Samsung has two new models of the Samsung Galaxy Note in the pipeline – the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and the regular Galaxy Note.
As fans of the series will recall, in 2019, Samsung offered two sizes of this phone, taking the Note 10 smaller while pushing the Note 10+ as the larger size model. In reality, it was the Note 10+ that was the true successor to the Note crown, while the “normal” model slipped into a smaller and more affordable position.
We’ve seen many leaks and rumours running up to the 5 August announcement of the new models, with that gap between the Note 20 and the Ultra model seemingly getting wider in 2020. Here’s how they are likely to compare, but bare in mind that none of these specs are yet confirmed.
- Note 20 Ultra: 165 x 77.2 x 7.6mm, Gorilla Glass Victus
- Note 20: 161.8 x 75.3 x 8.5mm, polycarbonate back
Never has so much been written about design when it comes to two phones in the same family. In the past, Samsung has often offered much the same design between regular and plus models. That changed with the launch of the S20 Ultra – and it looks like the Note 20 Ultra will be different to the regular Note 20 too.
While the difference in size is to be expected because the displays are a different size, the design appears to be quite different based in leaked images. The Note 20 Ultra has flattened ends and squared corners, while the Note 20 has softer curved corners.
There’s also talk that the Note 20 will move to a plastic or polycarbonate back rather than glass. This would be quite a move, considering that Samsung has been using glass for its rear panels for some time. That could mean that the Note 20 is positioned quite differently to the Note 20 Ultra. The design appears closer to the early-2020 Note 10 Lite – and that phone was about half the price of the top models.
While we don’t have solid confirmation of these material changes, the fact that Samsung is looking at different designs, suggests a bigger gulf between these phones than we’ve seen previously in sibling devices.
- Note 20 Ultra: 6.9in, 3200 x 1440 pixel (508ppi), 19.3:9, 120Hz
- Note 20: 6.7in, 2400 x 1080 pixels (392ppi), 20:9, 60Hz
While the displays are expected to be a different size, there’s potentially a big difference in technology. Rumours have said that the Ultra will get a 6.9-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and Quad HD+ resolution. It’s likely to be as flagship as you can get.
The Note 20 display – if the leaks are correct – could arrive with the same display as the Note 10 Lite. That’s a 6.7-inch AMOLED Full HD+ at 60Hz and flat – so missing Samsung’s signature flagship curved edges.
It’s a pretty big difference, although there will be many who don’t mind the lower resolution or refresh rate. What’s important is that it will still offer the S Pen features on a display that’s big and that’s a hallmark of the Galaxy Note family.
What appears to be different to previous years is that the Note 20 isn’t getting that smaller display like the Note 10 offered, which was 6.3 inches.
- Note 20 Ultra: Qualcomm SD865 Plus or Exynos 990, 12GB RAM, 256/512GB storage, 4500mAh
- Note 20: Qualcomm SD865 Plus or Exynos 990, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage, 4300mAh
When it comes to the core hardware, it looks like we’re going to be returning to some sort of parity between the two Note models. Both are expected to be powered either by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus or the Exynos 990 – although there were rumours of an Exynos 992 tweak to lift the power slightly.
That should provide these phones with the same core power, obviously using Qualcomm in some regions and Exynos in others as we’ve previously seen from Samsung.
But the Ultra might come with 12GB RAM while the Note 20 could stick to 8GB. Again, this reinforces a different positioning of these phones. Storage is said to start at 256GB and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Note 20 only offer one storage option to keep the prices down. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if it dropped to 128GB.
When it comes to batteries we’ve seen 4500mAh and 4300mAh mentioned respectively, so it might be the case the smaller Note 20 gets better stamina than the Ultra, because of lower hardware demands on the battery.
- Note 20 Ultra
- Main: 108MP f/1.8
- Ultra-wide: 12MP f/2.2
- Zoom: 12MP f/3.0 5x, 50X SpaceZoom
- Note 20
- Main: 12MP f/1.8
- Ultra-wide: 12MP f/2.2
- Zoom: 64MP f/2.0 3x, 30X SpaceZoom
If you’re a Samsung fan, then the cameras in these respective devices might look familiar. On first glance they are similar to the load-out on the S20 Ultra and S20 models, although the 48-megapixel zoom of the S20 Ultra has been swapped out for a 12-megapixel zoom, now looking to give you 50X zoom, rather than the 100X zoom of the S20 Ultra. It’s likely be 4x optical and the rest digital.
The 108-megapixel sensor is said to be new, but it’s clear that Samsung feels it has to stick to big numbers to be competitive. It’s now supported by a laser focusing system to get over some of the problems encountered on the S20 Ultra.
The regular Note 20 also gets a respectable camera load-out. It appears to have a system very similar to the Galaxy S20, with a 12-megapixel main sensor with big pixels. It also offers zoom, but only 30X digital – we suspect it will be 3x optical. It will likely use the 64-megapixel sensor here to enable the 8K video capture (as it did on the S20), while the Ultra will use the 108-megapixel sensor for 8K.
Both phones also offer an ultra-wide camera and we expect this to be the same. We’re also expecting both to have the same front 10-megapixel selfie camera.
What’s clear here is, if the specs are correct, is that this is an area where Samsung doesn’t appear to be dropping the Note 20 too far. Sure, it’s not the same as the Ultra, but then increasing the resolution just so you can combine pixels back to 12-megapixels doesn’t automatically make for a better camera – a lot will come down to the computation behind the lens and we expect both will be the same in that regard.
The two Galaxy Note 20 models look radically different this year and it looks like Samsung is aiming to open up a wider gap between these two devices than it did in 2019. That might be a reflection of how the Galaxy Note 10, or the Galaxy Note 10 Lite, was received.
The Note 20 looks like it picks up some of what the Note 10 Lite offered but sticks to some of the premium aspects in the core hardware and the camera. This should be reflected in the price of the handset – which could make it much more appealing than the small Note 10 was. Even without the top specs, that larger display is much more useful for the S Pen.
The Note 20 Ultra is rather more predictable. We expect it to be the true flagship, we’re expecting a high price and we’re expecting Samsung to push it as the best of everything. At its heart, that’s what the Galaxy Note should be – but with so many big screen – affordable – phones around, we suspect that’s what’s driving Samsung to make the regular Note 20 a little more ordinary.