From the above title, you might be asking why I said that this is my personal preferred Galaxy Note. I’ll tell you with a short and simple reason. I like simplicity and minimalism. I like uncluttered design and more about what’s on the inside. Hence this is the reason why I prefer the Samsung Galaxy Note20 5G as opposed to the Ultra version.
And so here’s why…
First Look & Design
My first impression when I laid my eyes on the Galaxy Note20 5G is its simple design without any oversized camera bump at the back. Actually, that is the main reason why I prefer this rather than the Ultra version.
Come to think of it, the oversized camera bump at the back of the Ultra version is the most obvious thing on the phone. I don’t quite like that. Functionality wise, it’s awesome. In the look and feel department – meh.
So just like the previously reviewed Galaxy S20 FE, the Galaxy Note20 5G gave me the exact same level of comfort and familiarity. Everything feels comfortable. It is almost the same size as the S20 FE but it does feel bigger somehow. I like that the camera platform bump at the back is not as big as the Ultra version, making the Note20 5G feels thinner.
In fact, the rather thick camera bump at the back turns me off a little bit. I’m sure some of you think the same too. If they can get the cameras to be flushed with the back panel, it will be great.
As for the front camera, it is right smack at the top center area while there is also the under display fingerprint sensor at the bottom area. On the right side you can see the usual volume rocker at the top and the power button right below it. There is nothing on the left side of the phone because they have placed the SIM tray at the top of the phone along with one of two tiny mic hole.
At the bottom you can find the USB type-C port, the S-Pen and its dock and a bottom firing speaker. There is not 3.5mm audio jack on the Note20, or on any other flagships by Samsung.
The colour that I got for review is Mystic Green and surprisingly I like the colour tone. I usually go for dark colours like black or dark grey but this green is a refreshing change for me. If I were to buy myself a Note20, there is a high possibility that this is the colour I’d choose.
The Note20 5G has squarish corners instead of rounded edges. This may not be comfortable to some people but I kinda like it. Working on the phone as my daily driver is great and holding it on one hand is good. But for those with small hands may have a problem gripping this phone.
Here are the full specifications of the Galaxy Note20 5G…
- SoC: Exynos 990 (7 nm+), Octa-core (2×2.73 GHz Mongoose M5 & 2×2.50 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)
- GPU: Mali-G77 MP11
- OS: Android 10, upgradable to Android 11, One UI 3.0
- Memory: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM
Super AMOLED Plus, HDR10+
6.7 inches, 108.4 cm2 (~89.2% screen-to-body ratio)
1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~393 ppi density)
Li-Ion 4300 mAh, non-removable
Fast charging 25W
USB Power Delivery 3.0
Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging 15W
Reverse wireless charging 4.5W
12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
64 MP, f/2.0, 27mm (telephoto), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS, 3x hybrid zoom
12 MP, f/2.2, 120˚, 13mm (ultrawide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm
- Selfie Camera:
10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/3.2″, 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF
Dual video call, Auto-HDR
- Sensors: Fingerprint (under display, ultrasonic), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
- Colours: Mystic Green, Mystic Bronze, Mystic Gray, Mystic Red, Mystic Blue
Performance & Usage
There is no doubt that the Note series are made for those who are always working on the move. It is one of those devices that can do all the things you need without the need of a laptop or a PC. Note20 5G is fast, but only by the hardware power but also in terms of the connection speed.
Sure, Malaysia is still behind with the 5G network but rest assured that the Note20 5G is future proof. Once we are on a full 5G swing, the Note20 will be ready. Handling the phone with hardcore multi-tasking is a breeze. Anything you throw at it, it will get it done without breaking a sweat. On long heavy graphic rendering, it didn’t even heat up as much. So you can be sure that you can rely on the Note20 for any hard work.
Using the S-Pen is amazing. Just like the previous Note series or even the Tab S7+, the S-Pen is very easy to use, although it is smaller and thinner than the one for the Tab. But it still performs just as good.
I personally like the “write on off screen” function. Simply eject the S-Pen from the dock and the Note20 is ready to take any note on its blank screen. This is highly useful for a quick note taking especially when you’re out and about without any pen and paper. Who needs those when you have the Note20, right?
And it’s a good thing that the Note20 is also expecting an update to Android 11 with OneUI 3.0. I’m pretty sure that the new update will give the Note20 a better look and feel in the UI/UX department. I have heard good review on the new Android 11 so I am pretty excited on how it will perform on the Note series.
As for the other use of the Note20, entertainment department is awesome. I had endless gaming sessions with the Note20 5G and about the same amount of time binging on some Netflix movies. The Note20 produces stereo sound from both sides when holding the phone on landscape mode. This experience was a whole lot of fun for me.
In my usual PUBG Mobile gaming experience, I am able to set the graphics at its fullest setting with the highest FPS. It renders the graphics exceptionally well and I did not notice any lags in the gameplay or heat from all that heavy usage.
I had countless chicken dinners while using the Note20. I really went all out with my gaming session. I even stream my gameplays on social media and Omlet Arcade. With all that apps running the background taking up memories and resources, the Note20 5G did not break a single sweat. That is a huge plus point for me. I can throw anything and everything at it and it will simply say, “give me more”.
After all that hardwork, the battery life is still going strong. After a full charge that took less than an hour to get from 10% to 100%, it will last a good 30 hours on normal daily use like social media, chats and a bit of YouTubing. If I do lots of gaming, I can play about 15 rounds of PUBG before it hits 20%. That is good. The battery endurance on the Note20 is great. You can’t go wrong there.
Camera & Photography
I have seen many improvements in many smartphones out there and for the Note series, I think we all know that Samsung is highly concerned about the camera’s capabilities. Without a good camera, there is no point in making a good and pricey smartphone. This is the main area where Samsung can either win or lose a customer.
So in Samsung’s awesome consumer centric tradition, they have upgraded the camera functions and performance for everyone to drool over. But in all my recent reviews and experience with Samsung’s flagship devices, there are not much leap of improvements here.
The Note20 is using the same sensors as the one on Note20 Ultra and S20 FE. Overall photo quality is good, no doubt about it. The software update for the post-processing only improves certain small areas like noise reduction or reducing warped corners for ultra-wide angle shots. Other than that, I didn’t see any significant difference from the rest of Samsung’s current flagships. They even omit the 100x Space Zoom from the one on S20 Ultra and only goes up to 50x zoom.
I don’t know. What do you think? Have a look at the photos below and let me know what you think.
Indoor shots are good. The Note20 5G does a great job in maintaining the punchy colours and image clarity. Details are good too.
As for outdoor shots, it is no doubt the best condition to shoot some awesome photos. With good lighting and weather condition, the Note20 5G is able to capture superb outdoor photos every time. I have no complaints here.
Close up and food photography is awesome. The auto mode will select the best setting to use. And the result is great.
Night shots are pretty impressive especially when you turn on the night mode. It captures all the details and still retain accurate colour reproduction.
Let’s Zoom In
As I said earlier, the Note20 5G comes with a 50x zoom. So this is what you get when zooming in. The final zoom is a little blurry but still able to see some details. This is a usual case with digital zoom.
Front Camera Selfies
The front camera performed well in my opinion. Details are great and I personally like to use the portrait mode for most, if not all my selfies. I like the end result.
I really love the look and feel of the Note20 5G. It looks sleek and pleasing to the eyes. Love the colour too. The Mystic Green really changed my colour preferences on a smartphone. It has the pastel tone to it, which made it look elegant unlike the hard in-your-face bright colours.
Using the Note20 5G is also very pleasant. I am able to get some work done when I’m out like sending out emails or editing some photos. I am also able to connect the Note20 to a laptop or a monitor and launch Samsung Dex for that extra large screen.
It is a great device to have as a daily driver. Your social media browsing or movie binging will be much better with the Note20. Taking notes will be one of the main use when you’re on the move. I can’t remember how many times I use the “write on off screen” function. It was a whole lots of fun and convenient.
For gaming, this Note20 is beyond awesome. My endless gaming moments are kept alive with all the recording I did, not to forget the live streaming for most of my gameplays. Recording all those gameplays need a good powerful device because of all the memory usage. The Note20 5G was able to run smoothly, all the time.
If you’re into photography, you will like the Note20’s ability to capture good shots. The main shooters at the back captures more than average shots while the selfie camera takes superbly clear and detailed self portrait shots. Although I said earlier that the camera improvements from the other flagships are not that much, but it still able to capture good photos for good memories.
Thinking of getting the new Samsung Galaxy Note20 5G? You can go ahead and make your purchase at Samsung’s official online store. The new Galaxy Note20 5G is selling for RM4,299.00