Is it nonetheless price shopping for?

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Samsung’s 2021 has seen combined fortunes at first look, with the Galaxy S21 collection delivering cheaper value tags throughout the board however reportedly seeing decrease gross sales. The corporate has additionally launched new cutting-edge foldables within the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, though it’s too early to say whether or not these are a industrial success but.

One factor we aren’t seeing in 2021 is a brand new Galaxy Observe flagship, as Samsung confirmed earlier this yr that this wouldn’t be the case. As an alternative, these in search of that Observe-like expertise are being pointed within the route of the Galaxy S21 Extremely and Galaxy Z Fold 3, with each now providing S Pen assist.

There’s one different possibility although, and that’s final yr’s Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely. Samsung’s Observe collection is historically extra than simply an S Pen, because it’s additionally been probably the greatest telephones for energy customers. So, as the latest Galaxy Observe telephone available on the market, how does the telephone fare a yr after its launch? That’s what we’re in our Samsung Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely long-term review.

Samsung Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely review recap

Earlier than we stock on with our long-term review, now’s pretty much as good a time as any to look again at what we considered the telephone at launch. You may learn the total review over right here and watch our video above. You may as well take a look at our six month revisit for the telephone right here.

How has the Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely aged?

The Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely was among the many most feature-packed telephones of 2020, and time has principally been sort to it. There’s that slick 120Hz QHD+ OLED display, a stable Exynos 990 SoC (or Snapdragon 865 Plus within the US and China), 8/12GB of RAM, 128/256/512GB of storage, and a 4,500mAh battery. In different phrases, the core specs preserve this telephone respectable a yr later.

It’s additionally price noting that the Observe 20 Extremely packs a microSD card slot, which isn’t current on the Galaxy S21 collection. It is a main promoting level for individuals who need probably the most native storage doable and people who lamented its loss on Samsung’s 2021 flagships.

One other level within the telephone’s favor is that Samsung is promising three main OS updates for the gadget. The telephone launched with Android 10 and obtained an improve to Android 11 thereafter, which suggests you may count on Android 12 and Android 13 on the very least. Toss in 4 years of safety patches and the Observe 20 Extremely ought to age higher than different units from a software program perspective.

Transferring to fundamental efficiency, our review unit comprises the Exynos 990, and it usually saved issues working and not using a hitch. Whereas there was some controversy concerning the processor at launch, between multitasking, internet looking, and launching apps, on a regular basis utilization was a easy expertise. In actual fact, the one time I actually noticed any main lag exterior of video games was within the first couple of minutes after restarting the gadget. There’s additionally a delay of about two seconds between snapping 108MP photographs, however that is comprehensible given the sheer quantity of knowledge being processed at that time.

Take a look at: The most effective Samsung telephones

Gaming is a far more durable check of a telephone’s internals, and the Observe 20 Extremely is a principally easy expertise. Certainly one of my go-to titles for pushing a telephone is Nascar Warmth Cell, owing to the large variety of automobiles on observe without delay, however issues ran at a really fluid tempo. We additionally tried out Name of Responsibility Cell and Genshin Influence, with the previous working very easily. Genshin Influence was completely playable too however was vulnerable to decelerate at instances, particularly when merely swiping the camera round.

One other nice check of a telephone’s capabilities is emulation, and we ran video games like Metroid Prime and F-Zero GX by way of the Dolphin emulator and its default settings. Sadly, the previous supplied an especially erratic expertise, briefly grinding to a halt at instances. The latter recreation additionally noticed some stutter as properly, though it appears to be a barely extra constant expertise. We examined these video games on the Snapdragon 865-toting LG V60 (one other nice telephone from 2020) they usually each ran at a a lot smoother, extra constant tempo with out-of-the-box settings.

The Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely is not the only option for gaming should you’ve obtained the Exynos 990 variant.

Our personal Eric Zeman famous that his Snapdragon unit ran scorching in his review, however I haven’t felt this to be the case in any respect with the Exynos variant throughout my gaming periods. I’m undecided whether or not that is because of the chipset distinction itself, the truth that some fashions have completely different cooling programs, or system updates by Samsung. However, we’d positively recommend you get the Snapdragon 865 Plus variant should you intend to play technically demanding video games and emulators on the Observe 20 Extremely.

Efficiency doesn’t imply a lot with out battery life, and one other certainly one of Eric’s gripes in his unique review was the middling endurance. A interval of some comparatively heavy utilization (YouTube, YouTube Music, downloading/putting in video games) yielded below six hours of screen-on time on the adaptive refresh fee, which isn’t dangerous for the battery capability. The telephone nonetheless delivers a full day at this tempo and you may change to 60Hz should you want longer battery life. In different phrases, you’re getting stable endurance, however it’s a drop down from units just like the Galaxy S21 Extremely.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra with the S Pen in its slot.

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

It should be mentioned that the S Pen assist right here continues to be the most effective you’ll get on any latest Samsung telephone, together with the Galaxy S21 Extremely and Galaxy Z Fold 3. The truth that you’ve obtained a devoted slot for the stylus is clearly extra handy, for starters. Then there’s the Bluetooth connection right here (lacking from the usual S Pens seen on the opposite units), enabling a number of additional remote-like options.

Associated: The final word information to the Samsung S Pen

The largest draw back to utilizing the S Pen on the Observe 20 Extremely is that it nonetheless feels manner too cramped. For instance, utilizing the Samsung keyboard’s handwriting recognition to put in writing messages is painful just because there’s so little area obtainable. It isn’t a lot better with the Samsung Notes app, both. It actually looks like anybody eager to comfortably write greater than a brief grocery record ought to in all probability get a Samsung pill or the Galaxy Z Fold 3. It doesn’t assist that the telephone wobbles on a flat floor too, however extra on that in a bit.

In actual fact, I’d argue that the actual power of the S Pen for most individuals is the distant performance. Whether or not you’re utilizing it as a distant shutter button whereas the telephone is on a tripod, controlling media playback whereas your telephone is linked to a giant display, or just navigating by way of your gadget by way of accessibility options, it’s turn out to be a reasonably versatile device for non-writing duties.

The front of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and an S Pen.

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Particular point out ought to go to the 120Hz QHD+ OLED display, because it’s nonetheless beautiful a yr later. In saying so, the shortcoming to run on the larger 120Hz refresh fee at QHD+ decision was a minor oversight in 2020 and is slightly evident now. You’re nonetheless getting a high-quality show regardless, however having to decide on between decision and smoothness is slightly disappointing when a number of 2020 and 2021 flagships let you have got the most effective of each worlds.

One other quite fascinating omission is that you could’t pressure 120Hz on a regular basis. It’s an adaptive or 60Hz affair right here. I get that the telephone’s battery would seemingly run down very quickly flat if 120Hz was on on a regular basis (even for photographs and different comparable content material), however giving individuals the choice is healthier than deciding for them. Even a 90Hz mode could be a great compromise between a excessive refresh fee and saving juice. Nonetheless, these in search of a slick, expansive display can be proper at house.

A premium, however tall design

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra camera bump.

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Top-of-the-line issues concerning the Observe 20 Extremely at launch was its design, and this stays true 12 months down the road. The flat, polished metallic edges on the highest and backside and the metallic body generally each make the telephone really feel very sturdy but premium. I don’t personally look after glass backs nevertheless it’s an anticipated function for contemporary flagships, which is greater than may be mentioned for the usual Galaxy S21 and, notably (pun supposed), the vanilla Galaxy Observe 20.

There are, nonetheless, two design-related selections which are nonetheless a bit robust to swallow in any case this time. For one, there’s the sheer dimension of the telephone. It isn’t fairly as large because the LG V60, nevertheless it’s definitely shut. This dimension and weight (208g) imply that the telephone feels unwieldy at instances, similar to whenever you’re studying in mattress. The Observe 20 Extremely matches in my denims pocket simply advantageous, however these with tracksuit pockets and the like would possibly need to be careful.

See additionally: The most effective Samsung Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely circumstances you may get

The opposite lamentable design alternative was the sizeable camera bump on the left aspect of the telephone’s again. Digital camera bumps alone aren’t an issue for me, as I’m okay with slightly protrusion if the cameras take nice footage. However the bump’s location implies that the telephone will certainly wobble anytime you faucet your finger within the top-left quadrant of the show whereas the telephone is flat on its again.

I’d quite see a big horizontal camera bump or Xiaomi’s phone-spanning housing on the Mi 11 Extremely. This manner, you keep away from the wobbling whereas nonetheless delivering nice camera {hardware}. Hopefully, the Galaxy Observe 22 (if it’s certainly within the works) addresses this situation.

What concerning the Observe 20 Extremely camera expertise?

The viewfinder in the Note 20 Ultra camera app.

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely shipped with a really versatile camera system in 2020, and it’s nonetheless a flexible expertise a yr later. In actual fact, you may argue that the combo of a 108MP most important camera, 12MP ultra-wide lens, and 12MP 5x periscope camera continues to be higher than some 2021 flagships.

Associated: The most effective camera telephones you may get

The 108MP camera was a little bit of a multitude on the Galaxy S20 Extremely owing to focusing points, however the Observe 20 Extremely does go some strategy to assuaging these issues. The addition of laser autofocus and in-camera prompts do offer you a greater alternative to get a pointy shot that’s completely in focus. However the giant sensor dimension leads to a shallow depth-of-field, which may be nice in some conditions but additionally implies that you’ll want to sometimes transfer the camera again a bit to maintain issues sharp.

Photographs are shot at 12MP by way of the principle camera and are usually detailed through the day, often taking a slight flip in direction of the saturated look. The colours are additionally constant between all three cameras, which isn’t all the time a given on different telephones. Take a look at the gallery under for a choice of photographs.

The one actual draw back to the first camera (and generally) in comparison with more moderen units is that it will probably falter slightly in sure backlit HDR scenes. You may be aware this discrepancy within the picture comparability under, exhibiting the Observe 20 Extremely versus the Vivo X60 Professional Plus. The Samsung telephone positively options extra element on the Lego mannequin (I tapped to deal with it in any case) nevertheless it comes on the expense of a blown-out background. This doesn’t occur usually in any respect although, and the telephone nonetheless prioritized what I tapped on within the first place, however it will’ve been cool to see the background tamed a bit.

You may as well shoot on the full 108MP decision too, and this could make a notable distinction to resolvable element in supreme situations. So those that like to crop and pixel-peep pictures after the actual fact will need to give this a strive. Nevertheless, darker components of the scene can see extra noise. You additionally lose out on the power to take super-fast burst photographs, however the shot-to-shot delay of as much as two seconds isn’t terrible given the calls for on the {hardware}.

The Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely continues to be a really succesful camera platform one yr down the road.

It’s additionally price noting that the telephone’s night time mode is a reasonably transformative affair in nearly absolute darkness, nevertheless it usually doesn’t go overboard like different OEMs in relation to the brightness of the scene total. Samsung additionally does a well-balanced job of noise discount in these conditions, eradicating grain with out smearing away particulars.

Transferring away from the first camera, the 5x periscope camera stays a top-notch shooter immediately as properly. You’re getting a wholesome quantity of resolvable element in good lighting when capturing at 5x and 6x, permitting you to crop in slightly extra if want be. Element stays respectable offered that you just keep away from something above 10x for probably the most half. Transfer past this and issues begin to resemble a messy oil portray, with no element, blurry edges, and blown-out whites.

The ultra-wide camera is maybe the one space the place Samsung is lagging behind on paper in 2021. It’s nonetheless a reasonably nice wide-angle snapper, however the lack of autofocus is slightly disappointing immediately. This omission means you lose out on macro photographs by way of this camera in addition to some flexibility by way of focusing — tapping elsewhere on the display solely adjustments the publicity.

When it comes to video high quality, Samsung has usually been on the head of the Android pack in delivering a elegant expertise. The Observe 20 Extremely nonetheless delivers a full-featured expertise on this regard, providing 8K/24fps video recording, Tremendous Regular stabilization, 120fps gradual movement, 960fps tremendous gradual movement (interpolated from 480fps), and extra.

It’s not all cutting-edge for video although, as Tremendous Regular video nonetheless produces the jelly impact in additional demanding eventualities, whereas 120fps video doesn’t fairly attain the 4K heights of recent rivals just like the OnePlus 9 Professional or Sony Xperia 1 III. However the elementary expertise continues to be nice in 2021.

Some minor annoyances

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra front camera semi macro

David Imel / Android Authority

Samsung’s newest Observe smartphone has held up fairly properly to this point then. However there are positively a number of areas for enchancment that bothered me throughout my testing.

The fingerprint scanner isn’t nice

The Observe 20 Extremely’s in-display fingerprint sensor isn’t the most effective expertise round. There have been fairly a number of instances when the telephone refused to unlock with my print. It really works far most of the time and it’s quick sufficient when it does work, however the failed unlocks happen simply sufficient to be slightly annoying.

It doesn’t assist that Samsung makes unlocking the telephone a little bit of a chore out of the field. You usually should work together with the display or hit the ability button to get the fingerprint icon to indicate, except you have got the always-on show enabled. Don’t have the always-on show lively? Then you definitely’ll have to allow the lift-to-wake gesture as an alternative. Why not allow this feature out of the field or one thing comparable? To be honest, you may nonetheless scan your finger with out the fingerprint icon showing on the display, however you must know exactly the place to position your finger.

One UI may be complicated out of the field

Samsung’s pores and skin positively has a number of questionable default behaviors for anybody coming from a unique telephone model. For one, the ability button prompts Bixby by default. I’m actually not a fan of assistants being tied to the ability button on the expense of all power-related performance — in order that was one of many first settings I modified. One other annoyance for anybody coming from a non-Samsung model is that you could’t set Google Uncover as your left-most display inside the default launcher, one thing that you are able to do on later Samsung telephones.

Learn extra: Every little thing you must find out about One UI

Another default alternative I hate in One UI is the truth that an upward swipe from a UI component on the backside of the display launches Samsung Pay. This makes for a irritating expertise should you’re utilizing gesture navigation and it’s one other function I rapidly disabled.

Lastly, performing the again gesture generally prompts the Edge Panel as an alternative. It is because the gesture doesn’t apply to the top-right aspect of the display close to the Edge Panel, forcing you to make use of the top-left aspect or the decrease half of the display. This limitation is comprehensible, however the sheer dimension of the telephone implies that you aren’t all the time going to be holding it by the underside half.

Charging wasn’t quick in 2020, and it’s slower now

The Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely presents 25W charging speeds, topping up in roughly 75 minutes in my very own expertise. Eric, alternatively, famous a top-up time of 70 minutes. Both manner, even a 50 to 60 minute charging time would’ve considerably narrowed the hole to rivals with out sacrificing battery well being an excessive amount of. In spite of everything, sub-one-hour charging instances have been a factor for not less than two or three years now.

Samsung Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely long-term review: The decision

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra camera bump means the phone isn't perfectly flat when on its back.

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely was priced at a quite eye-watering $1,300 at launch, though it was nonetheless $100 cheaper than the Galaxy S20 Extremely. Samsung’s late 2020 telephone has since seen a reduction to across the $950 mark, making it price a glance should you worth the S Pen expertise in a premium flagship. Options like water resistance, wi-fi charging, a periscope camera, a excessive refresh fee OLED display, and three years of OS updates spherical out an awesome telephone that’s nonetheless principally nice a yr later.

Do you have to truly purchase it in 2021 although? Effectively, should you don’t look after the S Pen slot or microSD growth then the Galaxy S21 Extremely is a no brainer over the Observe 20 Extremely. Samsung’s early 2021 flagship retails for ~$1,000 on the likes of Amazon as of late, providing water resistance, wi-fi charging, a excessive refresh fee OLED, and three years of OS updates too. It additionally brings a number of enhancements like 120Hz at QHD+ decision, two telephoto cameras, an even bigger battery, and a quicker chipset. And the S Pen assist continues to be welcome, even when storing it’s one other matter altogether.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra display

Samsung Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely

Larger, higher, and pricier

Samsung’s Galaxy Observe line has all the time been for the ability customers, and 2020’s fashions aren’t any completely different — particularly the Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely. This ultra-premium telephone is Samsung’s most refined gadget in 2020.

Do you suppose the Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely continues to be price shopping for a yr later? Tell us within the ballot above and within the feedback.

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