The Ultimate Flagships – Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G

NOTE 20 Series

Samsung has just now unleashed the Absolute Elite Flagship mobile device, Note 20 Ultra with all its specifications and features upgraded, making it arguably the greatest and the best android experience in 2020. They also announced the Galaxy Tab S7 & Tab S7+, along with a new Galaxy Watch 3, and new Galaxy Buds live which we have covered in a different article (check it out if you haven’t already). This year 2 models are launched – Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and unsurprisingly both have 5G capabilities, along with an LTE model with the Exynos version. Every year a new standard is set by the Galaxy Note series, a benchmark which is very tough to overtake, for other android phones.

SPECNOTE 20NOTE 20 ULTRA
Display Size6.7inch6.9-inch
Resolution1080p1440p
Primary Camera12MP f/1.8108MP f/1.8
Video8k@24fps, 4k@60fps8k@24fps, 4k@60fps
Front Camera10MP10MP
Processor865+/Exynos 990865+/Exynos 990
GPUAdreno 650/Mali G77Adreno 650/Mali G77
RAM8GB12GB
Storage128GB128/512GB
Battery4300mAH4500mAh
Wireless Charging15W Qi15W Qi
5GYesYes
Expandable StorageNoYes
Color options Mystic Bronze, Grey & GreenMystic Bronze & Black

Design

Galaxy Note 20 along with the accessories

As always, the Note 20 ultra’s design is synonymous with the previous versions, i.e. a metal frame sandwiched between 2 glasses, which is the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 7 with extra scratch protection. The regular note 20 on the other hand misses this glass back and instead has a plastic back. The regular Note 20 appears to have slightly more rounded corners when compared with the boxy-look of the Note 20 Ultra version. Also the bezels on the regular Note 20 are noticeably bigger than the Note 20 Ultra

There is a flat display on the Note 20 but on the Ultra we have curved edges, which according to the current trend, are not well received by the tech community because of accidental touches and slightly sharp edges due to this curve at the side. At the rear we see a rather large camera housing, which unfortunately protrudes out of the device a lot, which makes it very weird to hold. Either way, it is a huge camera bump, something which should not be there.

Ultimate Performance

The Ultimate Flagships - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G

The Note 20 Ultra is supplied with the latest Snapdragon 865 Plus octa-core processor in the US which is the best that snapdragon offers this year. However, the rest of the world will still have to bear the Exynos 990 which is the Exynos counterpart of the 865 Plus. We have seen how much better the Snapdragon has been when compared to the Exynos version in the past. The exynos versions always slow down and don’t perform as well as the Snapdragon versions do. But the international market has no option other than hoping for an improvement.

As expected, the benchmark scores for this Exynos 990 version were lower, when compared with the Snapdragon scores. Samsung is going to offer the Snapdragon version with 5G only, in the US and for the rest of the world, we will see Exynos 990 processor, with both LTE and 5G options and a separate 256GB Memory variant.

Note 20 Ultra comes with 12GB RAM which should be enough to handle whatever you throw at it, keeping upto 20+ apps in the background up and running. It also comes with 128/512GB UFS 3.1 storage and USB Gen 3.2 type C for fast transfers. The note 20 on the other hand only has a maximum storage of only 128GB and 8 GB RAM. The Note 20 Plus offers 12GB RAM standard. 

For the GPU Samsung has gone with the Adreno 650 GPU for the USA and Mali G77 MP11 GPU for rest of the world.

Samsung’s High Refresh Rate Display

The Ultimate Flagships - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G

The Note 20 has a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED Quad HD Display. Unfortunately, it is coupled with only a 60Hz panel which is a big issue considering even budget phones in this day and age are provided with 90Hz displays. This was a major disappointment.

The Note 20 Ulta on the other hand is provided with a 6.9-inch Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, with a resolution of 3200x1440p and of course the high refresh rate of 120Hz. All this screen makes the overall screen to body ratio a massive 90.7%. However, this does come with a catch that you can’t use both the high refresh rate and 1440p resolution simultaneously, either it is 1440p at 60Hz or it is 1080p at variable refresh rate, where the phone will itself switch between 120Hz and 60Hz depending on various parameters. Samsung is known to have the best displays and there are no doubts about these screens because these are the best quality screens we have seen till now. 

Camera

Note 20

The Ultimate Flagships - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G

  • 12MP f/1.8 Main camera
  • 12MP f/2.2 Ultrawide
  • 64MP f/2.2 Telephoto camera with 30x zoom(optical+digital)
  • 10MP Front Camera

Note 20 Ultra

The Ultimate Flagships - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G
  • 108MP f/1.8 Main Camera
  • 12MP f/2.2 Ultrawide
  • 12MP f/3 Periscope camera with 50x (5x optical+10x digital zoom)
  • 10MP Front Camera

The note 20 Ultra is capable of upto 8K@24fps, 4k@60fps, 1080p@240fps, 720p@960fps recording coupled with optical and electronic image stabilization, along with Advanced AI stabilization for those smooth gimbal like shots. Something interesting to be noted is that in the Note 20, the videos will only be recorded from the 64 MP telephoto camera, not the primary 108 MP sensor. The primary cameras are also provided with a 4k video recording option. These cameras on the note 20 ultra will definitely try to compete with the Pixel, because on paper they appear stronger but we all know about pixel’s magical image processing. 

The Ultimate Flagships - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G

Battery

The Ultimate Flagships - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G

The Note 20 Ultra is given a massive 5100mAh battery with 25W fast charging support. It also supports fast 9W battery share and 15W fast wireless Qi Wireless charging.

The Note 20 5G also supports the same wireless charging standards but is supplied with a smaller 4300mAh. Samsung claims it will charge up-to 50% within 30 minutes. It will be interesting to see how this performs with the high resolution and high refresh rate. However with such massive batteries, these phones should comfortably last one whole day of usage comfortably. 

Samsung Note Series: Features

The Ultimate Flagships - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G

The note 20 series come with dual speakers with proper stereo separation providing one of the best audio outputs from a mobile device, thanks to the tuning by AKG. We still can’t not criticize the removal of the headphone jack but it is pretty evident that the end of headphone jacks has come and we won’t get to see a headphone jack on another Samsung Flagship ever. Good thing they have launched the new generation TWS.

The Ultimate Flagships - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G

One of the main reasons why a person would purchase a Note device has to be the S-Pen, which helps in taking notes, screenshots, signing PDFs and other creativity related usage. After many years, they have changed the position of the s pen by making it available on the left side of the phone instead of the right side. Also on the note 20 Ultra, this time the latency was reduced from 42ms to 9ms, which practically makes it on par with the apple pencil, providing an almost life-like writing experience. But, on the regular Note 20, there is a 26ms latency, not quite as good as the Note 20 ultra.

This time Samsung has also added a new wireless Dex feature to the Note devices. We also have support for Wifi 6. For security we have the under display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor like previous versions. Thanks to the latest ONE UI, the experience is very smooth and snappy with the Flagship devices and can easily compete with other flagships in the market.

Verdict

The Note 20 Ultra starts at 1299 USD and the note 20 starts at 999 USD. For this price, the Note 20 is just straight up overpriced. Note 20 Ultra offers better hardware overall, but the ONE UI is an experience in its own and users may be inclined towards one or the other option. We can still recommend this Ultra version for the users who desire a No-Compromise phone. With these specifications and Samsung’s surprisingly quick monthly updates, these phones should easily last 3 years of usage, hence the price can be justified. Gone are the days when Samsung phones would slow down within one year of the purchase and can be viewed as a long term investment.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung also announced the second generation of its fold-able smartphone. They have done an excellent job by improving the previous generation of the Galaxy Fold by actually listening to the customers. They have upgraded the internals and more importantly the design of the device. It seems like Samsung has really worked hard on the hinge as well, trying to reduce the inlet of dust particles that find their way in by improving the overall design. Also, this time around, the hinge can be kept open at multiple angles.

This is now an overall thinner package, and also comes in the same 2 colors – Mystic bronze and Mystic black. They talked a lot about how this device has the world’s most advanced fold-able display technology. They told us how they got the incredible idea about the hinge of the device, one which prevents dust particles from entering through the hinge like it did last year. If they are to be believed, this was their 108th design try at the hinge design, and they call this, the sweeper design.

The Ultimate Flagships - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G

They say they got this idea from a vacuum cleaner commercial, which used rotating Carbon and Nylon fibers to catch dust. Such sweepers can be used for 2 years easily. Samsung made these sweepers even smaller for the Z Fold 2.

The Ultimate Flagships - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G

Display

The Ultimate Flagships - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G

This version of the galaxy fold will now feature a much bigger and more functional 6.2-inch secondary(outer) screen  which is a 60Hz Super AMOLED panel. This is a welcome move because earlier the 4.6 inch screen was barely usable at all. Coming to the main screen, that is now a 120 Hz, 7.6-inch 1536 x 2152p Foldable Dynamic AMOLED display. The main surprise is that they have removed the ugly notch and replaced it with a punch hole for the front camera. The device now looks uniform and much cleaner from the inside.

The Ultimate Flagships - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G

They have worked on reducing the noticeable crease in the middle of this rather huge display. However, this is still not a normal glass screen. Because they need to bend it in the middle, it has to be some sort of a flexible compound, they are calling this the UTG- Ultra Thin Glass, which is a perfect balance between Durability and flexibility. We saw a very scratch-prone display last time where even a car key was able to leave a permanent scratch on it. However this time, we are hoping for better scratching. In the end, we ourselves need to be careful with it, to prevent the display from getting scratched up.

Camera

The Ultimate Flagships - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Z Fold2 5G

At the back they have a triple camera setup with a housing similar to that of the note 20 –

  • 64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm Main camera
  • 12 MP, f/2.4, 52mm Telephoto lens for 2x optical zoom
  • 16 MP, f/2.2, 12mm Ultrawide
  • 10 MP, f/2.2 front camera.

The main camera supports upto 4k@60fps, 1080p@240fps and 720p@960fps EIS+OIS video recording. It all depends on the image processing now as they have provided top notch hardware for this camera. The front camera is present on both the internal and the outer display, making the total camera count on the device equal to 5.

Performance

Performance should be amazing on this device, as this is powered by the latest and greatest octa-core Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, along with 12GB LPDDR5 RAM. For storage we have the 256GB UFS 3.1 storage. We have the Adreno 650 GPU which will provide an excellent gaming performance. However, it will feel very odd trying to play in such an aspect ratio. There is also support for the latest standard Wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

Battery

Coming to battery, Samsung has provided a 4500mAh non removable Li-Po battery with support for fast charging, fast wireless charging and reverse wireless charging as well.

Final Verdict

Till now this seems to be a perfect phone with no imperfections and can be viewed as an industry standard for its design. But this will come at a cost. Even though it will be available in the later part of this year, but we suspect that it will cost at least 1900-2000 USD. Hence, we can’t recommend this as of now. Because at this price you can buy a 2020 flagship phone, and a complete laptop/tablet with decent specs, hence it is very difficult to justify its cost. 

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