Where previous Galaxy Note lineups were primarily distinguished by size or by whether or not they had 5G connectivity, this year’s Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra have a bit more going on.
What do the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra have in common?
Both the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra feature an Exynos 990 processor, IP68 water resistance, in-display fingerprint sensor, Qi wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, an S-Pen stylus plus fast-charging via USB Type-C.
The two devices also run on the same software stack, which filters together the latest version of Android 10 with Samsung’s own One UI skin and introduces an updated Notes app plus several new integrations with Microsoft’s software ecosystem.
What’s the difference between the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra?
While both the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra feature an upgraded version of Samsung's iconic S-Pen accessory with lower latency, there is a difference between what you’re getting from either device. According to Samsung, the S-Pen bundled with the Note 20 offers 40% lower latency than last year’s S-Pen.
Meanwhile, the Note 20 Ultra’s S-Pen touts a steep 80% reduction in latency relative to the previous gen. The standard S-Pen experience isn’t anything to scoff at but, if you wanna crunch the numbers, the takeaway here is that the Ultra has a better stylus.
In both size, resolution and refresh-rate, there are some key differences between the display found on the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. The standard Note 20 has a 6.7-inch 1080p OLED screen clocked at 60Hz. The Note 20 Ultra has a 6.9-inch QHD screen clocked at 120Hz.
In addition, the screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is also a flat one while the Note 20 Ultra touts the kind of Infinity curved edges that have become synonymous with Samsung’s smartphones in recent years.
Regardless, the increase in resolution, refresh rate and raw screen estate makes the Ultra a clear winner here.
RAM & Storage
Both the 4G and 5G versions of the Galaxy Note 20 come with the same 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Throwing your money at the more expensive option here gets you up to 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage.
Building on the more advanced camera setup introduced by the S20, the Galaxy Note 20 features a 12-megapixel main lens, a 64-megapixel telephoto lens and 12-megapixel ultra wide lens.
Then, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra ups the ante with a 108-megapixel main lens, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens and 12-megapixel ultra wide lens. The Note 20 Ultra also touts a new Laser Autofocus system that Samsung are clearly positioning as the answer to the technical problems that initially plagued the camera of the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Safe to say, if you want the Note phone with the best camera, the Note 20 Ultra is the way to go.
This year’s Galaxy Note 20 has a 4000mAh battery while the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a slightly larger 4500mAh battery. Obviously, those numbers aren’t going to tell the whole story but it does at least suggest that - out of the two devices - the Ultra will offer the longer battery life. Both devices support 25W fast-charging.
The Final Word
It might not be a massive surprise given the branding but the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra offers up several advantages over its cheaper counterpart. It’s got a larger screen, beefier specs, a better camera, a better S-Pen and a bigger battery. Whether or not those vectors of superiority translate into a meaningfully different or better end experience, we’ll have to wait and see.