Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G Review: Price & Availability, Design & Camera, and Specs, Features
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G Review: Let's take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G specifications, features, and other information that is currently available.
REASONS TO BUY
+ Packed with powerful components
+ Giant, gorgeous-looking screen
+ The S Pen continues to improve
REASONS TO AVOID
- Costs a lot of money
- Huge camera bump
- S22 Ultra may suit more users now
To summarise this Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G review: without a doubt, this is one of the best Samsung phones. It's pricey, but it comes with a large AMOLED display and the S Pen stylus.
This isn't a small and inconspicuous phone; it's for those who want one of the best phones money can buy, a top-tier piece of kit that pushes the bar as high as it can go.
It's also a swan song, if you will, as the final Note that Samsung will ever release. Why? Because the Galaxy S22 Ultra now includes S-Pen stylus integration, it provides just as much creativity in a single package.
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SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 20 ULTRA 5G REVIEW: PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G is priced at £1,179 in the UK, $1,299.99 in the US, and AUD$1,999 in Australia. However, because the phone is a couple of years old, check the widgets on this page for the most recent deals.
A contract for a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G is available from a number of retailers, including Virgin Media (from £44 per month), O2 (from £61 per month), EE (from £61 per month), and Three (from £39 per month). All of these prices vary depending on the length of your contract, how much you want to pay upfront, how much data you require, and so on.
SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 20 ULTRA 5G REVIEW: DESIGN AND SCREEN
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G appears to be a phone designed for the super-rich (as its price suggests), with finely polished curves and a 6.9-inch, 1440 x 3088-pixel resolution, HDR10+ supporting AMOLED screen. It runs at 60Hz by default but will ramp up to 120Hz if the resolution is reduced to 1080p FHD (a compromise that we think most people will be willing to make).
Of course, Samsung has been making premium phones for many years, so it's no surprise that the Note 20 Ultra 5G is a stunning device that you simply cannot fault in terms of design (unless the design is simply not to your tastes). Your colour options are black, white, and bronze (the one we had to review), and they all have their own appeal.
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If we had to pick a flaw, it would be the large camera bulge at the back of the phone, which doesn't fit in with the unbroken lines that characterize the rest of the phone. You won't be able to lay this phone flat on its back, and the bulge makes it more difficult to slip the Note 20 Ultra 5G into a pocket (as if it wasn't already big enough), but it won't deter us from purchasing the phone.
The power and volume buttons are on the right side of the device, with a USB-C port and an S Pen slot on the bottom. As with previous Note models, inserting the S Pen into the phone is quick and easy, and it feels secure once it's locked in place. Even better, the phone is dust and water-resistant to IP68 standards.
SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 20 ULTRA 5G REVIEW: CAMERA AND BATTERY
We're happy to report that the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G has a fantastic phone on the back, particularly the 5x optical zoom that will get you closer to whatever subject you're photographing (the digital zoom goes all the way up to 50x, but you're unlikely to need it, and quality suffers at higher levels). There's also ultrawide, which means you have a lot of options for framing your shots.
The triple-lens 108MP wide + 12MP periscope telephoto + 12MP ultrawide rear camera produces images that are bright and sharp, with excellent colour reproduction that may be a little too vibrant in some situations. The HDR processing handles dark and light spots well, the focus and shutter speed are good, and this is a camera that is definitely worthy of a flagship phone.
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Night mode shots are also reasonably good, though we believe that the Google Pixels and even the Apple iPhones outperform Samsung in this category - though they don't have 5x optical zoom. The brightening effect used by Samsung is a little too aggressive, but it will definitely help the camera pick out details in low-light situations (if you can keep the phone steady for a few seconds).
Battery life is adequate but not spectacular, which is perhaps to be expected given the large screen, super-fast processor, and 5G connectivity. While you should be able to get through most days with some charge left, you may need to recharge your phone during the day if you're really taxing it. During our two-hour video streaming test (at maximum brightness), the phone battery dropped from 100 percent to 82 percent, implying that 10 hours of movie watching is possible.
SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 20 ULTRA 5G REVIEW: OTHER SPECS AND FEATURES
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G packs a lot of punch, thanks to the Exynos 990 processor (or the Snapdragon 865 Plus, depending on your region). This is combined with 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage, which would outperform many laptops, let alone other smartphones. The components installed here can easily handle whatever you want to do and any app you want to run on your smartphone.
We can confirm that the Note 20 Ultra 5G is blazingly fast in everyday use, even when you have all of your favorite apps open and dozens of tabs open in your web browser. Geekbench benchmark scores of 930 (single core), 2815 (multi-core), and 5098 (OpenCL) confirm that this is one of the most powerful smartphones ever released - so powerful, in fact, that it provides more speed than many people will require.
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However, as with previous Notes, the S Pen is the key feature of the Note 20 Ultra 5G. This phone's super-responsive stylus is the main reason most people will buy it, and it provides the usual, slick pointing and scribbling performance we've come to expect from this accessory. In addition to lowering latency even further than the Note 10, it now supports more remote shortcuts and gestures than ever before, which is especially useful for controlling the phone camera via remote control.
As the name implies, 5G is on board, but you'd expect that at this price. Except for a headphone jack, you get pretty much everything you could want in a smartphone: wireless charging, a microSD card slot, an in-screen fingerprint sensor, and even AKG-tuned audio, which sounds great. The phone runs Android 10, and Samsung's OneUI interface on top of it is constantly improving (even if we still prefer the stock Android experience of the Pixels).
SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 20 ULTRA 5G REVIEW: PRICE AND VERDICT
At the time of its release, the £1,000/$1,000/AU$1,500 asking price meant that this was not a phone for the faint of heart. However, the Note 20 Ultra is no longer available, as the S22 Ultra has largely replaced it. Even at the time of its release, this was the best-specced phone on the market.
The main reason to buy the Note 20 Ultra is the same as it has always been with the Note - the stylus. The S Pen has been fantastic for several years, and with the new improvements, it's better than ever. Add to that a fantastic camera, particularly in terms of optical zoom, and you have your two main reasons to buy this phone. It's also extremely powerful, has a fantastic, super-sized display, and is extremely well-designed.
It's difficult to rank top-tier smartphones these days because they all have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. There are plenty of powerful, appealing phones for much less than the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, and some of them have better battery life and cameras as well. That makes deciding whether you should spend all that money on this difficult, especially given the other Note 20 and Galaxy S20 models to choose from.
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Finally, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G is the phone for someone who wants it all: a premium design, excellent performance, a really good camera, 5G connectivity, and a stylus, all in one very expensive package. If that describes you and you have the necessary funds, you will not be disappointed by what this Samsung flagship has to offer. If that still sounds like you, consider the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which is essentially a reimagined Note.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the final model in the series, which has since been discontinued. However, it is still beautifully designed, extremely powerful, and has one key feature - that integrated S Pen stylus (which the S22 Ultra also offers). It's a productivity and creativity powerhouse when combined.