Samsung Galaxy Note 20 secret weapon could crush iPhone 12

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 front and back
(Image credit: Windows United)

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 looks like it will be a beast of a flagship phone when it launches this August, as we just learned all of the key specs via a massive leak. And there’s one feature that could give the Note 20 a definitive edge against the iPhone 12.

You can expect two big-screen phones from Samsung this time around, including a 6.42-inch Galaxy Note 20 and a 6.87-inch Galaxy Note 20 Plus. But it’s what you’ll find underneath these displays that should impress — and make your life easier.

According to Ross Young, CEO at Display Chain Consultants, the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Plus will both be among the first phones to feature Qualcomm’s new 3D Sonic Max fingerprint scanner. This would be a huge upgrade over the small and sometimes finicky in-display sensor on the Samsung Galaxy S20.

The 3D Sonic Max fingerprint scanner is 17 times larger than its predecessor, which means there should be a much bigger sweet spot on the Galaxy Note 20 for you to unlock the device. Qualcomm also touts “increased speed and ease of use” according to a company press release.

Although Apple has been rumored to be working on an in-display Touch ID sensor for upcoming products, it’s not expected that this innovation will be ready in time for the iPhone 12. The rumor is that the iPhone 12 will stick with Face ID and improve it by allowing for wider viewing angles.

Unfortunately, many of us will still be wearing face masks come this summer and the fall in public, and up until now Face ID has not been able to recognize faces with masks. Instead, Apple developed a workaround for iOS 13.5 that will more quickly bring up the screen to enter your pin when your iPhone detects that you’re wearing a mask.

Assuming Samsung adopts the 3D Sonic Max fingerprint scanner, it would also allow you to use two fingers at once to unlock your device. And some people may prefer to have that extra security and peace of mind.

Based on the leaks, the Galaxy Note 20 would also offer a huge 16GB of RAM to start, compared to a rumored 6GB for the iPhone 12 Pro series. And both models will have 120Hz refresh rates, which had been rumored for the iPhone 12 Pro but has now been called into question.

Add it all up, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Plus could definitely steal the thunder away from Apple’s iPhone 12 launch. 

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.