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  • - Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

  • (upbeat music)

  • It is big, it's also pretty, it has a great screen,

  • there is a huge camera above.

  • It's actually a bit like the Galaxy S20 Ultra version

  • of the same phone like,

  • okay, actually a lot like Galaxy S20 Ultra,

  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra,

  • S20 Ultra,

  • Note 20 Ultra.

  • Sorry, look,

  • we'll get into a few of the differences

  • between these two phones later.

  • The main point right now is that

  • well, I don't like that the Note 20 Ultra

  • starts at 1300 bucks,

  • I do like this phone

  • and there's not some grand Samsung reinvented the Note story

  • to tell here.

  • It's just, you know, it's a big phone,

  • but what I like about it,

  • and a few of the things that I don't really like about it,

  • turn out to be just a lot of little things.

  • We should,

  • we should just get into it, let's get into it.

  • (upbeat music)

  • So not every phone review is about spec.

  • Some phones have kind of mediocre spec.

  • Like here's the Pixel 4A, it's not a mediocre spec,

  • but it's a really good phone.

  • But this is the Note Ultra with a capital U.

  • And so yeah,

  • people going for this phone

  • are gonna care about the spec.

  • So let's just talk about some key ones right at the top.

  • It has a 6.9-inch quad HD plus display

  • that supports HDR 10 plus,

  • it is of course OLED and has 120 Hertz refresh rate,

  • and a first for Samsung, it is a variable refresh rate.

  • Samsung says that it can go all the way down to 10 Hertz

  • if nothing is moving on the screen,

  • and that is supposed to save battery life.

  • Besides refresh rate, the screen is great.

  • I love the colors, I love the pixel density.

  • I don't even mind how it curves around on the sides,

  • but I'm gonna talk about the refresh rate again.

  • It really matters on a phone of this class

  • and it really does look great.

  • You can feel it just all over the operating system.

  • Now, one thing you should know

  • is you can't have the max refresh rate at 120

  • and get the maximum resolution on the screen,

  • but I don't care.

  • Give me the refresh rate.

  • It has 12 gigs of RAM,

  • which, to me, is enough for an Android phone

  • to do a bunch of multitasking.

  • And the $1,300 version of this phone

  • has 128 gigs of storage, which, really Samsung?

  • I know that it's expandable with micro SD,

  • but it can't spring for 256 at this price point?

  • Come on.

  • Anyway, the 512-gig version costs an extra 150 bucks

  • on top of that.

  • The processor in this is the Snapdragon 865 Plus,

  • and of course it supports

  • both millimeter-wave and sub-6 versions of 5G.

  • Because Samsung wants U.S. carriers

  • to actually care about this phone.

  • U.S. carriers only care about 5G,

  • so it's got 5G.

  • Ah, 5G rent over.

  • It's got a 4500-milliampere battery,

  • and I'm getting five, sometimes six hours of screen time

  • with pretty heavy use of this thing.

  • Overnight on standby, it's draining like maybe 10%.

  • So I think battery life is great.

  • I mean, it should be,

  • this is, as I've said, a big phone.

  • It's got in-screen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor,

  • wireless charging, reverse wireless charging,

  • stereo speakers iP 16,

  • water resistance,

  • Bluetooth 5,

  • this S pen here,

  • this huge camera bump here.

  • Actually,

  • we're gonna save the camera on the S Pen for later

  • 'cause there was a lot going on there,

  • but anyway, you get the point.

  • The specs on this phone are great.

  • This phone is fast and the design of this phone, well,

  • it's very noting and it's very ultra heat,

  • but I mean, this Galaxy Notes are big,

  • but they're also like properly squared off

  • at the corners here.

  • They make you think of a slab,

  • and I think that's actually good for what a note is

  • that it feels like a slab.

  • There's this new matte finish on the back

  • that I think looks better than glossy,

  • but it's also just a little bit more slippery actually,

  • at least it feels that way to me.

  • Now for this thing being ultra E,

  • what does ultra E mean?

  • Well, here's what I think that means.

  • This thing right here, this camera bump, it's a mesa.

  • It is a huge flat outcropping

  • rising spontaneously out of the vast desert,

  • that is the back of this phone.

  • It's big and it's squared off.

  • In fact, it's even bigger than the gigantic camera bump

  • on the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

  • So what do you get out of this bump?

  • (upbeat music)

  • We're gonna go from easy to talk about to complicated

  • when we talk about the many cameras on the Note 20 Ultra.

  • First is the ultra wide angle camera

  • and that one's simple, it's got a 12 megapixel sensor

  • and the photos that come out of it

  • are okay but not stunning,

  • which is kind of par for the course for ultra wide cameras.

  • Then there's the selfie camera, which is just 10 megapixels.

  • And what is happening here, Samsung?

  • I have turned off every face filter option

  • that I could find,

  • and it is still painting bad makeup all over my face.

  • I literally looked like a ham in this photo.

  • I know that there's good camera

  • inside this phone here somewhere,

  • could be so try hard

  • about doing all this face smoothing with it.

  • Telephoto.

  • There's good news for the telephoto lens.

  • It has a 12 megapixel sensor

  • and it uses a periscope to extend the range

  • so it can do 5x optical zoom

  • and up to 50x space zoom digitally.

  • Now it's interesting

  • is that is a smaller megapixel count and a smaller zoom

  • than what it is on the galaxy S20 Ultra.

  • And you know what?

  • Good, even at 50x on this thing, things don't look great,

  • but they still look better

  • than they did at 100x on other phone.

  • It's still kind of a party trick

  • once you get over 10x or 15x.

  • But you know what's great?

  • Having a photo that zoomed in 10 or 15 times

  • that I would actually be willing to post somewhere.

  • I like the zoom on this camera.

  • Okay, so the main camera on here

  • is your standard wide angle lens,

  • but it has Samsung's 108 megapixel sensor behind it.

  • Now, usually those pixels get combined or binned

  • into just a 12 megapixel image,

  • but you can take 108 megapixel sensor image full-size thing

  • if you want.

  • And you know what, this is the juice right here.

  • Samsung's whole deal with the ultra phones

  • is it wants to take this big 108 megapixel sensor

  • and do cool stuff with it.

  • It is how Samsung wants to separate itself out

  • from Google and Apple in the photography department.

  • Now, what it tried to do before with the Galaxy S20 Ultra,

  • that didn't go so hot

  • because this sensor just couldn't focus fast enough.

  • And I am happy to say that on the Note 20 Ultra,

  • that problem has been fixed with a laser.

  • It's using lasers for autofocusing,

  • and I haven't had a problem with focusing speed at all.

  • I just want to say

  • that using this camera system here is the blast.

  • You have so many options,

  • but they're all kind of approachable,

  • even in Pro mode, it's kind of approachable.

  • And as long as you're in good light,

  • you can just mess with them all and get really good results,

  • like you can shoot video in 8K if you want to.

  • I don't think you should, but you totally can.

  • But what you can also do in the Pro camera mode

  • is mess with the microphones.

  • You can use the front-facing mic,

  • the rear-facing mic,

  • an omni mic that listens everywhere,

  • a Bluetooth microphone like in your earbuds or whatever,

  • or USB microphone.

  • And typically I'm not the kind of person that thinks

  • that shooting "Pro" video on a phone makes a lot of sense,

  • but it's actually starting to make more sense to me here.

  • They just up the quality a little bit,

  • get closer to an iPhone 11 Pro,

  • you could do some really interesting things with this thing.

  • Oh yeah, picture quality.

  • We should talk about the pictures

  • that come out of the thing.

  • The Note 20 is still a half step

  • behind the Google Pixel 4 or the Apple iPhone 11 Pro.

  • Part of that is

  • just the color balance that Samsung likes.

  • And we can agree to disagree on color balance,

  • but I just can't get on board

  • with over sharpening and over smoothing

  • that Samsung tends to do.

  • Now, interestingly,

  • sometimes that works in the Note 20's favor.

  • So with night mode,

  • I actually prefer the Note 20's photos

  • to the Pixel 4's photos,

  • because everything just looks a little bit smoother

  • in the dark in a way that feels actually kind of natural.

  • (upbeat music)

  • So usually talk about the cameras is like

  • the most interesting differentiated thing

  • on a high-end smartphone,

  • but with the Note 20, that's not actually the case.

  • The main reason to get a note really is the S pen.

  • And I think that Samsung has done something

  • really special with it this year.

  • Now I am not talking about the waggy air gestures

  • that you can do to control your phone from far away.

  • I'm not talking about the fact that the stylus

  • is finally on the left-hand side of the phone,

  • so lefties get a year where they feel special

  • instead of righties always getting the year.

  • I'm also not talking about the improved latency

  • when you're writing on the screen,

  • although I got to say that really is noticeable,

  • it really does feel really good to write on the screen,

  • nope, I'm talking about something else

  • and can't believe I'm gonna say this,

  • but I am talking about Samsung's Notes app.

  • It might be the best Notes app

  • that you can get on a phone.

  • Yes, I just said that.

  • But look, Samsung's Notes app already did stuff

  • that Apple Notes is just catching up to

  • and Microsoft's OneNote on mobile can't do it all,

  • like let you highlight your handwriting

  • and then copy out the plain text.

  • It also lets you export to docs

  • or like now you can export to PowerPoint.

  • It has really, really good handwriting recognition,

  • even on my terrible handwriting,

  • and God, I love the software

  • that it's keep on coming,

  • it can realign your handwriting

  • so that it looks nicer straight down on a page.

  • It seems dumb but it really does matter

  • when you try to come back to them later.

  • It can natively annotate PDFs finally,

  • but still Samsung also add a folder organization this year

  • if you care about that.

  • It can do the thing where it records audio

  • while you're taking notes,

  • and then later on you can go look over your notes again,

  • tap on the spot where you jot something down

  • and you can hear what the phone recorded.

  • That is great for interviews or for lectures or whatever.

  • I mean at this