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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: How will they be different?

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra
(Image credit: Future and Windows United)

Those on the hunt for the ultimate Samsung phone later this summer will want to see a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra comparison. After all, the Samsung S20 Ultra represents the pinnacle of flagships for the brand, complete with a breakthrough Space Zoom camera and a massive 6.9-inch display.

But the rumored Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Plus look like formidable big-screen phones as well. They should offer even better 120Hz displays, more advanced S Pen functionality and new ultrasonic fingerprint sensors that go beyond the S20 series. The Note 20 could have a faster processor, too.

Based on the leaks and rumors thus far, here's how the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy S20 Ultra are stacking up.

Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: Size and models

Galaxy Note 20 colors

(Image credit: Windows United)

The Galaxy Note 20 is expected to come in two versions: the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Plus. At this stage it does not seem as though that Samsung will release a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra model.

The Galaxy Note 20 will reportedly feature a 6.42-inch display and the Galaxy Note 20 Plus will get a 6.87-inch display, which is about the same size as the Galaxy S20 Ultra. 

In terms of design, we've only heard that the new Note 20 models will have a similar center-mounted punch hole as the S20 lineup, but not much else.

Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: Pricing and availability

Assuming Samsung decides to keep the Galaxy S20 Ultra as its ultimate flagship, it may not price the Galaxy Note 20 or Note 20 Plus quite as high. Paying $1,399 for a phone is a lot of money, even with 5G standard and a huge display and high-powered zoom. 

The Galaxy Note 10 launched at $949 and the Note 10 Plus at $1,099, while the Note 10 Plus 5G cost $1,299. We can see Samsung raising the prices for the Note 20 lineup, but not by much, as it will need to compete with the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max this fall, which are expected to cost $999 and $1,099, respectively.

Reports suggest Samsung could reveal the Galaxy Note 20 at an Unpacked event as soon as July, concurrently with another rumored phone — the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2. Typically, Note devices are unveiled in August, though, so it wouldn't be surprising to see that time frame slip a few weeks later into the summer. Like all Samsung's flagships, we expect the next Note to be sold through all major carriers, as well as unlocked.

Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: Display

(Image credit: Future)

This should be one of the biggest differences between the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Plus. While both phones should feature 120Hz displays like the S20 Ultra for faster motion, the Note 20 Plus may be the first Samsung phone to use LTPO (low temperature polysilicon oxide) technology.

Adopting LTPO panels will allow the Note 20 Plus to switch from as low as 1HZ all the way up to 120Hz. With the S20 Ultra you have only two options in 60Hz and 120Hz and it's not dynamic; you have to toggle between them.

On the resolution front, the Galaxy Note 20 is tipped to have a 2345 x 1084 AMOLED screen, while the Note 20 Plus will pack 3096 x 1444 pixels. The S20 Ultra's screen has a resolution of 3200 x 1440.

Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: Specs

There's some debate as to which processor the Galaxy Note 20 series will use. It could be powered by the same Snapdragon 865 chip that's in the S20 Ultra, but Samsung may also opt for a slightly faster Snapdragon 865 Plus processor for the U.S. versions of the Note 20 and Note 20 Plus.

For the international version of the Galaxy Note 20, Samsung is rumored to be launching the phones with a new Exynos 992 chip, which would bring improved performance and efficiency over the current Exynos 990 in the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

The more notable upgrade could be the RAM. One leak points to both the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Plus shipping with a whopping 16GB of RAM standard. The Galaxy S20 Ultra comes with 12GB of RAM but has a 16GB option. 

As for storage, SamMobile reports that the the Galaxy Note 20 will come with 128GB of base storage. That would be a downgrade from the Note 10 last year but in line with the Galaxy S20 Ultra's starting 128GB. However, it's possible that the Note 10 Plus will come with 256GB of storage standard. The Galaxy S20 Ultra goes up to 512GB. 

The Note 10 didn't feature a microSD SD card slot while the Note 10 Plus did, so it's plausible that Samsung will continue that trend for the Note 20 and Note 20 Plus. The Galaxy S20 Ultra includes a microSD card slot.

Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: Cameras

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Galaxy Note 20 Plus Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

(Image credit: Windows United)

The Galaxy S20 Ultra had some focusing problems out of the gate that Samsung needed to resolve, but overall its quad-camera setup proved impressive with a 108MP wide angle lens, a 48MP telephoto camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera and a VGA time-of-flight sensor.

The most exciting camera feature of the Galaxy S20 Ultra is its Space Zoom, which delivers 10x lossless zoom and up to 100x digital zoom. The results look very good up to 30x, but get shaky and blurry beyond that.

Based on what we've heard thus far, the Galaxy Note 20 may offer a three-camera system and the Galaxy Note 20 Plus may offer the same four cameras as the Galaxy S20 Ultra, but we don't have many details yet. Samsung may decide to keep the Space Zoom exclusive to the S20 Ultra.

Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: S Pen

(Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy Note 20 should definitely see the return of the S Pen for taking notes and drawing, as that has been a hallmark feature for the Note line since the very beginning. We have not heard much about S Pen features, but one early leak from Ice Universe said that the internal code name for the Note 20 is "Canvas."

This at least suggests that the Note 20 should up the ante when it comes to S Pen features. The S Pen on the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus introduced some clever air gestures and converting handwriting to text, so it will be interesting to see what Samsung offers next. Note that the S20 Ultra doesn't have S Pen support.

Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: Battery and charging

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra charging

(Image credit: Future)

A report from Galaxy Club says that the standard Galaxy Note 20 will get a 4,000-mAh battery, which would be a big step up from the Galaxy Note 10's 3,500-mAh battery.

Another leak says that the Galaxy Note 20 handsets will have batteries ranging from 4,000 to 5,000 mAh, so the Note 20 Plus could have a capacity of 5,000 mAh. That would be the same as the S20 Ultra's battery.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra supports 25-watt charging out of the box, which we've found to be very quick, as well as 15-watt wireless charging. So it's reasonable to assume that Samsung will offer the same charging on the Note 20 and Note 20 Plus. 

However, the S20 Ultra does support an optional 45-watt charger, so Samsung could decide to put this in the box for the more premium Note 20 Plus.

Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: 5G

The Galaxy Note 10 didn't come with 5G standard, as Samsung made a special 5G version for various networks. This time around 5G will be baked into both the Note 20 and Note 20 Plus, and you should be able to connect to both sub-6GHz 5G networks (low band and mid band) as well as mmWave networks that offer faster speeds but less coverage.

Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: Outlook

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Plus both look like they will be formidable flagship phones for those who value big screens and the productivity the S Pen provides. Meanwhile, the S20 Ultra may continue to be Samsung's camera phone champ and could be the only phone in the lineup that boasts the company's Space Zoom tech. 

The biggest incentive to potentially buy the Note 20 Plus over the S20 Ultra — other than the S Pen —  would be the rumored LTPO display technology. This would allow the Note 20 Plus to deliver the same smooth 120Hz refresh rate as the Galaxy S20 while saving battery life. We will update this preview Note 20 vs S20 Ultra comparison as we get closer to the Note 20's launch.