Samsung Galaxy Note 20 phone review

Image for post
Image for post

“I want a phone with a pen.” That’s what you heard in my house, which is full of artists they want a phone with a Samsung S Pen stylus. If this is what you want, then the Galaxy Note 20 is a good choice. The $999.99 Note 20 is not as good as the $1,399.99 Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, especially in terms of camera and display. But a phone with a pen costs less than $1,000, which is enough for some people. Having said that, I can’t help but feel that it stands out among Samsung’s countless mobile phone versions this year.

Flat front, round pen

Galaxy Note 20 comes in bronze, gray or green. Its dimensions are 6.3 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches (HWD) and 6.8 ounces. This is not a compact phone. For many people, it is too large to use with one hand. If you are looking for a smaller Samsung phone, you really have to use the standard Galaxy S20 (also $999), but it does not support the S Pen.S Pen (right side) is inserted into the phone body

The most controversial part of the Note 20 design is the back because it is matte plastic. This does not bother me, because it is more flexible and durable than a fragile glass panel. But I also understand that it doesn’t feel so premium, especially for phones that cost $1,000.

The intensity of the bumps of the rectangular camera on the Note 20 is much lower than the bumps of the Note 20 Ultra (no telephoto lens, and no 108-megapixel camera), but I still recommend that you put all the $1,000 phones in one In the box. Different back materials will not change the waterproof level of the phone, it is still IP68.

The 6.7-inch 1080p flat panel display runs at 60Hz. This is a big step compared with Note 20 Ultra, which can reach 2K or 120Hz (but not at the same time). Its resolution is even lower than Galaxy Note 9 and Note 8. The display is good indoors, but I feel it is darker than the outside of the Note 20 Ultra and it is more reflective.Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra use the same S Pen

On paper, the response speed of the previous Galaxy Note was about 45 milliseconds, while the Note 20 dropped to 18 milliseconds and the Note 20 Ultra reached 9 milliseconds. However, my wife and daughter who like Galaxy Note did not find any significant differences in the responsiveness of various phones. Perhaps the limitation is indeed the Android software, because my wife has repeatedly said that she found that the 120Hz iPad Pro with the second-generation Apple Pencil is even better than the Note.

Still nothing like the S Pen on other phones. If you want to draw or take notes, no other phone pen can achieve the same pressure sensitivity, tilt, and storage level in the device. Recently, I also like to use the S Pen’s button as a remote camera shutter. This seems to be a small feature, and it turns out to be very convenient.S Pen has excellent pressure sensitivity

Excellent performance

Note 20 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor and benchmark, just like other top phones with the same chipset. It has 8GB of RAM (compared to Note 20 Ultra’s 12GB) and 128GB of non-expandable storage. An interesting note: My Note 20 has a double-length SIM card holder with space for a second SIM card or microSD card, but it has filled up the space, so you cannot use it.

The software is also the same as that in Note 20 Ultra. This means that many Samsung’s customizations to Android 10. Note 20 supports wireless DeX connection, which can project a PC-like mode to the TV. Microsoft Your Phone transfers files and gets notifications on a Windows PC; and Note proprietary features, such as using the S Pen as a camera trigger or operating the phone’s UI from a distance through air gestures.

Like the Note 20 Ultra, the battery life is also very long. Note 20 has a slightly smaller battery, but its resolution or frame rate screen is also lower, so it may cause balance. After 12 hours of video running time test (75% brightness), the remaining battery power of the phone is 27%, showing the strength of Samsung’s power management. Like other recent Samsung phones, this phone supports 22W wired and 10W wireless charging.

Galaxy Note 20 currently has all the various forms of 5G used in the United States. I compared it with the Galaxy S20+ on the T-Mobile network and found that the performance is actually the same. This is good news because the Galaxy S20+ has excellent performance. Both phones showed 11–15 millisecond pings, reaching a peak of 500Mbps on T-Mobile’s mid-frequency 2.5GHz 5G network in New York. The performance of 4G is also similar to other Samsung’s recent flagship products, and its 7-carrier aggregation can take advantage of the most advanced 4G network functions of all US carriers.

Other basic connectivity and calling functions can also work normally. This phone has powerful dual speakers on the top and bottom. The call quality is good and supports high-quality HD and EVS calls.

Note 20 has Bluetooth 5 and Wi-Fi 6. It does not have a new “ultra-wideband” chip in the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but I have not found any practical use for it.There are basically three 12-megapixel cameras on the back


Note 20 actually has three 12-megapixel cameras on the back. The “telephoto” camera is 64MP, but it is actually only used to simulate 3x telephoto with digital zoom.Most photos look good on Note 20 Ultra (left) and Note 20 (right).

The ultra-wide-angle lens looks the same as the Note 20 Ultra lens, with f/2.2 and 120 degrees respectively. On the other hand, the main camera is quite different. It has dual-pixel autofocus instead of Ultra-specific laser autofocus, and a 12-megapixel sensor instead of 108 pixels. Ultra’s laser sight can more easily focus on very close and complex objects, such as a flower in front of the lens. As you might expect, Ultra also has excellent zoom, and the zoomed image produced by the true 5x optics is much clearer than the Note 20’s digital zoom.

On the other hand, the 12-megapixel main lens of the Note 20 is also good. With f/1.8 aperture and dual-pixel autofocus, its low-light performance is almost the same as larger similar products. In some cases, the main camera I shot on the Note 20 is even better than the Note 20 Ultra. This is because the Ultra’s 108 megapixel camera has a very shallow depth of field, so it needs to be processed differently.Note 20 Ultra’s zoom (left) is significantly better than Note 20’s zoom (right)

The front camera is the same as the f/2.2 10MP camera on the Note 20 Ultra. After using the Note 20 Ultra’s extensive experience, I can tell you that the front camera is great: I have been using it to shoot product videos, and their display is very clear.

Like other Samsung flagships this year, Note 20 can record optically stable 8K video.From left to right: Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Note 20

Lost in the crowd?

I was shocked by the Note 20 Ultra, which made my appreciation of the Note 20 a bit vague. But if what you really want is a “pen phone” that sells for less than $1,000, it is the phone. In other words, Samsung currently provides about 20 other mobile phones only through US carriers, and Note 20 is not outstanding. If you have already spent $1,000 on a new phone, the Note 20 Ultra does not seem to be much more expensive in comparison, and can bring you the highest-end experience you can buy now. Or, you can spend less money on Samsung’s recently released Galaxy S20 fan version, which is priced at $699 for high-end products. Note 20 is located somewhere in the middle, I’m afraid it will get lost in it.

Digital Nomad

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store