The ongoing pandemic has irrevocably changed how we work and play and Samsung’s latest Unpacked 2020 online event had this theme in mind as they unveiled their anticipated flagship Galaxy Note20 series phablets which come with their vaunted S Pen styli and the best hardware from their foundries.

Much like last year, the Galaxy Note20 series comes in a no-compromises flagship uberphone dubbed the Galaxy Note20 Ultra along with a more affordable but still powerful variant  dubbed the Galaxy Note20. Here’s what Samsung has packed into their two phablet titans to give them the tactical edge over the opposition to be the devices of choice in what they call the ‘Next Normal’.

Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G and Note20 rear

Galaxy Note20 & Note20 Ultra Specifications

The Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G were designed to fulfill two overarching goals – the ‘power to work’ and the ‘power to play’.

Both phones are built around either an Exynos 990 octacore processor as seen in the Galaxy S20 series or the Snapdragon 865+ SoC which is available in certain other regions.

For Malaysia, we’ll be getting the Exynos 990 chip in both the Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra variants.

The Galaxy Note20 Ultra has 5G connectivity (sub6) out of the box and this time around, the Galaxy Note20 has both 4G and 5G-enabled flavours with Malaysia getting both versions for a grand total of two Galaxy Note20 variants and the flagship Galaxy Note20 Ultra.

Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G and Note20
In terms of hardware, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra goes all the way with 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of expandable storage via a hybrid SIM card slot while the Galaxy Note20 sticks to 8GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of non-expandable storage for both its 4G and 5G variants. 

The biggest features of interest are their displays with the Galaxy Note20 Ultra packing a large 6.9-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O display up front with a 120Hz refresh rate and slightly curved edges. A tiny centre-mounted punch hole up front allows for a 10MP selfie camera with the phone packing the customary under-display fingerprint reader and facial recognition.

When we tested an engineering sample at a media preview, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra 120Hz panel was somewhat similar to the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s display in that the 120Hz refresh rate is only available if you dial the display down to FHD+ resolution while if you dial it to its maximum 1,440 x 3,200 pixel resolution, you’re relegated to a 60Hz refresh rate. 

Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G

The new Galaxy Note 20 series smartphones have repositioned their S Pen stylus wells to the left instead of the customary right in previous versions

The Galaxy Note20’s smaller 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display is akin to last year’s Galaxy Note10 with an FHD+ (1080 x 2,400) pixel resolution with a 60Hz refresh rate and is also relatively flat, in fact flatter than the Note20 Ultra’s display which has pronounced curved edges on the side. A punch hole with a similar position to its larger sibling holds a 10MP selfie camera. Both the Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra also have stereo speakers in keeping with tradition.

An interesting feature to note is that both phones have swapped the customary position of the S Pen stylus well to the left of the phone versus the traditional right side.

Both phones offer reverse wireless charging of other Qi wireless enabled tech like the newly launched Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Watch 3 and both have Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 and USB Power Delivery 3.0 certified fast wired charging with the Note20 Ultra having a larger 4,500mAh battery and the Note20 a smaller 4,300mAh. Both phones also have IP68 water resistance which means that they will be able to survive immersion in up to 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes.

The Galaxy Note20 series bump up the hardware specifications to current tech levels but where both aim to change the game is in terms of what else they offer under the hood. 

Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra software

On the firmware front, both phones have the latest One UI 2.5 user interface which also features refinements from Samsung’s ongoing collaboration with Microsoft.

You now have a ‘Link to Windows’ feature that displays an instance of your Note20’s display on your Windows desktop PC. You’re also able to fully interact with your phone with the ability to game on it, drag and drop files and also have a multi-window experience by having up to 5 apps off the phone running in separate windows on your PC.

Galaxy Note20 angled side
Samsung’s DeX mode has also enjoyed an upgrade to match the competition as the Note20 series can pair up and display DeX desktop mode wirelessly to a Miracast supported display without the need for any cables unlike the previous Note10 series. 

That’s a huge game changer from the early generation DeX mode seen on the Galaxy Note8 which originally required a massive dock that you needed to tote around like a huge black hockey puck. Better yet, this upgraded DeX mode lets you project DeX to a paired display and continue using the Note20 series’ own touchscreen to do other work.

The Note20 series phones also have more seamless and integrated syncing of documents with Microsoft Outlook and OneNote, as well as other devices that you own so that you can easily work off any one of them as circumstances demand.

Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G game

On the gaming front, the global Samsung Unpacked 2020 event mentioned that the phones will come with Xbox GamePass Ultimate so you’d be able to play a library of 100 games instantly but seeing as Malaysia has no official XBox presence, this particular feature is a white elephant and won’t be making its way here.

Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra cameras

While both phones have a similar front-facing single-sensor 10MP F/2.2 Dual Pixel selfie camera that’s capable of 4K video capture, both the Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra each have slightly different rear camera arrays with the Galaxy Note20 Ultra’s rear camera housing jutting out more prominently from the rear.

Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G and Note20

The Galaxy Note20 Ultra (left) has a more prominent camera housing versus the Note20’s flatter camera array

The Galaxy Note20 has a 12MP F/1.8 Dual Pixel camera, a 64MP F/2.0 OIS-stabilised telephoto camera with 3x zoom and a 12MP F/2.2 ultra wide angle camera. This camera setup on the Galaxy Note20 is capable of 30x Super Resolution Zoom. 

Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra 5G

The Galaxy Note20 Ultra in Mystic Black with the Note20 (right) in Mystic Gray

The Note20 Ultra has a powerful 108MP F/1.8 primary camera with OIS similar to the Galaxy S20 Ultra though with a more modest and practical 50X Super Resolution Zoom, a secondary 12MP F/3.0 OIS-stabilised telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom, a third 12MP F/2.2 camera with an ultra wide angle lens and laser autofocus.

Galaxy DeX

Both phones are capable of capturing 8K@24fps video on their rear cameras and have a unique feature in that you’re able to capture directional audio when recording video so you can selectively aim the audio capture to the front, sides or rear while reducing capture in other directions, which makes it handy when clarity is needed such as for interviews or when you need to capture the action in front of you.

As a neat trick, you’re able to use a paired up pair of Galaxy Buds Live earbuds as a Bluetooth microphone, allowing you, or another subject to don them to offer better audio capture; handy for interviews.

Galaxy Buds Live angled

Both phones also have the ability to selectively alter the speed of your zoom when capturing videoso that you’re able to slow it down to give it a NatGeo look of majesty or zoom in fast for a gonzo action style feel. 

Galaxy Note20 Ultra zoom

Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra S Pen stylus upgrades

The S Pen stylus is the cornerstone of the Galaxy Note series and Samsung has upgraded its capabilities every year. Last year’s Galaxy Note10 series added in gesture controls that worked with you waving the S Pen about like a wand to remotely control aspects of the phone but they only worked on a limited number of applications. 

For the Galaxy Note20 series, Samsung has upgraded the S Pen up a significant notch with what they dub as Air Actions. By waving the S Pen around in a specific series of gestures, you’re able to navigate through any app on the phone with your choice of moving backwards, going straight to your home screen, opening a recent app, a Smart Select mode and the ability to screen cap what’s on the display.

Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G S Pen comparison

The ability for these Anywhere Air Actions to work across any app means that the Note20 series has immense potential for work and play, especially in conjunction with its ability to act as a remote shutter release for the Note20’s cameras and as a PowerPoint controller for presentations.

Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G S Pen

They’ve also enhanced the hardware significantly with a massively reduced lag time down to 9ms for both the Note20 and Note20 Ultra’s S Pen. In comparison the older Note10 series had 42ms lag for its version of the S Pen. The end result is a far smoother writing experience which bodes well for budding artists and note takers.

On that note, Samsung also emphasised that the new Note20 series phones have beefed up file management for captured notes in a manner akin to a PC’s folders so that you’re able to create, organise and categorise all your jotted down and captured notes as you see fit.

Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra price 

In a special media briefing, Samsung Malaysia confirmed that they will be bringing in the Galaxy Note20 Ultra and both a Galaxy Note20 with 4G capability and a Note20 with 5G support to Malaysia. 

Galaxy Note20 Ultra colours

In terms of colour choices, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra will be available in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black and Mystic White while the Galaxy Note20 and its 4G and 5G sub variants will be available in Mystic Green, Mystic Bronze and Mystic Gray. Malaysia will be hosting all available colour variants at launch.

Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra 5G

The Galaxy Note20 in Mystic Green with the Note20 Ultra 5G in Mystic Bronze

At the earlier media preview we weren’t able to get official prices but what is certain is that they will launch in Malaysia with the customary sweet preorder deals.

note20 ultra prices

[Update] The Samsung Unpacked 2020 launch that has just concluded has given global pricing for the Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra at  US$1,299 for the latter and US$999 for the latter.  We’ve also just gotten details of Samsung Malaysia’s local pricing with the Galaxy Note20 Ultra 12GB/256GB retailing for RM5,199 while the Galaxy Note20 5G will retail for RM4,299 and the Galaxy Note20 for RM3,899. We’ll keep you in the know on the customary preorder deals in another post but preorders will commence today on 6th August starting from 10AM onwards till 20th August 2020.

Stay tuned to Hitech Century for updates as soon as we get them on the preorder details and price for the Samsung Galaxy Note20 series phones for Malaysia! In the meantime, here’s a recap of the specifications in the table below:

  Galaxy Note20 Ultra  Galaxy Note20
Display 6.9-inch edge Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O Display (3088×1440),496ppi, HDR10+ certified 120Hz refresh rate 6.7-inch flat FHD+ Super AMOLED Plus 
Infinity-O Display (2400×1080), 393ppi, HDR10+ certified
S Pen Bluetooth enabled, Lithium Titanate Battery: Up to 24 hours of battery standby time Pressure levels: 4096, Pen tip diameter: 0.7 mm, IP68 Bluetooth enabled, Lithium Titanate Battery: Up to 24 hours of battery standby time
Pressure levels: 4096, Pen tip diameter: 0.7 mm, IP68
Camera (Front) 10MP Selfie Camera
. Dual Pixel AF
. Pixel size: 1.22μm
. FOV: 80˚
. F.No (aperture): F2.2
10MP Selfie Camera
. Dual Pixel AF
. Pixel size: 1.22μm
. FOV: 80˚
. F.No (aperture): F2.2
Camera (Rear) *12MP Ultra Wide Camera
. Pixel size: 1.4μm
. FOV: 120˚
. F.No (aperture): F2.2
*108MP Wide-angle Camera
. PDAF, OIS
. Pixel size: 0.8μm
. FOV: 79˚
. F.No (aperture): F1.8
. 1/1.33″ image sensor size
*12MP Telephoto Camera
. Pixel size: 1.0μm
. FOV: 20˚
. F.No (aperture): F3.0
Laser AF Sensor
Space Zoom
. 5x Optical Zoom
. Up to 50x Super Resolution Zoom
OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
Tracking AF
*12MP Ultra Wide Camera
. Pixel size: 1.4μm
. FOV: 120˚
. F.No (aperture): F2.2
*12MP Wide-angle Camera
. Super Speed Dual Pixel AF, OIS
. Pixel size: 1.8μm
. FOV: 79˚
. F.No (aperture): F1.8
. 1/1.76″ image sensor size
*64MP Telephoto Camera
. Pixel size: 0.8μm
. FOV: 76˚
. F.No (aperture): F2.0
Space Zoom
. 3x Hybrid Optic Zoom
. Up to 30x Super Resolution Zoom
OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
Tracking AF
Processor Exynos 990
7nm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor
*2.7GHz (Maximum Clock Speed) + 2.5GHz + 2GHz (For Malaysia)

Snapdragon 865+
7nm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor
*3.0GHz(Maximum Clock Speed) + 2.4GHz + 1.8GHz
Exynos 990
7nm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor
*2.7GHz (Maximum Clock Speed) + 2.5GHz + 2GHz (For Malaysia)

Snapdragon 865+
7nm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor
*3.0GHz(Maximum Clock Speed) + 2.4GHz + 1.8GHz
Memory [5G]
12GB RAM (LPDDR5) with 256GB internal storage (with hybrid SIM card for microSD)
[5G]
8GB RAM (LPDDR5) with 256GB internal storage (no microSD card slot)
[LTE]
8GB RAM (LPDDR5) with 256GB internal storage (no microSD card slot)
Battery 4,500mAh 4,300mAh
Size/Weight 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm, 208g 161.6 x 75.2 x 8.3mm, 192g(LTE/Sub6)
     
Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra Specifications

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