Author's blurb: Personally, I think it's a breeze to update your phone annually. However, the new additions to the Note20 series make some compelling arguments depending on what you are using your phone for.
As you may already know, the Samsung Galaxy Note series usually come with top notch specs for the year. But is it worth upgrading when you have the Galaxy Note10?
The short answer: probably.
For the long answer, I'll go over what I think is worse, good, and better on the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra based on my experience with it.
Note: The Galaxy Note20 Ultra came with a special box that contained a clip-on light ring and a selfie stick.
However, let's start with the bad news first.
If you love someone who loves symmetry, this phone is going to annoy you for its thick camera bumps.
I've never been a fan of it. The phone will lift up so you cannot lay it flat horizontally. Depending on the thickness, some phone cases may not even help orient it. And in this case I think it's too thick to be leveled by a case.
I would say the camera bump is almost as thick as the S Pen.
- Can't lie flat on the surface … Not looking good
- Half as thick as the S-Pen
I think Samsung has the option of adding a bigger battery to this phone and not making the bump that big, but I think it's just a signature look for the brand.
As solid as the display is, the curved edges are pretty annoying and I've gotten a lot of accidental touches from just pressing the phone.
A curved screen is nice to look at, but can be irritating in terms of practicality
The Note20 Ultra's camera is still very powerful. This time around, they removed the option to zoom 100x so that the maximum is 50x, which is far more useful.
Just a triple rear view camera
In terms of photos, the phone works quite well and I personally love the color rendering of Samsung cameras, with shades of red being a bit more prominent compared to other colors.
But with such a big one 108MP main camerayou need to change the way you take pictures a little.
For example, when taking beautiful pictures of food, be careful not to get too close. Otherwise, you will get pictures like the following close-up.
- This is what happens when you shoot normally
- Have to go a little further back to get a clear shot
- Great colors with clear buildings
In terms of videos, the Note20 Ultra now comes with 8K recording capabilities capped at 24 fps. I'm sure not a lot of people I know have 8K TVs, but it's still a nice addition.
Personally, I prefer to record my videos with Super Steady mode enabled for clear footage even when I'm walking around.
The Note20 Ultra's battery is pretty decent, and it lasted me over a day even after Netflix, light gaming, and web browsing.
But if you are a heavy user and prefer longer battery life, you can turn off the variable refresh rate option.
You can set the default to save battery life
This would mean missing out on the buttery smooth user interface that comes with the 120Hz displayand limit it to 60Hz to save more battery.
Speaking of displays, 120Hz isn't the only feature Samsung has added to the phone.
The Note20 Ultra comes with a Dynamic OLED 2X Infinity-O display 1,500 nits of brightness.
This means that the display can be so bright that it can be perfectly used in direct sunlight. In the meantime I had problems reading a text in direct sunlight with the 625 nits of brightness on my iPhone 11.
The bright and vibrant colors of the Note20 Ultra make binging shows an experience during lunch.
Great display for watching videos
Another huge improvement to the device is the new upgrade to Samsung Notes, Samsung's own note-taking app.
The app can now record speech without any third-party additions. So you no longer have to switch between apps to record your lecture notes or meetings.
Going through the notes you made will allow you to scroll along with the recording and see what exactly you wrote at that point.
More features are now available in the app such as writing PDF files, straightening notes, and even writing notes in text.
But for me, the star of the show has to be the upgraded S-Pen.
Writing with it is much more intuitive thanks to the 9 ms latency on the new S-Pen (the previous S-Pen had a latency of 45 ms). This means that the ink, or what you have written, will appear as close to the tip of the S-Pen as possible.
This also serves to provide a more natural writing experience. Personally, I still wish the S-Pen had more resistance to make it as real as possible.
Samsung has also added features like aerial actions that let you control your phone by drawing aerial actions with your S-Pen. In trying it out, I struggled to use it consistently.
Problems drawing a circle with the aerial actions
If you use the Note20's note-taking features a lot for work or leisure, the lower latency and 120Hz display upgrades to the S-Pen are well worth the upgrade.
Of course, there are downsides too, especially with the camera and the price.
The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra costs RM5.199 And frankly, this is not a price most people would pay for a cell phone, at least not right now.
|Clear and vivid display||Huge camera blast|
|Improved S-Pen||Rather exorbitant price|
|Greatly improved Samsung Notes app|
Bottom line:: As much as I love the phone, the price is a little hard to justify unless you really, really have the money to indulge yourself. Money aside, this could be Android phone of the year.
- You can find more information about the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra here.
- You can find more information about our VP Verdict range here.
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