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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra – Beauty And The Beast

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
4th Oct 2020
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Samsung galaxy note 20 ultra
Review Summary
PROS
  • Dynamic AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Extremely powerful processor
  • IP68 water/dust resistant
  • The only device with High-end Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
  • Excellent battery life
CONS
  • The headphone jack is missing
  • It is fairly expensive
  • Relatively slower battery charging speed for this price
Key Specs
Battery Capacity
Battery Capacity
4500 mAh
Operating System
Operating System
Android v10 (Q)
Screen Size
Screen Size
6.9 inches
Highlights:
  • Yes
  • Corning Gorilla Glass
  • 4500 mAh
  • Android v10 (Q)
Introduction

Behold the behemoth aka Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. A phone that throws even the most recent flagship devices in tantrum thanks to its unbeatable display, a gorgeous design, a high-end 108MP primary camera, and a lot of into the mix that creates a top-of-the-line premium device at a price tag of a whopping Rs 1,04,999/-. The device gets everything right from its camera to an enormous display to S-Pen stylus that adds to its productivity and much more including one the best hardware and software configuration that leaves even a hardcore Apple user in flabbergasted.

Prices in India, Variants, Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra carries a price tag of Rs 1,04,999/- without any exchange plan. Interested people can buy the 12+256GB variant for the price mentioned above which is the only variant available. You can choose between Mystic Bronze and Mystic Black. Amazon India is offering an exchange value of Rs 12,200/- while Samsung is available up to Rs 76,340/- of discount on exchange of eligible smartphones. There is a tonne of other offers including no-cost EMI starting at Rs 8,720/mo to standard EMI at Rs 4,305/mo. There’s a 60% payment with 11 months EMI available along with YouTube Premium, 20K Advantage Offer, and some other Accessories offers available only through the Samsung India website.

Box Contents

The box of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra does not look like a fancy packaging, while the contents also just slightly feel the same as before.

  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • Powerful 25W fast charger
  • AKG-powered wired earphones
  • SIM ejector tool
Specs at a glance

Before talking about the device in a bit more depth, let’s look at on-paper specifications first.

  • Display: 6.9-inch WQHD+ dynamic AMOLED display with 3088 x 1440 pixels resolution, 120Hz refresh rate
  • Processor: Exynos 990, Mali-G77 MP11 GPU
  • Memory & storage: 12GB RAM, 256GB storage
  • Software: Android 10 with One UI 2.0
  • Rear cameras: 108MP wide (ƒ/1.8); 12MP telephoto with 5x optical zoom (ƒ/3.0); 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2)
  • Selfie camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,500 mAh capacity, 25W fast charging
  • Build: Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus (or Corning Gorilla Glass 7) on the front and back
  • Weight: 208 gram
  • Dimensions: 164.80 x 77.20 x 8.10

Let’s see what makes the Samsung Galaxy Note Ultra an actual beast, except just its beauty.

Design and Build

At 6.9-inch of screen real estate, there’s no doubt Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is a massive phone to hold although the curved front and back edges give it a considerably slimmer profile. Samsung has managed to pull off quite a stunt with Galaxy Note 20 Ultra building a sturdy and premium device clad in two colour variants i.e. Mystic Bronze and Mystic Black. Both have a matte finish to it that eases any issues of fingerprints and smudges getting on your nerves. In fact, the device is equipped with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus at both front and back that can withstand a couple of drops from more than 1.5 meters without breaking a sweat.

note 20 ultra design

At the back, you would notice (although it is something everyone will notice) a giant camera bump where three massive camera rings add to a whole bigger bump. You would need a case for it to prevent accidentally scratching the lens although it is protected behind a glass layer as well. Unlike other flagship devices, Samsung decided to keep the back panel free from any unwanted elements. The power button and volume rockers sit on the left which is a bit of trouble given to reach. You get a dual SIM slot including a hybrid second slot for external memory while the device has an eSIM capability too. The stylus is placed again on the left on top. The phone has no orifices and comes with an IP68 rating that adds to its USP so that’s a relief. Every bit of the design feels premium without any second thought.

note 20 ultra back

Display

When you hold a behemoth like Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, you know you will get the best-in-class display with it. The phone packs in a powerful and vibrant 6.9” Dynamic AMOLED display with a resolution of 3088×1440 pixels which is greater than the majority of the flagship phones. The display is backed with an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz and since it is adaptive, the system automatically detects when to engage it such as whilst playing games.

note 20 ultra display

There’s a catch though. You can achieve 120Hz but at FHD+ resolution although you’ll barely notice the difference unless you are explicitly looking for it. At QHD+ resolution, you can get a 60Hz refresh rate which is pretty basic, and getting a 90Hz refresh rate would have helped a lot.

The display is truly enormous giving you a ginormous screen real estate for a greater viewing experience. Even the front punch-hole cut-out for the camera is tiny and located at the centre and it barely obstructs your experience. So does the tightly squeezed bezels around the edges as both left and right edges are curved while the top and bottom bezels are exceptionally tiny. The display is vibrant, rich, and vividly pleasing to the eyes.

Technically, the display has 662 nits of brightness along with 121.5% of sRGB colour gamut and a Delta-E score of 0.24 which is even better than iPhone 11 Pro Max’s 0.28. But having a large display also means you would still have to use both of your hands on it although Samsung did manage to reduce it by introducing OneUI 2.5 on it which is great for one-handed use.

Performance

Apparently, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in India is packed with an in-house Exynos 990 SoC while the U.S. counterpart gets an even powerful Snapdragon 865+ chipset which is a letdown for sure since there’s a huge gap between Snapdragon 865+ and Exynos 990 SoC. We tried playing PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends on the phone to try its prowess over graphics. I must say that you would feel the power pumping through the processor (metaphorically) giving it a top-notch performance.

note 20 ultra gaming

The phone slightly heats up a bit given the fact that there’s no cooling mechanism in place when it comes to the Exynos version. The extremely large display allows for a resonating gaming and viewing experience. Overall, the hardware is great for gaming and multitasking which is a great thing although the software lags a bit in terms of functionality. Anyways, the hardware is competent enough to bring top-notched scores when compared to AnTuTu and other benchmarking platforms.

Lastly, the phone sports a single 256GB UFS 3.0 storage in India although there’s a 512GB+8GB variant available too not in India at this moment. UFS 3.0 adds another USP to the overall hardware specifications of the device.

Software

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes preloaded with Android 10-based OneUI 2.5 which has made its reputation for having an upper-hand in one-handed usage. The OneUI 2.5 brings big elements on a giant screen with the lower section being the interactive section. Features like Samsung Pay, a multi-window option with a floating window, Samsung DeX, and others make the phone a must-have. Samsung also confirmed that Galaxy Note 20 Ultra will get three years of major Android OS updates which means it will get Android 12 and Android 13 as well.

 

The all-new S-Pen with Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra sports a glossy finish and it is water-resistant as well. The S-Pen has an enhanced input latency of 9ms and in fact, you would even feel the difference in the lag. It can register 4,096 levels of pressure and can be used for quite a lot of functionalities. It has a Lithium Titanate battery that charges when it is placed in the slot on the left-bottom edge.

Cameras

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra sports a triple-camera setup which includes a 108MP primary sensor with OIS, Laser AF; a 12MP secondary periscope telephoto lens with OIS, 5x optical zoom and 50x hybrid zoom and finally, a 12MP ultrawide sensor with a 120° FoV. At the front, there’s a 10MP primary sensor with Dual Pixel PDAF and an aperture of f/2.2.

note 20 ultra camera

Samsung has improved upon its camera sensors considerably and the performance that the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra produces is exceptional. No doubt the primary 108MP sensor is among the largest and you would see its lens size as well. It shoots 12MP with 2.4micron pixel size that retains details with excellent dynamic range and colour accuracy to go with it. It has OIS that works flawlessly stabilizing the videos. Close-ups on Galaxy Note 20 Ultra are detailed, retaining natural depth even at 2x magnification.

The ultrawide sensor does a great job taking shots at 120° although sometimes you might end up getting a fish-eye effect. You can obtain 5x optical zoom and 50x hybrid zoom although details are seldom lost at higher magnification. The viewfinder on the device gives you a preview of the frame when you cross 20x magnification.

Night Mode on Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is an exception and in fact, the camera setup was able to grab most of the details both indoors and outdoors, lighting up the photos along with it.

The rear camera setup can shoot videos at 8K resolution at 24fps while you can grab up to 960 fps at 720p. The front camera, on the other hand, can capture videos at 4K@30/60 fps as well.

Battery

Since the battery is a crucial specification in a phone, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra maxes it out at 4500 mAh in size and sneaks into its thin chassis. You can squeeze out a good 5-6 hours of screen-on-time on heavy use while stretching it to a day or more on mixed usage. However, Samsung has shipped a slow 25W charger inside the box that takes a good 80 minutes to juice up the battery. This is overwhelming given the fact that most flagship available today have crossed the 50W mark. It also supports 15W wireless charging and 4.5W reverse wireless charging capability.

Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra brings in a dual speaker setup aka stereo speaker that makes it a perfect companion for watching movies and more. Although the sound is loud with Note 20 Ultra, you would face distortion at times although I don’t think so most of the people will even notice it. When paired with earphones, the sound quality is excellent hands down. There’s an Ultra-Wideband functionality that comes exclusively on Note 20 Ultra only. There’s an AKG backed headset with a braided cable that you can pair it up with apart from other accessories.

Connectivity features on the phone include Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX, LE, A2DP; GPS with A-GPS, Galileo, BDS, and Glonass along with FM Radio, NFC, and a few other features.

About biometrics, the device has an excellent face unlock feature although it may suffer a bit in low lighting conditions. The ultrasonic fingerprint sensor adds to its biometric systems apart from the usual pattern, PIN, and password unlocking systems.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Extremely powerful processor
  • IP68 water/dust resistant
  • High-end Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
  • Excellent battery life

Cons

  • There’s no headphone jack
  • It is expensive
  • Relatively slower battery charging speed
Verdict
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is a top-of-the-line flagship device and a great companion for anything and everything you can think of. It brings a truly premium design on-board and a productivity powerhouse with features like Samsung DeX and an unparalleled S-Pen experience. The device brings on-board a high-calibre and improved camera setup with an unparalleled low-light photography mode let alone daylight photography. Even with such high-octane specifications, the device features an out-of-tone Exynos processor in India where the U.S. unit gets a Snapdragon 865 processor. Apart from that, the device brings a slow charging which is a turn off given the fact that flagship smartphones are getting faster-charging tech nowadays. Overall, the phone is pretty powerful and you would love it as it is on par with performance, cameras, battery, among other aspects.


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