Samsung responds to Galaxy Note 20 Ultra complaints — what you need to know

Samsung Galaxy Note 20
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Samsung has acknowledged some flaws in the camera bump of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra reported by some users, though there isn't yet a fix for those affected. 

More than 100 members of Samsung’s forums have reported problems ranging from condensation or dust inside the lenses of the rear cameras, or gaps between the cameras and the body of the phone. 

SamMobile notes that the issues seem to be only affecting users in South Korea, who happen to get access the variation of the Note 20 Ultra that comes with the Exynos 990 chip; U.S. and China users get phones with the Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset. 

But one user from the U.S. told us via email that his Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a gap around the top camera module. The user sent us images of his Note 20 Ultra where you can clearly see the top camera in the rear array has a gap between it and the phone’s body. 

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra camera gap

(Image credit: Danius Gladden)

There have been no reports of such gaps causing photography problems for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. But such flaws really shouldn’t be present in a brand-new flagship smartphone, especially not one that costs $1,299. 

Samsung responds

Our sibling site TechRadar got a comment from Samsung that acknowledged the issue — at least the condensation concerns — but offered no solution to it, or advice as to what users can do if they encounter debris getting stuck in the camera module. 

"Samsung is committed to ensuring consumer's satisfaction and optimal experience on Galaxy devices. Recently, there have been a limited number of reports of fog build-up inside the cameras of Galaxy Note 20 Ultra,” a Samsung spokesperson told TechRadar. "As with reading glasses and other glass objects, condensation can occur in water-resistant smartphones when they are exposed to a sudden temperature change."

There’s no mention of gaps between the cameras and the phone’s body, which is odd given such issues look to be legitimate. It could be that there’s a margin of error in the manufacturing of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra handsets that allow for small gaps in the camera module. 

We contacted Samsung for more clarity on this, and will update this story when we hear back.

Should Galaxy Note 20 Ultra buyers be worried? 

While gaps in between the cameras and the Note 20 Ultra’s body aren’t ideal — something Samsung learned with early models of the Galaxy Fold where dust and debris got behind the display — the camera module itself should prevent debris and water from getting into it. This would suggest that reports of debris in the cameras could have been caused on the assembly side of the phone. 

If they don’t interfere with the Note 20 Ultra’s photography results, then some might put up with this. But again, it doesn't seem particularly good for a phone with a mighty price tag to have such issues. 

More concerning is the moisture and condensation in the camera module. Sudden temperature changes are not unexpected, especially if someone goes from a cool room to a hot garden in blazing sunlight. But changes in temperature can cause materials to expand and condense rapidly, which could risk damaging the phone. 

While conducting our Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review, we didn’t notice any issues with our handset. However, we’ll keep an eye out in case such problems do develop. And we’ll wait and see if Samsung has a plan to fix the Note 20 Ultra handsets that have been affected by the camera gap problem. 

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.