The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 review. What has changed?

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 review

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 kept us company for two weeks. In this period of time we have tried to understand what had changed compared to that Notes 10 that had conquered us last year. To our surprise almost nothing but this is not necessarily bad. We talk about it in detail in this review.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy Note 10

To be able to adequately explain our point of view we must first of all understand what has changed on the hardware front.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Samsung Galaxy Note 10
Display 6,7 ″ Dynamic AMOLED 6,3 ″ SuperAMOLED
CPU and GPU Exynos 990 and Mali-G77 MP11 Exynos 9825 and Mali-G76 MP12
RAM/Memory 8 / 256 GB 8 / 256 GB
Connectivity WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, GPS WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS
Networks 5G 4G
Rear camera 12 + 64 + 12 MP 12 + 12 + 16 MP
Front camera 10 MP 10 MP
Battery 4300 mAh 3500 mAh
Operating System Android 10 Android 10 (updated after launch)

In summary: we have a larger display (but also more generous dimensions), a new processor, 5G connectivity and an enhanced photographic sector. Finally, the battery changes from 3500 mAh to 4300 mAh.

Less portable but more space available

Note 10 on the left, Note 20 on the right

Of the Galaxy Note 10 we first appreciated the compact size. In a world of increasingly bulky smartphones, Samsung's phone had taken a step back to favor portability and one-handed use.
With Note 20, however, this path was abandoned. We are in the hands a more abundant device, with a protruding camera module and a more generous display. This time in fact we have well available 6,7 ″ inches with SuperAMOLED panel which supports HDR10 + and a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels.
Compared to the predecessor though the screen is flat. There is no curvature that characterized last year's generation. Bad? Yes and no. On the one hand, smartphones with curved displays gain something in terms of compactness and immersion, on the other hand the vision is not always perfect and the surface is subject to some accidental touches.
So which is better? Well, it's a very subjective question but, in our opinion, the flat screen goes better with the use of the stylus, the true workhorse of the Galaxy Note series.
What hasn't completely convinced us is the update frequency. No 120 Hz adaptive as on the older brother. Considering the price - 979 € for the 4G variant e 1.079 € for the 5G one - we would have expected at least a 90 Hz screen, now also present on less demanding devices.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review. What a bomb!

The differences with Note 10 don't end there. First of all change the position of the keys which are now all on the right. Also inverted the position of the S-Pen and the speaker, while the SIM slot remains on the rear profile.

The central hole, which makes room for the 10 MP sensor, and the fingerprint reader placed under the display remain unchanged.

After the aesthetic comparison, let's go back to the initial question: what changes? Surely Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is less portable and ergonomic than the 2019 model. A choice probably made to reduce the gap with the Ultra variant - from 6,9 ″ - but which actually makes the two devices a bit too similar. In short, the compact dimensions of the Note 10 have been lacking.
However, we have gained space to carry out the most common activities, from browsing to watching video content. Plus we have the S Pen that can slide smoothly across the entire display, without roundness that put it in crisis.
Difficult to complain.

Discount Samsung Galaxy Note20 5G Smartphone, Display 6.7" Super...
  • The precision of the S Pen meets the power of the Galaxy Note20. Thanks to the versatility of Bluetooth, the control ...
  • Advanced performance with 8GB of RAM and the powerful Exynos 990 processor. You can store thousands of photos and videos at high ...
  • Large 4300mAh smart battery ensures worry-free prolonged use. With Charging ...
1.079,00 EUR −34% 714,00 EUR Buy on Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 review: 5G is better

In terms of performance practically nothing has changed. We are facing a top of the range that, just like last year, guarantees consumers maximum performance. The Exynos 990 supports you on every occasion even without it still does not guarantee the same efficiency as the Snapdragon.
This brings us to the topic of autonomy which continues to be the least satisfying aspect of the Note series. Despite a larger battery, we didn't notice any major improvements. Get to the end of the day, yes, but don't expect anything else.
A little tip: give it time. The first few days we saw it abandon us in the middle of the afternoon wondering how it was possible given the additional 800 mAh. Then the artificial intelligence began to do its job, learning from your habits to optimize processes. After 10 days of continuous use we managed to get to midnight with a good 19% of autonomy despite calls, messages, emails and even a little gaming.
Patience is the key here.

The technical characteristics of Galaxy Note 20 obviously do not end here. On the connectivity front we have Bluetooth 5.1, WiFi 6, NFC and the USB-C port. As mentioned before there are two versions: that 4G and that 5G. We have tried the latter and it is undoubtedly the choice we recommend you make if:

1) you often live or frequent an area covered by the new standard;
2) you have no plans to change smartphones next year.

With 100 euros more you will be ready for the future. Why not take advantage of it?

The S Pen is still his workhorse

Among the questions we are asked most frequently is a great classic: Note 20 or S20? They are so similar as to make the choice extremely difficult but there is one element that often makes us lean towards Galaxy Note and it is there S Pen.
It may seem like a small detail, an unnecessary accessory, but it is not. The S Pen has been revamped to bring latency to just 24 ms that no, it's not the 9ms of the Ultra variant, but it's still a significant improvement over last year. The stylus flows smoothly across the screen and is perfect for drawing, sketching, taking notes or even just navigating the One UI.
You don't have to worry about anything: it connects alone to the smartphone, recharges autonomously and requires no maintenance of any kind.
The only thing you need to learn is the Air Gesture, that is gestures that you can do without touching the screen and that allow you to control Samsung Galaxy Note 20 even from a distance. There are more than last year but honestly they still don't get us excited.

The S Pen's ideal companion is Samsung Notes, the Korean company's notes app. We now have the ability to record audio and take notes at the same time. What is it for? Just a tap on the text to find the point on the soundtrack to which that piece is connected.
We can also straighten text, convert all files such as PowerPoint and PDF presentations and catalog notes in different folders.

On the software front though Android 10 with One UI 2.5 they offer us much more. The interface, complete and modern, is transformed thanks to Samsung DeX: just connect to a monitor, via cable or wireless, to have the same graphics as a Desktop PC.
We then have other useful features such as the shortcuts in the side menu, the spatial awareness mode to share content by pointing the device, the themes for customization and the connection with Windows to use Note 20 on PC.

In short, nothing is really missing.

Discount Samsung Galaxy Note20 5G Smartphone, Display 6.7" Super...
  • The precision of the S Pen meets the power of the Galaxy Note20. Thanks to the versatility of Bluetooth, the control ...
  • Advanced performance with 8GB of RAM and the powerful Exynos 990 processor. You can store thousands of photos and videos at high ...
  • Large 4300mAh smart battery ensures worry-free prolonged use. With Charging ...
1.079,00 EUR −34% 714,00 EUR Buy on Amazon

The photographic sector of Samsung Galaxy Note 20

There are three sensors that make up the camera:

  • the main 12 megapixel
  • uno zoom 3x da 64 megapixel
  • a 12 megapixel wide angle

On the front, however, we have a single 10 megapixel camera.

If Galaxy Note 20 cannot boast of mind-boggling numbers like its older brother Note 20 Ultra, it can certainly be considered an excellent photographic smartphone.

Its three-camera module it performs very well in almost all situations in which we tested it. The 12MP main sensor is the most convincing one, with results worthy of a top-of-the-range smartphone. Do not miss the characteristic figure of Samsung, saturation and a lot of contrast in all images, which you may like or not, but it is certainly very recognizable.
The image processing algorithm is felt when we are faced with high-contrast scenes, in which there are areas of shadows and areas of highlights. In these cases it is noticeable a certain artificiality in the shaded areas, given by a more targeted exposure to control over highlights and which therefore forces the smartphone to work to recover the shadows. Overall, however, the result offered is balanced.

As is often the case when photographing with a smartphone, the macro mode is one of the best. Looking at our yellow flower we can see how the pistils are well defined and above all how it detaches from the bottom. The blur will never be like what you get with a real wide aperture lens of course, but it's nice enough.

To put the Galaxy Note 20 to the test even more with depth of field, we also took some selfies. But we must make a note: instead of using the front camera we used the stylus as a remote control for shooting and used the main camera. The quality is in fact very good even in the portrait against the light that we show you. Galaxy Note 20 handled exposure very well despite the difficult situation. The blur is pleasant and the work on the contours is precise: just a few smears in the hair, but it is understandable. In general, however, Samsung continues to have some problems managing the complexion in a portrait.

If the main camera performs very well, some problems come out using the wide-angle lens and the telephoto lens. Looking at the photographs of the bicycle rack, we can see the optical deformations of the wide angle and the lower definition of the zoom when compared to the photograph taken with the main camera. Unless there is a real need, the advice is to use the main sensor as much as possible.

Even at night, Galaxy Note 20 can be a valid ally. Compared to other smartphones we have tested, the noise resistance is good and the color management is also natural. There is also no lack of the right level of definition throughout the frame.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 review: buy it or not?

We liked the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 a lot. It is performing, has a good camera compartment, mounts a now mature and feature-rich interface and is equipped with the S Pen which is really a plus not to be underestimated. Our version is 5G and in the Mystic Green color, opaque, discreet and very original.

If you are looking for a business-oriented smartphone this is a great choice, he is still the prince of the jungle. However, it is not the upgrade we expected: the autonomy is still a bit limp and the 60 Hz at that price are difficult to justify. If you want to invest a lot of money in a smartphone, we recommend that you evaluate the Ultra variant.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

  • Top colors
  • Top-of-the-range performance
  • S Pen very useful
  • Complete software
  • Excellent photographic sector
  • Nothing 120 Hz
  • Autonomy can be improved
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