Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra first look
Contents of delivery
Charger 25 W
USB Type C cable
AKG Wired Stereo Headset
(USB Type C)
Samsung usually presents two lines of top-end devices, in the
spring these are the flagships of the Galaxy, at the end of summer – the update
of the Note line. Formally, Note series models can be considered
intermediate flagships, they appear shortly before the release of the new line
from Apple, update the characteristics of the flagship from Samsung, and
refresh it. But the most important thing is, of course, the S Pen and its
capabilities, which no one has been able to replicate in smartphones. Among
Note lovers, there are those who think that the S Pen is pampering, never use a
pen, ignore it. And there are quite a lot of such people, but buying Note
simply because of the characteristics, the cost makes no sense, this device is
fully revealed precisely due to the S Pen and has no analogues on the market. It’s
good to judge the capabilities of the S Pen in absentia, but it’s still worth
trying and understanding that it is convenient and your possibilities are
expanded due to this tool. It is possible that it was the presence of the
S Pen that formed such an army of fans around the Note line, those who do not
recognize anything else, choose this particular series. And if initially
the Note line was distinguished by the most technological solutions (camera,
processor, and so on), today they have been reserved for the Galaxy S line, but
the Note was left with the S Pen, this is its distinctive feature.
For the first time in the 2020 lineup, the S20 Ultra model
appears, the prefix clearly says that from a technical point of view, this is
the best you can get from Samsung. Maximum cost, availability of all
technologies that you can imagine. And for the first time this prefix
appears in the Note line, the older model was named Note20 Ultra, that is, the
Galaxy family device becomes the prototype. In fact, we can safely say
that the S20 Ultra was taken to create the Note20 Ultra, these models are
similar in almost everything – in the radio part, processor, and chassis. If
not twin brothers, then they are very close. And then there is a collision
of what buyers will choose if the devices are as close as they will be bred on
the market. The past years have proven that Samsung is pushing the cost,
making the Note line more expensive. But there is another point, the
basic versions of the smartphone are only 4G, while the S20 Ultra is always
with 5G. This is a reduction in price, and it is justified, since not
everywhere there are 5G networks, a change that the pandemic and common sense
Who is the Note20 Ultra for? Certainly for those who are
ready to buy the most expensive Android smartphone and need an S Pen. For
the rest, there is a regular S20 Ultra or lower models, there is no reason to
buy the Note20 Ultra.
Almost complete coincidence of dimensions with S20 Ultra, the
devices are perceived as very close relatives. The only difference is the
S Pen connector and the body color. In Russia there will be such colors –
bronze, white and black.
Please note that only in bronze color, the case is matte (satin),
but white and black easily collect prints. Corning Gorilla Glass 7 is used
everywhere, this is the first device with this glass – it is more resistant to
both drops and scratches. But this needs to be experienced in life, while
in absentia we believe that Corning is right in stating this.
Alas, you still need a case, since the protruding camera block is
inconvenient without it. You will be hitting the pocket of your trousers
or other clothing with this block.
The device is unambiguously masculine in size and weight, although
the example of the S20 Ultra shows that women can handle such models with ease.
From the usual moments – there is protection against water (IP68),
a standard USB Type C connector and the absence of 3.5 mm, which, in my taste,
is bad. But this is how fate developed for this connector, alas, and ah.
The memory card slot supports two nanoSIM cards, as well as a
memory card (there are no memory cards in the younger Note20). There is
also eSIM support.
I will not describe the standard things, since they are typical
and there are no peculiarities here.
Let me quote a review of the S20 Ultra, as the screens are the
same and no different. There are changes in the software aspect (OneUI 2.5
brings dynamic frequency control, it can vary depending on the application). But
by and large, that’s all that has changed. Although more certificates have
appeared, energy consumption has changed, but you will not see all this in
everyday life, so there is no point in talking about it yet. One of the
fundamental differences – the frequency of 120 Hz is available only in adaptive
mode (that is, the smartphone itself chooses when to turn it on).
So, to quote the display section from the S20 Ultra review:
The diagonal of the screen is 6.9 inches, the maximum resolution
is QHD, but the default is FullHD +. This is Dynamic AMOLED 2X, excellent
color reproduction, maximum brightness is adjustable over a wide range, in
FullHD + resolution, which is the default, and the screen operates at 120 Hz
(sensor 240 Hz). Scrolling becomes smoother, but battery consumption
increases by 10-15%.
120Hz operation is only guaranteed in interface, standard
applications. For example, in games 120Hz may not be supported, it depends
on the applications themselves (they must be adapted for such screens). I
don’t see a big problem in this, since the quality of both games and pictures
still remains at the maximum level.
By default, the screen is set to the color gamut “Saturated
colors” (there is also “Natural colors”). In this mode, the
brightness and contrast of the picture are maximized, and the colors hit the
eyes. If the sky is not just blue, but blue. It upset me at some
point because it is impossible to navigate what you are photographing, the
screen distorts the picture too much, but everything is fine on the computer. As
a result, I turned on “Natural colors”, although they are muted on
Traditionally, there is a blue filter, a dark theme, including the
ability to set work on a schedule. Adaptive screen brightness adjusts to
your preferences. In manual mode, you can set the brightness to 400 nits,
in automatic mode it reaches 900 nits. This allows you to read your phone
screen even under the brightest sun.
As always, there is the Always on Display mode, it allows you to
display the clock, calendar, and picture in standby mode. At the same
time, the screen does not consume a lot of energy, and this makes the look of
the phone diversified (there are small changes here, hello One 2.5 again!).
The built-in Li-Ion battery has a capacity of 4500 math and
supports USB Power Delivery 3.0. This allows you to get rid of a simple
problem – a long charging of the smartphone. So, in Note20 Ultra, you can
charge the battery up to 100% in 60 minutes (charging time depends on the
ambient temperature). In half an hour, you will receive approximately 58%
of the charge. A 25W charger is included and should be enough for most
behind-the-eyes use scenarios. There is no point in buying a 45 W charger,
since the charge speed increases by the first 50%, but the total time remains
plus or minus the same.
Wireless charging supports up to 15W of power, which allows you to
charge your smartphone in 100 minutes. It’s also very fast and extremely
comfortable. For several years I have forgotten what charging for the
night is, always charging my devices on the go, in between. And I never
have problems with the fact that they were discharged at some inopportune
moment. It takes 10 minutes to get a charge for several hours of non-stop
operation. And this is a convenience that can hardly be overestimated.
Reverse charging allows you to recharge accessories or another
smartphone, power up to 9W.
In practice, you can expect the Note20 Ultra to handle a day of
work with ease, with moderate use up to two days.
There is support for Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax, will be available with
licensing from the regulator), as well as maximum aggregation of LTE
Support for payment systems Samsung Pay, Google Pay, the work does
not raise any questions. There is, of course, full NFC for everything
Bluetooth version 5.0, there is support for sending an audio
stream to multiple devices. A proprietary Quick Share feature has
appeared, which allows you to quickly send large files to other devices from
Samsung (a sort of combed Wi-Fi Direct).
There are several memory options, two will be presented in Russia,
the basic 8/256 (4G) and 12/512 GB (in the S20 Ultra, the basic 12/128 GB).
The model is built on the Exons 990 chipset (7 nm) and has no
shortcomings in the speed of both the interface and third-party applications. This
is a very fast chipset, it has a margin of safety for several years to come. In
the US, the model is supplied with Snapdragon 865, there are simply no special
differences in performance, battery life and quality. The myths that
Snapdragon is better have no foundation. In some ways the chipset from
Samsung wins, in something from Qualcomm. The question of understanding
this difference and what exactly you need from the device. If you like to
play heavy games, then Qualcomm. If you love taking pictures and filming
videos, then Exons. Although the difference in any case will be minimal
and in practice almost imperceptible.
RAM LPDDR5, it is fast, and this is proved by tests (the test
cannot even fully assess how fast the memory is, modern tests lag behind the
development of technology).
The block of cameras is somewhat similar to that in Ultra, but the
cameras themselves, their modules are different.
To begin with, the Tofu camera disappeared, but the laser light
appeared. As well as dual-pixel focusing appeared in the main module,
which speeds up the system and allows you to quickly capture the scene. In
the review of the S20 Ultra and the description of the camera, I argued that
the new module will appear for several years and will be consistently improved,
the first such changes we see in the new model, when the algorithms are
reworked and the device is pulled up to the level of the previous flagships of
the company. It is the Note20 Ultra that becomes fast, trouble-free in the
camera area, and this will be noticeable in everyday shooting (in the S20 Ultra
there are no problems as such, but this is a new system, and you need to
retrain it, here they tried to smooth out sharp corners). For example,
shooting in macro mode is getting easier, but such modes are being updated with
an update on the S20 Ultra. The work of the main module of 108 megapixels
is important, which is optimized – faster focusing, less blur during sequential
shooting, the camera has been pulled to a new level. The changes, as
always for the Note line, are not overwhelming, just another step towards
Ultra stated digital zoom of x100, but in practice everything
above x50 could not be used, I called the x100 mode digital binoculars, you
look at something on the screen in the distance, but you don’t take the photo. It
is possible that common sense prevailed, since this possibility was simply
abandoned and was limited to x50 digital zoom.
At the same time, the module with the periscope provides x5 optical
zoom, and the hybrid one – x10. The picture quality should improve in
comparison with the S20 Ultra, but I will check this point already in the full
review, now it’s too early to talk about it.
The Single Take option can now work for up to 15 seconds (today
the video is being written up to 5 seconds), but I don’t think that many will
appreciate this moment.
In general, the quality of shooting on the Note20 Ultra will
correspond to that of any Samsung flagship, the details in the 108-megapixel
module have been improved, and the algorithms have been slightly changed. In
the latest generations, the company has been consistently improving the quality
of video shooting, here, in addition to the already familiar 8K video recording
for the S20 family, a 21: 9 frame geometry appears. A kind of cinematic
picture borrowed from Sony and their flagships. In the place of Samsung,
during the presentation, I would show some short video from a famous director
and demonstrate my admiration for this mode, the move is banal, but it always
works with a bang.
Just like in Ultra, there is a system of several microphones,
there is a Zoom-In for sound when you point the camera at the subject and the
sound is amplified. But for the first time in my memory, it becomes
possible to choose when recording a video on which microphones the sound will
be recorded! That is, you can select pairs of microphones located on the
device itself. Not only that, you can plug in an external microphone
(including the Galaxy Buds Live wireless headphones!) And record audio from it. This
option looks very interesting and dramatically expands the capabilities of the
smartphone (I crossed my fingers so that they would not cut it before the
official announcement, as it happened with new chips in the past).
A flagship with good quality photos, noticeably redesigned video
algorithms. All this needs to be twisted and watched in real life in order
to assess the quality of shooting and the capabilities of the device. But
I will say in absentia that it is slightly better than in the S20 Ultra in
terms of photos, and noticeably better in terms of video.
Take a look at the sample photos taken with the S20 Ultra to get
an idea of what level the main module is in the new model.
few words about the S Pen
The S Pen is the same, the color is always in the body of the
smartphone .The speed of recording and response is now such that it seems that
in front of you is paper, not a smartphone screen. The Note10 had a
response rate of 42ms, the Note20 had 26ms, and the Note20 Ultra had 9ms! In
numbers, this looks, of course, overwhelming, but in life you need to be an
adherent of the pintail sect to see a significant difference. On the other
hand, I’m used to a screen frequency of 120 Hz, although I can’t feel the
difference and distinguish at what frequency the screen works. But it’s
more pleasant when it’s 120 Hz, maybe it’s a psychological kunshtuk, I don’t
know. The S Pen in the Note20 Ultra is a little nicer, but it’s impossible
to say that the differences are striking. Therefore, this is definitely
not worth focusing on when choosing.
There are no improvements in the S Pen, besides this, as such,
there are no, as before, you can use the pen to remotely control your
smartphone (camera, video recording or screen), gestures in the air are
supported, you can assign your own. But the biggest change is the updated
Samsung Notes app. Now there are folders with categories where you can
insert notes. Synchronization of notes with OneNote from Microsoft, as
well as a to-do list (you need a Microsoft account, as you know, this is the
“Link to Windows” function).
The toolkit itself in notes has become much prettier, the
application has turned into an advanced text editor with handwriting
recognition. You can correct crooked text, you can change its size and
color. But one of the features I was pleasantly surprised by is recording
audio in notes. For example, you are listening to a lecture, court session
or meeting, come up with something important for you yourself. And you
record audio, in parallel make notes in important places. Now a note with
such audio shows you the comments made, you can quickly jump to the places
where you noted something important. The thing is simple, but in life it
will be useful to many people.
Recognition of geometric shapes, when an uneven circle turns into
a perfect one, as well as other shapes. And there is also the ability to
edit PDF, and do it with any of the available tools.
I’m not talking about the already standard features of the S Pen:
handwriting recognition in any language, translation anywhere on the smartphone
of words, recognition of texts in pictures, and their translation into files. All
this is familiar.
Another feature, which at first glance seemed to me nonsense, but
then I liked it, is the ability to draw in a regular calendar on top of the
schedule. That is, you can circle dates, add something by hand. No
need to enter notes or events, you can just draw what you need. For
example, a mug or highlight some days.