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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G Review: Smaller, But Still As Mighty

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

We’ve reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, so we thought why not give the little brother a shot? With a RM900 price difference, just how much is being taken away by losing the “Ultra” name? Not a lot actually, but that aside, is the phone RM4,299 good? We’ll answer these questions, but first, specs.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G – Specifications

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

Galaxy Note 20
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
CPUExynos 990
GPUMal-G77 MP11
RAM8GB
LPDDR5
Storage256GB
Expandable up to 1TB via microSD

Dual Hybrid SIM :
1 x Nano SIM
1 x MicroSD
Display6.7-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED Plus
Infinity-O
HDR10+
Camera (Rear)12MP Ultra Wide Camera
. Pixel size: 1.4μm
. FOV: 120˚
. F.No (aperture): F2.2

12MP Wide-angle Camera
. Super Speed Dual Pixel AF, OIS
. Pixel size: 1.8μm
. FOV: 79˚
. F.No (aperture): F1.8
. 1/1.76″ image sensor size

64MP Telephoto Camera
. Pixel size: 0.8μm
. FOV: 76˚
. F.No (aperture): F2.0
Space Zoom
. 3x Hybrid Optic Zoom
. Up to 30x Super Resolution Zoom
OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
Tracking AF
Camera (Front)Camera Front 10MP Selfie Camera
. Dual Pixel AF
. Pixel size: 1.22μm
. FOV: 80˚
. F.No (aperture): F2.2 10MP Selfie Camera
. Dual Pixel AF
. Pixel size: 1.22μm
. FOV: 80˚
. F.No (aperture): F2.2
Battery4,300mAh
ChargingFast Wireless Charging 2.0
USB PD 3.0
S-PenS Pen Bluetooth enabled, Lithium Titanate Battery: Up to 24 hours of battery standby time
Pressure levels: 4096, Pen tip diameter: 0.7 mm, IP68
Connectivity5G (SA + NSA)
Sub6 / mmWave
LTE Cat.20
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
USB Type-C
NFC
Ultra Wide Band
BiometricsFingerprint
Face
SensorsUltrasonic Fingerprint Sensor
IP68 Rating
AudioStereo Speakers
Earphones by AKG
OSAndroid 10
Weight192g
ColoursMystic Bronze
Mystic Green
Mystic Grey
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

What’s In The Box?

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G
  • USB Type-C Cable
  • USB Type-C AKG Earphones
  • Extra Eartips
  • Fast Charger
  • SIM Pin Ejector
  • Quick Start Guide

Again, an almost complete set with the Galaxy Note 20 5G, missing a spare transparent case just like the Note 20 Ultra. But, this is acceptable since many of us would prefer buying 3rd party cases for our smartphones. Even the transparent casing for my phone hasn’t been touched at all and is still in the box, just like the charging adapter.

Design

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

To be honest, I actually prefer the Galaxy Note 20’s design over the Ultra’s. On the surface, you might think not much has changed, but there’s actually quite a few distinct differences.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

For one, the Galaxy Note 20 has flat edges, which makes it much easier and more comfortable to use on a daily basis. The screen is also smaller, which makes it a more handy fit in my palms. Not too small, not too big, but just right. The weight feels a lot lighter too, and it’s a weight difference you can feel when it’s in your pocket.

Of course, the back has been swapped for plastic instead of glass, but it still has that smooth matte finish. But because it’s not glass, it actually gives the phone more grip and I’m a big fan of that.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G Review: Smaller, But Still As Mighty 16

All the buttons and ports are in the same positions as the Note 20 Ultra. The SIM tray is on the top, volume and power buttons are on the right, USB Type-C port, speaker grille, and S-Pen are on the bottom of the phone.

Display

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

The Galaxy Note 20’s display is the part that suffers a major downgrade from the Note 20 Ultra. As mentioned above, the display of the Note 20 is a tad bit smaller than the Ultra’s at 6.7-inch instead of a 6.9-inch panel. The resolution is also brought down to just Full HD+, and the refresh rate has been reduced to the standard 60Hz. Even the panel itself is only a Super AMOLED Plus instead of a Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel.

I don’t mind the display size as it’s more comfortable in the hands. For the resolution, the untrained human eye probably won’t even tell the difference between a FHD+ and a QHD+ panel, so the FHD+ display is actually fine. But when it comes to the refresh rate and display panel, that’s where the difference really shows. If you’re someone who has never experienced 120Hz refresh rate screens, then this will not bother you. But if you have, then you’re going to need time to get used to it. The phone actually performs fast, it’s just the display that’s making it “look” sluggish, when in fact, it’s not.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

Another difference with the display is the Infinity-O notch. It’s much larger than the Note 20 Ultra’s, but after a while my eyes just filters it out and I don’t really notice it there anymore.

In terms of quality, it still provides a bright, vivid display with great colour saturation. It’s great for watching movies and gaming, giving you an immersive experience thanks to the slim bezels on the sides.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G Review: Smaller, But Still As Mighty 17

User Experience

I think I’ve covered quite a bit of user experience mostly in the Display section. A smartphone’s screen is the part you’ll interact most with with a phone. So, when I first started up the phone, I could immediately tell the screen was a 60Hz screen.

That being said, after using the phone as my daily driver for a few weeks, my eyes adjust itself back to accepting 60Hz refresh rates. Occasionally, I would still enjoy 120Hz on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+, but that’s for another review.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

Samsung’s decision to use flat edges with the Note 20 made it a more comfortable phone to use for people with chubbier palms like mine. There are no longer “hand gymnastics” involved when you’re holding the phone laying sideways or lying down.

Overall, the Galaxy Note 20 is a great phone to use. It’s comfortable, the weight is just right, tip-top performance for a flagship series device, just minus the screen. That’s literally the only gripe I have with it.

S-Pen

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

The S-Pen on the Note 20 is also different than the Ultra’s when it comes to latency. The Note 20 Ultra’s S-Pen has a latency of just 9ms, whereas the Note 20’s has a latency of 23ms. The numbers may seem far apart, but I could only feel it being slightly slower than the Ultra’s.

Other than that, you still get all the advanced S-Pen features as the Note 20 Ultra. From the air actions and audio bookmarks to the Samsung Notes integration, the S-Pen is still feature-packed albeit having a higher latency.

And also, it can also be used with the Galaxy Tab S7 series if you own one.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G Review: Smaller, But Still As Mighty 17

Performance

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 had absolutely no problems when it comes to performance, and it’s never had any hiccups during my time with it. But for benchmarking, here are the benchmarks scores we ran for the phone on Geekbench 5 and 3DMark. For some reason, it does a tiny bit better than the Ultra when it comes to benchmarks.

Geekbench 5

3DMark

Gaming

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

Again, I am going back to talking about the screen. Gaming is so much more comfortable because of the screen’s edges. Because they’re flat, you won’t get accidental screen touches, especially when it comes to MOBAs like Arena of Valor or FPS games like Call of Duty: Mobile.

Performance wise, game visuals are detailed and crisp, and the phone only feels slightly warm after long hours of gaming. However, you are still bottlenecked by the 60Hz refresh rate and that’s as smooth as you can go.

Camera

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

Being a smartphone that’s RM900 cheaper than the Note 20 Ultra, the cameras also get a downgrade. The ultra-wide angle sensor remains the same as the Ultra, but the main camera gets swapped for a 64MP sensor, while the 12MP telephoto sensor gets exchanged for a 12MP wide-angle camera.

Despite the exchange of sensor and camera, the Note 20 is still a great performer when it comes to photography and videography. Photos looks great in daylight, but can be a little noisy in low light environments. Night mode improves image quality a little, but still can’t escape from the noise. Videos are smooth and stable thanks to the OIS onboard, and the quality is amazing for everyday social media usage.

Here are some photo samples taken with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G:

Audio

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

The Galaxy Note 20 has the same stereo speakers as the Ultra, with one speaker on the bottom, and another within the top earpiece. Stereo effect is great, with the highs bright, and the mids really clear. Vocals sound great, but when it comes to lows, the bass isn’t as strong as I thought it would be – definitely not as thumping as the Note 20 Ultra’s speakers.

Battery

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

On average, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G’s battery could last me the entire day with 35% battery left to spare. When using the phone sparingly, I could also get it to last till 12PM the second day.

The 4,300mAh battery could get me through my daily activities which now include GPS navigation, photo taking, social media surfing, barcode scanning (obviously), and also long hours of gaming after work hours. That’s actually pretty good considering I’m already back on my full work schedule post-MCO.

What you lose in refresh rate, you gain in battery life. Because it doesn’t need to churn out double the refresh rate, you’re able to get longer battery life. In my 1080p video playback test, it took the phone 7 hours and 15 minutes before dying on me.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G Review: Smaller, But Still As Mighty 17

Conclusion

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G is a little confusing at first, but you’ll grow to like it. The Exynos 990 chip performs spectacularly with great battery management, and the triple camera system takes clear, vivid photos with minimal skill or know-how.

Though the display is a little disappointing for a flagship device to only have 60Hz, you’re still getting all the nifty S-Pen features encased in a beautiful frosted body that’s comfortable to hold and touch.

Priced at RM4,299, it’s 5G ready, and has Samsung’s own touch of OneUI magic like DeX mode, call and text on other devices, and more. If you don’t need 5G just yet, you can opt for the 4G version of the Note20 at just RM3,899.

Written By

Chief Content Developer at The AXO

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