This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
Samsung Electronics held a new product launch event on August 5 and announced the Galaxy Note20 series. The Galaxy Note is a smartphone that features the S Pen, a stylus pen that can be stored in the body of the device and a large display. The newly announced Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra are not only different in terms of specs, but they are also products that show a different direction from each other.
Comparing the two models, the first difference is in the base design of the body. The Galaxy Note series has been available in two sizes since last year, and although the Galaxy Note10 and the Galaxy Note10+, announced a year ago, differed in display size (6.3 and 6.8 inches) and cameras (triple and quad), the design of the bodies of both were almost identical.
On the other hand, the Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra have display sizes of 6.7 inches and 6.9 inches respectively. The Ultra is only 0.1-inch larger than the Galaxy Note10+, but the Galaxy Note20 is 0.4-inch larger than the Galaxy Note10. This means that instead of the Galaxy Note20 Ultra and the Galaxy Note20 being split into two sizes, "large and small," they're now much closer in size to each other.
Looking at the design of the display, the Galaxy Note20 has a typical flat shape with rounded corners. In contrast, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra has a square design with curved edges on the sides of the display and prominent angles on the four corners. In other words, the two models can be seen as two different series of handsets with different appearances.
The Galaxy Note series is a model that uses the S Pen to touch the screen, for example, for handwriting and translation work. Last year's Galaxy Note10 was small and easy to hold, but it was probably too small to use the S Pen. The Galaxy Note10 was not released in Japan (only the Galaxy Note10+ was released in Japan), and the feedback on the Galaxy Note10 series globally may have been "I still want to use a bigger screen".
The Galaxy Note10 Lite, announced in January 2020, also features a 6.7-inch flat display and a mid- to high-range chipset, which lowers the price of the device. While its performance as a smartphone is not as good as the Galaxy Note10 and Galaxy Note10+, the larger display is better suited for handwriting with the S Pen.
The display size of the Galaxy Note20 is the same as the Galaxy Note10 Lite, but it has been brushed up with a narrower bezel width. In this way, we can say that the evolution from the Galaxy Note10 series to the Galaxy Note20 series has been as follows
Smaller model: Galaxy Note10 > No successor
Flat screen: Galaxy Note10 Lite > Galaxy Note20 (more performance)
The two models in the Galaxy Note10 series were the "choose one based on screen size" products, but the Galaxy Note20 series has changed direction to the "Galaxy Note20 Ultra with a larger screen and more powerful camera" and the "Galaxy Note20 with a larger screen that allows for easy handwriting". If you compare the body size of both models, the difference is minimal. Since the Galaxy Note uses a pen, it's likely that the company decided to stop adding variations of the smaller model with the 2019 Galaxy Note10 and make separate products based on the larger display for the Galaxy S20 series.
The S Pen has been improved with the Galaxy Note20 series. It's not a big improvement in terms of hardware performance, although there were a lot of rumors floating around beforehand, such as "a laser pointer will be built in". In fact, the big change is that the S Pen is now stored in the left corner of the body, rather than in the right corner. Because of the change in board design, the S Pen's storage space has been moved to the left side of the device, but pulling the S Pen out right next to your wrist may be more stable and effective in preventing the S Pen from being accidentally dropped. I've been using the Galaxy Note series since the first model, and I can't wait to see how the change in the position of the S Pen will affect the usability of the device.
The S Pen in the Galaxy Note20 series is not just a stylus pen for handwriting, it continues the function from the Galaxy Note10 series. The ability to convert handwritten text on the Samsung Note (Galaxy Note) into text is also available in Japanese. Whereas the Galaxy Note10 was unable to convert your handwriting to text if it was scribbled at an angle, the Galaxy Note20 automatically corrects your handwriting to a horizontal position and translates it instantly when you tap your handwriting with the S Pen. It's a further advance in the fusion of analog and digital technology.
The S Pen writing experience has also been greatly improved, with a lower latency speed for a paper-like writing experience. The S Pen on the Galaxy Note20 series still uses Wacom's touch technology and is known for its smooth writing experience. The Galaxy Note20 series uses improved response time on the display side and AI-based pen movement anticipation technology to reduce the S Pen's latency to 9 milliseconds. This number is on par with the Apple Pencil. In other words, the Galaxy Note20 feels just like writing on paper with a real pen, just like writing on an iPad with the Apple Pencil.
The more comfortable the S Pen is to write with, the easier it will be to use the Galaxy Note20 for creative purposes. The Galaxy Note20 series will come with an Android version of CLIP STUDIO PAINT, a major illustration app for the iPad and iPhone. This is the first time the app is available for Android, and the Galaxy Note 20 series will be available exclusively for a limited time. What you can do with the iPad + Apple Pencil, you can do with the Galaxy Note20 series.
The Galaxy Note20 series also features a major improvement in the Samsung DeX, which allows you to connect to an external display. It's a handy feature that allows you to display a dedicated desktop on a large screen and use it in multiple windows, just like a PC, but previously it was only available through a wired connection. Now that it's wireless, for example, if you're staying in a hotel and the big TV in your room is Miracast enabled, you can connect your Galaxy Note20 wirelessly while lying in bed.
This is a great way to view videos, such as on YouTube, as well as work documents. The external display and the Galaxy Note20 can each have a separate screen, or the Galaxy Note20 display can be used as a wireless touchpad. With the increasing popularity of telework and workcations that allow people to work while traveling, the style of work will change dramatically in the future. The Galaxy Note20 series is the right device for this "new normal" era.
Dr. TM Roh, President and Head of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics, who took the stage at the beginning of the presentation, emphasized that the Galaxy Note20 series is a product for the new normal era, calling it "Embrace the Next Normal".
When it comes to new smartphone products, the evolution of the camera is of great concern. Of the two models, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra has a 108-megapixel camera. Like the Galaxy S20 Ultra, Samsung has given the 100 million pixel camera model the "Ultra" name. The configuration of the camera consists of a 108-megapixel wide-angle, a 12-megapixel periscope 5x optical telephoto, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide angle, and a 10-megapixel front camera.
The Galaxy Note20 won't have a "100 million pixel" camera, but it will have a 64-megapixel 3x optical telephoto, a 12-megapixel wide angle, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide angle, and a 10-megapixel front camera, which is almost identical to the Galaxy S20.
Both the Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra have large displays that can take advantage of the S Pen; whether you're attracted to the 100-megapixel high-definition camera or opt for a flat, edge-writing display, both models have great appeal. Two models in the same series with different directions, we'd love to see them both come to Japan for the new normal.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.