For years, the Galaxy Note series represented the pinnacle of Samsung’s hardware process. That might have changed to Ultra, Samsung’s new moniker for the best in class. Just like the Galaxy S20 took a jump from S10 earlier this year, the tenth iteration of the Note leaps from 2019’s Note 10 to the Note 20. And it’s the Ultra that is the showstopper. If there’s a contest for the best looking flagship smartphone, the Note 20 Ultra might well end up on top – it’s probably the most elegant Samsung device ever. It all begins with Mystic Bronze.
Copper meets bronze with an elegant matte finish in what might well be the most stunning metallic shade ever seen on a smartphone. The Note 20 Ultra becomes the first smartphone to be finished with Corning’s new Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and rear of the device. It feels terrific in your hand and the matte finish repels smudges and fingerprints. Victus adds an extra layer of protection against scratches and also claims better drop resistance. While we were tempted to attempt the 2 metre drop test, we were content to take Samsung’s word for it. At over 200 gm, it’s a heavy device.
It was a case of love and hate collide with the Note 20 Ultra’s camera bump. I love how the three rings (for the three lenses) are arranged with matching mystic bronze accents but the bump is tough to ignore especially when it’s placed on a smooth surface or a desk. A back case can smoothen the bump but that would conceal the gorgeous matte back. Samsung has opted for a 108MP lens (f/1.8 ) to headline its triple rear cam that also includes a 12MP ultra-wide and 12MP telephoto lens. You can shoot 5X optical and up to 50X on Super Resolution Zoom. I’m glad Samsung scaled this down from 100X on the S20 Ultra given the limitations of a hybrid zoom. Not surprisingly, the Zoom photography takes a slight hit in lowlight. Yet, this is a versatile shooter with solid results across all scenarios and formats. This could well be the smartphone cam to beat. There’s also a 10MP self cam that won’t let you down.
It was the Note series that pioneered the large display back in 2011. The Note 20 Ultra almost touches the 7-inch threshold. The 6.9-inch (3088 x 1440 pixels) Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display is brilliant and packs 496 pixels per inch. It features a 120Hz refresh rate display; everything from videos to web browsing and intense gaming is fluidic on this display. It’s geared for gaming and Netflix marathons. The vibrant display is backed with a robust 4500 mAh battery that lasted all day in our tests even after significant camera and video usage.
Samsung’s Note devices are usually hardware powerhouses; the Note 20 Ultra is no exception. It’s powered by the Exynos 990 Processor that teams up with 12GB of RAM. There’s a choice of internal storage variants (128, 256 and 512GB) that all support Micro SD cards up to 1TB. We checked out the 256GB variant and it blazed through our tests notching up a score of 2760 on Geekbench. The S-Pen, Samsung’s proprietary stylus has become the defining feature of the Note devices. The newest S-Pen has reduced the latency from 42 milliseconds to 9 milliseconds. This is as close as it gets to writing on paper. The S-Pen comes with a whole new bag of tricks including my favourite Annotate PDF option. You can now sign on documents and reshare them as PDF files. Super handy.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is all that you would expect from Samsung’s top-of-the-line flagship device; it’s certainly not light on your pocket though. It’s tough to pick holes in this device except the heft and the unmistakable camera bump. The Ultra boasts of a fully loaded spec sheet, an immersive display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a stellar camera that can capture 8K videos. But it’s the design language that sets the Note 20 Ultra apart. And then there’s that Mystic Bronze.
The Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G costs Rs 104999 onwards in India and can be pre-ordered on Samsung.com and retail stores. Samsung is offering a host of offers including a cashback Rs 9000 with HDFC Credit and Debit cards. The device is available in Mystic Bronze and Mystic Black.