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Samsung Galaxy Note 20: Everything you need to know

After weeks of leaks, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series is finally official. These are the latest flagship phones from the South Korean smartphone maker that comes with an S Pen stylus.

Similar to last year, they are releasing two models but the approach is different this time around. There’s no more Note 20+ and Samsung is just offering the standard Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. The design isn’t radically different from the Note 10 series but it stands out with its humongous camera bump.

Pricing and availability

Below are the official pricing for the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra in Malaysia:

Galaxy Note 20 (LTE) – RM3,899
Galaxy Note 20 5G – RM4,299
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G – RM5,199

As a pre-order promo, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra will come with a Galaxy Buds Live worth RM699 for free. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 5G will come with a Galaxy Buds+ worth RM599.

Pre-order starts tomorrow 6th August at 10am until 20th August 2020. The devices will be available in Malaysia officially on the 21st August 2020.

[ UPDATE 07/08/2020 09:00 ] Some retailers are offering additional freebies including a UV Steriliser and a wireless charger. More details here.

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is their top of the range model which shares a lot of similarities with the Galaxy S20 Ultra. It features a 6.9″ Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2x display that still has curved edges around the sides. The screen also pushes up to a maximum of 120Hz refresh rate for a buttery smooth visual experience. Under the hood, the Malaysian market is still getting the Exynos 990 processor that’s mated to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM.

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Power users would be happy to know that Samsung is now offering 256GB UFS 3.1 storage as standard and you still get the option to expand more when you put in a microSD card. As you would expect for a 2020 flagship, this is also a 5G phone and it also supports WiFi 6.

In the camera department, the Note 20 Ultra gets a triple-camera setup which is the most advance yet for the Note series. It features a 108MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens and a 12MP periscope telephoto camera.

Unlike the S20 Ultra, it can’t do 100X zoom but it settles for a respectable 50X Space Zoom. 8K video recording is also supported and you can convert a frame into a high resolution still image. On the thick camera module, there’s also a Laser Hybrid Auto Focus system which speeds up auto focus in addition to phase detection. For selfies, the device gets a 10MP front-camera that sits on a tiny punch-hole at the top of the screen.

Of course, you can’t talk about the Note without checking out the S Pen. This time, Samsung is boasting an even more realistic hand-writing experience with a lower 9ms latency. This is made possible with AI-based point prediction combined with its highly responsive display.

They have also added more air gesture controls for the Bluetooth-connected S Pen which you can now use to go back, home, view recent apps or take a screenshot. The Samsung Notes app has been improved as well for greater productivity.

The typical Samsung flagship features are still retained which include stereo speakers, IP68 dust and water resistance and also Samsung Pay. Samsung Dex has been improved further with a new Wireless Dex option.

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Powering the device is a 4,500mAh battery which is larger than the Note 10+ (4,300mAh) but smaller than the S20 Ultra (5,000mAh). It supports 25W fast charging via USB-C which can provide 50% charge in 30 minutes. The device also supports wireless charging as well as reverse wireless charging with its Wireless Power Share feature. The Note 20 Ultra comes in 3 colours – Mystic Black, Mystic Bronze and Mystic White.

Galaxy Note 20

For a more affordable Note, there’s the Samsung Galaxy Note 20. This is a very different Note device as it comes with a 6.7″ Super AMOLED display that’s flat without any curved edges. It pushes a lower Full HD+ resolution and a pedestrian 60Hz refresh rate.

Under the hood, it also runs on a Exynos 990 processor and comes with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM. Onboard it still gets 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage but without the microSD card expansion.

The Note 20 also gets a triple-camera setup which is different from the Ultra. It uses a 12MP main camera with dual-pixel auto focus, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera and a 64MP camera for telephoto. It still does Space Zoom up to 30x and shoots videos up to 8K. For selfies, it also gets a 10MP punch-hole front camera.

As you would expect for a smaller device, it comes with a 4,300mAh battery. The rest of the specs are similar and you still get IP68 dust and water resistance, stereo speakers and Samsung Pay. The S Pen features are also similar as the Note 20 Ultra model but it lacks the lower 9ms latency.

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However, the biggest difference would be its build quality. Unlike the Note 20 Ultra which has a glass and metal finish, the standard Note 20 now uses a Glasstic back which is what you normally get on a cheaper Galaxy A or Galaxy Note 10 Lite. For Malaysia, the Galaxy Note 20 will be available in both LTE and 5G versions. The Note 20 is available in 3 colours – Mystic Bronze, Mystic Green and Mystic Grey.

Is the Note 20 series a worthy upgrade? Check out Rory’s first impressions of the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra.

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Alexander Wong