Samsung doesn't really make radical changes with its flagships anymore, but it still manages to deliver exciting new features that raise the bar for the industry as a whole. With the Note 20 Ultra launching three years after the Note 8, you get enticing upgrades in all areas, so let's take a look at why you should consider upgrading to Samsung's latest phone.
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 8: Huge upgrades everywhere
If you're using a flagship, you don't need to upgrade every year. Phones from three years ago are still going strong on the hardware front, and if you're using the Galaxy Note 8 in 2020, you know this already. The design is still modern, the screen just as good, and the Snapdragon 835 chipset holds up in day-to-day use.
The Note 20 Ultra has a gorgeous design and will get three years of Android OS updates.
But the biggest issue here is software updates. The Note 8 debuted with Android 7.1.1 Nougat and got two platform updates to Android 9.0 Pie. Samsung has also finished three years of security updates for the phone, and it will not get any further updates. Two years of OS updates isn't long enough, and for what it's worth, Samsung is fixing the issue.
All flagships starting with the Galaxy S10 series and select mid-range Galaxy A devices will get three Android OS updates, a much-needed change. That means the Note 20 Ultra will get three OS updates, one more than the Note 8. That makes the device much more enticing right out the gate, and we haven't even started talking about the hardware yet.
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra delivers exciting hardware upgrades in just about every area. You get a massive 6.9-inch AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, and the thin bezels make playing games and streaming videos that much more immersive. This is the best screen you'll find on any phone today, and it is an absolute delight to use.
You get meaningful hardware upgrades in virtually all areas from the Note 8.
Then there's the hardware on offer. The Note 20 Ultra features the latest Snapdragon 865+ chipset and has 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage as standard. This is one of the best Android phones around, and the hardware here will hold up just fine for several years. There's also a 108MP primary camera at the back, and it takes outstanding photos.
You also get a microSD card slot, a 4,500mAh battery with 25W wired charging and 10W wireless charging, Wi-Fi 6, stereo speakers, IP68 rating, and global 5G connectivity. The differentiator for the Note series has always been the S Pen, and this time Samsung has lowered the latency to 9ms, making it even better to use for jotting notes or doodling.
While the Note 20 Ultra is packing a lot of new hardware and a larger screen, it is immediately familiar as a Note device. So if you're considering the switch from the Note 8, you'll feel right at home. Oh, the S Pen is now on the left, and there's no 3.5mm jack anymore, but other than that, the in-hand feel is largely similar.
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 8: All the specs
|Category||Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra||Samsung Galaxy Note 8|
|Operating system||Android 10
One UI 2.5
|Android 9.0 Pie
|Display||6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Gorilla Glass Victus
|6.3-inch Super AMOLED
Gorilla Glass 5
1 x 3.0GHz A77
3 x 2.42GHz A77
4 x 1.80GHz A55
4 x 2.35GHz Kryo 280
4 x 1.90GHz Kryo 280
|GPU||Adreno 650||Adreno 540|
|RAM||12GB LPDDR5||6GB LPDDR4X|
|Storage||128GB/256GB/512GB UFS3.1||64GB/128GB/256GB UFS 2.1|
|Rear camera 1||108MP f/1.8, OIS
8K at 24fps
4K at 60fps
|12MP f/1.7, OIS
4K at 30fps
|Rear camera 2||12MP, f/3.0
5x optical zoom
2x optical zoom
|Rear camera 3||12MP, f/2.2
|Front camera 1||10MP, f/2.2, 80° FoV
|Front camera 2||None||2MP iris module|
|Connectivity||5G, Wi-Fi ax MU-MIMO
Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS
|Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO
Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS
Fast charge (25W)
Fast charge (15W)
|Security||In-display fingerprint sensor
|Dimensions||164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm
|161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm
|Colors||Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, Mystic White||Midnight Black, Maple Gold, Orchid Gray|
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 8: It's time to upgrade
The Galaxy Note 8 is a fine phone on the hardware side, but with Samsung cutting off software updates, you will have to upgrade sooner rather than later. The obvious choice is the Note 20 Ultra. The phone has stunning hardware with a gorgeous new design, groundbreaking cameras, a sublime 120Hz screen, and all-day battery life.
The biggest reason to switch to the Note 20 Ultra is for the software updates.
While the Note 20 Ultra has exciting hardware upgrades across the board, Samsung's commitment to delivering three Android OS updates will benefit the phone in the long-term. The Note 20 Ultra comes with Android 10 out of the box and will be updated to Android 13 in three years' time.
That is a huge deal as it ensures the Note 20 Ultra receives the latest Android update for an extra year. That wasn't the case with the Note 8, which didn't receive the Android 10 update. When you're paying this kind of money on a phone, you will want to be able to use it for at least three years or more, and as such, it's great to see Samsung doing better in this key area.
The obvious upgrade
The most powerful phone in 2020
With huge hardware upgrades across the board, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is an easy recommendation if you're looking for a new phone in 2020. The fact that the phone will receive three Android OS updates makes it that much more enticing. The Note 20 Ultra is the obvious choice if you're upgrading from the Note 8.
No more software updates
The Galaxy Note 8 still holds up fine in day-to-day use, but Samsung isn't going to roll out any further software updates. That means you will have to upgrade to another device imminently if you want to try out new Android versions and receive the latest security updates, and the Note 20 Ultra is the ideal contender.
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