Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 20 lineup during the Unpacked Event on August 5, 2020. The Galaxy Note 20 is the successor to the Galaxy Note 10, and the Note 20 lineup includes the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
The overall look of the Galaxy Note 20 is similar to the Galaxy Note 10, but there were some changes and improvements. One of the key improvements on the Galaxy Note 20 is 5G wireless connectivity. The Note 20 also marked the switch from the larger version being a Plus model to being an Ultra model.
Keep reading to learn more about whether you should buy a Galaxy Note 20 in 2021, or if you should consider a Galaxy Note 10 as a way to get many of the same features for less money.
Table of contents:
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Spec Overview
- Display, Design & Colors
- S Pen Features
- Front & Rear Facing Camera
- Carrier Compatibility
- How much does the Galaxy Note 20 cost in 2021?
- Should you buy a Galaxy Note 20 in 2021?
Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 20 with Android 10.0 and One UI version 2.5. The Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra were later updated to Android 11. And as a result of an August 2020 announcement from Samsung, the Note 20 (along with other Galaxy devices) will get three generations of Android software updates.
|Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G (2020)||Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G (2020)||Samsung Galaxy Note 10 (2019)||Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus (2019)|
|Display||6.7″ flat Infinity-O FHD+ Super AMOLED+ (2400 x 1080)||6.9″ edge Infinity-O Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (3088 x 1440)||6.3″ FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED (2280 x 1080)||6.8″ WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED (3040 x 1440)|
|Processor||Snapdragon 865+||Snapdragon 865+||Snapdragon 855||Snapdragon 855|
|Storage||128GB or 256GB||128GB, 256GB or 512GB internal with microSD card support up to 1TB||256GB||256GB or 512GB internal with microSD card support up to 1TB|
|Rear camera||Triple camera with OIS (12MP ultra-wide, 12MP wide, 64MP telephoto)||Triple camera with OIS (12MP ultra-wide, 108MP wide, 12MP telephoto) and Laser AF sensor||Triple camera with Dual OIS (16MP ultra-wide, 12MP wide, 12MP telephoto)||Quad camera with Dual OIS (16MP ultra-wide, 12MP wide, 12MP telephoto, DepthVision)|
|Front camera||10MP Selfie camera||10MP Selfie camera||10MP Selfie camera||10MP Selfie camera|
|Water resistance rating||IP68||IP68||IP68||IP68|
|Battery||4,300 mAh||4,500 mAh||3,500 mAh||4,300 mAh|
|Charging||25W wired charging, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare||25W wired charging, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare||25W wired charging, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare||45W wired charging, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare|
|3.5mm headphone jack||No||No||No||No|
|Network connectivity||4G LTE / 5G (sub6 & mmWave)||4G LTE / 5G (sub6 & mmWave)||4G LTE||4G LTE|
|Size / Weight||75.2 x 161.6 x 8.3 mm / 194 grams||77.2 x 164.8 x 8.1 mm / 208 grams||71.8 x 151.0 x 7.9 mm / 168 grams||77.2 x 162.3 x 7.9 mm / 196 grams|
The Galaxy Note 20 5G and Note 20 Ultra 5G are the newest models in the Galaxy Note series. Samsung may eventually release a follow-up to the Note 20 lineup — but as of July 2021, the Note 20 is the latest and greatest Galaxy Note you can buy.
The Note 20 5G is a year newer than the Note 10, which means it will get software updates from Samsung for an extra year. And the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are also 5G capable.
But while the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are the newest models in the Note series — that doesn’t mean they are the best option for everyone. For example, if you are buying a Galaxy Note for the S Pen, and you aren’t a fan of the size, the Note 10 may be a better option. The Note 10 has a smaller display as compared to the Note 20 5G, which means it is also physically smaller and lighter than the Note 20 5G. Buying a previous generation smartphone, such as the Galaxy Note 10, is also a great way to save money.
Shifting away from the comparisons, and looking deeper into the features of the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
The size of the display is similar between the Galaxy Note 20 and the Note 20 Ultra, with just a 0.2-inch difference. Both models also feature an Infinity-O display and are HDR10+ certified.
The Galaxy Note 20 5G display is a 6.7” FHD+ Super AMOLED Plus with a 2400 x 1080 resolution and 393 ppi. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G display is a 6.9” Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED with a 3088 x 1440 resolution and 496 ppi. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G display also supports a 120Hz refresh rate for buttery smooth motion.
Overall, both the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra share a similar design. The Note 20 series features slim bezels on the front with a hole-punch style camera that sits centered on the top, and a rear camera array in the upper left corner of the back. Both models also make use of an ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint sensor for security.
Samsung offers five color options for the Galaxy Note 20, with Mystic Bronze being the only color available on the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. Otherwise, the Note 20 is available in Mystic Green or Mystic Gray, and the Note 20 Ultra is available in Mystic Black and Mystic White.
The S Pen is a key feature of the Galaxy Note series, and Samsung included several improvements with the release of the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. Samsung included support for a handful of new Air Gestures and improved the latency. The S Pen latency on the Note 20 is 26ms, which is down from 42ms on the Note 10. Key features of the Galaxy Note 20 S Pen include:
- 0.7mm pen tip diameter
- 4096 pressure levels
- IP68 rating for dust and water resistance
The other highlight of the Galaxy Note 20 S Pen is battery life, which is now up to 24 hours. For comparison, the battery life of the S Pen on the Galaxy Note 10 is up to 10 hours.
The Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra each feature a triple camera array, which includes an ultra-wide, wide-angle, and telephoto camera.
Galaxy Note 20
- 12MP ultra wide angle with 1.4um pixel size, 120-degree field of view, f/2.2 aperture
- 12MP wide angle with 1.8um pixel size, 79-degree field of view, f/1.8 aperture, 1/1.76” image sensor size
- 64MP telephoto with 0.8um pixel size, 76-degree field of view, f/2.0 aperture
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- 12MP ultra wide angle with 1.4um pixel size, 120-degree field of view, f/2.2 aperture
- 108MP wide angle with 0.8um pixel size, 79-degree field of view, f/1.8 aperture, 1/1.33” image sensor size
- 12MP telephoto with 1.0um pixel size, 20-degree field of view, f/3.0 aperture
The rear camera array on the Note 20 Ultra also includes a Laser AF sensor.
Both the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra feature Space Zoom, Tracking AF, and OIS (optical image stabilization). The Space Zoom functionality for the Note 20 includes up to 3x Hybrid Optical Zoom and up to 30x Super Resolution Zoom, and the Note 20 Ultra includes up to 5x Hybrid Optical Zoom and up to 50x Super Resolution Zoom.
Some of the other key camera features include Scene Optimizer, Shot suggestions, and Flaw Detection, as well as, Single Take mode, Slow Motion, Super Slow-mo, Hyperlapse, Panorama, and Night mode.
The Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra each feature a 10MP Selfie camera with Dual Pixel AF, a 1.22um pixel size, f/2.2 aperture, and an 80-degree field of view.
The Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra have the following model number formats:
- Galaxy Note 20: SM-N981x
- Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: SM-N986x
There are several different models available for each, with the “x” portion of the model number changing based on the market and carrier. If you’re shopping for a Galaxy Note 20 or Galaxy Note 20 Ultra to use in the United States, you will be looking for a “U” or a “U1” model.
The “U” is the factory unlocked model, and the “U1” is the carrier-branded model. For example, the factory unlocked Galaxy Note 20 5G is SM-N981U1 and the factory unlocked Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G is SM-N986U1.
The MSRP for the Galaxy Note 20 is $999 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is $1,199, making both phones fairly expensive. But buying a gently used Note 20 on Swappa is a great way to save money. Current Galaxy Note 20 prices start at around $530 on Swappa in July 2021, and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra prices are a little higher at around $650.
Spending $500-$600 isn’t necessarily “cheap,” but it’s about half as much as you’d pay buying a brand-new phone directly from Samsung or your wireless carrier. Being able to save hundreds of dollars on a current-generation smartphone is a wonderful way to get a great phone at a great price. Check the current prices for the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra by tapping the widgets below.
If you are comfortable with the prices of a gently used Galaxy Note 20 or Galaxy Note 20 Ultra — either of those would be great to purchase in 2021. You get a current generation smartphone at a really good price. And provided you take care of the phone, it should easily last several years into the future.
On the other hand, if you looked at the prices for the Note 20 or Note 20 Ultra and were hoping to spend less — the Note 10 or Note 10 Plus are still great in 2021. In fact, if you really want a Galaxy Note because of the S Pen, and you aren’t a fan of the overall size of the Note smartphones, the Note 10 is where you should look due to its smaller form factor (read: smaller compared to other Galaxy Note smartphones).
Find the latest prices for a gently used Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10 Plus by tapping the widgets below.
If you’re still unsure which model best fits your needs, or want to dive a bit deeper into the differences between the models covered in this post, or any of the other Galaxy Note smartphones — you should tap the green button below.