SOUTH Korean tech titan Samsung has unveiled its latest crop of Galaxy smartphones during a live-streamed launch event.
Announced Wednesday, the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra boast 5G connectivity and gigantic screens to match their sky-high price tags.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 hits shelves later this month[/caption]
Samsung unveiled two chunky devices during an online event on Wednesday[/caption]
A third phone, the foldable Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 2 (that’s a bit of a mouthful) was also revealed by the South Korean firm.
Each device costs close to a hair-raising £1,000, a bold decision in the midst of the current global health crisis. They’re out later this month.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 – what is it?
Samsung revealed two new phones at its August 5 Unpacked event, which was streamed live to fans across the globe.
They’re the enormous 6.7” Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and the even-bigger 6.9″ Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
The phones cost an arm-and-a-leg but come with a plethora of top-end features, including beefy cameras and 5G connectivity.
Samsung described them as “the most powerful Note phones yet”.
An apparent trailer for the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 leaked online this week[/caption]
The Galaxy Note 20 (left) and Note 20 Ultra are absolutely massive mobiles[/caption]
Samsung’s Note mobiles are large devices typically launched in August each year.
They’re a mix between a phone and a tablet, also known as a “phablet”, and come with a high-tech stylus that users can wield to tap the screen.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 – features
The Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are specs-machines with top-end features in every department (which you’d expect, given their price tags).
However, their spec sheets largely tread the same ground as the Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra, which hit shelves back in April.
Headline features include a hefty camera system on the back and a powerful chipset that lets you use two apps at once across one screen.
It’s the most powerful Note series ever, according to Samsung, boasting the same processing might as a PC.
The mobiles come with triple snapper systems on the back with a main camera, ultra-wide camera and telephoto camera[/caption]
A new-and-improved S-Pen stylus is shipping with the devices[/caption]
As far as the cameras go, the Note 20 sports a 12MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide camera and a 64MP telephoto lens.
That powerful telephoto lens is capable of 3x hybrid optical zoom and 30x digital zoom.
The Ultra’s got the same setup, but with a souped up 108MP telephoto lens capable of 5x optical zoom and 50x digital “Space Zoom”, as Samsung calls it.
This is actually a step down from the 100x Space Zoom offered by Galaxy S20 Ultra – likely in response to criticisms that photos came out too blurry when the digital zoom was at full tilt.
On the front, each phone has a single 10MP selfie camera.
The Note 20 comes with a triple-camera system on the back[/caption]
The phone sports a retro squared-off design[/caption]
As part of its partnership with Microsoft, the Note 20 series will let you stream top games from Xbox Game Pass with a free three-month trial.
You can even plug an Xbox One controller into the smartphones for the ultimate gaming experience.
A free controller will come with the Note 20 Ultra in some markets.
Samsung said it has also upgraded the Notes’ S-stylus, a high-tech pen that you can use to type or draw on the screen instead of your finger.
Improved latency makes pen more responsive and “like you’re actually writing”, according to Samsung, while the firm has added five new gesture controls that let you wave the stylus like a wand above your phone to perform certain actions, such as going back on a webpage.
Samsung – a brief history
Here’s what you need to know…
- Samsung is a major South Korean company made up of many businesses that operate globally
- It’s known locally as a “chaebol”, which means “business conglomerate”
- It was founded by Lee Byung-chul in 1938 as a trading company
- But over several decades, it branched out into food processing, insurance, textiles and retail
- It wasn’t until the late 1960s when Samsung entered the electronics industry – for which it’s best known in the west today
- It also launched businesses in construction and shipbuilding in the 1970s
- Today, Samsung’s most important sources of income are its smartphones and computer chips
- The firm accounts for around a fifth of South Korea’s total exports, and roughly 17% of the country’s GDP
- More than 320,000 staff are employed by Samsung globally
- And in 2017, Samsung turned over the equivalent of £174billion today in revenue
The final major feature is that both phones come with 5G connectivity (though a 4G-version of the basic Note 20 is available).
The next-generation mobile network provides lightning-fast speeds that can download an HD movie in seconds – though you’ll likely need to fork out extra for a 5G contract.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra come with “all-day” battery lives.
That’s pretty bog standard for smartphones these days, and likely a long way off the current battery champions of the smartphone world: The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro max, which will last most users up to two days.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 – display
Note phones come with a stylus you can pull out and use to tap or draw on the screen like a pen[/caption]
On to the absolutely enormous screens, with both the Note 20 (6.7″) and Note 20 Ultra (6.9″) offering gorgeous dynamic AMOLED displays.
They’ve got edge-to-edge designs (though we expect nothing less from Samsung at this point) with small “hole-punch” selfie cameras carved into the top.
Each screen is capable of a refresh rate – the new buzzword of the consumer tech world – of up to 120hz.
Your screen’s refresh rate refers to the number of times it updates with new images each second.
Both phones offer gorgeous dynamic AMOLED displays[/caption]
A higher rate grants smoother gaming and social media scrolling with next-to no lag. It’s almost imperceptible, but it feels good under your fingers.
Most phones sit at about 60hz, with more modern mobiles pushing this to 90hz or higher. The OnePlus 8 Pro, for instance, has a 120hz screen.
The Note 20’s 120hz rate is “adaptive”, meaning it can change the frequency depending on what you’re doing to save battery.
There’s a load of other jargon used by Samsung to describe the Note 20’s display, but to cut to the chase, it looks extremely good and will undoubtedly be one of the best smartphone displays of the year.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 – colours, price and release date
Here’s what it looks like in the box, in case that’s of interest[/caption]
Pre-orders for the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra opened today and the mobiles will ship on August 21.
For the basic Note 20, you’re looking at coughing up at least £849, while the Ultra starts at a knee-wobbling £1,179.
The mobiles are available from Samsung’s website and Amazon, as well as most major UK and US mobile networks.
The Note 20 comes in three colours: Mystic grey, mystic green and mystic bronze.
Anyone splashing out on the Ultra can choose from mystic bronze and mystic black, while a third “mystic white” hue is available in select markets.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
Samsung also showed off a new folding smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2[/caption]
The mobile folds out like a book to reveal a huge 7.6″ screen[/caption]
Samsung also showed off its latest folding smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.
The gadget bends like a book, and is as large as a tablet when unfolded (7.6″) while fitting in your pocket like a smartphone when folded (6.2”).
The firm has dropped the eyesore dark notch that cut into the screen of last year’s disastrous Samsung Galaxy Fold, replacing it with a hole-punch camera.
The primary question for most buyers, however, will be whether Samsung has fixed the screen issues that plagued the Fold 2’s predecessor.
The mobile is pretty thin when unfolded, at just 6mm[/caption]
The £1,800 phone was briefly cancelled just before it hit shelves in April 2019 when review samples broke after a few days.
Some journalists reviewing the device noticed the screen stopped working, while others reported an unsightly crease forming at the point where its plastic screen folded.
Samsung pulled the launch and spent months altering the design to make it more durable. It was finally released in the UK September 18.
For the Z Flip 2, Samsung said it had replaced the plastic used for the original screen with a new, glass material.
Called UTG, the glass is processed to be extremely thin to improve durability. Samsung said it had also improved the hinge mechanism.
The phone is available in two colours: Mystic black and mystic bronze.
It’s not clear when the Z Fold 2 is coming out. Samsung said pre-orders begin September 1.
What are the experts saying?
The Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra hit shelves on August 21[/caption]
Tech analyst Paolo Pescatore warned that while the Note 20 series’ specs are impressive, the phones’ sky-high price tags will likely prove too much for most consumers.
“The new Note 20 Ultra 5G is a powerful beast waiting to be unleashed,” Paolo said.
“It is perfect for users who have an insatiable appetite for bandwidth hungry applications on the move.”
He added: “While, the enhanced features will resonate with users the eye watering price will potentially deter them.
“It is an uncertain time to launch a new premium device given the challenging competitive and economic environments.
In other news, Netflix has added new controls that let Android users speed up or slow down the pace of their favourite shows.