Samsung's Galaxy Note phablet has some work to do if it wants to stay the biggest phone in the company's lineup.
Improved displays and cameras on the Samsung Galaxy S20 have won rave reviews for that Samsung phone brand, while the foldable Samsung Galaxy Z Flip introduced an exciting flip phone design. Can the highly-anticipated Samsung Galaxy Note 20 keep up the momentum when it arrives later this year?
Just like the upgrade to the Galaxy S series, the next Galaxy Note phablet could be a major step up from last year’s models, with some key display and camera improvements that could make one of the best big phones even better. And the closer we get to summer, the closer we get to the Note 20's expected launch.
Here’s everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 so far, including the phone's potential release date, price, specs and features.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 news (updated May 25)
- A Galaxy Note 20 Plus render shows what the camera bump could look like on the new phone, and it's pretty big. Other renders suggest that the Note 20 will be much bigger than other rumors have claimed.
- Samsung will likely host an online-only event to launch the Galaxy Note 20, though there's no specific date set yet.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 release date
According to reputable Twitter leakster Max Weinbach, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 could launch as soon as July alongside the rumored Samsung Galaxy Fold 2. This lines up with Samsung’s typical release schedule for its Note devices, which normally launch by August of every year.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2: codename Champ. Will likely use Ultra Thin Glass. Could be the first phone with under display camera. 7.7" Infinity Flex Display. Likely launching around July. Should be around the same time as the Note20.February 17, 2020
It's worth keeping an eye on any subsequent rumors about the Note 20's release date, though, as the coronavirus outbreak has left the tech world in flux. A separate report on the Galaxy Fold 2 — the foldable Samsung may release alongside the Galaxy Note 20 — suggests that production is on track for an August/September launch.
Samsung itself has not provided specific timing, but it has released an official statement saying that during the second half of this year that, "the company will continue to offer differentiated products in the premium segment with the launch of new foldable and Note models." The Korea Herald reports that the Galaxy Note 20 launch event will be online-only, as Samsung's usual large get-togethers won't fly in this age of social distancing.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 price
Based on historical pricing, we don’t expect the Samsung Note 20 to come cheap. The Galaxy Note 10 currently starts at $949, with the Galaxy Note 10 Plus going for $1,099 and the Note 10 Plus 5G costing $1,299.
Samsung’s just-launched Galaxy S20 follows a similar pricing structure, with the Galaxy S20 starting at $999, the Galaxy S20 Plus at $1,199 and the Galaxy S20 Ultra at $1,399. Long story short? Don’t expect to pay less than $1,000 for the Galaxy Note 20.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 design
The Galaxy Note 20 could very well come in multiple models, similar to the Galaxy S20 lineup. This is according to Windows United, a site that has created a series of Galaxy Note 20 renders. They show the possible design for the Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Note 20 Plus and Galaxy Note 20 Plus Ultra.
The design looks similar to the S20, though there is room for an S Pen holster for Samsung's stylus. Each design features Samsung's Infinity-O display, but Windows United says that Samsung could go even bigger with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, surpassing 7 inches for the screen.
Another series of renders from Dutch blog LetsGoDigital, produced in cooperation with mockup designer Concept Creator, imagines a Note 20 that borrows cues from Samsung phablets new and old. From the front, Concept Creator's pitch bears an obvious resemblance to the Galaxy Note 10, owing to its hole-punch camera cutout. But from the back, the horizontal camera strip evokes the Galaxy Note 9 and earlier models.
Concept Creator's design seems less likely — especially if Samsung lifts the Galaxy S20 Ultra's massive quad-lens camera module to incorporate in some Note 20 variants — though it certainly isn't a bad look.
As for the Note 20 Plus, a 360-degree render shows off the larger Note from every angle. The render, posted by GreggelsTV, shows a centered camera cut-out on the front, a quad camera array on the back, a SIM card tray on the top of the phone and more squared off edges than what we've seen on the Galaxy S20.
Another leaked Note 20 render — this one a CAD design apparently built for phone case makers — shows off a rather prominent and boxy camera array on the back of the phone. The bezels on this model are also thicker than what we expect from the Note 20, so we hope that Harmless Karl, the Twitter poster sharing these images, is correct when he describes them as a "rough design preview."
A Galaxy Note 20 Plus render from OnLeaks shows just how big that camera bump could be. And that would be a shame, as the rest of the phone looks pretty sleek, with a full-screen display and thin profile.
One of the latest and most interesting rumors surrounding design suggests Samsung will fit a sub-display front-facing camera behind the Note 20's screen that will disappear when not in use. Xiaomi and Oppo have produced concept phones with this technology, though no manufacturer has been able to release such a device yet. A leaked screenshot showing a Samsung phone without a selfie cam cutout is only fueling speculation about this feature.
If Samsung manages to pull it off, it'd be the first — and the achievement would mark a major milestone in terms of industrial design. Every company has been working toward that "holy grail" of a handset without bezels, notches or hole-punch cutouts, and we're excited to see if Samsung can beat its rivals to the punch.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 specs
Details about the Galaxy Note 20 specs sheet are slowly beginning to emerge, though some rumors are more definitive than others.
In February, Samsung took the wraps off of its new 5G-optimized OLED display. This screen is built to reduce power consumption and emit less blue light, which could result in a Galaxy Note 20 with impressive battery life if Samsung's new phablet adopts this screen.
According to reliable tipster Ice Universe, the Note 20 will feature a more “fine-tuned” version of the 120Hz refresh-rate displays that debuted on the Galaxy S20 series.
The Galaxy Note20 will use a more fine-tuned 120Hz refresh rate technology.February 4, 2020
We’re not exactly sure what that fine-tuning means, but it’s worth pointing out that the Galaxy S20 can’t use 120Hz at full QHD resolution because it would consume too much power. If Samsung is able to address this for the Note 20 series and allow you to enjoy both maximum smoothness and fidelity, it could be the ultimate phone for big-screen gaming and productivity.
Another detail about the Note 20's refresh rate emerged in some May tweets by Ross Young, a supply chain expert who reports on Samsung products. Young suggests that there will be a variable refresh rate for the Note 20, where Samsung's new phone will automatically feature the faster 120Hz refresh rate for apps that support that feature.
Young also expects the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Plus to have bigger displays than their Note 10 counterparts. The Note 20 will reportedly have a 6.42-inch screen with resolution of 2345 x 1084, while the Note 20 Plus screen will grow to 6.87 inches with a resolution of 3096 x 1444.
With the Note 10 series, Samsung introduced in-screen, ultrasonic fingerprint sensors that were a bit more sophisticated than the optical scanners used by most devices. The Note 20 could reportedly iterate upon that, Young says, with Qualcomm's new Sonic Max sensor that is both 17 times larger and can read two fingerprints at once for an added layer of security.
A leaked CAD schematic discovered in January could be a hint at the Galaxy Note 20’s final design. According to the image in question, the Note 20 will likely have all of the Note’s usual ports — including a slot for Samsung’s signature S-Pen. There also seems to be an extra-large camera module. More recently, leaker Roland Quandt posted a photo reportedly showing off a Galaxy Note 20 inlay mold that contains a Galaxy S20 Ultra-sized camera cutout.
Here's a fun one. This is a mold for an inlay for the official Samsung Galaxy Note 11 (Plus) LED View Cover. (Ignore the markings and the aspect ratio could be a little off, too). pic.twitter.com/kAZEFmTXhBMarch 31, 2020
That could be a hint that the Note 20 is adopting the Galaxy S20 series’ imaging stack, with a triple-lens setup for the base Note 20 and perhaps the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s quad-lens setup (complete with a 108MP lens) for the Note 20 Plus or Ultra. The Note series typically gets the latest Galaxy S cameras with slight improvements, so this upgrade seems within the realm of possibility.
In fact, phone leaker IceUniverse implied in a tweet that the Galaxy Note 20 will draw on the S20 heavily when it comes to specs and features.
Galaxy Note20's hardware specifications will not be significantly changed compared to the S20 series, including cameras.March 21, 2020
There are some caveats, though. A subsequent tweet from Ice Universe in May claimed that the Galaxy Note 20 won't have the Space Zoom camera featured on the Galaxy S20 Ultra earlier this year. That means no 100x zoom capability for the Note 20, though that feature wasn't terribly practical. (Photos zoomed in at 100x look pretty blurry, unless you have a tripod to minimize shake.) We're hopeful that if it can't have the Space Zoom telephoto lens, the Note 20 will at least adopt the 64MP sensor that the Galaxy S20 Plus uses for its telephoto lens.
Even without the Space Zoom camera, the Galaxy Note 20 would still have the 108MP main camera found on the S20 Ultra. Ice Universe says it might be a different 108MP sensor, though, to address the autofocus issues that some S20 Ultra users experienced.
A leak shows off the camera array for the Galaxy Note 20, and it's pretty much what you might expect with three rear lenses and what appears to be a time-of-flight sensor. It appears from that image that Samsung will use a periscope-style lens for the Note 20's telescope shooter.
Samsung recently announced its new manufacturing process for 7nm and 6nm mobile processors. These chips will consume less power due to their smaller size, making them more optimal for 5G and automotive applications while also allowing for slimmer designs. Considering that these new processors should be ready within the first quarter of this year, it's possible that we could see a Galaxy Note 20 with a 6nm chip that delivers big power within a thinner chassis.
You'd expect the Snapdragon 865 to power the Galaxy Note 20 since that's the processor found in the leading Android phones coming out in 2020. Leaked benchmarks show the Galaxy Note 20 topping the Galaxy S20 Ultra in Geekbench 5 testing. More significantly, the Geekbench listing reveals that the chip powering this alleged Note 20 can top 3GHz, suggesting that a Snapdragon 865 Plus variant of the mobile processor could find its way into Samsung's next phablet.
If there's no Snapdragon 865 Plus available, though, Samsung could turn to one of its own chips to power the Galaxy Note 20. ZDNet Korea claims it's "highly likely" that Samsung will use a new Exynos 992 chipset in the Note 20 if the Snapdragon 865 Plus doesn't emerge.
One disappointing spec we've heard about comes from Sammobile, which reports that the Galaxy Note 20 could ship with 128GB of built-in storage. That would be a step back from the Note 10, which featured 256GB of storage. Of course, that phone didn't have a microSD slot for adding capacity, so perhaps this feature would return in the Note 20 to balance things out.
On the flip side, Samsung's next generation eUFS 3.1 storage could debut in the Note 20 series. These chips are in production now, and tipped to deliver sequential write speeds nearly three times faster than existing UFS 3.0 silicon. In real-world terms, the company says you can expect 100MB transfers to take about 1.5 minutes over eUFS 3.1 storage, versus 4 minutes on UFS 3.0.
The S Pen remains one of the marquee features for the Galaxy Note lineup, so it's no surprise that the Galaxy Note 20 is expected to introduce new capabilities to the S Pen. That comes from phone leaker Ice Universe who tweets that Samsung's internal code name for the phone is "Canvas," suggesting a focus on drawing and writing capabilities.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 battery and charging
A report from Galaxy Club says that the standard Galaxy Note 20 will get a 4,000 mAh battery, which is a notable upgrade from the Galaxy Note 10's 3,500 mAh battery. It's not clear what the Galaxy Note 20 Plus could get, but it's possible it could borrow the 4,500 mAh pack from the Galaxy S20 Plus or the even bigger 5,000 mAh battery from the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Another Galaxy Club report indicates that Samsung is going with the 4,500 mAh battery for the Galaxy Note 20 Plus. If true, that's an upgrade from the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, but still smaller than the Galaxy S20 Ultra's battery. It's hoped that the LTPO technology Samsung's expected to use to manage screen refresh rates will also have a positive effect on power consumption.
The existing Galaxy Note 10 recharges in a snap, especially if you use Samsung's fastest 45-watt charging brick. However, the Galaxy Note 20 could deliver another leap forward, thanks to a breakthrough new material called gallium nitride.
Several phone makers, including Samsung and Apple, are reportedly researching using gallium nitride in place of silicon to make charging adapters smaller and more efficient. If you want an idea of exactly what this technology can do in real terms, Xiaomi sells a gallium nitride adapter for its Mi 10 smartphone, which carries a battery weighing in at 4,500 mAh. The gallium nitride brick can fully recharge that phone in just 45 minutes.
What's more, Samsung, like other phone makers, may soon be under pressure from the European Union to once again build phones with removable batteries to reduce electronic waste. The last premium Galaxy handset with a removable battery was the Galaxy S5, released way back in 2014. Although this mandate likely won't be delivered in time to affect the Note 20, it could certainly influence future Samsung smartphones.
What we want from the Galaxy Note 20
While we don’t know too much about the Galaxy Note 20 just yet, here are a few features that could make Samsung’s next phablet the big phone to beat.
5G across the board: Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series is its first to support 5G connectivity out of the gate for every model, and we’d like to see the Note series follow suit. We'd say the likelihood of this, given the Note line's stature atop Samsung's range of handsets, is pretty high.
Improved DeX mode: The Note 10’s DeX mode allows you to use your phone’s apps and files on your PC’s big screen, but it could use some improvements. We found DeX mode to be laggy on Samsung’s most recent phablet, and there are some limitations around the ways you can transfer files between your computer and phone. If Samsung can make DeX mode smoother and more robust, the Note 20 could be a true productivity powerhouse that could even replace your laptop or tablet.
Better battery life: The Note 20 lasted around 9 hours and 25 minutes on our battery test, which consists of endless surfing on LTE. That’s not bad, but it's a ways behind the iPhone 11 Pro Max (11:44), Galaxy S10 Plus (12:35) and Huawei P30 Pro (12:53). A longer-lasting Note 20 could make Samsung’s biggest phone even more ideal for those looking to get work done on the go, and could make it a compelling rival to Apple’s biggest iPhone 12 option later this year.