what differences, which one to choose?

Samsung’s Note 20 and Galaxy S20 + share many common characteristics, so it can be difficult to tell them apart. In this comparison, we highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each smartphone against each other to help you choose the one that’s right for you.

Samsung has launched its new high-end smartphones with the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. If the latter stands out and is now the flagship of the South Korean brand, the first city is rather scarce in innovations and for many uses elements of old models, almost appearing as a mix between the Note 10 and the Galaxy S20 + . So, given the price difference, one wonders what is more worth it: invest in a newly released Note 20 or rather in a Galaxy S20 + that has been on the market for six months? Answer in this comparison.

Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy S20 + technical sheets

As you can see in the technical specifications sheet below, the differences are not legion between the Note 20 and S20 +. But by looking a little more in detail on what the two smartphones offer, we still manage to identify elements of differentiation.

Galaxy Note 20 Spec Sheet Galaxy S20 + Spec Sheet
Screen 6.7 “AMOLED Infinity Display 60 Hz 20: 9 HDR10 + FHD + 6.7 “AMOLED Infinity Display 120 Hz 20: 9 HDR10 + QHD +
Photo / Video Ultra wide angle: 12 MP f / 2.2
Wide-angle: 12 MP f / 1.8
Telephoto: 64 MP f / 2.0
Ultra wide angle: 12 MP f / 2.2
Wide-angle: 12 MP f / 1.8
Telephoto: 64 MP f / 2.0
Selfie 10 MP, f / 2.2 10 MP, f / 2.2
SoC Exynos 990 (7nm +) Exynos 990 (7nm +)
RAM 8 GB 8 GB
Internal memory 256 GB (not expandable) 128 GB (expandable via microSD)
Connectivity Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 4G, 5G optional Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 4G, 5G
Fingerprint reader Under the screen Under the screen
Drums 4300 mAh 4500 mAh
Recharge Fast wired 45W
Fast wireless 15W
Reverse 9W
Fast wired 25W
Fast wireless 15W
Reverse 9W

Design

Aesthetically, the Note 20 is evolving to adopt a format and a design closer to what we have on the Galaxy S20 than on the Note 10. We find rounded edges specific to the S series, which means that the Note 20 and the S20 + are very similar, even if the second retains more marked curves. The size of the borders is almost similar, with all the same a slight advantage for the S20 + in this area. The dimensions are also very similar in length and width, but the Note 20 is thicker than the S20 +, storage for the stylus requires.

Galaxy Note 20
Galaxy Note 20

On the back, the photo sensor configuration is located in a block in the upper left corner for both models. Integration is a little more successful on the Note 20 because the “hob” adopts the color of the smartphone and is thus more discreet than the black pad of the S20 +. On the front face, the same central punch houses the front photo sensor.

The Galaxy S20 +
The Galaxy S20 +

While both phones have IP68 protection against water and dust, they are not exactly equipped with the same materials. The aluminum chassis comes with a plastic back on the Note 20, while it is glass on the S20 +. Sure, manufacturers now manage to use very good quality plastic that looks good on their devices, and the Note 20 doesn’t look “cheap” at all, but it’s still a downgrade. And that’s not all, since Samsung has decided to equip the Note 20 only with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 screen protection, while the S20 + is entitled to the Gorilla Glass 6. The manufacturer clearly went into the economy on this one, reserving the best materials available for the Note 20 Ultra alone.

Screen

The Note 20 and Galaxy S20 + each have a comfortable 6.7 inch AMOLED display with an elongated 20: 9 ratio with HDR10 + technology support for vivid colors and better contrast. But if the S20 + is able to display a QHD + 1440p definition and a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz (but not at the same time), the Note 20 is satisfied with a standard FHD + and 60 Hz configuration which seems unworthy to us. ‘a high-end 2020 marketed at such a price. The Note 20 disappoints on this aspect. Its resolution of 393 pixels per inch is decent, but falls far short of the density of 525 pixels per inch of the S20 +.

Galaxy Note 20 screen
The screen of the Galaxy Note 20

The Always-on display feature, which allows information such as the time, date, battery level or incoming notifications to be constantly displayed on the screen, is indeed available on both devices.

Performances

The Note 20 and S20 + are powered by the same SoC Exynos 990, engraved in 7nm +. Samsung has promised optimizations to make its chip faster on its Note, but we will have to wait for the benchmarks to be clear. If there is improvement, we should not expect a very large gain anyway. On a daily basis, the two smartphones are very fast and difficult to decide on the perceived speed.

exynos 990

Europe is rather poorly served as other markets, such as the United States or China, are taking advantage of Samsung’s premium mobiles powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC. The S20 + is equipped with a Snapdragon 865, while the Note 20 is entitled to an improved version: the Snapdragon 865+.

The S20 + is available in a 4G or 5G version, just like the Note 20.

Memory

8 GB of RAM: the amount of RAM is the same between the Note and the S20 +. This is more than enough as long as the smartphone is well optimized.

For storage, there are differences at all levels. Natively, the Note 20 has 256 GB of space, compared to 128 GB for the S20 +. But the latter has a microSD card slot to expand storage (by sacrificing the second SIM slot). Finally, the Note 20 has higher theoretical write speeds than the S20 + thanks to UFS 3.1 technology, where the S20 + is content with UFS 3.0. The reading speed is on the other hand identical between these two generations of standard.

Battery, autonomy and recharging

Surprise, the Galaxy Note 20 has a smaller battery than that of the Galaxy S20 +. The capacity goes from 4500 mAh to 4300 mAh. Of course, you have to wait for more battery life tests to get an accurate result, but the Note 20 shouldn’t suffer too much. Its screen displays only FHD + 1080p definition and a frame refresh rate of 60 Hz, while the S20 + is capable of offering QHD + quality or a rate of 120 Hz. Power-hungry features that require the integration of an imposing battery. The Note 20 being deprived of these options, it should consume less than an S20 +.

The charge of the S20 + was already fast, that of the Note 20 goes even further
The charge of the S20 + was already fast, that of the Note 20 goes even further

The Note 20 is in any case much better equipped than the S20 + in terms of wired charging. It supports a 45W power allowing the device’s battery to be reassembled very quickly. The S20 + is not badly off with its recharge 25W, but it is still much less effective. However, there is no difference in wireless induction charging with very good 15W in both cases (and 9W for reverse charging allowing you to charge third-party devices with the mobile battery).

Camera

Samsung did not break its head when deciding the photo setup of the Note 20, it sports the same modules that we were already entitled to on the S20 +. On the two mobiles, we therefore find: a wide-angle sensor 12 MP, f / 1.8, 26mm (wide), 1 / 1.76 ″, 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF + a 12 MP ultra wide-angle, f / 2.2, 13mm, 1 / 2.55 ″, 1.4µm, Super Steady video + a 64 MP telephoto lens, f / 2.0,, 1 / 1.72 ″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS.

The S20 + has a ToF sensor, the Note 20 does not
The S20 + has a ToF sensor, the Note 20 does not

But there are still some differences. The Note 20’s telephoto lens is notably more capable, offering 3x optical and 30x hybrid zoom thanks to a welcome software optimization. The S20 + offers 2x optical, 3x hybrid and 30x digital zoom. But the latter is not very convincing after our test of the Galaxy S20 +. Switching from digital to hybrid for a 30x zoom can improve quality.

The S20 + is distinguished by an additional 3D ToF sensor (0.3 MP, f / 1.0 aperture) for better management of the depth of field.

Audio

Samsung takes care of its high end on the audio part, but the Note 20 does not receive any noticeable improvement compared to the S20 +. The two smartphones are equipped with equal stereo speakers. For quality sound, you must of course connect headphones or headphones. Wired, this necessarily does not pass the USB-C port of devices since there is no 3.5mm jack port. AKG USB-C headphones are included in the box.

Bottom edge of Note 20
Bottom edge of Note 20

For wireless, there is a slight difference. Note 20 supports the standard Bluetooth 5.1, while the S20 + got stuck on Bluetooth 5.0. Bluetooth 5.1 made fewer improvements than Bluetooth 5.0 at the time, but still allows for faster pairing and less disruption.

Software and Features

The Note 20 comes out directly under Samsung’s software overlay One UI 2.1, based on Android 10. The S20 + was launched under One UI 2.0 but an update is already available to upgrade to the latest version of the interface, one of the best in the Android environment (if this is not the best).

one ui
One UI is one of the best Android experiences around

When it comes to software tracking, both smartphones should receive roughly the same attention. Even though the Note is released six months later than the Galaxy S, it usually doesn’t get an additional major uptad. If we go by Samsung’s habits, the Note 20 and S20 + should be entitled to Android 11 and Android 12, but no more.

If the Note range previously benefited from exclusivity in terms of features, the merger operated by the South Korean manufacturer with the S range finally leaves us with a Note 20 not benefiting from many more features than the S20 +. We note all the same that if DeX mode is available on both devices, the Note 20 benefits from a novelty: the Wireless DeX. After getting rid of the mandatory DeX station, Samsung now offers to do without a wired connection to connect the mobile to the computer screen.

And of course, the Note 20 has a stylus, and this is arguably its main advantage over the S20 +. It allows you to control media playback, increase or decrease the volume, take a photo, play slides during a presentation, all remotely. It is also used for navigation and for writing “by hand” on your mobile, with a function of exporting text from handwritten notes to text that can be easily copied, pasted and shared. Aspiring artists can also draw using the S-Pen.

The Galaxy Note 20 S-Pen
The Galaxy Note 20 S-Pen

Price

The Galaxy S20 + was marketed at its release at a price of 1009 euros for the 4G version (1,109 euros for the 5G 128 GB model and 1,259 euros for the S20 + 5G at 512 GB). A higher rate than that charged for the Note 20, available from 949 euros from its launch for the 4G variant. As for the S20 +, count an additional 100 euros to benefit from compatibility with the latest generation of mobile network: the Note 20 5G is displayed at 1049 euros.

But the S20 + can be acquired from select retailers at a lower price and should be the subject of more attractive promotions in the future. Note that Samsung’s premium smartphones have been losing value less quickly for some time, so the price drop for the S20 + may not be as significant as one might think.

Conclusion

As we have noticed in recent years, the trend has been confirmed: the Galaxy S and Note no longer really have their own identity and look more and more alike. Today, the only real difference between the two lines seems to be the presence of the S-Pen for the Note. Here, we can see that the Note 20 is clearly a variation of the S20 +. It brings some new features (UFS 3.1 storage, Bluetooth 5.1, 45W wired charging, wireless DeX mode, better telephoto) compared to the Galaxy S20 +, but at the cost of some sacrifices: slightly smaller battery, FHD + screen and only 60 Hz, absence of ToF sensor …

To make your choice between the two smartphones, consider the usefulness of the S-Pen for your needs. Are you really going to use it? If the answer is no, the S20 +, the price of which should drop following the release of the Note 20 series, is undoubtedly a solution with the best value for money. If the stylus or the promise of super-fast charging enchants you, the small price difference between the two devices may justify buying a Note 20 over an S20 +.

We do not recommend buying the Galaxy S20 + at its base price, over 1000 euros. If you can’t find a promotion on this product after the Note 20 is released, then Note 20 seems like a better alternative.

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