Introducing the brand new Samsung Galaxy Note20 and the Galaxy Note20 Ultra. Yes, the leaks were mostly correct – but we’re here to tell you our short hands-on session with the two phones and also all of its accessories.
We have everything on video, so check it out if you want me to talk to you about the Galaxy Note20 series instead of you reading it.
The new Samsung Galaxy Note20. It now comes with two different variants – just like its predecessor – but the names have changed. There’s still the base model Galaxy Note20, and the higher-end Galaxy Note20 Ultra. I guess the “plus” is now the “Ultra” instead.
Bronze and more
I’m pretty sure every one of us who has seen the Unpacked event teaser will know the bronze color theme that is heavily embedded in those teasers. There’s actually more than just the bronze color.
There will be a total of 3 colors for both the Galaxy Note20 and the Galaxy Note20 Ultra:
- Galaxy Note20 – all matte finish
- Mystic Bronze
- Mystic Green
- Mystic Grey
- Galaxy Note20 Ultra
- Mystic Bronze (matte finish)
- Mystic Black – glossy finish
- Mystic White – glossy finish
And honestly, I’m absolutely loving the new Mystic Bronze color. Both the Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra will have it in matte finish, which I absolutely like. It looks beautiful, honestly. And it matches all of the other products that were newly announced during the Unpacked event.
The Mystic Bronze looks very different from the Galaxy Note9’s copper color. It’s brighter now, and while I’m pretty sure it’s the venue’s lighting issue, the Mystic Bronze color looked a little pink-ish. I do like how Samsung now has these kinds of colors for their ultra-premium highest-end flagship smartphone because for me, the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s color options are just too bland.
Now, what surprised me the most is the Galaxy Note20’s Mystic Green color. When I saw this color, it instantly reminds me of the Galaxy S10’s Prism Green color. It’s very similar, and it’s love at first sight for me. I even purposely got a case with transparent back just to show off that beautiful color.
But, I do wish there’s the Mystic Green color for the Galaxy Note20 Ultra too.
As a quick highlight here, Samsung has a bunch of official cases for the Galaxy Note20 series. We have the usual slew of cases – the silicone one, LED case, flip case, leather case, window case, and two of them that caught my eyes are the transparent ones.
One of them is a standard case with a colored edge, similar to what I’m using for my Galaxy S10+. The second transparent case has a built-in kickstand.
I think Samsung made these two new cases for two reasons – firstly to protect the phone obviously, and secondly is to show off the new colors of the Note20. I like this approach.
There are also Kvadrat cases made for the Note20. The Kvadrat cases are unique because it is made out of a textile called Revive. Revive is manufactured out of recycled polyester (PET), which is repurposed from plastic bottles.
New, improved S Pen
The new S Pen got quite a lot of iterative upgrades across the board. Firstly, the latency has improved down. If my notes didn’t deceive me, it’s only 9ms now. There are also new Air Actions now – which is the “magic wand” feature that was first introduced with the Galaxy Note9.
We can now perform a few more actions, including going back, opening the recent apps or multitasking menu with just the S Pen. That’s actually pretty interesting.
A new partnership for gamers
Let’s just talk about the elephant in the room – that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Samsung has further partnered with Microsoft and now if you’re picking up the Galaxy Note 20 series, you’ll get the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for free. I’m not sure how many months of it is free, though.
For those who don’t already know what’s the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate – like me – then let me explain. It’s a game streaming service that has over 100+ games in the catalog now. Sadly for us Malaysians, I don’t think this is available to us since Xbox isn’t established here. Real talk here – I got an Xbox last time and I had to use the Singapore server instead because there’s no Malaysian server available.
But that is not the only new gaming-centric feature on the Galaxy Note20 series. There is a new AI Game Booster that provides you the appropriate amount of resources and performance for your games.
Now, I’m not sure if this is available for both the Note20 and Note20 Ultra – it has 240Hz sampling rate now. And to provide better cooling, there is a small vapor chamber to cool the chipset – that’s great!
One particular point that raised my eyebrows is something called “Bluetooth audio response” which I’m pretty sure means it improves audio delay when you’re gaming. We’ve talked a lot about Bluetooth audio delay in the past, which you can check out here.
Of course, this is something that we’ll try out for ourselves when we get our hands on it.
Better productivity tools
This is where the Galaxy Note series of smartphones stand out from the entire sea of smartphones – how it helps us to work using a smartphone. The era of this “new normal” has definitely changed our way of working – particularly from home.
So, what Samsung has done here is pretty neat. The Samsung DeX has opened up even further to the point where it now works wirelessly. We can now just mirror the display to a TV, and instead of mirroring what you see on the phone, it’ll be showing Samsung DeX instead.
What’s cool about it is that we can continue to multitask while using DeX on the big screen. The Note20 will be a phone but simultaneously running DeX at the same time.
There’s also another very cool feature is that you can use the Galaxy Watch 3 to control the camera, PowerPoint slides, and also music. From what I’ve tested, the Galaxy Watch 3 literally became a trackpad. Click here to learn more about the newly-announced wearables, by the way.
On another side note, the Samsung Notes app got a pretty big update too. From what was mentioned, it can now sync with other devices – like PC and tablets – presumably via Microsoft OneNote and Outlook.
The best new feature on the Samsung Notes app is the ability to record audio while writing on the document. The audio syncs with your writing, so you can rewind to see what was said while you’re writing stuff down. This is an especially useful feature for audio transcribing or taking down notes in classes, particularly in engineering classes.
It now also has something called “auto straighten” which if you write in a crooked manner, you can hit that auto straighten button and everything is straightened. It’s a nice QoL improvement since I always write sideways because I get more space.
New ways to connect
I’m not sure if this is considered IoT or not, but the new UWB – or ultra-wide band – is relatively new to me. I didn’t have much time to study it in-depth, but generally, it is a line-of-sight wireless technology that is quite versatile. Think of it like… a long-ranged version of NFC.
Samsung is currently highlighting UWB in a few simpler ways – the first one is for discovery. Instead of using Bluetooth to discover nearby devices, you can now use UWB instead.
Another interesting feature is to use it as a digital key. If you have digital locks at home – let’s say your gate, garage, or just room doors in general, then you can use your Galaxy Note20 as the digital key.
One more demonstration is to use UWB to find stuff using AR. I presume you can buy UWB tags and attach them to something like maybe your TV remote control or your backpack. You can use UWB to find out where they are.
Quick rundown here – the camera gets some upgrades as well. The Galaxy Note20 Ultra has a 108MP main camera with laser autofocus.
The biggest upgrade is to the Pro Video mode. You can now adjust the zoom speed, so we can create a smooth zoom transition.
Another big feature is the ability to select which microphone you want to use. There are a total of 5 different microphone modes to choose from:
- Default (all microphones on the phone)
- Front of the phone only
- Back of the phone only
- USB microphone
- Bluetooth microphone
A little bit of specs
|Galaxy Note20 Ultra||Galaxy Note20|