PAT PILCHER gets to attend the launch for Samsung’s Note20 and Note20 Ultra, and he shares all the details with us below.
It’s that time of the year again. Samsung’s cult-like Note fans have braved the time difference between South Korea and New Zealand to watch the 2020 unpacked event, which was live-streamed.
At the event, Samsung announced a slew of new devices which includes both 4G and 5G versions of the Galaxy Note20. These come in two flavours – the Galaxy Note20 and the Galaxy Note20 Ultra.
As with previous years, productivity is the theme, and both Notes are designed with this in mind. Part and parcel of this is an even deeper alliance with Microsoft. This sees tighter Windows PC integration and Microsoft Office apps baked in. The best example of this is Microsoft’s Your Phone app. It allows the Note20 to seamlessly link with a Windows 10 PC so you can see and reply to text messages or copy across photos or even make calls from your PC. If you’ve ever had your workflow interrupted by a text message or phone call, you’ll probably find the “Your Phone” app incredibly useful.
The big selling point with the Note range is its S Pen. This year’s version offers additional gestures to help drive the Note20. Latency has also been reduced, which makes for an improved writing experience. The Samsung Notes app is tightly integrated with the S Pen and has several refinements. It allows you to scribble notes while audio is recorded. On playback, your notes display at the same moment they were written as when audio was recorded. Tap a word in your notes, and you can hear audio from that moment in the recording.
Auto-save and syncing capabilities have also been beefed up, and this should mean lost work becomes much less of a problem. Editing and annotating PDFs and Microsoft PowerPoint presentations in the Samsung Notes app is also now possible.
The 2020 Note range also comes with 5G variants, although you’ll need to pony up an extra $200 for it. Wi-Fi 6 is also there so low latency gaming, and smooth streaming should be effortless. Speaking of which, the displays can run at up to 120hz, which makes everything look silky smooth. On the audio front, AKG is present, and Samsung says there’s Dolby Atmos. We’re not sure how that works on a phone.
The other feature that impressed was the video capabilities of the Note20 range. Not only can they record 8k video, but it can be captured in a cinematic 21:9. Further helping things along in the video department is Pro Video mode. This includes industrial strength focus capabilities. There are also audio tweaks (you can choose which integrated or external mics are used, and you get a VU meter too). Exposure, lighting and zoom tweaks are present as well. The Note20 can record 8k video at 120fps for a real cinematic look. Paired Galaxy Buds can record clear audio regardless of background noise. All told, if you are a podcaster, the Note20’s video capabilities could be just what the doctor ordered.
Recording 8k video fills up storage super-fast. To this end, Samsung has kitted the Note20 range out with a shedload of storage, ranging from 128GB, 256GB or a whopping 512GB. Multitaskers will also be pleased to note that RAM options are either 8 or 12GB. About the only real negative is that the Note20 range sold in this part of the world still comes with Samsung’s EXYNOS CPUs. While they’re great processors, US models are sold with the considerably more powerful Snapdragon 845.
All these bells and whistles don’t come cheap. Samsung has a range of pricing options. The Galaxy Note20 Ultra with 5G costs $2299, while its 4G counterpart is $2099. The Note20 5G is $1899 while the 4G version is $1699.
If your phone is your workhorse or you’re looking for smoking hot pro-level video capabilities, the Note20 is a solid, if costly choice. Watch this space for a full review soon.