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Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra – simply, unarguably the best
5.0Overall Score
Name: Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra
Price (RRP): $from 1449-2199
Manufacturer: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra in 4G or 5G are simply, unarguably the best Google Android smartphones on the planet. It is a shame that 99% of us won’t get to experience that.

We all have champagne tastes on a lemonade budget. Sadly, most will not know the certain satisfaction in owning the Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra 5G.

Satisfaction in knowing that no matter what you throw at it – games, multi-tasking, heavy computational apps – they will come through. Pleasure in knowing you have the biggest, best, fastest pocket computer around. Oh, and it will do anything other lesser smartphones can too – only better.

And that is the way you must look at these devices – pocket computers plus benefits. You buy these for the S Pen, amazing camera, huge vibrant super AMOLED screen, masses of horsepower and the secret productivity sauce called DeX.

Last year we reviewed the Note10 (4.9/5) and the Note10+ (5/5). The Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra 2020 scores are the same as there is just a tad spec difference. There is no difference in the delight of ownership.

Australian review – Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra

  • Website here
  • Price: See table below – from $1449 to $2199. Samsung is offering a trade-in program and 36-months interest-free offer via Latitude Finance
  • Elevator pitch: Simply the best (sorry Tina Turner)
  • From: Samsung Online and major CE retailers and Telcos
  • Warranty: 2-years
  • Country of Manufacture: Vietnam
  • Samsung is a South-Korean global supplier of smartphones, tablets, TVs, home appliances and more.

We have both on the test bench. The key difference is the Note20 has a 6.7″ flat AMOLED screen, and the Note20 Ultra has a 6.9″ curved edge Infinity AMOLED screen. Apart from some fairly minor battery, memory/storage and camera differences, the bones are the same.

Results apply to both, and we will show any substantial differences. We refer to the Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra as GN20 and GN20U.

As usual, we use the terms FAIL, PASS and EXCEED against test paradigms. As these are the best, please forgive the overly long review. We figure if you want to spend the money, you should know what it can do. Warning – this review is 4000 words and took over four weeks of solid use and testing. You wanted detail!

Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra models

The Note range is a prime target for grey market and parallel importers. We have named and shamed the major ones here. If you are going to spend this much money, get a genuine ‘Made for Australia’ model.

These are the official Australian models (followed by colour codes) – all prefixed with SM and must finish with SA, e.g. 986BZKEXSA. Under Settings, About Phone and Regulatory Information, it must show the C-Tick mark only.

  • 980FZ – Note20 LTE  
  • 981BZ – Note20 5G
  • 985FZ – Note20 Ultra LTE
  • 986BZ – Note 20 Ultra 5G

Colours are

  • NEX (Bronze 256GB – Note20 Ultra LTE and 4G)
  • WEX (White 256GB – ditto)
  • KEX (Black 256GB – ditto)
  • KFX (Black 512GB – Note 20 Ultra 5G only)
  • GEX (Green 256GB – Note20 LTE and 5G)
  • AEX (Grey 256GB – Note20 LTE and 5G only)
Samsung Galaxy Note20/Note20 Ultra Mystic Bronze

There are currently no Dual Sim (DS) models for Australia. We get the version with an eSIM and a single nano-sim.

These all have the Exynos 990 chip and Australian modem (see LTE and 5G bands later). Do not buy any using the Qualcomm SD865+ SoC.

Point of interest

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G has a 42% Bill of Materials cost of US$549 of its US$1299 price. By comparison, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is about US$490 of its US$1249 cost.

Counterpoint Research says the Qualcomm/Exynos versions have 50/89.3% of that for Samsung made components. As Samsung controls most of its supply chain, it can offer superior value compared to Apple that has to buy components from a third-party.