The launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 has passed without pain or glory in Spain; the most desired model is his ‘older brother’, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, a reference in the market of smartphones with Android.
In all the years that I have been writing about technology, I have rarely come across a case like the ‘normal’ Galaxy Note 20. From the first minute after your official announcement, the general consensus among the press and enthusiasts was of rejection. Samsung itself seemed ‘ashamed’ of this mobile, since it did not even appear in some promotional images.
Those things surprise me, because the level of the technology sector today is very high. Even the worst smartphones they have certain qualities that we expect in any model. Is the Note 20 really that bad, or are we facing a mobile that may surprise you if you trust it? Thanks to Samsung itself, I have been able to test it out for a few weeks and see for myself, along with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 We already talked about it in its day.
This is the Galaxy Note 20 5G
- Size – 6.7 inch
- Technology – Super AMOLED Plus
- Resolution – 1080 x 2400 pixels, 20: 9 aspect ratio
Colors – 16 million
- Refresh rate – 60 Hz
- HDR – Sí, HDR10+
- Protection – Corning Gorilla Glass 5
- Type – Exynos 990
- Cores – eight
- Frecuencias – 2x 2,73 GHz Mongoose M5, 2x 2,50 GHz Cortex-A76, 4×2,0 GHz Cortex-A55
- Graphics – Mali-G77 MP11
- Memoria RAM – 8 GB
- Storage – 256 GB
- Main Chambers
- 12 Mpx pan, f / 1.8 aperture, 0.8 µm sensor size, OIS optical stabilizer.
- Ultra widescreen 12 Mpx, f / 2.2 aperture, sensor size 1.4 µm
- 64 Mpx telescopic, f / 2.0 aperture, 0.8 µm sensor size, OIS optical stabilizer, 3x hybrid zoom.
- Auto-HDR Flash LED
- Video recording at 8K and 24 fps, 4K up to 60 fps fps, 1080p up to 240 fps.
- Camera selfie
- 10 Mpx, f / 2.2 aperture, 1.22 µm sensor size.
- Video recording at 4K up to 60 fps, 1080p up to 30 fps
- WiFi 6
- Bluetooth 5.0
- USB-C 3.2
- Ultrasonic on-screen fingerprint reader
- Stereo loudspeakers, tuned by AKG.
- Capacity – 4,300 mAh
- Fast Charge – Yes, 25W
- Wireless charging – Yes, 15W Qi / PMA compatible.
- Reverse wireless charging – Yes, up to 4.5W.
- Operating system
- Android 10
- Personalization layer – One UI 2.5
- Physical characteristics
- Dimensiones – 161,6 x 75,2 x 8,3 mm
- Weight – 192 grams
- Colores – Mystic Bronze, Mystic Green, Mystic Grey
- 1.059 euros.
I open the case of the Note 20 5G, expecting the worst, desperately tearing the plastic away. And what I find is … a Note. Just in case you thought that this mobile was not worthy of bearing that name, you can rest assured. This is a Samsung Note, both in quality of materials and construction and in functionalities. Maybe not the best Note, but a Note after all.
Taking the Note 20 is a pleasant experience, each and every time. It is not only that the weight and thickness figures are more than correct, it is that it is a mobile well designed, with a very balanced distribution of weights and a feeling in the hand at the height of the best.
Design is a mixture of various aspects that have become important again in recent years, such as the flat screen after the fashion of curves, rounded edges but not difficult to hold the phone, and completely smooth ends to achieve a very elegant finish. The metallic edges are especially striking.
But now it’s time to talk about the part that has received the most criticism, the rear. Indeed, the rear is plastic, something really shocking in a mobile of more than 1,000 euros. And yes, it is as bad as you think.
Samsung has tried to cushion the blow, with a very pleasant finish to the touch and that achieves an effect that we have seen in few plastic mobiles. But even that is not capable of hiding the material from which it is made.
It’s especially bad where the metal edge and the plastic shell come together; it’s like a constant reminder that Samsung has cut costs with this phone. However, it is likely that it is more noticeable in the copper color that I have been able to test, and that in the green and black models it is not so striking.
Now to be honest, most people are not going to see that plastic case for a long time. If you buy a Note 20, you will probably use a case like the ones Samsung offers on their website, and you will never see the plastic back. It makes sense for this to be a part where you cut expenses, even if that only helps you accept it a bit.
Nice screen, but …
Samsung is a brand that stands out in many things, but the screens are without a doubt its strong point. The one with the Note 20 does not disappoint in that sense, with a spectacular treatment of colors and a generous size (although not so much with current fashions).
Using this screen is a delight, thanks mainly to the colors; the reds stand out especially, but where it really stands out is in the blacks, being an AMOLED. Whether playing Xbox thanks to Xbox Game Pass for Android, or watching a movie on Netflix, the experience is outstanding.
The brightness is also remarkable, although it is not outstanding; We reserve that for the viewing angles, which allow us to see the screen from any point without problems. And thanks to Always Display, is capable of displaying information on the screen with hardly any battery drain, ideal for viewing the time or the weather forecast with a touch.
There is a “but” of course, something you probably already know: this screen has a refresh rate of only 60 Hz. And if you do not know why that is a problem, it is better that you do not know and enjoy the Note 20, because it can be enjoyed perfectly.
But, if you have already used a mobile with a faster screen, such as 90 Hz, 120 Hz or 144 Hz, you will miss it, especially on a mobile in this price range. I am not going to sweeten it: that Samsung has not put a screen of at least 90 Hz in this mobile is a very strong negative point. OnePlus recently introduced the OnePlus 8T, with 120 Hz display, for only € 599; quick screens are here, and ignoring them is unacceptable at this point.
At the very least, just because it’s a 60Hz screen doesn’t mean the experience is frustrating. And is that Samsung has achieved great performance with the Note 20, both in applications and in the system itself.
One UI, Samsung’s interface, has improved a lot and now it feels very fast; just opening the applications menu is very satisfying. The side menu for the touch pen is faster than ever, and in an instant we can take screenshots or notes. The tested applications all work perfectly, and it can also be a good alternative for video games.
It’s still a Note
But if you are going to buy this device, it is most likely because of the name “Note”. And that means that this mobile not only comes with a stylus, but it is probably one of the best in the sector.
A detail that has changed compared to previous models is that now the pencil is stored on the left side; a change that has perhaps been criticized too much for what it is. There are those who believe that this affects right-handed people, but I am and I can take the pencil with my right hand holding the mobile with my left perfectly. This way, I can take quick notes with the screen off, put the stylus back in, and read that note later.
It’s a workflow that will be familiar to Note owners, and I can tell you that does not change with Note 20; All the tools for drawing, capturing, note taking, and more are here. There are even some curious ones, such as the possibility of drawing in three dimensions thanks to augmented reality.
This is also a good mobile to take photos, although not the best. The three main lenses do their job well, with realistic colors and nothing overloaded; what you photograph is what you see, something that is unspectacular, but it is appreciated.
The price, key
With all this, we can come to the conclusion that the Galaxy Note 20 is a good mobile. Not the best, but it’s also not as bad as we might have thought. But then why the hate?
Well, for a simple reason, the price. For 1,059 euros, the Note 20 competes directly with very powerful alternatives in the sector, and many offer much superior technical characteristics.
All the bad details (to call them somehow) that we have discovered, they are for the price; on a mobile with a lower PVP, they would not be a problem far from it. But when you overcome the psychological barrier of 1,000 euros, you expect something else.
We may have to move the barrier. Or it may simply be that Samsung has misjudged the risk. Be that as it may, the Note 20 is not a good mobile at the recommended price.
But that’s the thing, right? What you are not going to pay the recommended price of the Note 20. Samsung is famous for setting prices that seem high initially, only to offer rebates within weeks of launch.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G can already be obtained greatly reduced compared to its original price. At Amazon, we can get the Galaxy Note 20 5G for 899 eurosAt the time of writing these words, a discount of 150 euros compared to the RRP And as more sale periods arrive, we expect to see ever greater discounts.
So it is somewhat unfair to compare the Note 20 5G with models of 1,000 euros or more, since that is not the price that most users will pay. Whether this is the best strategy for Samsung is debatable, but it seems to be doing well.
True to its mission
Originally, the Notes were smartphones like the S-range, but with a stylus; But over time, their mission has changed, and now they are the maximum reference of the company, the most powerful and advanced models that it offers every year.
The Note 20 may not meet the current image we have of the Notes, but it is more faithful to the original idea; It is a more normal mobile than we might expect, but with the advantage of a exceptional stylus. There may be many alternatives with better features in your price range; but none of them have that pencil.
In that sense, I cannot say that the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is a bad mobile, it just needs someone who loves it and can take advantage of its possibilities. In fact, if we get it at a good price, it may be the best alternative we have, especially if the stylus is a priority.