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First impression – EXCEED

I am really glad that Samsung supplied the Grey Note20 and the Bronze Note20 Ultra. The grey is elegant and sophisticated, and the Bronze is not my colour. My wife quite likes it and calls it Dusty Rose – perhaps more apt.

The Note20 has a flat-screen, and the Ultra has a rounded edge screen – although not as rounded as past Notes or Edges. The 2.45mm camera hump is extreme – it has to be to house all the hardware. It rocks when placed on a desk, so use a case. We also recommend a tempered glass screen protector – your investment and next trade-in value depends on its good condition.

Samsung Galaxy Note20/Note20 Ultra

Screen – EXCEED

ItemGN20GN20U
Screen6.7″ flat
2400×1080, 393ppi
60Hz

Super AMOLED

Centre 3.5mm O-hole
89.2% STBR
20:9
16.7M colours
6.9″ 3D flexible
3088×1440, 496ppi
60-120Hz and 240Hz touch*
Dynamic AMOLED 2X (LPTO)
Same
92% STBR
19.3:9
Same
*Note: 4K is only 60Hz
Brightness claim
Adaptive Max
Adaptive off
Black
Contrast
Delta E
Gamut Vivid
Gamut Natural
White balance
RGB adjust
HDR10+

1000 nits
900-1000
350-650
Pure
Infinity ∞:1
4
DCI-P3 96.8%
sRGB 100%+
6000-8000K
Yes
Only 1080p

1500 nits
1000-1600
400-700
same
same
2.1
DCI-P3 -100-108%
sRGB 126-135%
6100-8200K
same
Only 1080p with Dynamic Metadata and Tone Mapping
ProtectionGorilla Glass 5Gorilla Glass 7
Victus 2m drop
Fingerprint underUltrasonic fingerprintSame
Day readability
Screen reflectivity
Polaroid sunglass
Blue light filter
Ambient light Gaming
Widevine
Up to 15,000 lux
Low <4.4% Yes
Yes
Yes
Dual light sensors F/B 18ms G-T-G
L1 HDCP 2.2
Up to 20,000 lux
Same
Same
Same
Same
9ms G-T-G
Same
AOD Proximity sensorYes – customisable
TMD-9407 wake-up under glass
Same
Same
Video playbackMP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBMSame
Smart ViewScreen mirror [email protected]
USB-C Alt DP – up to [email protected] on TV
Same
Edge Panel (slide out from the right side)Apps
Smart Select Tools Messages
People
Tasks Weather
Reminder Clipboard
Same

Both screens are perfect.

Samsung Galaxy Note20/Note20 Ultra

The GN20U screen has rare A+ award from Displaymate stating it is visually indistinguishable from perfect. It uses a new Diamond Pixel array that uses different sized RGB pixels based on their efficiency. While it has an adaptive screen rate (48/60/96/120Hz), this only applies to the 1080p setting.

The GN20 screen is no slouch – it is more of the Galaxy S20 generation. You are not losing much by buying this smaller screen.

Samsung Galaxy Note20/Note20 Ultra
L-R – Office Light – Pixel 4a, GN20, GN20U, TCL 10 Pro, Mint A5/X5/Y5
Samsung Galaxy Note20/Note20 Ultra
Outdoors direct sunlight – L-R Pixel 4a, GN20, GN20U, TCL 10 Pro, Mint A5/X5/Y5

Processor – EXCEED

ProcessorSamsung Exynos 990, 7nm
2×2.73GHz+2×2.50GHz+4×2.0GHz
ModemExynos 5123 (separate)
SecurityIntegrated secure element (iSE)* layer stores and manages users’ data separately from the operating system. Includes a physically unclonable function (PUF) – a digital fingerprint, that generates an unclonable key for data encryption.
GPU
Geekbench 5 Compute Open CL
Other
Mali-G77 MP11
5574



It will play all modern games to up to the highest frame rates. It has a Game Booster mode.
Note the GN20U has a CS40L2 Cirrus Logic chip for UWB*
Geekbench 5 single/multi-core924/2820

The Exynos 990 first appeared in the Galaxy S20. It is functionally equivalent to the Qualcomm SD865+ for the China and US markets. There is no downside in buying the Exynos – besides, that is what we get in Australia.

BTW the SD865+ in its Tab S7 has a Geekbench 5 score of 968/2810 (about the same). But its Compute score of 3516 is well below the Exynos at 5574.

It packages the CPU, GPU, NPU, AI Camera, Audio, Video, DSP, LPDDR5 and UFS 3.0 storage into one chip offering the lowest latency and highest performance between those components.

* The iSE S3K250AF performs a similar function to Google Pixel Titan M and Apple’s T2. But it is in addition to Samsung Knox software security giving it dedicated tamper-resistant strongbox for confidential and cryptographic data. Pins, passwords, crypto-currency credentials, and credit card payment tokens are stored separately from standard mobile memory and can’t be hacked. Add to that the Thales eSIM and NFC protection that makes the S20 series the most secure NFC/contactless payment smartphones on the planet.

CPU throttle test 15 minutes full load 60Hz screen – EXCEED

As you would expect, the devices have excellent thermal design and are capable of sustaining 100% load at less than 10% loss. The processor starts at 171,592GIPS and averages 157,521.

But we did get some odd readings in rerunning the test after prolonged uptime. The GN20U dropped to about 80% and stubbornly stayed there. That is not a major issue.

RAM/Storage – EXCEED

RAM
Storage
MicroSD
8GB LPDDR5
128GB or 256GB (220GB free)
No
12GB LPDDR5
128/256/512GB UFS 3.0
Dedicated slot

The RAM and storage are the fastest on the planet. We achieved approx. 1650/760Mbps sequential read/write – that is not far off PCIe NVME 2-lane SSD.

The key difference here is that the GN20U has a dedicated microSD and dedicated sim slot, but with USB-C 3.1 gen 1 5Gbps and OTG connectivity, it supports external SSDs to 2TB – no deal-breaker.

* Ultra-Wideband (UWB on the GN20U only) – what is it?

It is like ANT+ that allows you to find other nearby compatible smartphones and devices. It is smart enough to securely control compatible car and door locks as it has precise location, spatial and angle of arrival capability.

Samsung has a techy explanation here.

Sound – EXCEED

SoundEarpiece (L) and down-firing speaker (R)
Stereo 2.0
32-bit/128kHZ
AKG tuned
Dolby Atmos and Dolby Audio
No 3.5mm port
Same
Amp2 x CS35L41 Cirrus Logic Mono Class D 5.3W 1% THD amps with DSP and speaker protection.Same

Tests dBRingtone: 81
Media: 77
Notices: 80
Music: 78.1 but can get to 85dB
79.6
76.3 79.1 77.1
Hands-freeTest: Loud and clear at both ends – better than most 
Playback CodecsMP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA, APE, DSF, DFFSame
BT 5.0SBC, AAC and Samsung Scalable (requires Samsung device like Buds Live)
No aptX or LDAC
Dual simultaneous audio device playback
Same
Mics2 with Acoustic Overload Point to minimise noiseSame

We believe that an earpiece speaker can never match a bottom-firing speaker – it is about physics. There is a slight difference in volume levels from both, but overall, it is not noticeable.