Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, to the test: the ‘smartphone’ that becomes a notebook

Technology News

Writing on the screen of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is quite similar to writing on a notepad. In this case, the paper is a screen. And the pencil, a pointed wand that is taken from the smartphone itself . By doing so, it is possible to take notes on a blank sheet of paper. Although the texture of the screen is different from that of a paper, each stroke sounds as if it is actually being written on a real one. This wand, already classic in Samsung’s Note, is a stylus called S Pen and also serves to control the mobile with gestures without touching the screen.

The main improvement of the S Pen of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra compared to other smartphones of the same family is the latency improvement – the delay that occurs between the touch of the screen and the execution of the action. It is nine milliseconds compared to 46 milliseconds of its predecessor, the Note 10 , and 24 milliseconds of the Note 20. In practice, the actions performed with the S Pen are instantaneous and there is practically no delay.

This is especially noticeable when writing on the screen. You can take notes and save them automatically from your computer or mobile in the cloud to be able to access them from any device. The terminal, which is focused on promoting productivity at work, transforms any point taken by hand to text and, in general, the results are quite good. The stylus can also be used to select part of the screen and save an image from it or extract the text from it.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra ISABEL RUBIO
Among the most curious functions are “animated messages”, which allows you to personalize videos and photos with handwritten messages, and “AR drawings” which, once the camera is activated, can paint over a face or anywhere else. For example, when you paint cat whiskers and start recording, the camera recognizes the face and tracks its movements so that the whiskers are continually well positioned on the face. The Penup application is designed to learn to draw while tracing an image from a video in real time.

The S Pen, which is especially useful if you are used to taking notes or working with your smartphone, not only works by touching the screen. It can be used as if it were a magic wand by simply pressing a small button on one of its sides and thus controlling the phone by making gestures in the air. For example, a slight movement of the wrist to the left serves to go back. Up to go to the home screen. And shake the stylus back and forth, to be able to write on a certain screen. Learning the gestures, which can be customized, requires a bit of training. Especially considering that even within applications such as the camera, the gallery, the Samsung browser or the voice recorder, you can choose what happens when you press the S Pen button or perform gestures with it. Gesture control works well but there is still room for improvement,

A giant screen and a protruding module
The Note 20 Ultra, which is compatible with 5G networks and will go on sale in bronze, black and white on August 21 from 1,299 euros, has a large 6.9-inch screen with curves on its sides. It is difficult to operate it with one hand. It is a terminal that looks a lot on the front, but on the back the huge camera module stands out remarkably. It has a main sensor of 108 megapixels, a telephoto lens and an ultra-wide angle of 12 megapixels each, and a depth sensor.

With the terminal, during the day the photographs come out quite sharp and with vivid and realistic colors. At night, a bit of quality is lost. In both cases a little more detail is missing when zooming in with the magnifying glass. The terminal has a unique capture mode that takes advantage of artificial intelligence to offer different versions of the same moment using each of its cameras. It is a function that can be interesting in order to choose images or videos taken at the same time from different angles or with different filters and share them on social networks. The camera also allows you to capture 8K video. In general, good definition is achieved, especially when shooting outdoors in broad daylight.

While the Note 20 has a 60 Hz refresh rate, the Note 20 Ultra allows you to use 60 Hz or 120 Hz depending on the content. The refresh rate is the number of times the screen updates the image it displays per second. The higher it is, the smoother the experience but also the terminal consumes more battery. The user can choose whether to use a 60Hz screen refresh rate to extend battery life or have the rate automatically adjust between 60Hz and 120Hz depending on usage.

The smartphone’s battery is 4,500 mAh. With normal use, it spreads throughout the day. But with heavy use and allowing the 120 Hz rate it has a hard time reaching the full day. Samsung boasts that it is possible to provide the terminal with 50% of the battery in 30 minutes. The truth is that it is not the fastest charge on the market, but it allows you to charge the device in just over an hour.

The Note 20 Ultra has an Exynos 990 processor, 8 or 12 GB of RAM and 256 or 512 GB of storage, which can be expanded with a microSD of up to 1 TB. The terminal tested by this newspaper has 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. The smartphone’s performance is good both in everyday actions and when playing games or editing videos. As you can expect from a high-end phone, the Note 20 Ultra runs applications quickly and without any lag or lag.

Active Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones
The mobile sounds very good but, like many other high-end terminals, it lacks a headphone jack. It is intended to be used with wireless headphones. Samsung presented the Galaxy Buds Live on August 5 at the Galaxy Unpacked. Pairing these devices with your phone takes just seconds. Their design is striking: they are shaped like a bean to fit perfectly in the ear and abandon the traditional ear cushions. In a first contact, they are comfortable, fit well and do not give the impression that they are going to fall.

The Galaxy Buds Live include three microphones and, according to Samsung, allow “listening to a loved one as if they were in the same room.” The sound, signed by AKG, is of quality, powerful and balanced. The headphones feature active noise cancellation. The user can choose to listen to the sounds in their surroundings or mute them. This last option isolates a lot from ambient noise and can be especially useful when teleworking. They also come with a game mode designed to prevent the sound from reaching the user with any latency.

Like most high-end headphones, they can be easily controlled with touch controls and feature a charging case. They have a 60 mAh battery designed to offer up to six hours of autonomy playing music. The charging case has 472 mAh and would serve to extend the autonomy up to 21 hours. The headphones, available in white, bronze and black, cost 199 euros.

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