The Note 20 Ultra is the new gem in samsung’s note lineup and with everything new, there is a question. Should you spend that $1,300 dollars and upgrade from last year’s note 10+ compared to last year’s Note 10+?
The answer is not a definitive yes. So let’s explore and break down the differences in this Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs Note 10 plus comparison.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Box contents:
1. Note 20 Ultra handset
2. AKG earphones with eartips
3. 25W USB-Type-C Charger
4. USB Type-C cable
6. SIM ejector pin
7. Tips for S-Pen
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Box contents:
1. Galaxy Note 10+ with pre-applied screen protector.
2. AKG earphones + eartips.
3. 25W fast charger.
4. USB Type C cable.
5. S Pen tips and tweezers.
6. SIM ejector.
Note 20 ultra vs Note 10 Plus: Design and Build
From design standpoint, the Note 20 Ultra is an evolution rather than a complete overhaul. The Note 10 plus was definitely a much flashier design with a glossy glass back and expressive color option especially aura glow version.
While the Note 20 Ultra in its bronze color looks pinkish in real life is a more laid-back design especially with that frosted glass finish which is a bit subdued.
Both the Note 10 plus and the Note 20 ultra have displays that are curved just very slightly not quite as much as on earlier Samsung phones.
They’re not flat screens but the curve is not too noticeable and in terms of purely just size the new note is just a bit taller and a bit heavier.
But the difference is that camera hump on the back which feels just like someone stuck a giant piece of lego to the back of the Note 20 Ultra. The difference between the two is not huge but it is there and both are extra large phones.
Button placement has also changed while last year’s note had its buttons on the left, the note 20 ultra this year has them on the right hand side which is definitely more convenient for most people who are right-handed.
The s-pen has also changed places on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. It is on the left side. Both phones also support IP68 water protection rating, so they should survive the accidental drop in water.
Neither of the two has a headphone jack but you should know that the Note 20 Ultra doesn’t even have any headphones in the box.
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs Note 10 Plus: Display
At 6.9 inches on the Note 20 Ultra and 6.8 inches on the Note 10 plus, the difference is so tiny. In terms of size, you probably won’t notice it.
Both are amoled screens with premium characteristics, colors are rich and viewing angles are just excellent.
The newer Note 20 Ultra has a slightly higher peak brightness, so it’s a bit easier to use outdoors under the sun.
The big difference however goes by the name 120 hertz. This is the new default refresh rate on the Note 20 Ultra and it’s double the 60 hertz refresh rate that you have on the note 10 plus.
This is clearly the most noticeable difference between the two, after using the new note for a while and then, if you pick up the old Note 10+, it almost looks slow.
The new note appears just so much smoother, more responsive and overall faster.
Which one has better Performance?
In the US market, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is powered by the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ or Exynos 990 (depending upon your region) and the plus here delivers a 10% improvement over the normal Snapdragon 865 processor.
The Note 10+ on the other hand runs on last year’s Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9825 processor but I wouldn’t say that it feels slow. In fact both are plenty fast in daily use.
Both phones also have 12 GB of RAM more than most other phones out there and this allows many apps to run in the background and makes it easy to multitask without apps reloading.
The Note 20 Ultra is also a 5G device while the regular note 10+ was not and there was a special variant of that phone with 5G connectivity, but it costs extra money.
Now interestingly, the older note 10+ comes with 256 GB of storage, while the newer Note 20 Ultra only has half of that at 128 GB of storage. That’s just a strange backwards decision on samsung’s part.
Samsung this year tries to upsell power users to the 512 GB Note 20 Ultra, but that model cost nearly $1500, so that’s a bit of a backwards move.
Note 20 ultra vs Note 10+: S-pen
So we haven’t talked about the s pen yet, but it has received one of the biggest upgrades ever and it’s not just about the positioning.
Now it looks the same as before, it’s plastic, it’s tucked inside the phone, it has a single button on it and removable tips.
However, the latency is now nearly four times faster, it’s just 9ms on the Note 20 Ultra vs 42ms on the Note 10+ and that’s super nice.
You’ll definitely like it if you’re an artist who uses the s-pen a lot, if you’re a creative person who draws on their phone etc.
Well, that difference, that upgrade is nice but definitely not a game changer, you probably won’t notice it all that much.
Then the Note 20 Ultra also has a few cool new features.
It supports the new air gestures that allow you to control the device from afar much like a magician. You can flick through photos in the gallery or change songs in spotify.
But to be honest, those gestures were finicky and barely worked, they seemed like a bit of a gimmick.
What is also cool on the new note is wireless decks, if you have a new Samsung TV, you can wirelessly mirror your note screen to the big TV screen and while the other Note 10 plus require the cable to pull the very same trick.
Note 20 Ultra vs Note 10 Plus: Camera comparison
Next up, let’s also talk about cameras. Now just take a second to digest that difference in the size of that camera hump is big.
The Note 20 Ultra has a 108 MP main camera vs a 12 MP shooter on the Note 10+.
Both have a 12 MP ultra wide camera and finally you have a super long range 5x zoom camera on the ultra vs a regular 2x zoom camera on the Note 10+. For selfies, both phones come with 10 MP camera and a punch hole design.
Images from the new Note 20 Ultra have much more vibrant colors out of the box and are just ready to share on social media.
The Note 10+ on the other hand has bleaker colors that might be more realistic but don’t look quite that punchy and that impressive both cameras are excellent.
But I would say that most people would prefer those flashier images from the Note 20 Ultra.
The zoom is a big deal on the Note 20 Ultra. You can zoom up to 50x which can be just very creepy, but in some scenarios, also extremely cool.
Now last year’s Note 10 plus cannot do that but it’s two times zoom camera is actually quite useful.
It is used for the live focus mode. So if you take portrait pictures of people, the Note 10 plus actually has much sharper details.
Images look better at night, the newer Note 20 other is the better camera phone, it shoots faster, it has an automatic night mode via the scene optimizer and images are usually brighter.
On the video side, the Note 20 Ultra is capable of shooting 8k video at 24 fps.
We definitely wouldn’t shoot 8k video every day but if you happen to visit a special place, definitely go for it, you will be blown away with the amount of detail.
Speakers, Audio and Voice
Last but not least, those loudspeakers just sound so much better on the new Note 20 Ultra.
Whether you play music or watch videos on your phone, sound via the loudspeakers is a lot boomier and has a lot more bass.
On the note 10 plus, the speakers sound a bit weak and there’s just no definition in the lower tonalities.
Battery and charging
With the 4,500 mAh battery the, newer Note holds the promise for a longer battery life when compared with the Note 10+ which has a 4,300 mAh battery.
In real life, both phones can give you one day battery. Meaning, you have to charge them every night after using them for a while.
However I noticed that the note 10+ lasts a bit longer despite a smaller battery. The reason for that is probably that it runs at 60hz, while the Note 20 Ultra by default runs at that faster 120hz refresh rate which takes a toll on battery life.
You can see the battery life scores for both of these phones right here.
Both phones also ship with the same 25W fast charger in the box, it takes just a bit over an hour to fully charge up the batteries on both phones.
Now interestingly, again the older Note 10+ also supports Samsung’s 45W super fast charger while the newer note does not support that fast charger and is only limited to those 25W charging rates.
Again, another strange backwards decision by Samsung.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs Note 10 Plus: Conclusion
So with all of that, it’s time to choose the best device for you.
The biggest game changer for me personally is that 120 hertz refresh rate on the new Note 20 Ultra that just makes everything smoother and faster.
That’s the biggest reason why I personally would upgrade the screen is also a bit brighter a bit better, the camera gives you the ability to zoom far in the way and the loudspeakers are much better.
Battery life is actually about the same or even a bit better on the Note 10 plus. The Note 10 plus also comes with double the storage compared to the newer phone. Charging speeds haven’t improved on the new Note.
The software is almost exactly the same and if you actually shoot a lot of portraits of people, the two-time zoom camera on the older note delivers better results.
So overall I would say that the newer note is overall a bit nicer but better refined. If you just want the very best, then go and get it.
You won’t regret it but if you’re on the fence, not ready with the decision and if you already own a Note 10 plus, well you’re not missing out on all.
So that’s it for this Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs Note 10 plus Comparison, consider sharing this, if you enjoyed it.
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