Thursday, June 1, 2023

The Truth about the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G – Overpriced?

The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G is said to be a gorgeous, super-premium phone packed with high-end features but is it worth the money?


At the price of RM5199, the latest smartphone from Samsung does not come cheap, especially with the global recession and the current lockdowns all over the world. Not everyone can afford or willing to pay RM5199 for a smartphone right now.

The Note20 Ultra 5G also cost more over the Note10 Plus. Last year, the Note10 Plus was available at RM4199 for the 512GB model during pre-order. For comparison, the Note20 Ultra 5G cost a RM1000 more and you get a smaller 256GB internal storage at RM5199. Despite this, the Note20 makes small but significant enhancements over the Note10 Plus, especially in terms of camera, faster 5G, wireless DeX, and the beautiful mystic bronze color, among others.

As Samsung’s most advanced phone in 2020, the Note20 Ultra 5G that is being sold in Malaysia doesn’t come with the best mobile processor or capable of delivering the fastest 5G speeds. The Note20 Ultra 5G packs an outdated Samsung Exynos 990 processor and its 5G modem, Exynos Modem 5123 (similar to the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G that was launched in March this year). For those living in the United States (US), they get the Note20 Ultra 5G with the best mobile processor that Qualcomm has to offer, SM8250 Snapdragon 865+ processor paired with a slightly faster Qualcomm X55 5G modem.

For comparison, the older Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor (found in the US-version of the older Galaxy S20 Ultra) is said to be more power efficient and faster (especially in multi-core performance) than the current Exynos 990 processor. The newer Snapdragon 865+ is said to perform even better.

It was rumoured that Samsung would include a new Exynos 992 processor in the Note20, but that did not happen. The Exynos 992 is said to be an improved version of the Exynos 990 that is being manufactured using Samsung’s 6nm process, more power-efficient design and slight improvements in processing performance.

As for me, while performance is important factor, power efficiency plays a much more important role. The Samsung Galaxy Note20 5G comes with a small 4,500mAh battery compared to the bigger 5,00mAh battery in the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G. Samsung said you can get more than 50% charge in just 30 minutes.

Perhaps its not all that bad. In the US, the Note20 Ultra base model has a 128GB storage and it doesn’t come with any wired headphone in the packaging. In Malaysia, we get USB Type-C wired earphones from AKG, a free Galaxy Buds Live worth RM699 (only for pre-orders), free UV Sterilizer with Wireless Charger and a Wireless Charger Convertible, worth RM508. Maybe this is a good deal?

Other features worth mentioning about the Galaxy Note20 Utlra 5G include the 120Hz display (gamers will love this), 8K video recording, camera with laser autofocus, improved S Pen (with that pen-to-paper feel), Link to Windows (access Android apps, take calls/send SMS on your Windows PC), gorgeous 6.9″ Dynamic Amoled Display and more.

The Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G is said to support the following 5G network frequencies (Samsung Malaysia has yet to release any official details):

  • N28 (FDD 700Mhz)
  • N5 (FDD 850Mhz)
  • N8 (FDD 900Mhz)
  • N3 (FDD 1800Mhz)
  • N1 (FDD 2100Mhz)
  • N40 (TDD 2300Mhz)
  • N7 (FDD 2600Mhz)
  • N78 (TDD 3500Mhz)
  • N77 (TDD 3700Mhz)
  • N260 (mmWave 39Ghz)
  • N261 (mmWave 28Ghz)

Unless you are big Galaxy Note fan like me or you already know you can’t live without it, it’s hard for me to recommend the Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G for everyone. But if you want the phone badly but can’t afford it right now, the price should be cheaper in a couple of months, like any other Notes in the past.

The Galaxy Note20 Ultra will be available in Malaysia starting 21 August 2020, at Samsung Experience Stores nationwide, Authorised Partners and the Samsung e-store.

This is a commentary.

Kugan is the co-founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy

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