A note on video
[email protected] is superb – if you have a playback device like a Samsung 8K TV. But it chews 80Mbps and will fill a 128MB card in about 10 minutes.
If you are serious about video beyond a few minutes, you are going to need either the GN20U with 512GB memory or a USB-C 3.2, Gen 1 external OTG SSD. And you can now add a USB-C mic from Blue, Rode ort Sennheiser and have on-phone control.
Video stabilisation is great in all resolutions up to 60fps.
A note on Zoom and Low light
Up to 5x zoom on either is fine for hand-held. Over that, you need a tripod. Similarly, night mode works vastly better with a tripod.
GadgetGuy’s take – Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra 5G – two quite but similar but different phones
The trade-offs (or perhaps trade-ups depending on which way you look at it) for the Note20 are a smaller 1080p screen, less RAM, no MicroSD, 30x hybrid zoom and a slower S Pen. We don’t care if the back is ‘glasstic’. It is a formidable device.
The Note20 Ultra has the larger 4K, 120Hz screen, 12GB of RAM, microSD, 50X Hybrid and a faster S Pen. Is it worth $350 more?
Technically, yes. But given money is hard to come by I would not be surprised if the lower-specified Note20 is more popular.
My takeaway message – there is no better. But if you forget the S Pen and look at the amazing $899 Samsung A71 5G (review here and 4.6/5), I know which way COVID convicts will go.
The Note20 4G/5G 256GB is $1499/$1649. The Note20 Ultra 4G/5G is $1849/$1999 – or add $200 to double the storage to 512GB. For that, you get a lot of phone!
BTW if you own one the differences between it and the Note20 are not enough to commit hara-kiri.
There is no stylus-based competition. The only other phone you could drool over is the OPPO Find X2 Pro 4.9/5). It is $1599 and uses the Qualcomm SD865+. Specs-wise it sits above the GN20 and almost at the GN20U for camera level. OPPO has two OS upgrades.
If you don’t have over $1000, then three are three Qualcomm SD765G 5G phones worth mention (reviews underlined)
- LG Velvet $899 4.9/5
- OPPO Find X2 Neo $999 4.8/5
- Motorola Edge Normally $999 but on sale at $799. The 4.5/5 rating was due to its price, and that would creep up a few notches.
- Samsung A71 5G $899 4.6/5 uses Exynos processor
Rating the Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra
Earlier, we mentioned the use of FAIL, PASS and EXCEED against more than 70 test paradigms. If it PASSES all tests relevant to the price/specification range, it is going to score at least 4/5.
If it exceeds all tests, then it is going to score closer to 5/5. The one test we don’t rate is price because something is only worth what you are willing to pay for it. We do rate value for money against the competition.