Samsung, read the room and see that we need a Note 20 Lite right now, not a Note 20 Ultra

Galaxy Note 20 Mystic Bronze
Galaxy Note 20 Mystic Bronze (Image credit: Samsung)

The Note 20 is coming and everyone is sure it's coming very soon. Another thing that seems pretty certain is that we'll be seeing at least two different versions, and one of them will carry the Note 20 Ultra name. There is one thing we're sure of, and that is anything Samsung labels with the "Ultra" tag is going to be expensive as hell.

It's fine for Samsung to sell ungodly expensive phones packed full of, um, something that justifies the price. There are people who don't care what a phone costs if it has a feature they want, like 100X Super Zoom. But there are a lot more people who might need a new phone right now and don't have money to burn.

The economy is in shambles. Unemployment is sky-high and only a small percentage of jobs lost in April have returned, 32% of homeowners missed their July mortgage payment, and things are not getting better. Pandemics are bad for everyone's finances.

I'm no economist. But I am strapped for cash like most every other American, and I study phones and sales figures for a living. My savings are gone, and if I had to buy a new phone today I would look long and hard at a good one that was $15 less per month because it wasn't priced stupidly high. I am not alone.

A Note 20 Lite is probably coming later in the year. That tells me you're trying to get people to pay more money right now by holding back an affordable option to collect sales from people who just couldn't swing the extra money. That's shameful, especially because you know how bad things are right now.

The Note 20 Ultra will be a better phone than a Note 20 Lite would, but you know which one would have better sales. TheNote 10 was priced at $949 when it launched. The Note 10 Lite was priced at $640 when it launched. It's easy to say that both prices are too high for a phone, but that difference amounted to things like a lower monthly payment or no down payment for people buying on credit as well as a $300 difference when buying outright.

Holding back a good but inexpensive phone feels when everyone is broke seems wrong.

Rumor says you plan to sell the regular entry-level Note 20 at a regular entry-level $999 price (which is still too much money for anything you can't drive to work) so you understand people are tightening their belts and not pissing money away on a whim. I hope that rumor is true, but I also hope most people just say no and keep their Note 10 for another year because it's still a fine phone.

I know these words will just be lost in the mix and me sitting here complaining is like that old man who yells at clouds. But I also know there are a lot of people looking for a new phone because they need one right now, and you're not there to offer anything except an older model that's one year closer to its end of life. Nobody wants you to lose money, Samsung. But you don't have to.

People might want a very expensive Galaxy Note 20 with some insane feature list, but wanting is not the same as buying. You learned this lesson with the Galaxy S20 Ultra and its horrible sales figures. A Galaxy Note 20 Lite is what we really need right now. It's too late for it to happen, but it's not too late for consumers to reject your obvious cash-grab and not buy one at all.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • I'm the 1st to one to say that I'll be keeping on to my Note 10 plus for longer. It still is a beast of a machine and there are no major concerns about it. Lol probably the 1st time in years I can actually hang on to a phone for more than a year and not feel the itch to upgrade. So Covid 19 might be a blessing in disguise to sort our priorities and many like myself will agree that purchasing a expensive flagship right now is not feasible in any way.
  • Note 10 Plus has worked out well for us, only regret was going with black. U12 Plus has also held up exceptionally well, especially the buttons which are a delight to use, unlike the Note's fussy FP reader.
  • U12 plus is janky and junky.
  • this whole article is kind of silly, really. If someone isn't able to make their mortgage payment, and they NEED a new phone, they probably shouldn't be shopping in the$600 price range, right?
  • Exactly. I get Jerry's point, but I wouldn't call Samsung "shameful". Either their marketing teams are right and they'll make money (which is what they're supposed to do) or their marketing teams missed the boat and they're foolish. If they had a monopoly on phones and refused to sell a cheap one, then I would call them shameful.
  • Exactly what I was going to say: "You're blaming Samsung for what people who can't pay for their homes do with their money?" It's typical liberalism: you're a victim; nothing is your fault.
    The only good point of the article is that Samsung should do it for its own sake. They think they're making the right calculation by delaying cheaper models, which shows they've learned NOTHING from the S20 fiasco.
  • Do we REALLY need it? Seriously, this is absurd in the extreme.
  • By that argument Rolex should stop making watches so we can all equally enjoy the Chinese $5 crap from Walmart!
  • Hey Jerry will Apple be "shameful" too when their iPhone 12 5G devices drop at absurd prices? (queue GOT scene..... "shame" "shame" "shame" as Apple and Samsung walk the streets.....)
  • If Apple holds back an iPhone 12 Lite in order to maximize profits, then hell yes.
  • Holds back an iphone 12 lite? huh? Apple just released the SE. And when they released their iPhone 11 line, they released three models with the same processor and cameras (minus the zoom lens).
  • I wouldn't consider a Note Lite at all, if I can't have the Full Monty Note 20 Ultra, then I'll stick with my Note 10 plus 5G for another year.
    1200 Euro is max price I'm willing to pay for the 16gb/512gb version, and that is only if Samsung throws in free Galaxy Beans
  • Agreed. Give me the equivalent of a Note 8, with a flat screen and great camera. For 600 bucks.
  • You can get a Note 10 Lite which has the same processor of the Note 9 for less than 600
  • Yet another hatchet job missive from what is now anti-Android Central. First off, the Note 10 Lite launched in January, not August. If a Note 20 Lite gets launched, it will be around the same time frame. What about the people struggling in the economy? Well it is debatable if they should get a new smartphone at all if they own one that they purchased in the last 2-3 years and it is still operational and getting security updates. Even if they don't, why you would recommend a $550 phone instead of the $99 Nokia 1.3 - or the $199 Nokia 5.3 for people not struggling quite as much - is bizarre. The latter in general got a fantastic review from DigitalTrends yesterday: "$199 really can buy a great smartphone" with its main drawbacks being a too-big screen (not an issue for Galaxy Note fans!) and the camera (legit gripe but come on the thing costs $199). Where a real Android site would have had an article claiming that iPhone SE 2 is a fraud because Android produces great options for half the cost, Android Central has barely mentioned the 5.3 at all (only mentioning it in an article that also discussed 2 other phones). Most prominently, you are aware that the Samsung Galaxy A71 5G is the same phone as the Note 10 Lite, right? Same memory/storage options. Same screen. Same camera. Same general price. (In fact if you get it off the Samsung website it is actually over $100 cheaper!) The same in every way except A MUCH FASTER CPU AND 5G CAPABILITY. No S-Pen, true, but people who really NEED one can get: A) the Note 10 Lite which is STILL BEING SOLD
    B) the LG Stylo (again people who are actually financially struggling but NEED a new phone really should get one that costs less than $200 anyway) Oh hey, I look forward to one of your articles bashing Apple for not offering a single phone that costs less than $700 except a $400 iPhone SE 2020 that they are basically just using to get rid of unsold spare parts that they had lying around because the iPhone 8 didn't come close to meeting sales projections. (Just as they did with the original iPhone SE, made from spare parts of the poorly performing iPhone 5c.) But no, you claimed that the iPhone SE 2020 was a groundbreaking paradigm changer that would set the industry on its ear and force Android to adapt to or die. Except ... that it totally didn't happen. Sales figures from the last 2 months showed that the iPhone SE 2 didn't make a market impact AT ALL, and as a result some retailers already have it on discount (which almost never happens for Apple devices so close after launch date). It is amazing. The Microsoft folks have a pro-Windows site. The Apple folks have a pro-Apple site. But the Android people are stuck with a site that bashes Android more than the Microsoft and Apple sites do.
  • If people are having issues with money they should:
    1) keep their phone if it is working, really...there just isn't that much difference between different vintages of phones these days.
    2) if the phone isn't working just get a cheapie for the time being to hold you over, it'll text, email, phone, take take decent pics, calculate fine, surf the internet good enough.
    3) to those complaining about Android bashing on this site from the editors...grow a sack.
  • I'm just hoping that 2020 is the year google starts offering a solid pixel line up at a solid price.
  • Snapdragon 765 + 6GB Ram + SPen would be great
  • This is why I'm keeping my S10+ for the full 2 years contract this time. It's still perfect running fine and no need to upgrade just yet.
  • Got news for you, it'll last a lot longer than that.
  • My note 8 is fine. I like the fact my phone is paid off and enjoy a sub $100/mo bill. Battery life is OK, but I'm always around a charger anyway. My new strategy is to keep a phone for as long as the security updates keep rolling in. I can't justify spending $1000.00 and better on a product that will be worth 1/2 in 1 year. Serious depreciation.
  • If you want that 100x zoom then pay what Samsung wants for it or make your own. You want a lite model with features of the ultra model.. And you want to pick and choose the features you want? Retarded? Noone wants to pay top dollar for top hardware any more but that's how it works.. Just get a note 10 or some other phone with the features and price that you want instead of demanding products because you have no money for them.
  • I used to like Jerry’s articles but lately they have been more whining than anything else
  • If you don't have a job, but you have a Note 10, a new phone is the least important thing on your list to buy.
  • Can't argue with that...
  • I wouldn't buy anything Samsung phone, especially when I prefer the iPhone over Samsung phones, especially.
  • Buy last year's phone this year Jerry. Problem solved. Promoting the purchase of phones the first month of their release is rediculous, if not stupid. No, the Note lineup isn't ever going to be a..... Pixel? A71? Look Jerry, lots of car reviewers and writers can't afford the stuff they test drive either.... That's life.... And nobody suggests buying a new vehicle off the lot is a sensible idea either. I'm a broken record on flagship phones... You buy them and they are future proofed. No sensible reason to upgrade my Note 8. It is rediculous to expect modern society to throw out tech on two year cycles like lemmings going off a cliff.... Lol.... C'mon man.... You'd do it for 1990s era phones. Holding onto your tech devices longer is the new normal. Stuff made over the last five years is so good, and annual improvements are so subtle. It's fine for you to review tech for a living, it's newsworthy. But don't think just because you review something and note the tiny changes from last year's model you then have to make a totally different leap and always advocate year over year, or biannual replacement. PS. Off topic... Yeah, it's criminal two years of updates are all you get on Android phones.... Bunch of environmental hippocrates who don't criticise their own industry, or more importantly, don't take action.