Samsung Galaxy Note 20 could get this killer feature that iPhone 12 won't have

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 could get this killer feature that iPhone 12 won't have
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Samsung’s DeX mode could soon be going wireless with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, which would make the company's phablet do an even better job at doubling as a PC. 

Code that hinted at a wireless mode for DeX was uncovered by XDA Developers in the Samsung Tips app under the ‘Become a power user section’. The tip, which looks to have been added prematurely into the app, comes with an animation that shows how a DeX quick toggle list will display all devices in the user’s vicinity that can be connected to DeX wirelessly. 

Originally launched with the Galaxy S8 back in 2017, DeX provided the means by which a Galaxy phone could be plugged into an external monitor and serve up a desktop interface that's similar to a Chrome OS experience you’d have on a Chromebook. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Initially, DeX required a dedicated dock, then a pad, and then a dedicated cable. But now Samsung simply allows you to connect, say a Galaxy S20, to a display via a multiport adapter, USB-to-HDMI or a standard USB-C cable. Using the latter cable also allows you to plug a compatible Galaxy phone or tablet into your PC or laptop and access DeX features within a Windows 10 or macOS environment, adding an additional selection of apps and features to the desktop. 

DeX hasn’t been showered with huge amounts of praise as a means to make your Galaxy phone a desktop or laptop replacement. But it’s still a neat feature and showcases the power of Samsung’s phones and tablets.  

Samsung DeX wireless mode

(Image credit: XDA Developers)

A wireless mode, however, could make DeX a lot more intuitive and natural to use. And such a mode would very likely be baked into the Galaxy Note 20, and it could roll out to other current handsets like the Galaxy S20 lineup.

Given the Galaxy Note 20 is set to have a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus chip, we’d expect it could make quick work of the once sluggish DeX interface. And with up to 12GB of RAM expected for the larger Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and a sizable 5,000 mAh battery pack, that handset could be the perfect partner for DeX, offering a backup desktop computer if a person’s laptop or PC malfunctions. The rumored 6.42-inch and 6.87-inch displays of the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra would also make them decent secondary screens for people with limited desk space for dual monitors. 

As such, a wireless DeX mode could be a nice addition to the range of features the Galaxy Note 20 phones are set to have, and could give Samsung an extra weapon against the iPhone 12 this fall. Future iPhones may be able to run macOS and connect to a special MacBook dock according to recent Apple patents, but we wouldn't expect this technology to arrive until the iPhone 13 at the earliest.

The standard Note 20 is expected to have a trio of cameras comprising 12MP main, 64MP telephoto, and 12MP ultrawide lenses, along with a time-of-flight sensor to help with special photography effects like bokeh. The Note 20 Ultra is expected to have a more advanced rear camera setup featuring a 108MP main camera, a 13MP telephoto lens, and a 12MP ultrawide camera. It will also have a laser focus sensor to aid focussing and deliver better depth detail in phone photography, as well as improve portrait mode shots like a ToF sensor would. 

The true specs of both Galaxy Note 20 handsets and the next steps for DeX are expected to be revealed at Samsung’s next Unpacked event on August 5. And the phones look set to be joined by the reveal of the Galaxy Z Flip 5G, Galaxy Tab S7 and the Galaxy Watch 3

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.