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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 was launched in August 2020. Samsung’s mixed things up a bit atop the lineup with the vanilla model losing quite a bit of feature available on the Ultra.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 price in Kenya debuted at Kes 85,000/= and will vary as there are offers currently. Check our listing for the latest price.
Galaxy Note 20 specs at a glance;
- Body: 161.6 x 75.2 x 8.3 mm, 192g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), plastic back, stainless steel frame; IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins).
- Display: 6.7 inches, (~89.2% screen-to-body ratio), Super AMOLED Plus, HDR10+, 1080 x 2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 393ppi, Always-on display, 60Hz@FHD refresh rate.
- Chipset: Exynos 990 (7 nm+) – Global, Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865+ (7 nm+) – USA: Octa-core (2×2.73 GHz Mongoose M5 & 2×2.50 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55) – Global, Octa-core (1×3.00 GHz Kryo 585 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 585) – USA; Mali-G77 MP11 – Global, Adreno 650 – USA.
- Memory: 256GB 8GB RAM; UFS 3.0.
- OS/Software: Android 10, One UI 2.1.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm, 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS; Telephoto: 64 MP, f/2.0, 27mm, 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS, 3x hybrid zoom; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2, 120˚, 13mm, 1/2.55″, 1.4µm.
- Front camera: 10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/3.2″, 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF; Dual video call, Auto-HDR.
- Video capture: Rear camera: 8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR10+, stereo sound rec., gyro-EIS & OIS; Front camera: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30fps.
- Battery: 4300mAh; Fast charging 25W, USB Power Delivery 3.0, Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging, Reverse wireless charging 4.5W.
- Misc: Fingerprint (under display, ultrasonic), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer; NFC; FM radio (Snapdragon model only; market/operator dependent); Samsung Wireless DeX (desktop experience support), ANT+, Bixby natural language commands and dictation; Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified); S Pen Stylus, 9ms latency (Bluetooth integration, accelerometer, gyro).
Design and Build
The Note20 Ultra and Note20 sit atop the Galaxy lineup and as such offer premium build quality and design. Having said that, even here the Ultra has an edge on the vanilla model.
The display on your Galaxy Note20 is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, but it’s not the choice of material for the back that has people talking. The Note20’s back panel is made of plastic. Samsung calls it reinforced polycarbonate, and while we’re not opposed to phones with plastic backs, this one stands out for the price.
The display is a 6.7 inch super AMOLED with 1500nits of peak brightness. It has a lower refresh rate than the Ultra at 60Hz at FHD and a resolution of 1080 x 2400px with a 20:9 aspect ratio and 393 pixels per inch.
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User Interface and Performance
The Galaxy Note 20 comes with an improved version of Samsung’s OneUI, which now stands at 2.5, compared to 2.1 on previous Galaxies. We didn’t notice any significant changes when we switched from one to the other. In any case, Android 10 is running under the custom overlay. It is however upgradable to Android 11 with OneUI 3.0.
The S Pen on the Galaxy Note 20 is the same as on the Note 10 family of phones. The stylus hasn’t changed, but the overall experience has improved. Samsung improved latency on the Note20 – the 9ms here vs. the Note10’s 42ms can appear to be random numbers with no sense behind them, but the difference is visible and felt while using the S Pen.
When it comes to the chipset inside, the Note20 Ultra is available in two models, as is customary for Samsung’s top-tier smartphones. The Snapdragon 865+ SoC – the beefed-up fall edition of Qualcomm’s high-end chipset for 2020 – is now available in North America, South Korea, Japan, and China. Other regions, such as Europe, India, Brazil, and Australia, get the Exynos 990, which is the same Exynos as the spring ones.
Samsung Note 20 comes with a triple camera setup. The primary camera is a wide 12 MP featuring f/1.8, 26mm, 1/1.76″, 1.8µm and Dual Pixel PDAF with OIS. The second a 64 MP, f/2.0, 27mm telephoto camera, featuring 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS and 3x hybrid zoom. Lastly is a 12 MP, f/2.2, 120˚, 13mm ultrawide camera with 1/2.55″, 1.4µm sensors.
The selfie camera is a 10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/3.2″, 1.22µm with Dual Pixel PDAF. It supports Dual video call and Auto-HDR.
The Galaxy Note20 supports video recording in a variety of resolutions and frame rates, as well as an improved Pro video mode. The show-stopper, 8K video, debuted on the S20 series and is now available on the Note20 and Note 20 Ultra, but only in 24fps. Both cameras can film at 30 frames per second in 4K and 1080p, while the main camera can record at 60 frames per second in both resolutions.
Selfie videos were great on the S20, and they’re even better on the Note – beautifully detailed, with a wide dynamic range even in backlit conditions, and skin tones we prefer in videos over stills. The Galaxy Note20 Ultra improves the S20 Ultra’s selfie video recording performance by including stabilization in 60fps modes, which was previously only available in 4K30 and 1080p 30fps modes.
The Galaxy Note 20 has a 4,300mAh battery, which is 300mAh more than the S20 despite otherwise identical hardware. The Note 20 supports 25W quick charging, so it will get you to 57% after 30mins.
Wireless charging is also available for the Note20. Samsung claims that compatible pads that can output 10W or more support Fast Wireless Charging 2.0. Wireless PowerShare is also available, allowing you to charge other devices from the back of the Note20. That should operate at up to 4.5W, but only if the Note’s battery is more than 30% charged.
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