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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: A guide to everything you need to know

The two newest Samsung flagship 5G smartphones are designed for video conferencing, gaming and document creation.

Samsung Unpacked: What the Note 20 and other new devices mean for business

The Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra are the newest smartphones from Samsung. Both devices were announced at the first ever all-digital Galaxy Unpacked 2020 on August 5. 

Mobile data usage has grown during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as how people live and working from home offices is likely to become the permanent norm for many people. The phones are designed with that in mind so that people can use their devices for both work and play, said Drew Blackard, vice president of product management at Samsung Electronics America, in a press briefing. 

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2020: Galaxy Z Fold2, Samsung Galaxy S20, and more (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

"In the US alone, in-home mobile data usage has grown by nearly 50% since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Nearly a third of consumers are reporting that they're texting, chatting and messaging more in the wake of COVID-19. And more than a quarter of professionals have said that they either started using video conferencing or are using it more often," Blackard said.

This guide will give you all of the key details about both the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and will be updated as new information is available.

SEE: Photos: A first look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (TechRepublic)

What are the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra?

The Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra are the two latest flagship phones from Samsung. The 5G phones are the 10th generation of the stylus line of Galaxy smartphones and replace the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+, which were announced in August 2019. There was no Galaxy Note 6, which is why the Note 20 is only the tenth generation. The Note 20's predecessors include the Galaxy Note 9 and the Galaxy Note 8

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Note 20/Note 20 Ultra: Top 5 features for business pros (TechRepublic)

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra are 5G phones with extra-large displays; the Note 20 is 6.7 inches, and the Note 20 Ultra is 6.9 inches. The battery size is 4,300mAh for the Note 20, which matches the size in the Note 10+ last year, and 4,500mAh for the Note 20 Ultra, which is the largest battery yet in a Samsung phone. The Note 20 will give a 50% charge in 30 minutes. 

The phones have ultra-wideband (UWB) technology with directional and spatial awareness. Files can be shared by pointing the smartphone at another UWB device.

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra: A guide to everything you need to know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

What features are new on the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra?

The S Pen, which is the stylus that comes with the phone, works in conjunction with a new productivity tool called Samsung Notes Live Sync. Voice Note Replay allows the user to attach and time sync voice recordings by simply tapping on a word on the notes that they took down at the same time the recording was made. 

The user can import a PDF into Samsung Notes to directly annotate or highlight it. The files can be marked up directly on the phone and then exported back into PowerPoint to be edited on a PC. 

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+: 5 essential features for business users (TechRepublic)

Handwriting recognition has been improved through advanced artificial intelligence. Deep learning technology can create a database of the user's handwriting, and Samsung Notes can turn the user's writing into tidy penmanship. 

There's also a new feature for saving and organizing notes with a PC-like folder structure so it's easier to keep track of them. 

There's a new suite of integrations with enhancements to Link to Windows that gives access to the mobile apps screen mirrored directly to the user's PC; this means the user doesn't have to hunt for their phone to take care of quick tasks or notifications. Later in 2020, Link to Windows will support up to six apps at the same time so there will be an option to work across devices in real time with no need to switch back and forth. There will also be an enhancement for dragging and dropping to make moving files between devices easier. 

What is new about the S Pen?

The S Pen is being used for more than writing--it's also for navigating. With the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, there is a 40% latency improvement over the Note 10, and with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, there is an 80% improvement. It is down to 9 milliseconds, aiming for a low latency that graphic artists and architects will appreciate. 

Air Actions still exist with the S Pen, so that users can remotely control their smartphone with the stylus. The control options are expanding to include five more gestures. 

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Watch3: Everything you need to know (TechRepublic)

What are the storage and memory capabilities of the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra?

Samsung's Galaxy Note 20 has 8 GB RAM with 128 GB of internal storage. The Samsung Note 20 Ultra has 12 GB RAM with either 128 GB of internal storage or 512 GB of internal storage with up to 512 GB of external storage available through a microSD. 

The Note 9 had a microsSD card slot, but it was dropped on the Note 10 and only included on the larger Note 10+. That trend continues this year, with the microSD only available on the Note 20 Ultra. 

What kind of display and screen do the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra have?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 has a 25% higher peak brightness than the Note 10. The Samsung Note 20 Ultra has a 120 hertz refresh rate, plus an adaptive refresh rate. The Note 20 has a 6.7-inch display, and the Ultra has a 6.9-inch display. 

What should gamers know about the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra?

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Watch3: 7 top health and fitness features (TechRepublic)

There is a library of more than 100 Xbox games that you can stream from the cloud through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. This includes Minecraft Dungeons, Forza Horizon Four and Gears of War Five Ultimate Edition. 

There are on-device optimizations for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so gamers will be able to level up their gaming experience with a Bluetooth controller for an immersive console-like gaming experience. 

How has DeX changed?

Samsung DeX is still an important component of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. When it first launched, it took a dedicated accessory to use DeX. Then only a small dongle was needed or the provided power cable. Now DeX connects wirelessly. 

DeX can be used on any smart TV that supports mirror cast. This includes any Samsung smart TV from 2019 onward. 

Has the camera been upgraded on the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra?

The Note 20 features an updated pro video mode that allows the user to capture 8K videos at 24 frames per second, with a 21 x 9 aspect ratio. There's also a new camera sensor on the Note 20 Ultra that has a super fast laser auto focus. There's a 50x zoom on the Note 20 Ultra and a 30x zoom on the Note 20. 

What are the color options for the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 comes in Mystic Gray, Mystic Green and Mystic Bronze. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black and Mystic White. There is a textured haze effect that is intended to cut down on fingerprints and smudges. 

Where and when can I buy the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra?

Both devices will be available to purchase on August 21. Pre-orders on Samsung.com begin on August 6 at 12:01 AM ET. Anyone who pre-orders the Note 20 between Aug. 6-20 on Samsung.com will receive $100 in Samsung credit, and anyone who pre-orders the Note 20 Ultra on Samsung.com will receive $150 in Samsung credit. Samsung credit can be redeemed at Samsung.com or on the Shop Samsung app. 

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and S7 Plus cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

Anyone who pre-orders can use their Samsung credit towards the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Bundle. The bundle includes a Bluetooth gaming controller optimized for playing Xbox games from the cloud (beta) on the Galaxy Note 20 series and 3 months of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service, starting September 15.

Starting Aug. 6, AT&T customers can visit att.com/galaxynote20ultra5g to pre-order any device from the Galaxy Note 20 5G series, with availability in-store and online beginning August 21. For a limited time, new and existing AT&T customers that trade in an eligible smartphone can get a $1,000 credit toward the Note 20 when they buy it on a 30-month installment plan with an AT&T unlimited plan.

What are the specifications of the Galaxy Note 20?

Screen: 6.7" FHD+ (Flat) 60Hz

Rear Camera: 12MP, 64MP, 12MP; 3x Op, 30x Di

Front Camera: 10MP

Battery: 4,300mAh

Storage/RAM: 128 GB/8 GB

Processor: Snapdragon 865+

5G Networks: Sub6/mmWave

Color: Mystic Bronze, Mystic Gray, Mystic Green

Other: S Pen 26ms, IP68, Stereo SPK

Cost: Starting at $999.99

What are the specifications of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra?

Screen: 6.9" WQHD+ (Edge) 120Hz

Rear Camera: 12MP, 108MP, 12MP; 5x Op, 50x Di

Front Camera: 10MP

Battery: 4,500mAh

Storage/RAM: 128 GB and 512 GB/12 GB

Processor: Snapdragon 865+

5G Networks: Sub6/mmWave

Color: Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, Mystic Black

Other: Auto Refresh Rate, SD Card, UWB, S Pen 9ms, IP68, Stereo SPK

Cost: Starting at $1,299.99

galaxy-note20-ultra-assorted-group.jpg

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Image: Samsung
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The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (above left) and the Galaxy Note 20 (above right).

Image: Samsung