Galaxy Note 20 hands-on: Samsung is hardly developing its pen smartphone any further

Samsung has presented its new Galaxy Note 20, which is also available in a technically slightly more powerful and more expensive Ultra version. Like their predecessors, both models are characterized by the supplied S Pen, which users can use to make handwritten entries and gestures. had a closer look at both models before they were released. These are high-quality processed smartphones. As with the Galaxy Note 10, we have the impression that the S Pen is the only significant difference to the current Galaxy S top models.

At first glance, the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra hardly differ in size, more in the case and display design. The Galaxy Note 20 has a 6.7-inch screen with a resolution of 2,400 x 1,080 pixels, which fortunately has no rounded edges. Samsung, on the other hand, uses the Edge Display in the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, whose screen is 6.9 inches as large as that of the Galaxy S20 Ultra and, with 3,088 x 1,440 pixels, is higher resolution than that of the standard Note.

Ultra model is angular

Due to the display of the Ultra model that extends over the edge, the lower and upper frames are slightly more angular – we like the rounder design of the standard model better. There is also a polished edge on the housing frame, which gives the device a slightly more elegant appearance. The appearance of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra almost reminds us of previous Sony devices, which is not necessarily a compliment. In terms of workmanship, both models are very high quality.

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra on the left is slightly larger than the Galaxy Note 20 on the right. (Image: Tobias Költzsch /

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Only the Ultra version supports frame rates beyond 60 Hz. We cannot understand this limitation with the standard model of the Galaxy Note 20 in view of the price of at least 925 euros, nor the lower resolution. The displays should be up to 25 percent brighter than the display of the Galaxy Note 10.

A triple camera is installed on the back of both smartphones, which differs depending on the model in the choice of sensors. The main camera of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a 108 megapixel sensor, there is also a super wide-angle camera and a telephoto camera with 12 megapixels each. The telecamera has a five-fold periscope zoom. According to Samsung, the main camera uses a newly developed sensor. When testing the Galaxy S20 Ultra, we found that Samsung couldn’t get the most out of its own sensor. We couldn’t test whether this was better with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in our short test.

Galaxy Note20 | 20 Ultra 5G

Galaxy Note 20 with less powerful camera

The Galaxy Note 20 has a main camera with 12 megapixels, there Samsung does without a high-resolution sensor. The super wide-angle camera also has 12 megapixels, the telecamera, however, has 64 megapixels – no periscope zoom. Samsung states that the telephoto magnification is hybrid-optical, i.e. it is a mixture of light optical and digital magnification. Therefore, Samsung has also installed a 64 megapixel sensor in this model.

When recording video, users can set the direction from which the audio signals come. As with the Galaxy S20 Ultra, there is a pro video mode in which we can manually set numerous parameters of the video recording. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra can record videos in up to 8K and 24 fps. The front camera is built directly into the display of both devices and has 10 megapixels.

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