Here's why you need to protect your Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Best camera phone: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has plenty going for it, but its great-looking dynamic 6.9-inch 120Hz display is undoubtedly one of its most impressive features. So if you've opted to upgrade to the Note 20 Ultra, you're likely rightfully concerned about keeping that display as pristine as humanly possible. 

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is also the first flagship phones to boast the improved Gorilla Glass Victus. A massive step up from Gorilla Glass 6, it can supposedly help that pricey new smartphone of yours survive drops up to 6.5 feet on hard surfaces (compared to 5.25 feet) and offers twice the scratch resistance. All this means your Note 20 Ultra will be less prone to damage via drops or tumbling around in your pocket, of course. But it hardly means the phone is invincible. 

Though Gorilla Glass Victus offers a marked improvement over even the Galaxy Note 20's Gorilla Glass 5 (now two generations old), it's still susceptible to damage. In fact, drop tests and other torture tests show that it can suffer scratches and scuffs as any other smartphone. 

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra drop and scratch test results

CNET conducted several scratch and drop tests on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, including jostling the phone around in a bag with a set of keys, a pen, and coins. It was also slid around on rough ceramic tile.

The Note 20 Ultra did well inside the purse, but suffered some scratches after being slid on tile. During a test with the screen facing up, the entire glass black shattered with devastating cracks. The glass didn't fall off, but it was almost completely broken. It fared better with a 6-foot drop test with the screen facing down, though it did crack all over, with fractures all across the phone in the end. 

YouTuber JerryRigEverything put the Note 20 Ultra through some rigorous testing, taking a set of mineral picks and rubbing at the screen violently to see what kind of scratches would show up at different levels. Unsurprisingly, the glass screen did end up showing up both shallow and deeper scratches. It did survive 20 seconds of being exposed to open fire from a lighter until the screen went black, but it still functioned. 

PhoneBuff conducted a drop test on the Note 20 Ultra that put its back, front, and corner to the test, with 10 additional drops under 5 feet. The display didn't crack and the phone still worked, but there were a few cracks near the camera on the back of the phone. It ultimately scored a 39/40, nearly 9 points more than the iPhone 11 Pro Max's score of 30/40.  

Bottom line

Ultimately, the Gorilla Glass Victus does offer boosted protection for your Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but it’s clear it’s still not completely impervious to damage. Unfortunately, claims of the phone being “nearly indestructible” aren’t exactly true, as a drop could send you rushing for repairs. If you want to keep your new phone as safe as possible, a case and screen protector are still very much needed here for peace of mind – and for your wallet. 

Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.