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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G review: Best Android phone

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the most advanced smartphone Samsung has produced to date. For the Note series too, it’s a huge upgrade. From the 120Hz screen, and the 108MP camera to the more accurate S Pen, there is a lot to mesmerize with the Note 20 Ultra. At Rs 1,04,999, it’s quite expensive.

I have used the Galaxy Note 10 Plus for quite some time. And I can say for sure, the Note 20 Ultra isn’t the monotonous upgrades you get year after year. It’s similar to the previous one, but you don’t have to look seriously to see design changes.

For starters, the back panel houses a gigantic camera module with three large, button-like sensors. The unit stands out much more than what the phone displays reveal. I don’t know if it looks good or not but it’s very distracting. Most of the time, I had to be extra careful to ensure that the camera lens did not attract scratches.

The camera unit is much more prominent than it appeared in the shows (HT Tech)
Coming to the front, the screen is bezel-less as possible. The punch hole in the top center looks smaller. The double-curved design gives an extra edge (pun intended). The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a large 6.9-inch screen, which is the largest on any note so far.

While a large screen experience is expected from this popular phablet series, what makes the Note 20 Ultra different is its 120Hz display.

The faster refresh rate ensures a smoother screen experience. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra offers two options for seamless mobility – Adaptive and Standard. If you reduce the screen resolution to HD + or Full HD +, you can enable Adaptive Motion to automatically adjust the screen refresh rate up to 120Hz. You can choose the standard 60Hz refresh rate to extend battery life. You cannot use Adaptive Mode at the maximum screen resolution (WQHD +).

I mostly enjoyed the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s screen. From basic browsing to OTT content streaming, more real estate provides a better view of just about everything.

But not everything is perfect. The ultra-thin tire also results in tangential pressure to the sides. This automatically triggered pop-ups or functions that I had never invoked. I encountered this problem at least once every day. This is despite the fact that I have grown used to phones with large screens especially the Galaxy Note 10+.

A closer look at the new Note 20 Ultra (HT photo)

However, one of the best or perhaps the best features of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the camera. And yes, the 108MP camera takes amazing photos. The daylight photos turned out very good. Low light photos, not much. Note, you must manually enable 108MP camera mode. The good thing is that once it is set to 108MP, it stays that way. Image processing is surprisingly fast. The zoom camera (5x optical zoom) is just as good. Here are some camera samples for better performance. Overall, this is one of the best camera phones I’ve used so far. Daylight (overcast weather) taken from the 108MP sensor.

Color and depth are well depicted in this image. (Image sized for web) (HT photo) Low light photo was taken at sunset. The sharpness in this photo is a bit weak. (Image resized and cropped for the web) (HT photo) Regular shots from the Note 20 Ultra with HDR and AI enhancements. (Image sized for web) (HT photo)

Speaking of performance, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is ultra-reliable. Pre-Kovid-level reviews are difficult because you’re not as mobile as you used to be. However, it handles power-hungry applications very well. I played call of duty mobile without any problem. From multitasking to basic use cases, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra never disappoints. There is a hot issue that Samsung needs to address. The phone becomes warmer than normal in some use cases, for example, playing games as well as responding to WhatsApp messages and refreshing the browser in the background.

The battery life of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is predictable and reliable. You can also use some software optimization to get better battery life. (HT Pictures)

In terms of battery life, a full WFH day will give you a full day in the morning on a full charge. And it also supports fast charging and wireless charging, so you don’t have to worry too much about the battery. If you intend to exit and use more apps like Google Maps etc., battery life may vary.

Note review cannot be complete without talking about the S Pen. The stylus looks similar but is much faster and easier to use. There are additional functions. If you like to take notes on the go, then this pen phone is worth noting.

Its price of 1,04,999, as previously mentioned, puts the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in a completely different category. I am reluctant to recommend this phone as an upgrade from my premium routine. This is a fancy phone, for now. Android loyalists, power/productivity users, or simply those on a budget can definitely consider the Note 20 Ultra. Otherwise, there is a lot that you can do with 1 lakh rupees.

 

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