Samsung Galaxy Note 20 review
Quick verdict: Samsung's new smaller Note hits the sweet spot of price, camera, battery life and features, making it an excellent premium phone option.
- Great camera
- S-Pen continues to impress
- Matches the S20 Ultra step for step
- Water resistance
- Battery life could be better
- Space Zoom is still a gimmick
- Not quite as nice a display as the S20 Ultra
2400 x 1080px
64MP + 12MP + 12MP
Finder rated as Average vs similar phones
Power, storage and battery
|Launch price (RRP)||$1,649|
Samsung sent through a review model of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 at the same time as its bigger and costlier sibling, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Typically with these kinds of model families, the lower cost model is rife with compromises in an effort to upsell you to the theoretically "better" model.
That's not what's happened with the Galaxy Note 20 in my estimation.
Samsung's smaller Note 20 might seem like a question of compromises, but when you consider the cost saving and weigh up the fact that they run almost identically in terms of raw processing power and camera quality, the Note 20 pretty quickly becomes the best handset of Samsung's current lineup for most users.
Where Note phones over the years have tended to offer just incremental bumps over that year's Galaxy S series phones, the Note 20 really steps it up, delivering Samsung's best phone in years if you're after a premium device. Its battery life isn't right up there with the best of them, and the serious challenge posed by really good mid-range phones is a definite thinking point, but if you want to play in the premium end of the Android smartphone pool, the Galaxy Note 20 is the phone to buy.
- 6.7 Super AMOLED display
- Minimal camera bump
- Fast in-display fingerprint reader
- Three colour choices with silly names
- Where's my 120Hz, Samsung?
- Good all round camera performance
- Space Zoom overstretches its ability
- Single Take is great for quick creative shots
- Low light performance isn't as good as the Note 20 Ultra 5G
- Exynos 990 with 8GB RAM runs well
- S-Pen actions add a high level of productivity
- Air actions remain too fussy to be really useful
- 4,300mAh battery has fair performance
- Fast wired and wireless charging
- Wireless powershare remains a gimmick
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 20?
- Buy it if you want the best value Samsung flagship right now.
- Don't buy it if you want the largest Note phone on the market.
I honestly went into the review process for the Galaxy Note 20 expecting it to run a distant second to the Note 20 Ultra. On a pure specifications level, that's the picture you'd assume, but the reality of using the Note 20 rather flipped that expectation on its head. The Note 20 is an easier phone to carry around with essentially identical application performance, arguably better battery performance and, of course a much lower price point to hit your wallet with.
Really, that's the bigger challenge to the Note 20 at this point in time, because there's so many very good mid-range phones out there nipping at its heels.
Pricing and availability
PriceRRP: From $1,499
Where to buy
The 4G-only variant of the Galaxy Note 20 sells in Australia in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Green or Mystic Grey finishes with 256GB of onboard storage for $1,499 outright, while the 5G model ships with 256GB of onboard storage for $1,649 outright.
Australian carriers are at this time only ranging the 5G model of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, with plan pricing below:
Power, storage and battery
Images: Alex Kidman
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