfies, night mode and more

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Galaxy Notice 20 Extremely is a do-everything gadget that’ll…


I’ve at all times loved utilizing a Galaxy Notice, for the stylus in addition to the sleekness of the road’s design. The Extremely produces top-notch specs, checks all of the packing containers, and I need to find it irresistible. However for me, it does not completely come collectively, and by way of worth, it is a miss. Until you already know you possibly can’t stay with out it, it is exhausting to advocate the Extremely for all however probably the most loyal Notice followers, or individuals upgrading from older phones.

Should you get a adequate trade-in deal or bundled supply, I believe you may be more than pleased with the options and efficiency, even when some facets, just like the protruding digicam bump, aren’t your favourite. However if you wish to reserve a bit cash this yr and save your splurge when you could have extra certainty and freedom of motion, there are many glorious units effectively under $1,300 that can see you thru till then, together with the Google Pixel 4A, Samsung Galaxy A51, iPhone 11 or 11 Professional and OnePlus 8 or 8 Pro.

Learn on to be taught every part from display high quality to pattern photographs from the Notice 20 Extremely’s cameras. Scroll to the top for the complete record of specs in comparison with the standard Galaxy Note 20. Samsung additionally unveiled yet one more tremendous-ultrapremium telephone this yr, the Galaxy Z Fold 2.

Is the Notice 20 Extremely’s mystic bronze shade actually all that? Can you continue to see fingerprints?

I am in love with the mystic bronze shade of my Notice 20 Extremely assessment unit. It is bought a refined shimmer that to me feels understated and stylish, with out shedding a dynamic end. In sure lighting, it appears rose gold. The matte end does lots to maintain fingerprints on the again to a minimal — I can barely see them.

Switching to the S Pen will instantly hold the display cleaner than typing along with your fingers, however I exploit each enter strategies on the telephone. Mystic white and mystic black, which I’ve not seen in individual, have shiny glass backings.

How good is the display?

The 6.9-inch show is great: clear and sharp, with an method to the 120Hz display refresh fee that is way more polished and helpful than Samsung’s first try with the Galaxy S20 Plus and S20 Extremely. The default mode is “Adaptive” movement smoothness, which activates 120Hz refresh if you’re scrolling or utilizing options that may benefit from the sooner display. It’s going to flip to the 60Hz normal when the display is static, saving on battery total. You may also toggle to 60Hz if you would like to protect much more.


You commerce off massive digicam sensors for an enormous ol’ bump that retains the telephone from mendacity flat if you put it down.

Angela Lang/PJDM

Is the Notice 20 Extremely’s curve nonetheless related in 2020?

I really like the stylish, immersive look of a curved, waterfall edge. However the Notice 20 Extremely’s true edge-to-edge show made it exhausting to position the cursor on the edges of the display the place I needed it to go, and I seen — particularly when mendacity down — that gripping the telephone whereas typing or navigating usually known as up different apps or options unintentionally, or else closed out what I needed to do. A bit extra grip buffer — or higher contact rejection alongside these edges — would go a good distance.

What sort of glass protects the digicam and telephone?

Samsung makes use of the brand new Gorilla Glass Victus on the Notice 20 Extremely’s back and front. Corning claims the duvet materials can stand up to drops as much as 2 meters (about 6.5 ft) and can be twice as scratch-resistant in comparison with Gorilla Glass 6, which is rated for a 1.6-meter (5.25-foot) fall.

However the digicam module, which stands out from the again, is roofed with Gorilla Glass 6, which means that if the telephone have been to fall on its again and hit this half first, it could be theoretically extra liable to breaking than the remainder of the gadget. I’ve had cracked glass over my digicam lens earlier than and it ruined each portrait shot I attempted taking after. A case may actually assist fill within the empty area and distribute forces within the occasion of a fall. Take a look at the results of our Galaxy Note 20 Ultra drop test — spoiler alert, we have been in a position to break this telephone.

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Evaluating the Galaxy Notice 20 Extremely and iPhone 11 Professional…


What concerning the Extremely’s massive digicam bump?

Once I first bought the assessment unit from Samsung, I described the design as siren-meets-cyclops. It is really properly styled, nevertheless it’s nonetheless simply too massive. The principle downside is that if you place the Notice 20 Extremely on a flat floor, like your desk, and begin writing or navigating with the S Pen, the telephone really rocks. This has occurred on all of PJDM’s assessment models.

Is the fingerprint reader higher than on different Galaxy telephones?

Sure. Fingerprint scanning errors nonetheless occur, however few and much between, and I normally get in on the second strive. This makes cell funds lots simpler. My professional tip for the reason that S10 is that this: Enroll your dominant thumb twice, your different thumb as soon as and your dominant index finger as soon as. You will have a complete of 4 fingerprint profiles to work with.


The Notice 20 Extremely has a crisp, vibrant display.

Jessica Dolcourt/PJDM

How is the Notice 20 Extremely’s zoom high quality?

The telephone’s 5x optical zoom is admittedly sharp and produces glorious pictures when there’s ample lighting. I favored how a tip popped up on display as I took a photograph of a buttery, multilayered croissant, suggesting I shoot at 2x and pull again. A lot better picture.

Samsung pulled again from 100x Area Zoom on the S20 Extremely and I am glad. The 50x zoom on the Notice 20 Extremely is sufficient for many makes use of, and far improved with the upper optical zoom output to begin with. Use it to seize scenes you may ordinarily be too far-off to get, like a cute canine with its head out the window, a hawk circling overhead or taking pictures a humorous avenue signal.


I took this image utilizing auto mode on the Galaxy Notice 20 Extremely.

Jessica Dolcourt/PJDM


Right here we’re at 50x zoom, the very best the Notice 20 Extremely will go.

Jessica Dolcourt/PJDM

What about the remainder of the cameras?

Taking photographs with the Notice 20 Extremely telephone was loads of enjoyable. I used to be a bit restricted by the current circumstances with the vary of photographs I naturally needed to take, however I nonetheless discovered pictures I cherished: purple clouds rippling in an impossibly pink summer season sky, a scrumptious picnic lunch and a glowing candle at an out of doors restaurant at evening.


Shot in auto mode on the Galaxy Notice 20 Extremely — no filter.

Jessica Dolcourt/PJDM

The Notice 20 Extremely has a 108-megapixel digicam characteristic, which helps you to take an in depth shot and crop photographs after the actual fact. My outcomes have been uneven, with a blown out picture of a flower that utterly lacked element, to a reasonably profitable shot of a bug that had landed on my shirt. Night time mode and selfie high quality have been stable, and I particularly like the brand new selfie filter that permits you to heat up or calm down the tone earlier than you are taking a shot.

Professional video mode is a Notice 20 Extremely unique, and is full of settings which might be frankly over my head as a result of I am not an expert videographer. I did like having the ability to change the microphone route, and easily zooming in was a pleasant characteristic, however high quality throughout evening shoots was poor. Here’s how the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s camera compared to the iPhone 12 Pro’s.


A nighttime picture taken with out evening mode from the Notice 20 Extremely.

Jessica Dolcourt/PJDM

Notice 20 vs. Notice 20 Extremely digicam

Galaxy Notice 20 Galaxy Notice 20 Extremely
Fundamental digicam 12-megapixel (F1.8, Twin Pixel AF, OIS, 1.8μm, 79-degree FOV, 1/1.76 inch picture sensor) 108-megapixel (F1.8, OIS, 0.8μm, 79-degree FOV, 1/1.33 inch picture sensor)
Ultrawide angle 12-megapixel (F2.2, 1.4μm, 120-degree FOV) 12-megapixel (F2.2, 1.4μm, 120-degree FOV)
Telephoto 64-megapixel (F2.0, 0.8μm, 76-degree FOV) 12-megapixel (F3.0, 1.0μm, 20-degree FOV)
Entrance-facing digicam 10-megapixel (F2.2, 1.22μm, 80-degree FOV) 10-megapixel (F2.2, 1.22μm, 80-degree FOV)
Zoom 3x hybrid 5x optical
Tremendous Zoom 30x 50x
Laser auto-focus sensor No Sure
Video seize 8K 8K

How’s battery life?

The Notice 20 Extremely’s 4,500-mAh battery is smaller than the S20 Extremely’s 5,000-mAh battery, however lasted for much longer throughout my testing interval. I am not hotspotting for hours throughout a commute as of late or going out from early morning till late evening, which makes it more durable to check anecdotally. Nonetheless, I would name battery life good, not wonderful, and it will actually take you thru a typical day. 

On my heaviest use days, I navigated with Google Maps for about an hour and a half and spoke on the telephone for over an hour with no important drain. I routinely take two hours of conferences calls whereas on a stroll, with out concern. I will replace this assessment as soon as I’ve outcomes from our extra formal lab assessments in New York. 

Are there any standout S Pen options within the Notice 20 Extremely? 

Due to the 120Ghz refresh fee, the S Pen writes noticeably sooner. There’s additionally decrease latency total (beneath 9 milliseconds, based on Samsung). I additionally really feel my writing is neater. Samsung introduces new options, like handwriting auto-straighten and PDF importing, which I like.


The S Pen writes higher and sooner on the Notice 20 Extremely.

Jessica Dolcourt/PJDM

Then there are the 5 new air gestures, which felt gimmicky. They’re customizable — a superb factor, however I by no means discovered methods to naturally incorporate them into days spent at residence, and your actions need to be sluggish and consider to get the gestures proper.

My favourite S Pen tips are oldies-but-goodies:

  • Utilizing the S Pen to sketch an idea
  • Magnifying tiny font on a web page
  • Annotating something and every part
  • Taking exact screenshots and highlighting simply the precise textual content I need to copy and paste
  • Taking a selfie by urgent the S Pen button

What is the Notice 20 Extremely’s processor like?

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus processor on my Notice 20 Extremely assessment unit is, in a phrase, snappy. Extraordinarily quick, completely competent, nothing bought in its method. Benchmarking scores have been additionally top-notch. Nonetheless, some areas use Samsung’s house-made Exynos 990 chipset, which is identical because the Galaxy S20 line. (The Notice 20 Extremely with Exynos additionally has 256GB storage versus the 128GB of my configuration.) I have never had an opportunity to check the Exynos model, however will replace this with perception from my colleague within the UK.

Notice 20 and Notice 20 Extremely specs

Galaxy Notice 20 vs. Notice 20 Extremely

Samsung Galaxy Notice 20 Samsung Galaxy Notice 20 Extremely
Show measurement, decision 6.7 inches; 2,400×1,080 pixels 6.9 inches; 3,088×1,440 pixels
Pixel density 393 ppi 496 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 6.36×2.96×0.33 in 6.49×3.04×0.31 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 161.6×75.2×8.3mm 164.8×77.2×8.1mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 6.84 oz, 194g 7.33 oz, 208g
Cell software program Android 10 Android 10
Digicam 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto) 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 108-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)
Entrance-facing digicam 10-megapixel 10-megapixel
Video seize 8K 8K
Processor Snapdragon 865 Plus Snapdragon 865 Plus
Storage 128GB 128GB, 512GB
Expandable storage No As much as 1TB
Battery 4,300 mAh 4,500 mAh
Fingerprint sensor In-screen In-screen
Connector USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack No No
Particular options S Pen stylus; 5G connectivity; Wi-fi PowerShare; waterproof (IP68) 5x optical zoom, UWB sharing, S Pen stylus; 5G connectivity; Wi-fi PowerShare; waterproof (IP68)
Value off-contract (USD) $1,000 $1,300 (128GB); $1,450 (512GB)
Value (GBP) £849 £1,179
Value (AUD) AU$1,499 AU$1,849

First revealed Aug. 18.

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Jessica Dolcourt