Samsung Galaxy Note 20 leak reveals big S Pen upgrade

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

The new S Pen in the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 20 could be mightier than the Galaxy Note 10’s stylus, all thanks to a rumored 9ms response time.

At least that’s going by a tweet by serial tech leaker Ice Universe, who simply tweeted “9ms” leading to a flurry of speculation as to what it might refer to. But given that Ice Universe has been tweeting Galaxy Note 20 leaks today, we can guess that tweet related to Samsung’s upcoming flagship phone. 

While both models of the Galaxy Note 20 are expected to have a 120Hz refresh-rate displays, we don’t expect them to have a response time of 9ms. 

So going by the speculation in some of the responses to Ice Universe’s tweet and our own digging, we can posit that 9ms will be the response time of the Galaxy Note 20's S Pen. After all, the Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro 2020 has a 9ms response time, so it would make sense for Samsung to want to catch up.

When this low response time is combined with a 120Hz refresh-rate display, using the S Pen with the Galaxy Note 20 phones could be a much sharper experience. That’s not to say the S Pen in the Galaxy Note 10 Plus was sluggish by any means, but using it to scroll through web pages and tap at text could be just a smidgen slicker. 

For people who like to use the S Pen to scribble notes, annotate photos or draw on their phone, a faster response time will be a boon. It won't revolutionise the S Pen experience, but it would appear that the Galaxy Note 20 is shaping up to be the sum of a number of upgrades over the Galaxy S20 series and its Note 10 predecessors.

From what we’ve heard so far, the Galaxy Note 20 will come with a 6.42-inch display, a Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 992 chipset, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space. Battery size will range between 4,000 mAh and 4,300 mAh, and 5G connectivity will be in the mix. As for cameras, the Note 20 will use a 12MP main camera, a64MP telephoto camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera and include a time-of-flight sensor. 

It’s pretty much the same story for the Galaxy Note 20 Plus (or Note 20 Ultra), only that phone will use a 6.87-inch display with LTPO technology designed to dynamically adjust the refresh rate to avoid the phone using up battery power when it’s not needed. Speaking of which, the battery is set to range between 4,500 mAh to 5,000 mAh. Storage will come in 256GB or 512GB variations, and 12GB of RAM will be on offer. 

As for rear cameras, the Galaxy Note 20 Plus is expected to have a 108MP main camera with an improved sensor over that of the Galaxy S20 Ultra, a 13MP telephoto lens and a 12MP ultrawide camera. An additional laser focus sensor will help improve the camera array’s depth sensing. 

Set to be revealed on August 5, according to the latest leaks, the Galaxy Note 20 could be Samsung's strongest flagship phone yet. Whether it will measure up to other upcoming phones such as the iPhone 12, has yet to be seen. But with a suite of improvements, it could be one of the best phones released this year. 

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.