Samsung might have recently set the Galaxy Note 20 reveal for August 5, but somebody already has a prototype unit. YouTuber Jimmy Is Promo has posted a hands-on video and a few images of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the bigger of the two upcoming units.
Like previous leaks indicated, the Note 20 is even bigger than last year’s model. Jimmy is Promo did an excellent job, and by taking some Note 10+ comparison shots, we can clearly see the Note 20 Ultra is taller and wider than the Note 10+, which was already one of the biggest smartphones on the market.
The Galaxy Note series is usually very close to the Galaxy S series released earlier in the year, and it looks like that’s the case this year, too. Like the S20, the Note 20 goes with a curved front display and a hole punch front camera, with the one design change being taller corners. The rear camera block gets new styling with circles around each camera, making the lenses appear bigger than they really are. The camera layout looks identical to the Galaxy S20 Ultra, so expect the three big cameras to be a main camera, wide-angle lens, and a telephoto, followed by a tiny depth camera tucked away under the flash.
I don’t think there’s a solid spec list out there yet, but a good starting point would be to expect bigger specs than what you get with a Galaxy S20 Ultra, which had a 6.9-inch, 120Hz OLED display, a Snapdragon 865, 12GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 5000 mAh battery. We don’t have exact specs on the Note 20 Ultra yet, but there’s a chance the display will crack 7 inches! The Note 10+ in the comparison is 6.8 inches.
Established Samsung leaker Iceuniverse claims the Note 20 will have Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 865 Plus SoC, which is 10-percent faster and comes with Wi-Fi 6E compatibility. Samsung typically works closely with Qualcomm on totally new SoC launches, but Samsung has never used a mid-cycle “Plus” chip. As usual, this is something you should only expect in the US, China, and South Korea. Other countries will probably get a lower-performing Samsung Exynos chip.
There’s also the question of whether Samsung will fix some of the problems that were present in the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The S20 Ultra featured a 5x telephoto zoom camera that Samsung branded as “100x” and faced wide criticism for. The “100x” mode attempted to reach that zoom level with a lot of cropping and AI shenanigans, and the photos mostly looked like mush. Iceuniverse claims the 100x mode—or at least the branding—won’t make the jump to the Note 20. Plenty of Chinese phones use a similar “5x telephoto plus software” zoom setup, and they have settled on calling these cameras “30x.”
Another S20 issue was that you couldn’t run the display at the full, advertised specs. The S20 made you pick between full 1440p display resolution or full 120Hz refresh rate, but it couldn’t do both at the same time. Other phones like the OnePlus 8 Pro can manage that feat—with a Samsung-made display, no less—but a report from Anandtech says the difference boils down to Samsung’s bandwidth-limited display interface. OnePlus went with a dual-lane MIPI interface for the display and has the bandwidth for 1440p at 120Hz, while Samsung went with a single-lane interface and does not have the bandwidth. Is this getting fixed in the Note 20? So far, Iceuniverse has only said it is “not optimistic.”
We’ll have all our questions answered August 5, when Samsung has a livestream planned for the Note 20.
Listing image by Jimmy is Promo