Mobiles & Tablets

First impressions on Samsung Note20 Ultra 5G

Mala Bhargava | Updated on August 07, 2020 Published on August 07, 2020

Behemoth of a smartphone offers gorgeous screen, vast viewing real estate, improved S Pen

Samsung’s absolute top-of-the-line Note20 Ultra 5G is now with Indian reviewers for a thorough acquaintance, but before a time-consuming deep-dive, here are just the initial thoughts on this behemoth of a smartphone, the phone that has it all and then some.

For fans of the whole Note concept from the start, the annual unveiling of the next generation of this pioneering product is always exciting as it inevitably brings some innovation or the other in a world stagnating for want of it where phones are concerned.

On unboxing, the first thing that strikes you is the ‘Mystic Bronze’ colour Samsung made much of during its presentation. They have a few other “Mystic” colours but perhaps none was given as much attention as the Bronze which is a kind of pinkish gold that some may like and others not. The colour is, if anything, really prominent.

The smooth surface on the back is a brushed metal effect and not glossy-glassy. But perhaps even more prominent than the colour is the camera module that leaps out at you on the top left. A big rectangular compartment holds three big lenses in a vertical row and the flash and autofocus on the side. The whole module sticks out quite a bit and some say this is because the phone is slimmer.

Clean lines, boxy look

The clean lines of the phone, despite the curved glass on the front, give the Note the boxy look which users have rather liked. Those acquainted with the Note will be surprised to find the S-Pen, for which the device is famous, has moved off to the left instead of the right where it’s been from the start. One will have to find out why as little was really said at the launch event itself.

The screen is nothing less than gorgeous. Interrupted only by a little punch hole for the front camera, the rest of the 6.9-inches is all viewing real estate, with absolutely minimal edges. It’s a high res screen with a high refresh rate of 120Hz for extreme fluidity. Being Samsung’s signature AMOLED, it looks bright and vivid and crisp all at the same time. The glass is protector by Gorilla Glass Victus, meant to be extra tough.

The Note20 Ultra has 12GB of RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage along with a micro=SD card slot for further storage. The processor is the Exynos 990, not the Snapdragon 865+ that is used in the US and some other parts of the world. The phone is 5G capable, of course.

Unique customisations

Based on Android 10, Samsung’s own OneUI is full of customisations. Samsung promises three years of updates, which should make users happy. The more unique customisations come from the Note’s S Pen which has been improved in several ways. It’s more fluid and interestingly has a louder pen-on-paper sound. Working with the S Pen gives you all sorts of control over the phone, beyond taking notes, sketching etc. The ‘air gestures’ are still there, of course, but there’s also new navigation gestures called Anywhere Actions.

The Notes app has been redesigned and has more capabilities including translation to speech and more up front handwriting to text conversion. The S Pen needs deep exploration so it’s difficult to say much within a few hours of having received the device.

Taking a few shots with the Note20 Ultra’s main camera, one of the three lenses on the rear, indoor photos looked pretty good. There’s a a 108MP wide-angle main lens, a 12MP ultra-wide and a 12MP telephoto lens that does a 5x optical zoom with a 50x hybrid to follow. The phone is capable of 8x video recording.

The Note20 Ultra is rather expensive at ₹104,990 so a deeper review is in order, and that’s what we will do in the following days.

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Published on August 07, 2020
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