Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

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Content

  1. Contents of delivery
  2. TECH SPECS
  3. Positioning
  4. Design, dimensions, controls
  5. Display
  6. Battery
  7. Communication capabilities
  8. Memory, chipset, performance
  9. Камеры
  10. A few words about the S Pen
  11. Software features
  12. Impressions

Contents of delivery

  • Smartphone
  • S Pen
  • 25w charger
  • USB Type C cable
  • AKG Wired Stereo Headset (USB Type C)
  • Instructions

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

TECH SPECS
Dimensions and weight 161.6> 75.2> 8.3 mm, 192 grams
Body materials Aluminum, glastic
Display 6.7 inches, 1080×2400 pixels, FHD + (20: 9), 393 ppi, SuperAMOLED Plus, automatic brightness control, AlwaysOn Display, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, HDR10 +
Operating system Google Android 10.0, OneUI 2.5
Platform Exynos 990 chipset, 8 cores (2 Exynos M5 cores up to 2.73 GHz, 2 cores ARM Cortex-A76 up to 2.6 GHz, 4 cores ARM Cortex-A55 up to 2 GHz), Mali-G77 MP11, 64 bit, 7 nm

Snapdragon 865 for US market

Memory 8/256 GB (224 GB available to the user)
No memory cards
UFS 3.0
RAM LPDDR5
Wireless Interfaces Wi-Fi a / b / g / n / ac / ax, dual-band (Wi-Fi 6), Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, ANT +
LTE: Enhanced 4> 4 MIMO, Up to 7CA, LAA, LTE Cat.20, download speeds up to 2.0 Gb / s, download speeds up to 150 Mb / s
LTE Bands: B1 (2100), B2 (1900), B3 (1800), B4 (AWS), B5 (850), B7 (2600), B8 (900), B12 (700), B13 (700), B17 ( 700), B18 (800), B19 (800), B20 (800), B25 (1900), B26 (850), B28 (700), B32 (1500), B66 (AWS-3)
B38(2600), B39(1900), B40(2300), B41(2500)
Сеть Dual SIM, nanoSIM
eSIM
Navigation GPS / Beidou / Galileo – Dual Band GPS
Sensors and connectors USB Type C (USB 3.2), USB OTG
Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Light Sensor, Gyroscope, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor
In-screen fingerprint sensor (ultrasonic)
Face unlock
Main camera Main: camera with three modules
– Primary: 12 MP, 1.8 μm, F1.8, 2PD, OIS
– Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, 1.4 μm, F2.2, OIS
– Telephoto: 64 MP, 0.8 μm, F2.0, OIS, PDAF, 1/1.72 inch, x3 optical zoom, x10 hybrid

Space Zoom
– Hybrid Optic Zoom 3X
– Super Resolution Zoom up to 30X

8K video recording

Front-camera 10 MP (f / 2.2), 2PD, 1 / 3.4 inches, 1.22 μm
bokeh effect, various additional effects, autofocus
Battery Li-Ion 4300 mAh
Quick charge 25W included, 100% in 65 minutes  
Fast wireless charging (15W), reversible wireless charging (up to 7.5W)
PD 3.0 
Degree of protection IP68
Colours Mint, bronze, black (outside Russia there are also colors – blue, red)
Sound Dolby Atmos, two speakers
Payment System Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Features Samsung DeX
S Pen 
SAR value
European method
0.36 W / kg (head)
1.37 W / kg (body)

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

Positioning

Samsung’s Note line has no analogues on the market, it stands alone. It sounds trite and trite, but buying such devices makes sense only in one case – if you already know what the S Pen is, or really want to try the function of working with a stylus. If this is not the case, then you should choose the regular Galaxy S, which have similar capabilities, but at the same time cost less, there is no point in buying what you do not need. I often meet in absentia criticism of the Note line, which boils down to the statement “this is an expensive analogue of the S20, in which they added an absolutely useless and useless S Pen.” Incredibly, it is a fact that this statement fully underlines the uniqueness of the line and that many people who have never tried the S Pen or have not found use for it in their smartphone use scenarios are now scolding it. The second is much less than the first, since they are usually scolded in absentia and without understanding the subject. To most, “common sense” tells that the S Pen is a pen with which you can write, press the buttons on the interface and do some other things, for example, draw. But the capabilities of the S Pen have long gone beyond that and provide many unparalleled opportunities for work and play. There is no need to explain these moments for Galaxy Note owners, they know about it and therefore choose such devices. But those who have not yet had such experience do not even know about it.

The uniqueness of the Note line is that it is truly a notebook that is always in your pocket. You can leave handwritten notes, recognize them, and convert them to plain text that you can share with anyone, however you want. In addition, the S Pen turns into a smartphone remote control, you can take photos, record videos, show a presentation on an external screen. The variety of ways you can use the S Pen is so great that just a cursory description will take a few pages. This is an adult and useful technology, I will give an example from my everyday life. Sometimes I need to recognize text in a photo, in the Note line this is a standard thing for the S Pen, select the desired piece of text, and now it is recognized, you can use it.

I will twist my heart if I say that every hour I take a pen out of the case and do something with it, this, of course, is not so. In my life, the S Pen is removed a couple of times a week, but everything that can be done with it has no analogues in ordinary smartphones, the same S-series.

Now is the time to look at the Note20’s place in Samsung’s lineup. This model is the initial one for the current flagships of the Note family; they tried to achieve an optimal price / quality ratio in it. And this required abandoning a number of features that are in the older device, because the Ultra has no compromises. Here, for the sake of achieving a lower cost of compromises, there is a noticeable number, sometimes even more of them than we would like, for example, there is no support for memory cards.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

But if everything is clear with the choice between Note20 and Note20 Ultra, then how does this device compare with other models of the line from Samsung? Outwardly, this model is very similar to the later released Galaxy S20 FE, they have a common aesthetics in common. To my taste, this is largely due to the same positioning, the desire to achieve a rational price / quality ratio.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

At the same time, the same Galaxy S20 / S20 + is slightly higher in class, but, like the S20 FE, it does not have S Pen support. Last year’s Galaxy Note10 + looks like a great deal at a lower cost, but it almost disappeared from the market, it was sold out even before the new generation was released, and you can only find it in the gray market.

It is curious that the basic Note20 in many countries of the world is positioned as a female model, the older Ultra is for men, and the usual Note20 is for the fair sex. There is something in this, if we proceed from the sizes, although they do not differ very much. But I think that first of all it is the case colors.

Consider buying the Note20 if you want to use the S Pen, but you don’t need cameras that are higher (as in the Ultra family) than the base flagships. You are ready to sacrifice a number of characteristics, but get the best value. Let’s take a closer look at the Note20 and understand what this model can do.

Design, dimensions, controls

I’ll start with a paradoxical statement, the case in the Note20 is made of “plastic”, while I like it much more than the Corning Gorilla Glass 7 in the Note20 Ultra (except for the bronze device). Take a look at the comparison photo, Ultra at the top, below the smartphone we are considering.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

The photo does not fully show that the two colors in Ultra are glossy due to glass, they easily leave handprints on them. At the same time, the bronze device has satin-finished glass, it is matte and does not get covered with prints. Much more practical than glossy options. And that’s why the bronze color is the hit of this season, I think, practicality makes this option so popular.

The Note20 has this practicality in every color scheme, everywhere a matte case, even if it is made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. This is a kind of glastic version that we saw in the A-series, but the material cannot be called identical. There is no gloss, attempts to make it glass, everything is exactly the opposite.

The body does not collect fingerprints, you can use the smartphone without a case (the camera block does not protrude as much as in the Ultra).

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

Since the material is new, I decided to test how durable it is. Look at the faded edge of the apparatus.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

The effort that was applied to the body is equal to about two years of using the smartphone in completely not sparing conditions and taking into account the fact that the load falls on this area and only on it. Artificial conditions, in real life it is impossible to achieve something like this.

When dropped, no chips appear, the material is very durable and reliable. Already shown in independent tests, this material can withstand drops significantly better than any glass.

Let’s look at the color solutions for the Russian market, there are exactly three of them so far – graphite, bronze and mint. The latter color is very delicate and pleasant, although other colors are frankly good, you can choose for every taste.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

Case dimensions – 161.6 × 75.2 × 8.3 mm, weight – 192 grams. Not the smallest device, but it fits well in the hand due to the rounding of the back. The Ultra does not have a flat screen, which makes it very comfortable in the palm of your hand, the edges do not cut in, and this is a plus.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

Whether you need a cover for this model or not, you choose. Cases are, as usual, varied, but keep in mind that they were made different this year, it will be difficult to get the S Pen without looking. The edging of the cover interferes, you will need to focus on this point.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

From the usual – there is protection against water (IP68), a standard USB Type C connector and the absence of 3.5 mm, which, for my taste, is bad. But this is how fate developed for this connector, alas and ah.

The memory card slot supports two nanoSIM cards, but there are no memory cards, it is located on the top end. There is also eSIM support. Only two SIM cards can work at a time, no matter what they are.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

Face recognition works quickly, the technology has not changed in any way in comparison with other models of the company (it is more than safe, it is impossible to unlock it with a photo). The fingerprint sensor is built into the screen, it is ultrasonic and of the same generation as on other models. Compared to the Chinese flagships, where new sensors are used and the speed of their operation has increased, this is an absolute disadvantage.

The volume keys are located on the right side of the device, there is also an on / off button, you can assign your applications and functions to it. The front speaker is above the screen, the main speaker is at the bottom, and there is also a headset and charging jack.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

The device has three microphones, together they perfectly realize noise cutoff during a conversation, the interlocutor does not hear street noise or other extraneous sounds.

It is impossible to find fault with the build quality or the materials of the body of this device, everything is excellent and at the level of flagships. Let us leave the contemptuous statement through the lip that “plastic” is used here for those who do not understand that composite materials have changed our world – the way airplanes, racing cars and much more are created.

Display

The technical characteristics of the screen are as follows: 6.7 inches, 1080×2400 pixels, FHD + (20: 9), 393 ppi, SuperAMOLED Plus, automatic brightness control, AlwaysOn Display, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, HDR10 +.

The first thing you pay attention to is the type of screen, the older model uses the latest generation of Dynamic AMOLED, but here the screen is much simpler. This is the level of last year’s flagships, but not the latest developments from Samsung, the explanation should be sought in the cost of such solutions, they are too expensive. The screen is of good quality, the picture is excellent, but in difficult scenarios, for example, on a sunny day outside under the trees, where shade and sun alternate, it performs worse than the display in Ultra.

Another important point is the lack of a refresh rate of 120 Hz (the usual 60 Hz is here). Someone may consider this unimportant, but in fact this is one of the key changes in new smartphones, the iPhone does not count, there is also 60 Hz everywhere, but you don’t expect anything new from these devices. Perhaps the absence of such a frequency is already perceived as a minus, which many will take into consideration.

By default, the screen is set to color gamut “Saturated colors” (there is also “Natural colors”). In this mode, the brightness and contrast of the picture are maximized, and the colors hit the eyes. If the sky is not just blue, but blue. It upset me at some point, because it is impossible to navigate what you are photographing, the screen distorts the picture too much, but everything is fine on the computer. As a result, I turned on “Natural colors”, although they are muted on the menu.

Traditionally, there is a blue filter, a dark theme, including the ability to set work on a schedule. Adaptive screen brightness adjusts to your preferences. In manual mode, you can set the brightness to 400 nits, in automatic mode it reaches 1000 nits. This allows you to read your phone screen even under the brightest sun.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

As always, there is the AlwaysOn Display mode, it allows you to display the clock, calendar, picture in standby mode. At the same time, the screen does not consume much power, and this makes the look of the phone diversified.

The bottom line is a very good screen, but it does not reach the level of older models from Samsung.

Battery

The built-in Li-Ion battery has a capacity of 4300mAh and supports USB Power Delivery 3.0. The kit includes 25W fast charging, in 65 minutes you can fully charge the device (30% in 15 minutes, 57% in 30 minutes, 79% in 45 minutes).

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

Wireless charging supports up to 15W of power, which allows you to charge your smartphone in 100-110 minutes. It’s also very fast and extremely comfortable. For several years I have forgotten what charging for the night is, always charging my devices on the go, in between. And I never have problems with the fact that they were discharged at some inopportune moment. It takes 10 minutes to get a charge for several hours of non-stop operation. And this is a convenience that can hardly be overestimated.

Reverse reverse charging allows you to recharge accessories or another smartphone, power up to 7.5W.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

And now the most interesting thing is the time of work in real life. I expected that the gain over the Note20 Ultra due to the different screen, both in its resolution and brightness at peak values, would be noticeable. But it turned out to be practically different, on average my device works for two days, 3-4 hours of screen operation per day, that is, a total of 7-8 hours per circle during these days. No special modes, energy saving, data transmission is always on.

The operating time turned out to be a strong point in this model, which favorably distinguishes the device. Worse screen than Ultra, but longer battery life. So you have to think what is more interesting to you. For people who are economical and want to achieve more work time, there are such opportunities, a little trick, and as a result you will get 10-12 hours of screen in ordinary tasks.

Communication capabilities

There is support for Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), as well as maximum aggregation of LTE frequencies.

Support for payment systems Samsung Pay, Google Pay, the work does not raise any questions. There is, of course, full NFC for everything imaginable.

Bluetooth version 5.0, there is support for sending an audio stream to multiple devices. A proprietary QuickShare feature has appeared, which allows you to quickly send large files to other devices from Samsung (a sort of combed Wi-Fi Direct).

Memory, chipset, performance

The version of this model is only for 8/256 GB, with no memory cards provided.

The model is built on the Exynos 990 chipset (7 nm) and has no shortcomings in the speed of both the interface and third-party applications. This is a very fast chipset, it has a margin of safety for several years to come. In the US, the model is supplied with Snapdragon 865, there are simply no special differences in performance, battery life and quality. The myths that Snapdragon is better have no foundation. In some ways the chipset from Samsung wins, in others – from Qualcomm. The question of understanding this difference and what exactly you need from the device. If you like to play heavy games, then Qualcomm. If you love taking pictures and filming videos, then Exynos. Although the difference in any case will be minimal and in practice almost imperceptible.

The RAM is LPDDR5, it is fast, as the tests prove it. Look at the synthetic test results.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

The results of other synthetic tests are below.

Камеры

The front camera is 10 megapixels, such as is used in all the latest flagships from Samsung, it provides good picture quality in different conditions.

Unlike the Ultra, the regular Note20 uses a three-camera unit, which looks much simpler.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

The camera block protrudes slightly from the body, which is a big plus for this model. XNUMXx optical zoom is not bad, the module renders the picture well. The level of cameras corresponds to the flagships, the device takes pictures well (let’s call it old school, the main module is similar to the devices of previous years, although the algorithms and software are much better).

First, let’s take a look at the camera interface and the different modes.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

Take a special look at the professional mode when recording video. Here you can use wireless headphones as a microphone, which is very convenient.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra (SM-N985 / SM-N986)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra (SM-N985 / SM-N986)

I photographed a lot with these cameras, I’m happy with the result. The pictures are good from the first take, both in the sun and at night. Let’s take a look at the comparison shots with the Note20 Ultra.

I was also interested in comparing the cameras with the S20 FE.

Video recording is supported in 8K (24 frames), as well as 4K (up to 60 frames) and lower resolutions. The device writes videos well, there are no complaints about it.

  • Sample video (MP4, FHD 30 fps, 36 MB) >>>
  • Sample video (MP4, FHD 30 fps, 26 MB) >>>
  • Sample video (MP4, FHD 30 fps, 23 MB) >>>
  • Sample video (MP4, FHD 60 fps, 64 MB) >>>
  • Sample video (MP4, 8K 24 fps, 285 MB) >>>
  • Sample video (MP4, 8K 24 fps, 164 MB) >>>
  • Sample video (MP4, 8K 24 fps, 402 MB) >>>

Summing up about the camera, I want to note that this model is very good, it is a flagship without flaws in shooting. And it is usual to shoot with it, unlike Ultra series devices, where macro photography is implemented in a completely different way. There is also an old school in all its forms. And the quality of the pictures is pleasing.

A few words about the S Pen

The S Pen is the same, the color is always in the body of the smartphone.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

The speed of recording and response is now such that it seems that in front of you is paper, not a smartphone screen. On the Note10, the response rate was 42ms, on the Note20 it was 26ms. In numbers, it looks, of course, overwhelming, but in life you need to be an adherent of the Pentail sect to see a significant difference.

There are no improvements in the S Pen, besides this, as such, there are no, as before, you can use the pen to remotely control your smartphone (camera, video or screen recording), gestures in the air are supported, you can assign your own. But the biggest change is the updated Samsung Notes app. Now there are folders with categories where you can insert notes. Synchronization of notes with OneNote from Microsoft, as well as a to-do list (you need a Microsoft account, as you understand, this is the “Link to Windows” function).

The toolkit itself in notes has become much prettier, the application has turned into an advanced text editor with handwriting recognition. You can correct crooked text, you can change its size and color. But one of the functions pleasantly surprised me, this is the recording of audio in notes. For example, you are listening to a lecture, court session or meeting, come up with something important for you yourself. And you record audio, at the same time make notes in important places. Now a note with such audio shows you the comments made, you can quickly jump to the places where you noted something important. The thing is simple, but in life it will be useful to many people.

Recognition of geometric shapes, when an uneven circle turns into a perfect one, as well as other shapes. And there is also the ability to edit PDF, and do it with any of the available tools.

I’m not talking about the already standard features of the S Pen: handwriting recognition in any language, translation anywhere on the smartphone of words, recognition of texts in pictures and their translation into files. All this is familiar.

Another feature, which at first glance seemed to me nonsense, but then I liked it, is the ability to draw in a regular calendar on top of the schedule. That is, you can circle dates, add something by hand. No need to enter notes or events, you can just draw what you need. For example, a mug or highlight some days.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra (SM-N985 / SM-N986)

It’s fantastic to work with the S Pen, and no other company has implemented similar capabilities over the years. It’s good that Apple consistently copies what Samsung does in the S Pen, however, they do it in almost everything, just look at their watches and smartphones.

To explore the capabilities of the S Pen, I’m sending you to the Note10 + review, where they are described in as much detail as possible, this is the basis for the stylus.

Software features

Just like on the Note20 Ultra, a wireless mode for DeX has appeared, that is, you can connect your smartphone to a TV, also connect a keyboard and mouse to a TV set, your work computer is ready! No wires required. The question remains open whether this feature will be added to the previous models (I bet, most likely not, damn marketing).

Otherwise, this is the same OneUI, the changes are minor.


Impressions

It jars me when I see articles with the headings “Five competitors to Note20”, and inside the listing of models with a similar diagonal and a lower cost. With this approach, we can safely say that the Galaxy A51 is much more interesting and cheaper, and the sales data will only confirm this. Unfortunately, the Note line has no direct competitors on the market, it is unique due to the S Pen, and there is no point in denying it. This is a common trick in the product description: “Let’s not take into account the S Pen, as it is unimportant, which means we can compare this smartphone with other models.” Pulling an owl onto a globe is an exciting but hopeless activity.

The choice of the Note20, and indeed of any model in the line, is the choice of the S Pen. Not sure if you need these features? Then it is worth stopping your gaze on the Galaxy S20 / S20 +, as they win in many aspects (better screen, support for memory cards, and the same 5G is not particularly important for Russia).

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

The choice between Note20 and Note20 Ultra becomes more difficult, in my opinion, the older model is devoid of any compromises, but its ergonomics are worse due to the size of the protruding camera block. And the price is more by 20 thousand rubles, which for many will be a serious reason to think. The new camera system in Ultra will also force you to relearn, there are people who are incapable of minimal effort even at such a small amount, so they have very poor results in pictures. This is reminiscent of people who once swapped out a digital soap box for a DSLR and wondered why an expensive camera shoots so badly, worse than their soap box before.

Perhaps it will be important for someone to read ten reasons for this device and ten reasons against, I think that in distilled form they will show both the pros and cons of the device.

At a cost of 79 rubles, this device can hardly be called affordable, but certain discounts are constantly being used for it, in official retail it is easy to catch it at a price of 990 thousand rubles cheaper. And this is already a much more attractive offer. On the gray market, prices are about 10-60 thousand rubles, but whether it is worth taking the device without a guarantee is up to you.

The transition to this device is interesting for those who use old Samsung flagships, primarily the Note line. On the other hand, already knowing the capabilities of the S Pen, you should look at the Ultra, it will have more impressions, but worse battery life. For those who want cameras better than those offered by the flagships this year, it is also worth looking at the older device, right there they are just in the market. The base Note20 is woven from compromises, the Galaxy S20 FE will be a direct analogue in perception for many. And there are trade-offs in the S20 FE, but in other areas, for example, there is a better screen and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. There is something to think about, on the other hand, it does not have an S Pen.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy Note20 (SM-N980F / DS)

He said nothing at all about the quality of communication, it does not raise any questions, everything works with a bang. The ringtone volume is above average, the vibration alert is also strong. The device looks like a working tool, a kind of horse that takes out everyday affairs and allows you to unload your head with reading a book or watching a TV series. The device turned out to be interesting, but, as always for the Note line, not everyone needs it.

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