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Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review: Beautiful, ultrapremium 5G phone packed with high-end features. But...

by Epifania Clymer (2020-09-21)

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G

$1,300 is too expensive right nowA large, heavy, awkward phoneUnsightly camera bump that invites breakageNote 20 when you lay it down flat

What's the first thing you want to know about the new Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G? That it's a gorgeous, superpremium device filled with high-end features? That I genuinely enjoy using the phone, including its exceptional 6.9-inch screen, sharp 5x optical zoom camera and a stylus for annotating screenshots and taking notes? Or that, as Samsung's most advanced phone, the Note 20 Ultra makes small but significant enhancements over the Note 10 Plus, especially when it comes to photography?The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is a do-everything phone, and the line has always been one that Samsung has positioned for a rarified group of Android "power users" who want top-shelf everything. If you're someone who believes the person with the most phone toys wins, listen up. But if you're looking for value, or even a phone for the times, this year, in a climate of deep global recession, steep unemployment and waves of lockdowns, the Note 20 Ultra will make even less sense for you than before. Unless you already know you can't live without it, it's hard to recommend the Ultra for all but the most loyal Note fans, or people upgrading from older phones. Order from Samsung | Verizon | AT&T | Best Buy  Why? Let's start with the price. The Note 20 Ultra is really expensive. It begins at $1,300 (£1,179, AU$1,894) for the 128GB version (you can also buy it in 512GB). Then there's the fact that if your active work and social lifestyle has changed at all, like mine has, you won't truly take advantage of all the features it has to offer. Will the Note 20 Ultra still be the phone you want to use post-pandemic, or will a better upgrade come along by then?

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I've always enjoyed using a Galaxy Note, for the stylus as well as the sleekness of the line's design. The Ultra produces top-notch specs, checks all the boxes, and I want to love it. But for me, it doesn't totally come together, and in terms of value, it's a miss. If you get a good enough trade-in deal or bundled offer, I think you'll be happy with the features and performance, even if some aspects, like the camera bump, aren't your favorite. But if you want to reserve a little money this year and save your splurge when you have more certainty and freedom of movement, there are plenty of excellent devices well below $1,300 that will see you through until then, including the Google Pixel 4A, Samsung Galaxy A51, iPhone 11 or 11 Pro and OnePlus 8 or 8 Pro. Scroll all the way to the end for the full list of specs compared to the standard Galaxy Note 20. Samsung also has one more super-ultrapremium phone planned for the end of the year: its Galaxy Z Fold 2, which goes on preorder Sept. 1.