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Sound quality is excellent from both. The sound stage is wider and higher than the phones (Dolby Atmos setting).

Sound Signature – Neutral – EXCEED

Both had very similar sound signatures.

  • Deep Bass: 20-40Hz – nil
  • Middle Bass: 40-100Hz – climbing gently from 40Hz to 100Hz – nice hints
  • High Bass: 100 to 200Hz – flat (good)
  • Low-mid: 200-400Hz – flat
  • Mid: 400-1000Hz – flat
  • High-mid: 1-2kHz – flat
  • Low-treble: 2-4kHz – flat
  • Treble:4-6kHz – flat – flat
  • High Treble: 6-10kHz – slight dip to avoid harshness
  • Dog whistle: 10-20kHz – strong to 13kHz then slight decline a to 20khz
Samsung Galaxy Note20/Note20 Ultra

But what I like are the EQ pre-sets that can adjust most frequency bands by +/-10dB. These include normal, Pop, Classical, Jazz, Rock and Custom.

Samsung/AKG has done an exceptional job in almost neutral tuning (flat) and speaker matching.

That means the EQ can make a difference across the sound signature spectrum. On lesser phones, all you can get is a little more bass at the expense of treble or visa-versa.

We tested the AKG tuned USB-C headset/mic, and it was also quite remarkable for buds. In the BT tests with our reference Sony WH-1000xM3 (M4 review soon), it defaulted to SBC, and we could use AAC. Still, the sound was excellent.

The Samsung Scalable codec (higher res and lower latency) only works with Samsung headsets like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live (review here 4.3/5). This is similar to the Qualcomm aptX/LL codec found in the Snapdragon version.

We found the Sony LDAC (Opus) codec under Developer options, but it did not connect. This may be the limit of the Exynos version.


4G Bands1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 32, 38, 49, 40, 41, 66
4G SpeedClaim: Up to 2000/200 Test (in 3 bar area) 175/40Mbps
-86dBm (excellent)
3G bands (not LTE)1, 2, 4, 5, 8
5Gn1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 28, 40, 77, 78
Only Sub-6Ghz n78 NSA for Australia
5G Speed (not tested)Claim: Up to 5.1Gbs but likely under 1Gbps
SIMeSIM and physical sim – both standby but only one active at a time
Dual SIM ring toneYes

Sorry, we could not test 5G speeds, but our experience is that out of five tests they will vary wildly. We have yet to find the right benchmarking software.

The LTE signal strength has improved over the Note10 with it now finding the adjacent tower.

Battery – EXCEED

MAX77705 Power supply monitor and glitch immunity to prevent over-voltage and heating
ChargeComes with Samsung Fast charge 25W PD 3.0 and QC 2.0
Fast Qi charge 15W Reverse wireless 9W charge Note there is no 45W support            
Tests1080p video/ aeroplane mode – 19 hours

WI-FI, BT general use – 11 hours

Full load – 6 hours
Discharge speed Screen on 400-500mA
Discharge rate Screen off .2mA
Charge time 25W – 1.5 hours
Charge Time Qi – 4 hours
Quick charge – 50% in 30 minutes
60Hz – 16h
120Hz – 13h
60Hz – 9h
120Hz – 7h


The difference between 120Hz (adaptive) versus 60Hz and 1080p versus 1440p is between 10-20% lower battery life.

For example, using PC Work 2.0 the GN20U achieves 11 h/46m at 1080p/60Hz, 10h/35m at 1440p/60Hz and 9h at 1080p/120Hz. But these tests don’t reflect real-world use.

On the whole, these meet or exceed the Note10+ battery specs. The omission of the 45W fast charge is puzzling as other brands promote 65W or more.

When you look at the fast charge of the S20 Ultra 5G (65% in 30 minutes and 100% in 60 minutes) and the OPPO Find X2 Pro (95% in 30 minutes and 100% in 36 minutes) you wonder why Samsung took the safe route. Well, at least it beats the iPhone 11 Pro Max for speed (that takes over 2 hours for a full charge).

The difference between the claimed capacity and the tested capacity is also puzzling. We suspect Samsung is overcautious to ensure no battery mishaps.

This has a genuine 5V/1.8A (9W) reverse charge and supports Apple iPhone and Watch (7W) and all Qi//WPC devices. It will charge the Samsung Galaxy Watch/3 and Active/2.

Standby use has improved – the Note 10+ uses about 15% per day in standby (screen off), and this is far lower.