I have been using the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra for 10 days now, and I am in love. I’m not so much in love that I’ll miss the phone when I have to send it back in another week, but this phone (or mini-tablet in reality) shows just how far smartphones have come.
First, I’ll get to what I love most about this phone — the camera. It’s the best camera phone on any Android or iPhone smartphone thanks to its 5x optical zoom, 50x digital zoom, fun portrait filters and easy-to-use camera app interface. Samsung’s S Pen stylus once again enables you to remotely snap photos, and it really helps when you want to take great selfies.
Then, there is the overall aesthetic of the Note 20 Ultra, especially the Mystic Bronze version. Although it is big, it just feels so premium in your hands. At first, the camera bump on the rear bothered me a little bit, but I soon embraced it. I have it in a clear case that minimizes the bump a little, so that helps.
This is the everything phone — it has a 6.9-inch 120Hz display that moves fluidly, a very fast Snapdragon chipset, 12GB of RAM (not sure you’ll ever need 12GB RAM on a smartphone though), 5G speeds (in some places), and the new S Pen included is the best stylus I’ve ever used on a digital device. Yes, it’s even better than the Apple Pencil.
So far, the only slightly disappointing thing has been the battery life. It’s good but not great. The 4,500mAh battery is excellent on the Galaxy S20+, but not as good on the Note 20 Ultra, which requires more power. As a power user, I’ve only been able to get through a full day’s use about half of the time. Regular users won’t have a problem, but it’s best to keep some kind of charger with you.
Overall, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the best smartphone on the market. But this $1,300 phone may not be for most people who don’t need all the extra capabilities the 20 Ultra offers. It’s also important to note that those who don’t mind paying so much for a smartphone may want to just spend $500 more on the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 2.
Samsung has really outdone itself with the Note 20 Ultra. But will their efforts pay off during a pandemic? Stay tuned.