Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra thread

Commander Shepard

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After a full day with my Note, I'm pretty happy with the battery life. 60% left after moderate use. I'm not very pleased with the in-screen fingerprint scanner, though. It's slow and usually requires a 2nd or even 3rd try before unlocking the phone. I'd say it's on par with the OnePlus 8 Pro I tried a couple months ago.
 
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I received my Note 20 Ultra 512 GB and accessories yesterday, so I've been spending a fair bit of time just adjusting to it.
  • That screen is smooth. Seriously, I have a 120 Hz monitor for my desktop, but I didn't think I'd appreciate it this much on a phone! My old Note 8 looks a bit choppy when scrolling around now. Too bad I have to run at 1080p instead of the native 1440p to keep the high refresh rate.
  • I don't like hole punches in the screen, but I only let this one slide because I know that even if you cropped above the bottom of the hole punch, the remaining screen area is still larger than the Note 8 and 9.
  • The Galaxy Buds Live are fairly comfortable, fit a bit better in my ears with the large rubber wing inserts (it's worth swapping them if the fit is a bit loose, as fitment drastically affects sound quality), and sound pretty decent, but even with game mode on, I find the latency unacceptable for gaming and promptly get pissed at Samsung for caving in to the "no headphone jack" trend back with the Note 10. It's an unnecessary compromise on a "no compromises" product line, much like how the Note 5 got rid of removable batteries, the microSD slot, MHL video output over microUSB, and the IR blaster for the sake of form over function.
  • Wireless DeX is neat, but again, the latency is painfully noticeable. To be fair, I didn't exactly have a 2019 or newer Samsung smart TV to test it on, but it just goes to show you that wired is better if you have the choice. USB-C to HDMI dongles worked great with my Note 8, I'd expect no less of the Note 20 Ultra.
  • Migrating over from my Note 8 with Smart Switch led to learning that alarm and notification sounds don't necessarily carry over if you use the stock ones, because Samsung tends to just change those on you with each new device.
  • It also still kept the soft buttons as defaults for the nav bar, rather than my slide-up-from-the-bottom gestures, and I learned the hard way that there's two kinds of gesture control, the first of which is not what was on the Note 8 and has the annoying habit of bringing up Google Assistant when you don't want it (I don't even use it) alongside rendering you unable to use third-party launchers because of Google's imposed API limitations with Android 10. It left me pretty pissed at the prospect of being unable to feasibly use Nova Launcher for a bit until realizing that the old gesture nav setup still allowed it to work.
  • That camera bump on the back is hideously thick, and the entire phone should've been thickened to make the cameras flush while allowing more room for much bigger batteries. Big bumps that keep the phone from laying flat, especially as you're trying to write and draw on it, are straight-up bad design, regardless if it's Samsung, Apple or anyone else that does it.
  • Speaking of the camera, I haven't had much time to test it, but 5x optical zoom is a welcome upgrade over the meager 2x zoom camera on the Note 8. However, you start noticeably losing fine details at 20x, and 50x is a marketing bullet point at best.
  • The Wacom EMR-based S Pen feels delightfully responsive, not much to say there, though I didn't notice any lag on the Note 8 before it to begin with.
  • Fingerprint scanner seems okay in my experience, though I'm not gonna like how most screen protectors outright prevent it from working. At any rate, it's better to have it on the front than the back. (Also, Samsung really should've kept the iris scanner from the Note 7, 8 and 9...)
It's still too early for me to pass any decisive verdicts, but one thing's for sure: I'm gonna have to find a USB-C DAC (with an ADC for the mic input) to use my old 3.5mm TRRS headsets. Being forced to put up with latency is something I have zero tolerance for on a $1,450 smartphone.
 

jhego

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You misread. I said, the return envelope that AT&T provides for you to trade in the device. You get it 7 days later or so after activating the device. Do not use the envelope/box that was used to send you the Note 20. That is for returning the Note 20 only if you decide not to keep it. Also, I and I know many did not need to enter any code to get the $1k trade in value on AT&T site. Just select the 1k trade in package, and what line you upgrad, and model of new note 20, and you are done.

oh got it. So yea they sent an email saying they're sending an envelope to trade in the device, but i already have the padded envelope when i signed up for the trade in too, so yea.......
 

Grimlakin

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I received my Note 20 Ultra 512 GB and accessories yesterday, so I've been spending a fair bit of time just adjusting to it.
  • That screen is smooth. Seriously, I have a 120 Hz monitor for my desktop, but I didn't think I'd appreciate it this much on a phone! My old Note 8 looks a bit choppy when scrolling around now. Too bad I have to run at 1080p instead of the native 1440p to keep the high refresh rate.
  • I don't like hole punches in the screen, but I only let this one slide because I know that even if you cropped above the bottom of the hole punch, the remaining screen area is still larger than the Note 8 and 9.
  • The Galaxy Buds Live are fairly comfortable, fit a bit better in my ears with the large rubber wing inserts (it's worth swapping them if the fit is a bit loose, as fitment drastically affects sound quality), and sound pretty decent, but even with game mode on, I find the latency unacceptable for gaming and promptly get pissed at Samsung for caving in to the "no headphone jack" trend back with the Note 10. It's an unnecessary compromise on a "no compromises" product line, much like how the Note 5 got rid of removable batteries, the microSD slot, MHL video output over microUSB, and the IR blaster for the sake of form over function.
  • Wireless DeX is neat, but again, the latency is painfully noticeable. To be fair, I didn't exactly have a 2019 or newer Samsung smart TV to test it on, but it just goes to show you that wired is better if you have the choice. USB-C to HDMI dongles worked great with my Note 8, I'd expect no less of the Note 20 Ultra.
  • Migrating over from my Note 8 with Smart Switch led to learning that alarm and notification sounds don't necessarily carry over if you use the stock ones, because Samsung tends to just change those on you with each new device.
  • It also still kept the soft buttons as defaults for the nav bar, rather than my slide-up-from-the-bottom gestures, and I learned the hard way that there's two kinds of gesture control, the first of which is not what was on the Note 8 and has the annoying habit of bringing up Google Assistant when you don't want it (I don't even use it) alongside rendering you unable to use third-party launchers because of Google's imposed API limitations with Android 10. It left me pretty pissed at the prospect of being unable to feasibly use Nova Launcher for a bit until realizing that the old gesture nav setup still allowed it to work.
  • That camera bump on the back is hideously thick, and the entire phone should've been thickened to make the cameras flush while allowing more room for much bigger batteries. Big bumps that keep the phone from laying flat, especially as you're trying to write and draw on it, are straight-up bad design, regardless if it's Samsung, Apple or anyone else that does it.
  • Speaking of the camera, I haven't had much time to test it, but 5x optical zoom is a welcome upgrade over the meager 2x zoom camera on the Note 8. However, you start noticeably losing fine details at 20x, and 50x is a marketing bullet point at best.
  • The Wacom EMR-based S Pen feels delightfully responsive, not much to say there, though I didn't notice any lag on the Note 8 before it to begin with.
  • Fingerprint scanner seems okay in my experience, though I'm not gonna like how most screen protectors outright prevent it from working. At any rate, it's better to have it on the front than the back. (Also, Samsung really should've kept the iris scanner from the Note 7, 8 and 9...)
It's still too early for me to pass any decisive verdicts, but one thing's for sure: I'm gonna have to find a USB-C DAC (with an ADC for the mic input) to use my old 3.5mm TRRS headsets. Being forced to put up with latency is something I have zero tolerance for on a $1,450 smartphone.


Couple notes you're running at 1440p ultra HD for the 120hz variable refresh rate. At least I am on mine. Maybe for 120hz all the time it's 1080p? I've seen that mis stated in some reviews as well.

I'm loving mine. I got the 512 gig option as well because.. hell yea that's why.

Did you submit for the 150 samsung store credit? Don't forget to do that after the purchase!

I came from a note 8 as well and it is a noticeable upgrade in every way. I noticed that wit these massive overbox cases the phones are the same size but the screen realestate is much more present.

Also I HIGHLY recommend you download and use the app from the Samsung store "Good Lock" It lets you further customize your interface a LOT and is a HUGE improvment.

Further for some extra snappyness if you want it... unlock the developer function and you can set your transition speeds to 0.5x the time instead of 1.0x. It's a good improvement and does a lot to make the device feel lightening quick!
 

Grimlakin

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After a full day with my Note, I'm pretty happy with the battery life. 60% left after moderate use. I'm not very pleased with the in-screen fingerprint scanner, though. It's slow and usually requires a 2nd or even 3rd try before unlocking the phone. I'd say it's on par with the OnePlus 8 Pro I tried a couple months ago.

Do another scan of each main finger you want to use. I've done that and only had like 1 miss so far after 2 days of use. Like I did a full fingerprint scan of both of my thumbs twice to up the accuracy. It works!
 
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Have a 50% off insights code for this causing me an itch and 30% off on top through perks at work...must resist already have an S20+ through insights with a buyback lock at 650 (money maker). if anyone wants the code for a finders fee/trade (assuming you know what insights is) let me know...unless I pull the trigger by the 24th lol.
 

ohcastro

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Have a 50% off insights code for this causing me an itch and 30% off on top through perks at work...must resist already have an S20+ through insights with a buyback lock at 650 (money maker). if anyone wants the code for a finders fee/trade (assuming you know what insights is) let me know...unless I pull the trigger by the 24th lol.

I'm interested. PM me if still available.
 
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Further assessments of the Note 20 Ultra and its accessories:

  • The 9ms S Pen latency may very well be linked to the 120 Hz refresh rate. Pen response lags much more noticeably in Clover Paint at 1440p 60 Hz, and that's without any brush stabilizers enabled. More reason for them to not have made the standard Note 20 only 60 Hz!
  • Air actions will not trigger if you have the pen in hover cursor range, which is really important when you're scribbling. Samsung certainly used their heads on context sensitivity here, since I've had to disable certain side button behaviors in the past to avoid interference in note-taking and drawing apps before, like using the side button as a color picker.
  • It IS possible to use Nova Launcher and other third-party launchers after all, but the default gesture nav still keeps a sort of "pill" at the bottom. You have to tap the option, not just its toggle, to see the mode that has swipe-from-edge gesture nav like I used on the Note 8 in place of buttons. Edge swiping is admittedly a bit trickier due to the relative lack of bottom bezel, though.
  • I paired my Buds Live/Beans to my old Note 8 for a change, Samsung Scalable codec with game mode enabled like on the Note 20 Ultra, and surprisingly, the latency is much, MUCH lower to the point of being plausible for gaming. Why is it that this works out much better on the phone that actually has a headphone jack? EDIT: "Turn off A2DP hardware offload" in Developer options is a MUST. The Note 8 had it greyed out and stuck on, the Note 20 Ultra had it off by default. That said, it's still not quite zero-latency like wired headphones will be.
  • I'm going to have to replace my magnetic wireless charging phone mount, because it's dependent on adding metal plates for the magnet mounting. Works fine on the Note 8, because its camera module is up high and horizontally oriented, but the Note 20 Ultra has it poking down far enough to be blocked off by one of those plates. I wonder if this could've been avoided had they chose a horizontal layout for the camera module, again like the Note 8 and 9...
  • The UV sanitizer/wireless charger is exactly what it says on the tin. Drop the device in, it's a wireless charger. Close the lid and hold the button, it beeps and keeps things lit inside for 10 minutes until a double-beep and it stops, or you pop the lid before the 10 minutes are up. I think these things might actually make good improvised EPROM erasers with a bit of testing... EDIT: Turns out my Note 20 Ultra now doesn't charge with the case on in this thing, and it was really fussy about positioning even before that. My old fast wireless charger that came with the Note 8 as a pre-order incentive is a much better choice for that.
  • I swung by a store and picked up an OtterBox Defender Pro case. I'm glad they stopped putting cheap film screen protectors on the Defender series now (it's why I went Commuter series back on the Note 4), and while it makes the Note 20 Ultra feel like an absolute brick, it's much easier to hold on account of the outer silicone wrap and the fact that it's thick enough to stop the camera hump from protruding out the back. I still stand by my opinion that perhaps the entire phone should've been thickened up to make the camera module flush with the back, like the Note 8 and 9, in order to add a bigger battery.

Couple notes you're running at 1440p ultra HD for the 120hz variable refresh rate. At least I am on mine. Maybe for 120hz all the time it's 1080p? I've seen that mis stated in some reviews as well.

I'm loving mine. I got the 512 gig option as well because.. hell yea that's why.

Did you submit for the 150 samsung store credit? Don't forget to do that after the purchase!

I came from a note 8 as well and it is a noticeable upgrade in every way. I noticed that wit these massive overbox cases the phones are the same size but the screen realestate is much more present.

Also I HIGHLY recommend you download and use the app from the Samsung store "Good Lock" It lets you further customize your interface a LOT and is a HUGE improvment.

Further for some extra snappyness if you want it... unlock the developer function and you can set your transition speeds to 0.5x the time instead of 1.0x. It's a good improvement and does a lot to make the device feel lightening quick!
You can't enable 1440p and 120 Hz at the same time, unfortunately. Samsung forces us all to choose one or the other, and I gotta say, the slight resolution boost is not worth the hit in smoothness at all. Same reason I'm running a 1080p 120 Hz monitor on my desktop rather than a 2160p/4K 60 Hz one.

I used my $200 store credit upon pre-order; that's why I have the Buds Live, a UV sanitizer/wireless charger, and another AC adapter with a USB-A to USB-C cord. All of those were in some kind of promo bundle together for an even $200, perfect way to use up my credit.

As much as I want to say that the Note 20 Ultra is an upgrade from my Note 8 in every way, I can't - not with the missing headphone jack and iris scanner. The Note 9 is absolutely a Note 8 but better in every way, but the aforementioned compromises actually started back with the Note 10 (Plus).

Everything else about the phone feels like one hell of a jump, though - the speed and smoothness, a screen that doesn't seem to be suffering from weird green tint and color banding out of the blue (I could've sworn the Note 8 wasn't doing that three years ago), much better telephoto zoom on the cameras, fingerprint scanner on the front where it should be, improved S Pen functionality, beefier internal speakers, 512 GB of internal NAND over just 64 GB while keeping microSD to add even more...

Good Lock is something I was using back with the Note 8, and I wouldn't dare use a One UI-era Samsung device without it. It helps reverse a lot of Google's questionable UI changes in recent versions of Android (task switcher and notification bar behavior in particular), and I wish they'd simply make it a default, baked-in function of their stock ROM without having to nab it from the Galaxy Apps store.

I've been aware of the animation speed tweak since the Note 4, perhaps S3/Note 2 era, but I honestly never felt the need to increase it on the Note 8 and especially Note 20 Ultra. Things have come a long way since the dark days of TouchWiz, that's for sure.
 
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Grimlakin

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You can't enable 1440p and 120 Hz at the same time, unfortunately. Samsung forces us all to choose one or the other, and I gotta say, the slight resolution boost is not worth the hit in smoothness at all. Same reason I'm running a 1080p 120 Hz monitor on my desktop rather than a 2160p/4K 60 Hz one.

Ok... you're right it's not 1440p at the middle tier.. but I wouldn't call it 1080p either as that represents something else. 2316*1080 is what it is and it looks great to me.

I'm glad you know the other notes.. That was more meant for general consumption because I hadn't learned about them until this edition of the note.
 

Commander Shepard

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Found a slight crack in the lower right corner of my screen, today. Got in touch with Samsung support and they're sending a replacement via next day air, tomorrow. I'll get it and a return box for the defective Ultra by Tuesday afternoon. Samsung only had the black model in stock, but that's no problem for me. Kudos on some quick customer service. (y)
 
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More impressions:
  • Using the Air actions on the pen for media control seems gimmicky at first, but it turns out that it's also a useful way to get more available binds in Clover Paint, specifically through play/pause, previous and next track bindings. Android has standard media key events for those, and Clover Paint can work off of those just as well as the pen's own side button or even an attached keyboard.
  • 5G on T-Mobile around here is a bit underwhelming, to be frank. Speeds don't feel noticeably better than 4G LTE in most cases. However, I'll give them a few years to build up their network, particularly seeing as they still have to merge Sprint's network into it (and force a lot of people using old CDMA devices to upgrade in the process) in order to best utilize their combined spectrum, mainly mid-band out where I'm at in the suburbs and mmWave in downtown Atlanta (where I don't go all that often).
  • USB-C to USB-A adapter + USB audio device = no lag compared to the built-in speakers. I can live with that. However, such a setup is noticeably bulkier and leaves me worried about accidentally putting too much leverage on the USB-C port. Say what you will about old-fashioned 3.5mm TRRS, but people don't worry about breaking those ports nearly as much as they do with USB-C and Lightning. (Also, I use USB-C for much more than charging and possibly audio; HDMI via a dongle just works way better than Miracast in the same way wired is better than Bluetooth for audio, better quality, no latency.)
  • I had a moment where I kept trying to use the fingerprint scanner, and nothing happened. Repeatedly. It left me confused, so I decided to hit the power button... "Phone unlocked with Smart Lock." Oh, right. Then I swipe, and then it hits me to swipe my pattern for security's sake, which is the norm for One UI-era devices after a day or so. The difference is that I'm pretty sure my Note 8 would at least have the common sense to pop up the pattern unlock screen on attempted fingerprint unlock, rather than just doing nothing...
  • Also speaking of the fingerprint scanner, on the occasions where it doesn't unlock the first time, it usually unlocks the second time with a slight repositioning in about a quarter-second. I generally have a good experience with it, but it remains to be seen if it'll stay that good once there's a screen protector installed. (Yes, I'm living dangerously for the time being, at least until I can get more info on tempered glass protector options and fitment with cases, same as I did with the Note 8 three years ago.)
  • Wrapping up the entire thing in an OtterBox Defender case does wonders for actually being able to grip it securely, as well as allowing it to rest flat on a table without that damn camera hump sticking out. I'll probably be testing a different case of similar ruggedness next month just for kicks, since it should be a freebie.
  • Low-light camera performance is unusually good, like it seems to work better than my own eyeballs in dim lighting conditions without being too noisy. I'm admittedly impressed, since the Note 8 wasn't that much of a step up over the Note 4 in that regard.
  • I paired a DualShock 4 just for kicks, and it actually does work pretty well, trackpad included - except the trackpad has tap-to-click enabled, which has resulted in misclicks on more than one occasion when the logical thing to do on a DS4 is to physically click down the pad to actually mouse-click. Did I forget to mention that I absolutely hate tap-to-click on laptop trackpads and disable it ASAP? Anyway, now I need a good DS4 phone holder clip that can actually hold a Note 20 Ultra in a thick case.
  • The Note 8, as of the last year or so, would constantly quit the browser in the background and close all my tabs if I wasn't opening it pretty much every day. Not sure if that was a software issue or what, since it didn't do that initially. The Note 20 Ultra just keeps it open like I remembered. I wonder if I can thank the bump up to 12 GB of RAM for this, as it seems to be a trend that every new Note I get has double the RAM. (Note 4 = 3 GB, Note 8 = 6 GB, Note 20 Ultra = 12 GB)
  • Middle-clicking to open new tabs doesn't work on Samsung Internet in DeX. Damn you, muscle memory! Oh, and they still don't have an option to turn off that godawful mouse acceleration in the input settings...
  • The Windows client software for DeX mode didn't work no matter how many times I unplugged and reconnected my Note 20 Ultra, and not even a reboot solved it. In fact, it made things worse because I couldn't do file transfers or use PDANet tethering (seriously, what the hell kind of workplace in 2020 gets forced to go entire months without Internet access?) until I uninstalled Samsung's USB driver alongside the DeX software.
  • CLIP STUDIO PAINT was hiding in the Galaxy Store this whole time? Well now, I've gotta try this! However, I'm already unhappy that they did the same thing with the iOS version and made it subscription-only with no perpetual license options like the Windows/macOS version, and to add extra insult, made it so that pen pressure isn't supported with a "smartphone" tier subscription, which defeats the purpose of getting it on a Galaxy Note in the first place. By contrast, Clover Paint just costs a few dollars, more if you want the Extension for Tablets UI upgrade, and you're done - but exporting your doodles is a rather janky process.
  • Speaking of Clover Paint, I tried real hard to make this Note 20 Ultra lag using large 150px brush strokes scribbled fast. I don't think I even saw the buffer bar until I really went at it, and even then, not for long. The SD865+ just laughs it off in a way the older SD835 couldn't, let alone the SD805 and Tegra 4. (Note that using 500 to 2000px brushes in the same fashion on CSP running on my 4.5 GHz i7-4770K desktop also sometimes lags a bit, so drawing apps can be surprisingly intensive stuff when you crank up the resolution.)
I know I tend to go on about random little things quite a lot, but it's always the little things that make a difference when you shell out so much money for a flagship, for better or for worse.

Overall, I think I could go for three years on the Note 20 Ultra if needed, though I'm not gonna like the need for USB-C headphone dongles going forward if I need low-latency audio for gaming. However, I just can't say no to that 120 Hz screen and having 512 GB of storage + 256 GB of microSD (potentially more) on tap, and the Beans/Buds Live are good enough for music listening and calls. Perhaps I'd like it even more if I did more photography with it.

However, what makes me really curious is this rumor that next year, Samsung might just add S Pen support to the Galaxy S line (at least, the largest Ultra tier if they keep going forward with that) and leave the Galaxy Fold as their Q2 product update, effectively retiring the Note as a standalone brand. Only time will tell if they'd actually do it...
 

Grimlakin

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I don't know... a galaxy fold with spen... if they can get the dust and water rating cranked up yes please!! And the screen durability is always going to be an issue until they get smart metal like glass.
 
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There hasn't been a whole lot more for me to remark on regarding the Note 20 Ultra itself, only that T-Mobile's finally sorted out whatever it was wherever I work and I'm actually getting 5G all the time rather than getting bounced back to LTE.

Well, that and I still hate Bluetooth audio latency. Really threw me off trying to watch NVIDIA's big Ampere announcement, presumably because I think the Galaxy Buds Live only get their game mode toggled on under specific circumstances. Someone needs to make a USB-C DAC that's right-angled so I don't have a cable poking my palm in the middle while I'm trying to hold this thing.

One of my co-worker friends also had some AirPods Pro he was looking to sell, so I gave 'em a try. Surprisingly enough, the ANC and passthrough modes still work on Android, I actually find them pretty comfortable for an IEM, and don't have any immediate gripes about the sound quality... but as expected, the latency is terrible on the Note 20 Ultra. Maybe it'd be far better on an iOS device in terms of latency, but if I liked iOS at all, I wouldn't have spent more on a Note 20 Ultra.

Also, I just realized something funny: for the Note 9, you had to spend a whopping $350 extra to go from the 6 GB/128 GB ($900; wasn't that $930 before?) to the 8 GB/512 GB ($1,250) configuration, but on the Note 20 Ultra, the price difference is only $150 between the 128 GB ($1,300) and 512 GB ($1,450) configurations. Also, the 512 GB config is already out of stock. Huh...

By the way, if anyone with the means of making smartphone accessories is listening, the first person to make a backlit physical keyboard slider case, possibly even with a USB-C 3.5mm TRRS jack for headphone and mic use integrated, can just shut up and take my money right now, something that basically turns the Note 20 Ultra into an F(x)tec Pro1 without outdated hardware under the hood, and with the signature Wacom EMR digitizer lurking under the screen of every Galaxy Note. It'd even double as a means of protecting that fat-ass camera module with the keyboard closed.

Incidentally, the lack of said digitizer is why you can't use the S Pen on a standard Galaxy S or Galaxy Fold. I suspect the latter not having it is that while the EMR digitizer is flexible (I've confirmed this myself while fiddling with my Fujitsu T902 before), I'd naturally be concerned about it creasing, not to mention the potential for the flexible screen to be scratched up under the pressure of the pen nib, while the former doesn't have it for the sake of product differentiation. If they can pull it off, though? Move over, Surface Duo, this is what I'm waiting for.

However, future Galaxy S Ultras actually becoming Galaxy Note stand-ins is something I'm cool with, so long as they don't pull an Apple or Microsoft and start charging $100+ just for the pen as an additional accessory, especially seeing as they may not have a silo for the pen to be stored (and charged for the Bluetooth remote functionality) in. On top of that, if they're going to be selling external, bulky pens, I damn well expect two side buttons and a pressure-sensitive eraser, like the higher-end Wacom pens. Samsung's drivers/software already have support for these things, as proven from when I tested Tablet PC pens in the past, but the different cursor offset makes those effectively unusable.
 

NIZMOZ

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What latency? I've been using it fine in my car playing over bluetooth or Android auto and with my Buds Live and it works fine. I do have some AirPod Pros too but haven't used them yet with this device. No one on AndroidCentral has mentioned anything about Latency.
 
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What latency? I've been using it fine in my car playing over bluetooth or Android auto and with my Buds Live and it works fine. I do have some AirPod Pros too but haven't used them yet with this device. No one on AndroidCentral has mentioned anything about Latency.
Try streaming a video in the browser or playing any game, then compare it to using the built-in speakers, or if you have a USB-C to USB-A adapter and any sort of USB audio device, that.

Then tell me with a straight face that you can't perceive it. That goes double if you're adjusting ringer volume while on the launcher, where it plays on both the internal speaker and the headphones for some reason. The delay is painfully obvious.

If you're just listening to music in your car, the worst that happens is that it takes half a second to respond to the playback controls, no big deal. If anything, I'd be more concerned with having the best possible audio quality if the sound system in the car is anything resembling decent.

But when there's visuals involved, and they don't sync up, like when someone's talking and the lips don't match the voice? Absolutely immersion-breaking. It cheapens the experience, and could put you at a competitive disadvantage if you're the sort who feels like gaming on a phone (which isn't really me because I have a Switch for that, but it's probably relevant to some people).

On top of that, some people do music production and need the absolute lowest latency possible, which is why some hardware review sites cover DPC latency on different motherboards. It was also covered to an extent on iOS and Android, with iOS generally having less latency in the audio stack, though Samsung had proprietary APIs to mitigate this as far back as the Note 4 (which launched with KitKat, back when Android was far less mature and you had to deal with TouchWiz bogging things down). Things might be different in the Android 10 age; I need to look into all the subtle API changes.

Anyway, if you don't notice the latency or are just not bothered by it, ignorance is bliss, as they say. But it's still there, it irks me, and if they're going to push wireless accessories as an honest-to-goodness wired replacement at significant price premiums, then they better perform like they're wired - and they don't. Note how wireless gaming mice always use proprietary protocols and a USB dongle, never Bluetooth.

I'll let you all know how well those complimentary USB-C IEMs work out once they arrive. I'm guessing they're the same shape as the ones they packed in with the Note 8, which aren't bad, but they're not the most secure or comfortable, either. Maybe I should try the ANC version of the USB-C IEMs they sell, if they're made affordable enough.
 

Pivo504

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Is there a reason why the note 10+has not gone on a real sale yet? For some reason it's on saLe for atnt for 29/24 but not for Verizon?
Jus saw the 20 ultra is on sale for 45/24 months...yet the old 10+is on sale for 37/24 lol Wth kinda sale is that? Debating on what to do !!?
 
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Pivo504

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Couple notes you're running at 1440p ultra HD for the 120hz variable refresh rate. At least I am on mine. Maybe for 120hz all the time it's 1080p? I've seen that mis stated in some reviews as well.

I'm loving mine. I got the 512 gig option as well because.. hell yea that's why.

Did you submit for the 150 samsung store credit? Don't forget to do that after the purchase!

I came from a note 8 as well and it is a noticeable upgrade in every way. I noticed that wit these massive overbox cases the phones are the same size but the screen realestate is much more present.

Also I HIGHLY recommend you download and use the app from the Samsung store "Good Lock" It lets you further customize your interface a LOT and is a HUGE improvment.

Further for some extra snappyness if you want it... unlock the developer function and you can set your transition speeds to 0.5x the time instead of 1.0x. It's a good improvement and does a lot to make the device feel lightening quick!
Did you submit for the 150 samsung store credit? Don't forget to do that after the purchase. What do you mean by this?
 

Commander Shepard

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 12, 2016
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4,716
Well, after a couple weeks using my Note 20 Ultra, I returned it today. I never used the S-Pen and the Note just felt like more than what I need from a phone, if that makes any sense. I'm going to let work buy me an iPhone 12 Pro and continue to use my Pixel 3XL as my personal phone. I might get a Pixel 5, depending on the reviews.
 
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I just got my complimentary wired headphones on the doorstep, no shipping announcement or tracking info or anything to notify me. They were just lying there, loose in a padded envelope, with eartips.

USB-C IEMs.png

As you can tell, they're just like the old 3.5mm TRRS pair Samsung packed in starting with the S8, but with a compact little USB-C plug on the end, no fear of breaking the port through leverage in one's pocket.

Said plug also clearly contains a DAC and ADC despite its small size; it comes up as a USB device (VID_04E8&PID_A051), 32-bit/96 KHz output, mono 24-bit/96 KHz input through the mic (but with a rather weak mic signal compared to most PC headsets and audio interfaces). This means you can indeed plug them into a PC with USB-C, and they will work. They also work on the Note 8 just fine, even though it's got a headphone jack still - and that's the thing, you had options, 3.5mm TRRS, USB and Bluetooth all at once!

However, being a digital set is no clear-cut indication of compatibility across USB-C devices, as they don't work on my Nintendo Switch, which should support USB audio as of several firmware versions ago - but that thing has a 3.5mm jack anyway, not a big loss.

Still, I'm just glad to have a wired option at no extra cost once again. They sound decent enough, don't take up a lot of space, and most importantly, don't suffer from latency. I'd still prefer to find a set with a better fit (maybe the EO-IC500 set with ANC?), or at least find some IEM tips that work far better for comfort than the stock silicone ones, but these will do in the meantime.

As for the Note 20 Ultra itself? It may be one heinously expensive piece of kit with compromises it really shouldn't have for the price point (ones that Linus touched on that apply equally to the Note 10+ in his video), but I think I'm going to keep it, just because something is seriously screwed up with the color response curve on my Note 8's screen now (certain dark gradients come up as far too green and banded, even after a factory reset), the Note 8 also has a widely-known GPS issue if you update it past the February 2020 update, and it's definitely holding background apps in RAM (mainly my browser and all its tabs) a lot better than the Note 8 does with just 6 GB.

I'd be singing a different tune there if I had the Note 9 8 GB/512 GB configuration, I'm sure, but those not only still cost too much and aren't enough of an upgrade from the Note 8 for the expense, they're also running out of software update lifespan and I have to choose between US LTE band support and an unlocked bootloader for Treble Generic System Images' sake.

I kept my Note 4 as a daily for three years (would've been two, but we all know what happened to the Note 7), then my Note 8 for three years until a month ago, and now it's the Note 20 Ultra's turn to pull a three-year shift. Might even be four years, given that they're starting to get their act together on yearly version updates. Gives me plenty of time to see if the Galaxy Note continues to be a product line, or if it just becomes a trim level on future S and Fold models. (Seriously, if they can make the EMR digitizer handle repeated folding, and the screen surface itself hold up to being depressed really hard with a pen, I might be tempted by the Fold. It's got the screen width the Note direly needs.)
 
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Even more ramblings:

  • It's only been a month, and that fancy new Gorilla Glass Victus is already showing microscratches! More reason to never dawdle on fitting a screen protector on a $1,450 phone, though I was mainly waiting on reviews for the Whitestone Dome Glass and its cheaper amFilm equivalent to verify fingerprint scanner functionality.
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate streaming is actually pretty danged good, with a DualShock 4 as my BT pad of choice. (Oh, the irony of playing Xbox games with a PlayStation controller!) Alas, it has to be a Bluetooth gamepad, since the USB-C port will be tied up by headphones - see point above about how much BT headphone latency sucks even with Samsung's low-latency game mode, which is only magnified by the slight stream lag inherent to cloud gaming.
  • Using the S Pen as a camera shutter remote seems gimmicky at first, but it's actually helped me snap some photos by allowing me to shift my grip on the phone in tight spaces like engine bays and still have a way to trigger the shutter.
  • There's actually a root/bootloader unlock method available for the N986U Snapdragon models now, but it requires paying $150 to some people in China and letting them remote in via TeamViewer to unlock the device using internal Samsung tools. Pretty sketchy, but I suppose a sketchy option beats having to import an unlocked bootloader variant elsewhere with no US LTE or 5G bands. We'll see if it's still available in three or four years, when the Note 20 Ultra's software updates stop.
 

Aurelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Messages
2,954
Even more ramblings:

  • It's only been a month, and that fancy new Gorilla Glass Victus is already showing microscratches! More reason to never dawdle on fitting a screen protector on a $1,450 phone, though I was mainly waiting on reviews for the Whitestone Dome Glass and its cheaper amFilm equivalent to verify fingerprint scanner functionality.
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate streaming is actually pretty danged good, with a DualShock 4 as my BT pad of choice. (Oh, the irony of playing Xbox games with a PlayStation controller!) Alas, it has to be a Bluetooth gamepad, since the USB-C port will be tied up by headphones - see point above about how much BT headphone latency sucks even with Samsung's low-latency game mode, which is only magnified by the slight stream lag inherent to cloud gaming.
  • Using the S Pen as a camera shutter remote seems gimmicky at first, but it's actually helped me snap some photos by allowing me to shift my grip on the phone in tight spaces like engine bays and still have a way to trigger the shutter.
  • There's actually a root/bootloader unlock method available for the N986U Snapdragon models now, but it requires paying $150 to some people in China and letting them remote in via TeamViewer to unlock the device using internal Samsung tools. Pretty sketchy, but I suppose a sketchy option beats having to import an unlocked bootloader variant elsewhere with no US LTE or 5G bands. We'll see if it's still available in three or four years, when the Note 20 Ultra's software updates stop.

I'd probably steer clear of bootloader unlocks entirely in a case like that. It's not worth having someone in another hemisphere remotely connect to your phone!
 
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I'd probably steer clear of bootloader unlocks entirely in a case like that. It's not worth having someone in another hemisphere remotely connect to your phone!
To be fair, I wouldn't do it either. I'm just waiting for someone to figure out the process and document it for the rest of us, like how someone found out that it was the phone app on Verizon-branded Pixels that denied bootloader unlocking initially.

Anyway, I haven't had much more to report with my Note 20 Ultra over the past month. It's a phone, it works, the camera is a significant improvement (the Note 8 couldn't even scan QR codes reliably without a third-party app!), but damn, do I wish I had my headphone jack back, or at least a second USB-C port. Also the iris scanner, but then that'd probably mean a second unsightly hole punch in the screen.

I've also been thinking about finding a replacement phone mount that'll fit. The Note 8 is smaller and had a slimmer case to begin with, but now I'm packing a bigger phone in an even bigger case. Kinda throws a wrench into the works for both car mounts and gamepad clips that weren't anticipating such ginormous devices.

The last one I used was a magnetic mount, but the way the metal plates have to line up for wireless charging to work would require having one of 'em overlap the camera hump. Can't have that. I'll have to switch to something else, though wireless charging won't be necessary this time around because as it turns out, they tend to overheat in the greenhouse we call a car interior.
 
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