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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 video reveals big camera upgrades

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
(Image credit: Ice Universe)

Some big new Galaxy Note 20 leaks have some interesting things to tell us about the camera on Samsung's upcoming phablet, while also confirming that the Note 20 will be a handsome device indeed.

First, let's talk camera leaks, as revealed by Jimmy Is Promo in a new YouTube video. Jimmy was responsible for some of the first real-life images of the Note 20, and what he has to show seems plausible based on other rumors about the new phone.

At the start of the video, Jimmy shows us the zoom options the Note 20 Ultra will come with. The presence of 5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid zoom and 50x maximum zoom has been mentioned before in other rumors, and is a step up from the 4x optical zoom (better known as the 100x 'Space Zoom') sensor from the Galaxy S20 Ultra. However it's believed this periscope sensor is much smaller than the S20 Ultra's, with a resolution of 13MP instead of 48MP, which may mean worse performance in low light.

For reference, the other cameras we expect to see on the Note 20 Ultra are a 108MP main camera (the same as the one on the S20 Ultra), a 12MP ultrawide sensor and a laser autofocus sensor to help with image quality and photo effects. The basic Note 20 gets the same ultra wide camera, but swaps the other lenses out for a 12MP main camera, a 64MP telephoto camera (likely the 3x hybrid zoom one also found in the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus) and a time-of-flight sensor to assist with photo effects.

(Image credit: Jimmy Is Promo)

Another previously rumored feature was the introduction of Pro Video settings, allowing keen smartphone videographers the same level of granular control that photographers do in Pro Photo mode. Pro Video gives access to several resolution and framerate options, plus a histogram for performing a quick analysis of the colors in frame.

(Image credit: Jimmy Is Promo)

There's also settings for audio capture mode, either front, rear or "omni" for both, alongside options for USB or Bluetooth microphones. Last year's Galaxy Note 10 introduced a "zoom-in mic" feature that allowed the user to more accurately record the sound of a distant subject. These audio capture settings seem to be an evolution of this. 

Being able to disable audio recording for one side of the phone or the other could be useful for recording footage with user commentary but with less prominent environmental sounds, or for focusing on the subject without the noise nearer to the user spoiling the video.

(Image credit: Jimmy Is Promo)

Under an accessibility menu, it looks like the Note 20 will be able to use Bixby to create an audio description of whatever you've taken a picture of. It's unfortunate that Bixby has a bad reputation as an ineffective digital assistant compared to the likes of Alexa and Google Assistant, but this seems like a genuinely useful feature that Samsung users with limited vision would really appreciate.

(Image credit: Jimmy Is Promo)

Also present within the Quick Settings menu is Nearby Share, which is believed to be an upcoming Android feature that offers Bluetooth file transfer, similar to Apple's AirDrop. The options for Nearby Share lets the user set their account and device name up, whether their device is visible to others, and whether you want to allow data to be used by the feature for transferring large files that would otherwise take too long over Bluetooth.

(Image credit: Jimmy Is Promo)

That's it for the camera leaks, but we've also got some (lo-res) images, published by leaker Ishan Agarwal on Twitter, to look at. The tweeted pictures show off the Note 20 in a metallic color that we think is called Mystic Bronze. That color scheme has also appeared in leaks for the Galaxy Z Flip 5G, expected to debut at the same time as the Note 20.

(Image credit: Ishan Agarwal)

The Note 20 Ultra gets a shot to itself as well as one with what look to be the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Watch 3. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 also has a shot, showing off the next-gen foldable.

(Image credit: Ishan Agarwal)

All these products are expected to appear at Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event on August 5. The Note 20 is likely to launch within a few weeks of this event, with an expected list price of more than $1,000. Aside from the features we talked about before, you can also expect a 5G-compatible Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset in the Note 20 series, with the Ultra model using a 6.9-inch 120Hz OLED display with a maximum QHD resolution.

Richard Priday

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. He's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.