Samsung Unveils Galaxy Note 20 And Note 20 Ultra With Precision S-Pen And UWB Support
Samsung just announced the brand-new Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, along with a host of additional wearable and tablet products, at its latest Galaxy Unpacked Event. The new Galaxy Note 20s bring with them an array of enhancements and improvements over previous generation offerings -- including even the current flagship Samsung Galaxy S20 -- like a faster processing platform, camera and video recording updates, Ultra Wide Band wireless support and deeper Microsoft app integration, among many other features.
The new Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are both built around Qualcomm’s most powerful Snapdragon 865+ 5G mobile platform, which should make them killer performers. At its foundation, the Snapdragon 865+ 5G is similar to the existing “non +” Snapdragon 865 powering virtually all early 2020 flagship Android smartphones currently available in the U.S. The underlying architecture between the 865 and 865+ is unchanged. However, the Snapdragon 865+ 5G is selectively binned from the best samples, and the chips are able to sustain higher CPU and GPU frequencies, which increases overall performance. The Snapdragon 865+ 5G’s Kyro 585 CPU complex can achieve a clock speed of up to 3.09GHz, for an approximate 10% performance uplift. And its integrated Adreno 650 GPU has also been tweaked to boost performance by about 10% as well.
5G, UWB And Wi-Fi 6, All On-Board These New NotesAs the 5G in the Snapdragon 865+’s branding suggests, both the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra will support 5G wireless connectivity, on both Sub-6 and mmWave networks thanks to the integrated X55 5G Modem-RF System. We should also mention that the Note 20 is the first device to feature Qualcomm’s LPAMiD QPM5625 low-band 5G/4G power amplifier module, which should result in superior global network connectivity over “older”, 5G-enabled devices. The platform also supports the latest Bluetooth and 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) standards as you would expect, in addition to UWB, or Ultra Wideband Technology. The Note 20’s UWB support is a first for Samsung, and will enabled high-speed, file sharing by simply pointing compatible devices at each other, along with an array of location and short-range communication technologies. Though new features will be added over time, Samsung reps mentioned UWB support enabling new smart-home and digital key capabilities.
Coupled to the Snapdragon 865+ 5G will be either 8GB (Note 20) or 12GB (Note 20 Ultra) of fast LPDDR5 RAM and at least 128GB of internal storage -- a top-end 512GB Note 20 Ultra variant will be offered and we should mention that the Ultra can be expanded via microSD card, whereas the standard Note 20 cannot. Powering the larger Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is a 4,500mAh battery, while the smaller Note 20 is packing a respectable 4,300mAh battery. Both phones also support high-speed quick charging technology, that will allow the phones to recharge to 50% capacity in only 30 minutes.
Big, Beautiful Displays But 120Hz Is An Ultra Only AffairThe Galaxy Note 20 Ultra sports a 6.9” display (3088x1440 native resolution, 496ppi, HDR10+ certified). And the Galaxy Note 20 has a slightly smaller 6.7” display (2400x1080 native resolution, 393ppi, also HDR10+ certified). However, though the Note 20's display is perfectly flat, the Note 20 Ultra offers an ever so slightly curved waterfall design like the previous gen Note, though both have a single circular punch-out at the top for the front-facing selfie camera. The panels employ Dynamic OLED technology and are reportedly 25% brighter than the Note 10’s screen. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra also supports up to 120Hz refresh rates, with a dynamic refresh option with app detection to optimize battery life and/or animation fluidity. However, the Note 20 (standard) lacks 120Hz refresh support unfortunately. So while the Note 20's display is almost undoubtedly gorgeous, if you want that silky smooth response time, you'll want to step up to the Note 20 Ultra.
In terms of their overall physical dimensions, only a couple of millimeters separate the new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. The larger Note 20 Ultra weighs in at 208g and is 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm. The Note 20 arrives at 192g and 161.6 x 75.2 x 8.3mm. Both devices have a similar industrial design, with triple camera array on the rear and single punch-out on the front display. And both devices carry IP68 dust and water resistance ratings. The port locations and button placement are the same across both devices as well.
A Faster, More Precise S-Pen Arrives To The Note 20 And Note 20 UltraOf course, it wouldn’t be a Galaxy Note launch if we didn’t comment on the S-Pen. Though the size and shape of the Note 20’s S-Pen is similar to the Note 10, Samsung has moved its dock to the opposite side of the device (versus the Note 10) and optimized performance considerably to reduce latency and improve the overall experience. Samsung is claiming up to a 40% reduction in latency, which brings the response time down to about 9ms with the latest S-Pen. Samsung will also be incorporating additional Air Actions, which will give the new Galaxy Note 20s some new trick when being use for presentations and the like.
Samsung Ups Its Camera Game Once AgainThere have been a number of enhancements made to the camera systems in the new Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra too. There is a more feature-rich Pro Video mode available, that gives users manual controls over every aspect of the video capture (ISO, shutter speed, white balance, aperture, zoom, etc.) and an array of resolutions and framerates are available in both 16:9 and 21:9 aspect ratios, including 8K recording up to 24 FPS. Users can even create quick “highlight reels” from multiple video clips with just a few taps. And the microphone direction can also be altered while shooting video with just a single tap, should users want to capture audio from subjects in front or behind the device. Samsung will also be offering the ability to use Bluetooth attached buds as a wireless microphone input, which is a great new feature for shooting in noisy environments (hear it in action in the demo video above).
On the photography side, there’s lots of news to share. Both devices have the same 10MP Selfie Camera with f2.2 aperture and 80° FOV. The triple-rear camera arrays on the devices are quite different though. The Note 20 Ultra is packing a 12MP Ultra Wide Camera (f2.2, FOV: 120°), a 12MP Telephoto Camera (f3.0, FOV: 20°), and a 108MP Wide-Angle Camera (f1.8, FOV: 79°) with 1/1.33" image sensor size, phase detect AF, OIS and a new Laser AF Sensor for faster and more accurate auto-focus in a variety of lighting conditions. The Note 20’s got a 12MP Ultra Wide Camera (f2.2, FOV: 120°), a 64MP Telephoto Camera f2.0, FOV: 76°), and a 12MP Wide-angle Camera (f1.8, FOV: 79°) with 1/1.76" image sensor size, Super Speed Dual Pixel AF and OIS. The Space Zoom capabilities also differ between the devices. The Note 20 Ultra features a 5x Optical Zoom with up to 50x Super Resolution Zoom, whereas the Note 20 offers a 3x Hybrid Optic Zoom and up to 30x Super Resolution Zoom.
Samsung Dex And Optimized Microsoft Office Integration
There are a multitude of software-related updates coming with the Note 20 as well. Samsung’s DeX desktop user experience can now be used wirelessly on any Miracast-compatible television or display. Samsung’s Notes can now live-sync and save all notes straight to the cloud, so they can be accessed on any device, when the user is signed into his or her Samsung Account. The Note 20 will also offer new PDF annotation, auto-straightening of handwritten notes, new customizable folder and page structures, and better handwriting recognition. Samsung is actually leveraging AI on the device as well, to better learn your handwriting over time.
Samsung also mentioned that it is deepening its partnership with Microsoft. The Microsoft Office experience with DeX is continually being optimized and Samsung Notes can also auto-save and sync with Outoook and OneNote now, or export notes to Word or Powerpoint. Outlook reminders can also sync across devices and drag-and-drop is being enhanced to facilitate sharing between smartphones and Windows devices. Galaxy Note 20 owners will also be getting access to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Galaxy Note 20 Family Pricing, Color Options And AvailabilityThe Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra will be available on August 21, with prices starting at $999 for the 6.7” Note 20 and $1,200 for the larger, 6.9” Note 20 Ultra. The Note 20 will be available in three colors -- Mystic Gray, Mystic Green, Mystic Bronze. Mystic Bronze will also be an option for the Note 20 Ultra, but Mystic Black and White replace the green and the gray.
We should have a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in-hand soon for testing. Based on our past experience with previous-gen Galaxy Note devices and some more recent Snapdragon 865+ 5G-based devices, we’re really looking forward to seeing with the Note 20 can do.