Samsung Note 20 Ultra 5G Review

3 Min read

On June 1, 1984, I made my first cellphone call from my car. The handset was mounted on the center console of my Volvo 760 Turbo, the 12” x 12” control unit was bolted down in the trunk. Calls were around $0.50 a minute, the coverage was spotty, and the device was expensive – $3000 at the time, $7500 in today’s dollars. But I was now mobile!

I remained an early mobile adopter; my Fujitsu Flip was invaluable at Woodstock ’94, my 3 Nextel iDEN push-to-talk handsets kept our family connected through the late ‘90’s, then came Nokia’s innovation tsunami in the early 2000’s. I was then running global digital business development for EMI Music (Capitol Records, Virgin Records, The Beatles, etc.) and ended up on Nokia’s press list for devices.

Over the next four years I received camera phones, gaming phones, music phones, Christmas arrived every other week. At the same time, Motorola was also innovating, with their Razr and the first incarnation of the iPhone. (look it up, the backstory and backstabbing are fascinating!) The devices were getting smarter and sleeker.

However, the debut of the Apple-delivered iPhone in 2007 shrunk the competition to a battle between iOS and Android, essentially Apple vs. Samsung. Like Coke or Pepsi, you choose. I found myself to be an Android fan. Serendipitously, I was invited to participate in the Samsung White Glove influencers program. They provided a new Galaxy and Note phone every six months, I was hooked.

Then, in 2016, the Note 7 started overheating, in some cases the batteries actually caught fire. I had boarded a United flight to NYC, the pilot announced, “if you are carrying a Samsung Note 7 on this flight, please deplane now!” A month later, Samsung, inexplicably decided to shut down their influencer’s efforts. I now had to purchase my Samsung devices, I bought the Galaxy 8, 9, & 10, but held off on a new Note series device until the Note 20 Ultra 5G; it was worth the wait. I’ve had the handset for three months and I love it!


The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a sharp 108MP wide lens with laser auto focus, as well as a 12MP telephoto, with 5x optical zoom, and a 12MP ultra-wide. There is also a 10MP front camera with dual pixel autofocus. Samsung has also introduced a whole host of swipes and gestures for easy access to the camera – a simple swipe to flip between front and back cameras makes a lot of sense. These small, but well thought out, upgrades are extremely useful. While you can shoot in 8k (!), you get much more stable results with 4K and Full HD modes. The color accuracy is stunning, the detail is superb, the Pro settings deliver impressive customized results.


The 6.9in AMOLED Edge screen sports a 3088 x 1440 resolution, a “WQHD+” screen. Its adaptive 120Hz feature means the phone will switch automatically between 60Hz and 120Hz to best suit your content, which is a great feature. I watch a lot of TV, via my Slingbox 500, and YouTube videos, everything ‘pops’.


The sound of this handset is equally impressive, the Note 20 Ultra supports surround sound with Dolby Atmos technology (Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus included). Unfortunately, they have eliminated the 3.5mm headphone jack, but I bought the JSAUX USB C Headphone adapter, problem solved.


The Note Series is distinguished by its stylus feature, which keeps getting better and better, with a more responsive S Pen with a 9ms response rate. The versatile functionality of the stylus remains a key selling point for the Note and, if you can master its many functions, from writing to drawing to clicking and pointing, it can be a valuable tool for you.


I’m not judging this performance metric right now, as my carrier, T-Mobile has not fully deployed their 5G network in Los Angeles.


50x zoom camera with laser autofocus

Enhanced S Pen stylus functionality & performance
Excellent battery life

1tb of storage with the 512gb option and the inclusion of a 512gb micro-SD card


Very expensive when fully loaded @ $1300.00

Requires USB C headphones adaptor for high-end phones

The 5G functionality is underwhelming, but I fault T-Mobile for this deficiency


Buy it if you can afford it,
I have no regrets with my purchase.

Available here: Samsung Note 20 Ultra 5G

Image Source: Samsung

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Samsung Note 20 Ultra 5G Review

by Ted Cohen time to read: 3 min