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Samsung Galaxy flagship showdown: Note 20 vs. Note 20 Ultra vs. S20 vs. S20 Ultra

Here's how Samsung's Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra stack up against earlier Galaxy S20 flagships.

Sareena Dayaram Senior Editor
Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia's financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.
Expertise Huawei, Oppo, smartphones, smartwatches Credentials
  • More than a decade of journalism experience
Sareena Dayaram
2 min read

The Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra were unveiled by Samsung this summer alongside three other devices in a glitzy Unpacked launch that was moved online -- like the iPhone 12 event -- due to the coronavirus pandemic. Both Note 20 phones are packed with top-notch tech that, on paper at least, puts them among the elite ranks of the iPhone 12 Pro and Huawei Mate 40 Pro. As well as boasting a striking bronze finish, both the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra have similar core specs, including a cutting-edge Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, a 10-megapixel selfie camera, new S Pen gestures and  5G  capabilities.

Read more: Black Friday phone deals 2020

But they have some key differences too. Firstly, the Note 20 has a plastic back instead of the new Gorilla Glass Victus shielding used in the Note 20 Ultra -- a surprising choice in a phone that cost $1,000 at launch. (Here's how the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra fared in our drop and scratch tests.) The pricier Note 20 Ultra has more bells and whistles, including a higher-powered camera with a 108-megapixel lens, faster refresh rate (120Hz) and a microSD card slot. It also supports Nearby Share, Google's version of Apple's AirDrop feature. As expected, the 6.9-inch Note 20 Ultra is both the larger and heavier handset of the duo, weighing a hefty 204 grams.

Both stylus-equipped Note phones came months after the launch of the Galaxy S20 family in February. Apart from the visible industrial design differences (the phones' sizes and the inclusion of the S Pen), one thing that's changed in the newer Note phones is the Space Zoom feature. Samsung's decided to backpedal on the S20 Ultra's hyped-up 100x zoom. The Note 20 and the Note 20 Ultra instead have reduced Space Zoom capabilities of 30x and 50x, respectively. The company likely made this design decision to help drive down the price.


The Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are available to buy now. For more information on their specs, take a look at CNET's specs chart below.

Galaxy Note 20 specs vs. Note Ultra vs. S20 vs. S20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Note 20Samsung Galaxy Note 20 UltraSamsung Galaxy S20Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Display size, resolution 6.7-inch; 2,400x1,080 pixels6.9-inch AMOLED; 3,088x1,440 pixels6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED; 3,200x1,440 pixels6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2XDimensions (Inches) 6.36x2.96x0.33 inches6.48x3.03x0.31 inches2.72x5.97x0.311 inches2.99 x 6.57 x 0.35 inches
Dimensions (Millimeters) 161.6x75.2x8.3 mm164.8x77.2x8.1 mm69.1x151.7x7.9 mm76.0 x 166.9 x 8.8mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.84 oz, 194g7.33 oz, 208g5.75 oz; 163g7.76 oz; 220g
Mobile software Android 10Android 10Android 10Android 10
Camera 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto)12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 108-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (telephoto) 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)108-megapixel (wide-angle), 48-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), time-of-flight camera
Front-facing camera 10-megapixel10-megapixel10-megapixel40-megapixel
Video capture 8K8K8K8K
Processor Snapdragon 865 PlusSnapdragon 865 Plus64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5 GHz + 2GHz)64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5 GHz + 2GHz)
Storage 128GB128GB, 512GB128GB128GB, 512GB
RAM 8GB12GB12GB 12GB, 16GB
Expandable storage NoUp to 1TBUp to 1TBUp to 1TB
Battery 4,300 mAh4,500 mAh4,000 mAh5,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor In-screenIn-screenIn-screenIn-screen
Headphone jack NoNoNoNo
Special features S Pen stylus; 5G enabled, Wireless PowerShare, water resistant (IP68)S Pen stylus, water resistant (IP68), stereo speakers, 5G enabled, PowerShare, 5x optical zoom, UWB Sharing5G enabled, 120Hz refresh rate, water resistant (IP68)5G enabled; 120Hz refresh rate; 100X zoom; water resistant (IP68)
Price at launch (USD) $999$1,300 (128GB), $1,450 (512GB)$999 $1,399 (128GB), $1,599 (512GB)
Price at launch (GBP) £849 (4G); £949 (5G)£1,179£1,000£1,199 (128GB), £1,399 (512GB)
Watch this: First Look: Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra