Let's admit it: smartphones those days, even those that are affordable, are usually fast enough in terms of performance, and you can get a pretty decent camera without spending more than a thousand dollars. However, if you want more than just enough, if you want your phone to be meticulously crafted with a jewel-like polished design, this is the time you should start looking at premium phones. This is the feeling I felt after using Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, for about an hour after I borrowed it from a tech reviewer on YouTube shortly after the Unpacked event.
The new Note features a rectangular square structure that is instantly recognizable and different from the Samsung S series. Its new design further reduces the edges so you really feel that you only carry one giant screen, without interruption. The screen is big, definitely 6.9 inches, like a tablet. The previous version contained a 6.8-inch screen, and Samsung was somehow able to design a slightly larger screen, although the Note 20 Ultra comes with a larger screen, but it is completely identical to last year's phone.
Note 20 Ultra and a revolution in design
But the big difference lies in the shape of the camera unit: when you picked up a phone last year and compared it to the new, the contrast is amazing. The new phone comes with a bold and remarkably designed camera unit.
There are some other small changes: the buttons are now on the right side where they belong and the S Pen is now on the left. Some other things have not changed: the screen is still a little curved (something less clear on such a giant screen by the way), and there is still no headphone jack as expected.
You have three colors to choose from, all neutral and less noticeable than the color burst we had on the Note 10 Plus. Where the basic version comes in a color called Mystic Bronze, then you have the color white, then the model that you see in the pictures here is Mystic Black, which actually looks more like the gray color of the iPhone.
Unfortunately this version was shiny but was smudged with fingerprint smudges. Another great thing about our phone today is that it comes with a glass body that is more robust and durable than any other phone. The protection layer is called Gorilla Glass Victus and has great resistance against scratches and bumps. In theory, the phone should be able to survive a significant drop on its head, for example, just don't try it on purpose.
Not too much for the pen
The number one reason people buy the Note is the S Pen, and if that is your main reason, you will be happy to know that the S Pen upgrade here is the biggest ever in the history of the series. Where the company reduced the response time to just 9ms, which is an improvement of more than 4 times. This means there is no apparent delay between the moment the S Pen touches the screen to the time the actual drawing appears. It looks just like using a pen on paper, which is very imaginative.
Samsung has also optimized its Notes app with cloud sync, and will transform and modify ugly handwriting in digital text. There are also 5 new “Air Gestures” that you can use to control your phone remotely. I have tried them and they haven't always worked out from the first try, I'm not likely to use them that much in the future.
Display is enough
However, the reason I buy the phone isn't the S Pen: it's the screen. 6.9-inch dynamic AMOLED color display. This is the best screen I have seen on any Samsung phone so far. It displays incredibly rich colors and becomes super bright at 1500 nits, so you can use it outdoors and under the sun without any concerns, plus, it supports Quad HD resolution, but not if you use the 120Hz refresh rate option.
After that, the maximum resolution is 1080p, which is a bit frustrating as other phones can do it. However, Samsung seems to think that it could consume a lot of battery. If you ask me, I will always go with 120 Hz next to Quad HD.
Speaking of the battery, there is one 4,500 mAh inside. Yes, smaller than the 5,000 mAh one found on the S20 Ultra. Some people will find this disappointing. I have not. The Note is a little thinner than S20 UltraAnd, for me, the latter is very exhausting, so I appreciate the slim body of the note phone. You also have all the other features you should expect from the battery: 25W fast charger in the box, support for wireless charging, support for reverse wireless charging. The phone also supports 45W fast charging if you spend an additional $ 50 to purchase this faster charger.
Extraordinary interior features as usual
Under the hood of the phone, you get the highest specifications: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, 12 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage with support for its expansion via the microSD slot. The new thing here is UFS 3.1 storage technology, which means the phone is getting faster than before, and you can feel it all over the user interface that looks more vibrant than ever.
The important part of the phone is the camera. The massive camera bump contains a 108-megapixel main camera, one 12-megapixel wide camera, and a 12-megapixel optical zoom lens. This latter lens is a beast and will give you almost exactly the same as the one on the S20 Ultra, which means it's pretty cool. You don't get "Space Zoom X" and instead you can "Zoom in" up to 50X only. I can totally live with that because the photos beyond this zoom range are absolutely blurry to me.
Samsung also fixed the S20 Ultra's auto focus issue on this note. Now you get laser autofocus that focuses in the blink of an eye for both photos and videos. It is really impressive.
So here's the recap for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. It is a phone you can have if you want to treat yourself to the best technology, it represents the concept of practical luxury. And with Samsung promised to arrive three major updates in the future. What about excitement and innovation? Well, the phone might feel a little boring compared to the foldable giant: Galaxy Z Fold 2. But you know in the end what it is, innovation comes with its share of risks and problems, and if you want a risk-free phone that you can count on, the best choice is the Note 20 Ultra which is considered one of the finest smartphones at the moment.