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Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Review

When Samsung introduced the “Ultra” moniker with the Galaxy S20 Ultra, it was clear what they were going for – throwing all the specs in the book at a device to create an ultra-premium phone. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the second version of this train of thought and it, mostly, hits it out of the park – going toe-to-toe with Apple’s most premium flagship, iPhone 11 Pro.

What we love – Mystifying Mystic Bronze, Stylin’ stylus and triple camera chops

Let’s kick off with the ultra-premium design, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra might be the best-looking phone ever made. The Note 20 Ultra design is like that of a glorious slab of technological jewellery – especially in the new Mystic Bronze colour.

While the new design of the Note flagship this year is stunning, the signature of the range has always been the S Pen and it’s had a monumental upgrade for 2020. The new S Pen has had its response time obliterated – down from 40ms to 9ms – providing an almost writing on paper-like experience.

The camera of the Note 20 Ultra feels like a refined and, honestly, more sensible take than the Galaxy S20 Ultra. First off, that obscene 100x Space Zoom is down to just 50x and comes equipped with 5x optical zoom too. The zoom combined with a 108-megapixel main sensor, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide and 12-megapixel telephoto makes for some remarkably vibrant results.

Read this: Tell us your choice for the best phone you can buy

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review

What we don’t like – Refresh rate limit hurts, Exynos woes and wallet-emptying price

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is likely the most premium phone on the market right now (not counting fancy folding phones) and, if you pay for the privilege, you’ll want to be able to take advantage of all that luxury. 

Yet, Samsung still restricts its glorious 120Hz display to just 1080p with the requirement to drop down to 60Hz to take advantage of the screen’s full resolution. Admittedly, Samsung likely makes this decision to save battery life but at least give us the choice to go full whack.

The next problem is more of a UK-centric one. While the US gets the powerhouse Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+, the UK is saddled with Samsung’s own Exynos 990. The Exynos 990 isn’t bad but it is worse than its Qualcomm equivalent in terms of performance and battery life.

The last point may be a bit redundant when talking about “the most premium phone on the market right now” but the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is pricey, very pricey. Starting at £1179 and going up from there as you increase storage, you won’t be getting your hands on this ultra-premium device without a good wodge of cash – making the point about using the device’s screen to the full all the more frustrating.

Verdict

If you’ve got the cash, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the most premium Android phone you can buy. This Samsung faces tough competition from the company’s own Galaxy S20 as well as the more affordable OnePlus 8 Pro. However, the most recent Samsung flagship is rife with top drawer features, a design to die for and a signature S Pen that is better than ever.

Our Recombu reviews are created using data collected by Trusted Reviews Labs, utilising their testing expertise to bring you an easy-to-read, short-form review.

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