Update: We recommend most phone shoppers wait for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, which is expected to launch in February and feature the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, an integrated S Pen, and an improved camera.
Original post: Samsung offers two large-screen, ultra-premium beasts in the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy S20 Ultra. And while the 6.9-inch screens sport high-end specs, there are plenty of differences between these phablets, from price and specs to special features.
In a nutshell, the Note 20 Ultra is optimized for productivity thanks to its S Pen, while the S20 Ultra is a better bet for entertainment. But both big phones are built for work and play.
If you’re looking for the latest and greatest phones from Samsung, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is a better phone to compare to the Note 20 Ultra because the former offers S Pen support. But this Note 20 Ultra vs Galaxy S20 Ultra guide helps you decide which is best for you between these two phones.
- Galaxy Note 20 Ultra specs vs Galaxy S20 Ultra
- Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: Price
- Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: Design
- Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: Display
- Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: Cameras
- Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: S Pen
- Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: Performance
- Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: Battery life
- Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: Verdict
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra specs vs Galaxy S20 Ultra
|Galaxy Note 20 Ultra||Galaxy S20 Ultra|
|Price||$1,299, $1,449||$1,399, $1,599|
|Screen size||6.9 inches (3096 x 1444)||6.9 inches (3200 x 1440)|
|Screen refresh rate||120Hz dynamic||120Hz|
|CPU||Snapdragon 865 Plus/Exynos 990||Snapdragon 865|
|RAM||12 GB||12 GB|
|Storage||128 GB, 512 GB||128 GB, 512 GB|
|Rear cameras||108MP main, 12MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide, laser focus sensor||108MP main, 48MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide, VGA ToF|
|Zoom||5x optical, 50x digital||4x optical zoom, 100x space|
|loading||25W||25W, 45W (optional)|
|Cut||6.48 x 3.04 x 0.32 inches||6.6 x 2.7 x 0.34 inches|
|Weight||7.33 ounces||7.77 ounces|
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: Price
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra starts at $1,299 for 128GB of storage and goes up to $1,449 for 512GB.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra is the more expensive of these two handsets. It starts at $1,399 for the 128GB model and goes up to $1,599 for the 512GB version.
We highly recommend looking for the best Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy S20 deals, as many retailers and carriers are offering deep discounts.
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: Design
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra packs a massive 6.9-inch display in a smaller package than the S20 Ultra. The Note 20 Ultra measures 6.48 x 3.04 x 0.32 inches and weighs 7.33 ounces, compared to 6.6 x 2.7 x 0.34 inches and 7.77 ounces for the S20 Ultra. Our guess is that the S20 Ultra’s Space Zoom camera adds to its heft.
The Note 20 Ultra is a sleek phablet with a professional vibe, and it comes in three colors: Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, and Mystic Black. The S20 Ultra is only available in colors: Cosmic Gray and Cosmic Black.
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: Display
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy S20 Ultra both have 6.9-inch screens with a 120Hz refresh rate, but the Note 20 Ultra has an edge. Because the panel is dynamic on the Note 20 Ultra, it’s smart enough to adjust its refresh rate on the fly depending on the content on screen. With the S20 Ultra, you have to manually switch between 60Hz and 120Hz.
Otherwise, both OLED displays are gorgeous, and the S20 Ultra’s screen is a bit sharper at 3200 x 1440 pixels versus the Note 20 Ultra’s 3096 x 1444. You can also expect a wide color gamut from both the phones and ultra-wide viewing angles.
Both panels are quite bright, as they each hit 662 nits using our light meter and are easy to see outdoors (if you enable adaptive brightness).
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: Cameras
The Note 20 Ultra takes a slightly different approach to its cameras than the S20 Ultra. While it offers the same 108MP main camera, it complements it with a laser autofocus sensor which allows for faster focusing, especially when shooting video. The Galaxy S20 Ultra does not have this feature.
On the other hand, the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a larger Space Zoom that goes up to 100x, compared to 50x digital zoom for the Note 20 Ultra. Still, the Note 20 Ultra’s 5x optical zoom is better than the S20 Ultra’s 4x optical zoom.
On the front, the S20 Ultra has the sharper selfie camera at 40MP, compared to 10MP for the Note 20 Ultra.
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: S Pen
The biggest difference between the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and the S20 Ultra is that the Note has an S Pen. This stylus lets you take notes, sketch and sketch on the go, and Samsung has included some new features this time around to boost the productivity of this phablet.
The new Samsung Notes app automatically syncs your notes to the cloud, so you can access them from any device. And if you take voice memos, your doodles will sync with your recordings, which is handy for meetings or classes. Additionally, the Note 20 Ultra’s S Pen now supports a bunch of new air gestures for things like returning to the home screen or taking quick screenshots.
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: Performance
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a slight advantage here, thanks to the new Snapdragon 865 Plus chip. This provides a clock speed boost of over 3 GHz while improving graphics performance by 10%. It’s not a huge leap, but experienced users will likely appreciate the extra oomph.
On Geekbench 5, which measures overall performance, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra achieved a multi-core score of 3,294, compared to 3,076 for the S20 Ultra. In the GFXBench graphics test, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra scored 1,455 frames on the Aztec Ruins (High Tier) off-screen benchmark, compared to 1,319 for the S20 Ultra.
The Note 20 Ultra and S20 Ultra both come with a robust 12GB of RAM, along with 128GB of standard storage. You can upgrade to 512GB if you’re willing to pay more. And both phones let you expand storage via a microSD card.
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: Battery life
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has an edge over the Galaxy Note 20 in terms of battery capacity, as the older phablet packs a 5,000mAh battery into its chassis. The Note 20 Ultra has a 4,500 mAh battery.
In our web browsing battery test, the Galaxy S20 Ultra lasted 11 hours and 58 minutes in 120Hz mode and 9:13 in 60Hz mode. The Note 20 Ultra lasted less than 10 hours and 26 minutes and 7:59, respectively, at 60 Hz and 120 Hz.
In terms of charging, the Galaxy S20 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra both support 25W fast charging, but only the S20 Ultra supports an even faster 45W optional charge.
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra: Verdict
If I was spending my own money, I would buy the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra over the Galaxy S20 Ultra. For $100 less, you get a vibrant 120Hz display, a laser autofocus sensor for the camera, and a smaller-than-lighter design. Even if you don’t really need the S Pen, the Note 20 Ultra is the better phone.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra has a few strengths with its more powerful Space Zoom and its particularly robust battery. And that’s really the only reason to opt for the S20 Ultra: longer endurance.
Overall, the new Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is definitely the phone to get as it offers better cameras than the Note 20 Ultra. But if you want a built-in S Pen, the Note 20 Ultra is my pick.