The Galaxy note 20 is infused with just enough Samsung pedigree to be worth consideration but was initially dragged down by a laundry danh mục of compromises & an indefensibly high price tag. Now regularly found for less than $700, it"s a far more palatable offering for those that want a stylus-toting flagship on a budget, though it"s a far cry from Samsung"s best.

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Samsung’s premium điện thoại thông minh strategy is in flux. Between its ever-expanding foldable phone portfolio & obscenely spec’d devices under the “Ultra” branding, it’s easy khổng lồ forget about the Galaxy chú ý family & in particular 2020’s standard cảnh báo model — the Galaxy lưu ý 20.

2019 marked the first year where Samsung offered two cảnh báo series phones at the same time. Rather than settle into a pattern, the South Korean giant switched things up again in 2020. The cảnh báo 20 Ultra — a monstrous phone with a monstrous price tag — usurped the short-lived cảnh báo “Plus” line. But where does that leave the non-Ultra model, the Galaxy note 20, especially after Samsung skipped the cảnh báo line entirely in 2021?

The Galaxy chú ý 10 changed the identity of the vanilla note lineage, offering what some considered lớn be a watered-down take on the chú ý formula. However, if the lưu ý 10 was a confusing smartphone, the Galaxy chú ý 20 remains an outright confounding one.

About this Samsung Galaxy note 20 review: We tested a UK version of the Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 20 (Exynos-equipped) over a period of two weeks. It was running game android 10 with Samsung"s One UI 2.5. It received one minor software update during this time containing the September security patch & minor bug fixes. Samsung did not supply a reviews unit. Android Authority purchased the Galaxy chú ý 20 for this review.

Update, November 2021:Added new information on the app android 12 update, the reduced Galaxy cảnh báo 20 price, and new alternatives.


Gorilla Glass 5 (front), plastic (rear)IP68 certified161.6 x 75.2 x 8.3mm192gFace on, the Galaxy cảnh báo 20 looks unmistakably lượt thích a Galaxy lưu ý phone. Instead of continuing the note 10’s shrunken take on Samsung’s phablet formula, the cảnh báo 20 is a big boi.

See also: Samsung Galaxy chú ý series — A history of innovation

It also sports the note series’ rectangular-style and, of course, a pop-out S Pen stylus. The front glass melds effortlessly into the metal frame, the hardware buttons — a standard power nguồn key & volume rocker — are firm yet tactile, & every time you remove or dock the S Pen there’s a subtle vibration which is a nice reminder of the phone’s perfectly measured haptics.

The Galaxy lưu ý 20 oozes the kind of finesse và delicate attention to detail that you’d expect from the world’s most successful smartphone maker. & then you turn the phone around…


Rather than the ubiquitous glass sandwich build, the cảnh báo 20 opts for a rear casing with a brushed-like feel that Samsung calls “glasstic.” We’ve seen this material on a handful of mid-tier Galaxy A series phones. It looks like plastic và it feels like plastic. If you tap it, it sounds like plastic & if you press on it, it compresses lượt thích plastic. Why? Because it is plastic.

Samsung can dress it up through fancy marketing, but there’s no way khổng lồ obfuscate the fact that this is a $1,000 phone that’s almost 1/2 plastic on the outside. That’s not to say there aren’t some advantages lớn plastic over glass. Plastic doesn’t attract a smorgasbord of smudges and fingerprint smears. Scratches are more common, but nowhere near as problematic as cracked glass. It also means the lưu ý 20 is fairly light — just 192g compared to the lưu ý 20 Ultra’s 208g.

The front glass also gets a downgrade from the Gorilla Glass Victus found on the lưu ý 20 Ultra. Instead, the vanilla mã sản phẩm uses Gorilla Glass 5 khổng lồ cover the display. That’s the kind of trade-off some may be prepared to lớn make for a $300 price reduction. But when every other part of the lưu ý 20’s kiến thiết screams premium và you’re trading blows with other immaculate $1,000 devices, the unsatisfying feeling of plastic on your palm — itself exacerbated by the faux-frosted texture — acts as a constant reminder that Samsung cut a huge corner that’s very hard lớn justify on a flagship phone.

Sadly, the head-scratching design decisions don’t stop there. Like the Galaxy lưu ý 10 before it, the Galaxy cảnh báo 20 doesn’t offer expandable storage. However, what’s more puzzling is a seemingly innocuous change from the note 10 series. The S Pen and bottom-firing speaker are now on the left side of the base of the phone.


The S Pen placement is fine, the speaker location is not. When playing a game or watching a movie my palm always covered the grille. You can still hear what’s going on because there’s a top speaker in the earpiece, but you can kiss stereo audio goodbye. The speakers themselves offer limited depth & bass, but are clear and can get quite loud without distorting.

Related: The best Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 20 cases you can get

The Galaxy chú ý 20 is by no means a poorly designed phone. In fact, it’s arguably better than the chú ý 20 Ultra from a pure ergonomics standpoint, as that almighty camera bump isn’t anywhere near as chunky. Yet while the quality standards are broadly excellent, that plastic back represents a trend that defines the note 20 — not quite premium for a premium price.


6.7-inch Super AMOLED Infinity-OFull HD+HDR 10+20:9 aspect ratioSamsung has an incredible pedigree for điện thoại displays and that màn chơi of chất lượng is maintained for the Galaxy note 20’s 6.7-inch AMOLED panel. Mostly.

Peak brightness hit a respectable 640 nits in our testing. This tallied with my experience of solid outdoor visibility, but I found it lacking in direct bright sunlight. The display trends towards warmer temperatures and colors pop with that quintessential high contrast look you find in a top-end Samsung phone. There are also options lớn adjust RGB or the white balance to lớn your liking in addition khổng lồ a xanh filter, adaptive brightness, and plenty more toggles and tweaks in the Settings menu.

See also: The best Samsung Galaxy chú ý 20 skins lớn buy

The overall caliber is impeccable then, but sadly there are compromises here too. The least impactful concession is the 1080p maximum resolution. It’d be fair khổng lồ expect Quad HD in this price bracket, but even on a display this size it’s hard khổng lồ tell the difference unless you actively look for one.

In fact, if you’re really into tech và you’re using a modern Samsung flagship you’ve probably phối your phone khổng lồ 1080p lớn take advantage of the higher refresh rate — and there’s the rub. The Galaxy note 20 is a 60Hz panel. For a phone ostensibly designed for power nguồn users, this is a shocking omission that makes navigation on the note 20 feel sluggish. Other Samsung phones ask for a trade-off: lower resolution for a faster refresh rate, up lớn as much as 120Hz. The lưu ý 20 is the worst of both worlds.

This is especially frustrating as the cảnh báo 20’s display has a few points in its favor over the lưu ý 20 Ultra. The screen is flat, which should delight curved display haters. I didn’t experience any accidental touches and the phone retains features like the handy Edge Panel despite the lack of curvature. Plus, what bezels there are remain razor-thin, though the punch-hole cutout is oddly a little larger on the cảnh báo 20 compared to the lưu ý 20 Ultra. Otherwise, the front-facing camera is identical, so I’m not sure what the reason is for this.

There’s also an in-display fingerprint reader of the ultrasonic variety. It’s quite slow, taking 1-2 seconds to lớn register my fingerprint, though generally this comes at the benefit of greater accuracy compared khổng lồ an optical reader. I definitely found this khổng lồ be the case. The lưu ý 20 almost always unlocked first time.

Overall, the cảnh báo 20 has a big & beautiful screen that is only undermined by its refresh rate. 60Hz/Full HD on a modern flagship phone? That’s poor form.


Samsung Exynos 990Mali-G77 MP11 GPU8GB RAM128/256GB storageFolks buying the Galaxy cảnh báo 20 over in the US get their hands on the model powered by Qualcomm’s 2020 flagship silicon — the gaming-optimized Snapdragon 865 Plus with its 3HGz-barrier-breaking prime core. In Europe and Asia, however, the entire Galaxy note 20 series features Samsung’s own Exynos 990 chipset. This is the same processor that powered the Galaxy S20 family outside of North America.

Based on raw specs alone the divide between Snapdragon and Exynos should be getting much worse, but the benchmarks tell a slightly different story.

Based on an average across multiple runs, the Exynos Galaxy cảnh báo 20 completed our Speed thử nghiệm G demo in one minute & 52 seconds. Unsurprisingly this comes out slower than the Snapdragon note 20 Ultra tests we performed which averaged out at one minute & 32 seconds in 60Hz mode và one minute and 34 seconds in 120Hz mode.

The good news is that Samsung has clearly made some tweaks behind the scenes following the backlash over the performance disparity between the two Galaxy S20 models. Instead of a 30-second gap in Speed thử nghiệm G scores between Galaxy S20 variants, the Exynos chú ý 20 managed to lớn cut that time to đôi mươi seconds. That’s small progress but progress all the same.

Performance in the standard array of benchmarks was also respectable but not world-beating. The most notable result is the 3DMark score which exposes the weakness of the Exynos 990’s Mali GPU compared to lớn Qualcomm’s superior Adreno GPUs.

This all tallies with real-world use. While the Exynos note 20 is technically underpowered, it never exhibited any lag or slowed down when I was zipping around menus or multitasking. Navigating around the phone can feel slow due to the 60Hz refresh rate, but the CPU proved to lớn be a perfectly capable performer. It also ran every app android game I could think of, though it struggled lớn hit consistent frame rates when emulating GameCube games in Dolphin.

Read more: Samsung Exynos processor guide

The bigger worry was heat. The Galaxy note 20 gets hot very quickly, especially when playing games. It never became too hot to the point where you couldn’t hold the phone, but it wasn’t comfortable either. This echoed our experience with the Snapdragon lưu ý 20 Ultra, so it’s not an Exynos issue. There’s already been some confusion over Samsung’s different cooling systems, but the heat concerns across two variants suggest there’s more lớn the story.

Elsewhere, the note 20 comes with 8GB of RAM as standard & 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage. This is actually one area where the Exynos version wins out in the specs race, as the base Snapdragon note 20 model only has 128GB storage. The lack of a microSD thẻ slot will really sting for those buying the latter.

4,300mAh battery25W wired USB power Delivery15W wireless charging4.5W reverse chargingThere was a time when the note series was renowned for industry-leading battery life. Those days are long gone.

In my time with the Galaxy cảnh báo 20, I was regularly hitting the over of the day with ~25% left in the tank và an average of 6-7 hours screen on time. This was based on relatively standard usage. Some Twitter here, a quick ten-minute PUBG sản phẩm điện thoại game there, plus checking emails, Slack, & other daily tasks for work & play. I’d gọi the results solid, but unspectacular.

Under stress, the Galaxy chú ý 20 begins to falter. Our Rocky test, which repeatedly runs Speed kiểm tra G until on a loop, managed lớn take the phone from a full charge to zero in three hours & 22 minutes. This is well below the đứng đầu battery performersand it’d be fair khổng lồ expect more from a phone with a 60Hz, 1080p display, và a reasonably-sized 4,300mAh cell.

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Power management on Exynos SoCs is notorious for being sub-par, so this may explain the average results considering the specs. On a positive note, there are plenty of power management options available, including Samsung’s own adaptive power-saving mode in addition to game android 10’s phầm mềm management feature.

As for charging the phone, the Galaxy lưu ý 20 averaged out at ~70 minutes to lớn hit maximum charge from flat when using the 25W USB power Delivery brick that ships with the phone. It also supports 15W wireless charging & Samsung’s 4.5W Wireless PowerShare technology for reverse charging accessories. These aren’t the fastest speeds in the market by any means, but it at least offers parity with the note 20 Ultra.

12MP OIS wide-angle Dual px PDAF (ƒ/1.8, 1.8μm)64MP OIS telephoto PDAF (ƒ/2.0, 0.8μm, hybrid optical 3x zoom)12MP ultra-wide (ƒ/2.2, 1.4μm, 120 degree FOV)
Samsung typically reserves its best camera tech for the Galaxy S series and that remains true for the Galaxy chú ý 20. Nevertheless, the cảnh báo 20 is no slouch in the photography stakes and, in the right conditions, can deliver spectacular results.

The Galaxy chú ý 20 features a triple camera on the rear with a 12MP main sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, và a 64MP telephoto camera that supports up khổng lồ 3x hybrid optical zoom. If you’re familiar with the chú ý 20 Ultra then the drop from Samsung’s top-tier 108MP primary shooter to lớn a modest 12MP camera will be the big takeaway.

In daylight, the Galaxy lưu ý 20 produces the kind of crunchy, contrast-heavy images Samsung phone cameras are known for. Do you lượt thích your snaps to lớn look Instagram-ready? Then you’ll love the saturated look of images taken with the cảnh báo 20’s main camera. This works especially well outdoors where xanh skies & green fields threaten to burst out of the frame.

The auto HDR does a lot of heavy lifting in landscape scenes, white balance is fairly consistent throughout, và the dynamic range is solid, though detail falls off a little if you crop in. The lưu ý 20 lacks the laser autofocus found on the note 20 Ultra, but the Dual px phase detection does the job just fine.

The praise continues for low light performance. The dedicated Night mode takes a while lớn process images but is capable of transforming dimly lit shots into almost daylight-like photos. The shots of the mèo statue above were taken at 8PM as the evening drew in with light coming from a nearby window. Even the regular shooting mode retains plenty of detail và manages to lớn keep noise lớn a minimum.

The telephoto lens may be underwhelming if you’ve been reading the marketing for the ridiculous 50x/100x Space Zoom of Samsung’s recent Ultra phones. Technically, the cảnh báo 20 can reach up to lớn 30x digital, though images turned to lớn pure mush at anything beyond 10x zoom. For truly usable results, the 3x hybrid optical mode is perfectly fine.

The ultra-wide camera mirrors the main shooter very well. While there is a loss in detail, you still get the same overly-saturated, dynamic results, only this time with a much wider 120-degree field-of-view. I really enjoyed using the cảnh báo 20’s ultra-wide sensor.

The 10MP selfie camera dials down the contrast & has some clear smoothing going on in post-processing, but generally, the unique is decent. Portrait mode — or Live Focus, as Samsung calls it — zooms in slightly for both selfies and regular shots, though you can change that with a quick tap. Edge detection was good-to-great in all cases and there are plenty of additional filters and effects for selfie-holics.

As for the camera app, Samsung strikes a reasonable balance between ease-of-use & offering a variety of modes to keep your photography experience fresh. The Pro mode is there for tinkerers and there’s an AR Zone for those that want khổng lồ decorate shots with emojis & the like. My only gripe is the prime spot for Single Take in the carousel. The gimmicky mode captures 10 seconds of đoạn clip and produces various different images & clips. It’s fun, but not particularly useful. It really should’ve been replaced with Night mode in the vi xử lý core camera UI.

Related: The best apk camera phones you can buy

Samsung’s big draw for đoạn phim is 8K (or so the endless YouTube ads have told me) which you can capture at 24fps in the 16:9 aspect ratio. You’ll probably want to lớn stick to 4K at 60fps unless you want khổng lồ annihilate your storage, or 4K 30fps khổng lồ take advantage of the reliable tracking autofocus. Video captured on the chú ý 20 looks very crisp.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 20 camera delivers the goods. It might not boast the mouth-watering specs of Samsung’s Ultra devices, but it proves yet again that numbers aren’t everything for sản phẩm điện thoại photography. You can kiểm tra out full resolution sample images in a Drive thư mục here.

Software: One of a kind

Android 10, update to apk 12 coming soonOne UI 2.5, update khổng lồ One UI 4 beta availableThree years of updates/patches

The Galaxy note 20 launched with android 10 out of the box and Samsung’s custom One UI skin on top. The latter is instantly recognizable and among the more unique skins available.

Like the cảnh báo itself, everything is big, bold, and quintessentially Samsung. ứng dụng icons are huge by default, while the notification bar và quick settings engulf the screen. The Settings menu isn’t afraid lớn fill the display with white space (or black space if you have dark theme on) either. This is intended lớn make one-handed use easier & works really well for the Galaxy S series. I wasn’t quite as taken with this approach for the chú ý 20. This is a phablet with a built-in stylus. It’s meant khổng lồ be used two-handed! It would’ve been nice khổng lồ see some specific tweaks khổng lồ the UI specifically for the Note’s many use cases.

Samsung is also fairly heavy-handed in pushing its own ecosystem with its own apps và services. If that’s not your thing, you can replace almost all of this with Google apps if you wish. Extra features lượt thích the swipe-up Samsung Pay card & the Samsung Daily feed can also be deactivated. That’s not true for Bixby, but Samsung’s oft-maligned assistant keeps to itself these days unless you go out of your way to lớn use it. Plus, Bixby Routines are actually kind of useful. Give Bixby some love, it needs it.

Read more: Here’s everything new in Samsung One UI 4.0

Samsung’s growing relationship with Microsoft is also evident when using the chú ý 20, though once again you’re not forced into anything. This manifests as a links to Windows option in the Settings and is basically the Your Phone tiện ích but directly integrated into the device. If activated, the feature lets you mô tả SMS messages & photos with a PC or máy vi tính and see notifications on your desktop. You can also mirror your entire phone screen so long as you’re on the same Wi-Fi connection on both devices. While it’s nowhere near on the same level of integration as Continuity for iPhones và Macs, it’s a neat optional bonus for Windows users.

Not a Windows user but still want a PC experience? You’re in luck because DeX is back and this time it’s gone wireless… sort of. The desktop-style interface is now compatible with TVs that tư vấn Android screen mirroring. If that sounds lượt thích vague criteria, that’s because it is. Samsung recommends a 2019 or later Samsung TV (because of course it does) & sadly I don’t have one of those to kiểm tra it out. It still works just fine via USB-C-to-HDMI on PCs/Macs if you have a suitable cable though.

So far, Samsung has brought apk 11 and the One UI 3.1 skin khổng lồ its Galaxy chú ý 20, with further updates on the way. The One UI 4 beta was recently launched, which means that you can kiểm tra out some of the new customization features on your phablet already. A stable launch is expected in January 2022.

Before we move on from software, it’d be remiss of me khổng lồ not mention Samsung’s welcome promise of three years of app android upgrades & four years of security patches. That means the chú ý 20 should be supported all the way through to game android 13 and a further year for security updates. Good stuff, Samsung.

105.08 x 5.8 x 4.35mm3.04gBluetooth enabled26ms latencyYou can’t talk about a Galaxy cảnh báo phone và not discuss the S Pen. The note series’ iconic stylus doesn’t get as much love for the lưu ý 20 compared khổng lồ its Ultra compatriot. Instead of the latter’s frankly crazy 9ms of latency, the vanilla note 20 is rated at 26ms. That’s still barely shy of the apple Pencil and Surface Pen & a big improvement over the lưu ý 10 series’ 45ms. In practice, the S Pen felt extremely responsive.

Read more: The evolution of the Samsung Galaxy chú ý S Pen

The S Pen feature mix has also been expanded. There are new Air Actions for taking screenshots, launching the camera, and generally navigating around the phone. I used them once to thử nghiệm them out and promptly forgot all the commands.

Samsung Notes received some love too. I especially liked the new folder paths as you can now organize your scribbles into sub-folders rather than dump them all in one place. You can also sync them across other Samsung devices.

NA: 128GB or 512GB internalmicroSD card support up khổng lồ 2TBGlobal: 256GB or 512GB internalmicroSD card tư vấn up to 2TBRAM
Rear:12MP 2PD OIS wide-angle (ƒ/1.8, 1.8μm)64MP telephoto (ƒ/2.0, 0.8μm, hybrid 3x zoom)12MP ultra-wide (ƒ/2.2, 1.4μm)Front:10MP 2PD AF (ƒ/2.2, 1.22μm)
Rear:108MP PD OIS wide-angle (ƒ/1.8, 0.8μm)12MP telephoto (ƒ/3.0, 1.0μm, optical 5x zoom)12MP ultra-wide (ƒ/2.2, 1.4μm)Laser AFFront:10MP 2PD AF (ƒ/2.2, 1.22μm)Video
Samsung Galaxy note 20 (4G only, Exynos): 8GB/256GB — £849/€959Samsung Galaxy note 20 5G (Snapdragon): 8GB/128GB — $999Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 20 5G (Exynos): 8GB/256GB — £949/€1,059Let’s not sugarcoat things: the Galaxy chú ý 20 was overpriced at launch.

The Galaxy lưu ý 20 5G started at $999 in the US, £949 in the UK, and €1,059 across Europe. Considering all of the downgrades from the Galaxy lưu ý 20 Ultra and the laundry menu of absent flagship-tier features, those prices remain extremely hard khổng lồ stomach.

The model I tested was the 4G-only model, which is only available in select markets, not including North America. This variant went for £849/€959, which is slightly more palatable if you’re not interested in future-proofing your phone with 5G data speeds. I’m not sure you should have to force yourself lớn make that additional compromise, but it’s there for those that can buy it.

Now, the note 20 has had the benefit of a pretty solid price cut wherever you can still find it on sale. It’s dropped by about $300, down khổng lồ $699. This puts it in line with more affordable flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S21 or the Google px 6 in terms of cost. While the note 20 is working with slightly older hardware, Samsung’s update policy makes it a relevant option for the future, especially if you really want S Pen functionality on the cheap.

However, Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series is better than ever. All three devices have dropped in price significantly và the Galaxy S21 Ultra now supports the S Pen (albeit without a dock — you need a case for that).

Read more: These are the best Galaxy cảnh báo 20 alternatives

Look further afield and the competition gets even hotter. The OnePlus 9 Pro is a true killer flagship with the latest internals and a Hasselblad-tuned camera, though it now has a price tag lớn match. Big phone fans may also be tempted by the LG V60, another chú ý 20 rival on a budget.

The standard Galaxy lưu ý 20 has some trade-offs lớn hit a lower price point, but it should still satisfy many chú ý users.