The smartphone market in 2020 has been quite a bit different compared to years past, largely thanks to the ongoing pandemic our world is currently faced with. The Pixel 4a is stuck in release limbo, no one knows what's going on with the Pixel 5, inventory for the OnePlus 8 series remains a rarity, and so on.
That had me a little concerned as to whether or not we'd get our yearly Note from Samsung, but last week, the company confirmed that it's holding a virtual Unpacked event on August 5. While not explicitly mentioned by Samsung, we fully expect this is where we'll get our first official look at the Galaxy Note 20.
I'm rather looking forward to that date, because based on everything we've seen so far from the various Note 20 leaks, it's quickly shaping to be a contender for one of the best Android phones of the entire year.
Let's start with something that Samsung always excels at — hardware. We already have a good idea as to what the Galaxy Note 20 will look like, and it's nothing short of stunning. The picture at the top of this article was leaked by Samsung itself, and it reveals that the Note 20 will look a lot like last year's Note 10 — the biggest difference being the rear camera module.
The top and bottom frames are flat, we're going to have another metal and glass construction, and the Mystic Bronze color shown above looks downright gorgeous. Leaked hands-on photos and videos have also revealed that the Note 20 sticks to a centered hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera, which is a lot more aesthetically pleasing than the right-mounted one Samsung dabbled with on the S10.
Having essentially the same design for another year might not sound all that exciting, but let's not forget how incredible the Note 10's hardware was (and still is). As noted in his recent re-review of the phone, Hayato said:
Every time I pick up the Note 10 after spending a few weeks on a different device, I'm taken aback by just how nice the design is. I can't seem to pinpoint what it is exactly that makes this phone feel so much nicer to my hands than even Samsung's other flagships like the newer Galaxy S20+ that I have sitting on my desk; the Note 10 isn't any thinner, and it sports the same aluminum and curved glass design, with the only major difference being the more squared-off corners.
In-hand feel is certainly a subjective matter, but there's something about flat frames and corners that give off a more utilitarian/premium design I absolutely love.
Going back to the rear camera housing, we're expecting great things from the Note 20 in regards to its camera performance. Samsung made a massive leap in image quality from the Galaxy S10 to the S20, and those improvements will be present on the new Note. Exact camera specs remain unclear, but we'll more than likely see a primary camera, ultra-wide camera, and a periscope zoom camera on the bottom. The 100X Space Zoom from the S20 Ultra is supposedly out, and that's honestly fine by us. It was more of a gimmick than anything else, and if Samsung can use its periscope tech to create a legitimately useful sensor, it'll be all for the better.
There's also the matter of the display, which we're anticipating to get that sweet, sweet upgrade to a 120Hz refresh rate. There's been some uncertainty as to whether or not the baseline Note 20 will get the 120Hz upgrade, but given that every model of the S20 has the increased refresh rate, it's hard to imagine Samsung backtracking for the Note. Pair that together with even thinner bezels than what we had on the Note 10, the option to run Quad HD+ and 120Hz at the same time (something not possible on the S20), and this is shaping up to be the best display we've ever seen on a smartphone.
As for all of the other internal specs, there should be the usual array of flagship goodness. That means a Snapdragon 865 (or 865+) processor, at least 12GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB of baseline storage, and Android 10 out of the box with a speedy update to Android 11.
Recent years have seen the Galaxy Note shifting to be an evolution of its Galaxy S cousin rather than a complete overhaul, and when Samsung's Galaxy S phones are so darn good, that's not a bad thing by any means.
The Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra are three of the most feature-rich and refined Android phones you can buy in 2020. Based on what we know so far, the Note 20 lineup is going to take the features and specs of those devices, combine them with the outstanding design of the Note 10, and the end result is going to be a handset that's really hard to ignore.
I typically don't get all that excited about Samsung phones given my stance on One UI, but even for someone like me, I can't deny just how good the Note 20 is looking. From the design, display, cameras, and specs, almost everything about the phone has the potential to be perfect or awfully close to it.