Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Review Roundup: Large Display, Camera, New S-Pen Hog the Limelight

Samsung recently launched the Galaxy Note 20 Series and this also marked the debut of the “Ultra” variant on the Note series. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes with all the bells and whistles one could think of. It is equipped with class-leading specs including a 108MP camera unit at the rear. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra doesn’t come cheap at $1,299 for the base model with 128GB storage.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Review Roundup

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes fitted with a giant 6.9-inch display which literally stretches into the tablet category. Furthermore, the display offers a variable refresh rate of 120Hz, and interestingly the refresh rate comes down to 10Hz when the display is static. Let us take a closer look at what reviewers have to say about the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

The Verge

The Verge praises Galaxy Note 20’s display but also notes that it eliminates the need for reading on Kindle or tablet.

There aren’t a lot of surprises with the Note 20 Ultra when it comes to its specs or performance. The screen, in particular, is excellent. It’s big, obviously, but all of the little technical details are spot-on. The color accuracy, viewing angles, and brightness are all superb; I had no problem using it outside in bright, direct sunlight. It’s a quad HD + OLED at 496ppi, supporting HDR10+ and a few different color options. It’s also using Corning’s latest, stupidly named Gorilla Glass “Victus.”

I’m regularly getting through two days of use. Even if I push this thing super hard by shooting 8K video and playing streaming games, it still clocks in around six hours of screen time and doesn’t need to be plugged in until I sleep.

The battery life out of that 4,500mAh cell is all the more impressive because it’s powering a lot. The Note 20 Ultra has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor, which has a separate modem for 5G (an extra power draw). There’s 12GB of RAM — enough to multitask — and the usual assortment of other Samsung specs: in-screen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, wireless and reverse wireless charging, expandable storage, stereo speakers, Bluetooth 5, NFC, MST, IP68 water resistance, wireless DeX over Miracast.”

It is good to know that Samsung has not compromised battery life in any manner. Perhaps, the variable refresh rate on the display helps to conserve battery. Reviewers go on to praise how good the S-Pen has become. Samsung has reduced S-Pen latency on Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and is now 80 percent faster than the Note 10.

There is one spec that is genuinely impressive: Samsung has reduced the latency on the S Pen stylus. It’s down to 9ms (80 percent faster than the Note 10) through a combination of faster processing, a higher refresh rate screen, and some predictive machine learning that can intuit where the stylus is going ahead of time.

I think the Note 20 Ultra has a camera system that’s on par with the best phones out there, except for one part: Samsung biffed it with the selfie camera.

The reviewers discovered that portrait mode on Note 20 Ultra’s selfie is weird as the face looks unnatural. However, things are back to normal when you return to normal mode.

For the telephoto, Samsung went with its “folded” periscope system. So the sensor sits behind a set of mirrors that extends its real optical zoom range to 5x. Samsung also has this thing it calls “Space Zoom” that lets you combine the optical and digital zooms to get into 50x. Interestingly, the S20 Ultra has a higher megapixel count and offers 100x zoom, which means Samsung dialed it back for the Note.

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Like others, CNET loves the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s gigantic display and the adaptive motion smoothness.

The 6.9-inch display is excellent: clear and sharp, with an approach to the 120Hz screen refresh rate that’s much more polished and useful than Samsung’s first attempt with the Galaxy S20 Plus and S20 Ultra. The default mode is “Adaptive” motion smoothness, which turns on 120Hz refresh when you’re scrolling or using features that can take advantage of the faster screen. It’ll flip to the 60Hz standard when the screen is static, saving on battery overall. You can also toggle to 60Hz if you’d like to preserve even more.

The review mentions Note 20 Ultra’s camera bump is too big and the phone cannot be placed on a flat surface.

When I first got the review unit from Samsung, I described the design as siren-meets-cyclops. It’s actually nicely styled, but it’s still just too big. The main problem is that when you place the Note 20 Ultra on a flat surface, like your table, and start writing or navigating with the S Pen, the phone actually rocks. This has happened on all of CNET’s review units.

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra offers 50x Space Zoom as opposed to 100X in the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

The Note 20 Ultra has a 108-megapixel camera feature, which lets you take a detailed shot and crop photos after the fact. My results were uneven, with a blown-out photo of a flower that completely lacked detail, to a fairly successful shot of a bug that had landed on my shirt.

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Below are some Galaxy Note 20 Ultra reviews that are worth checking out.