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Should you go with the Note 10 Ultra or the S20+?

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The ultimate flagship

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra



Mainstream choice

Samsung Galaxy S20+



With three phones in the Galaxy S20 series and two options in the Note 20 series, you have a lot of choice if you're in the market for a Samsung flagship right now.

The Galaxy S20+ is a fantastic phone, but the Note 20 Ultra kicks things up a gear

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

Samsung Galaxy Note 20Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

The distinction between the Galaxy S and Note series is getting thinner and thinner with every generation, and that's evident when you look at what the Note 20 Ultra has to offer. The hardware is near-identical to the Galaxy S20+, with both phones offering the same AMOLED panel tech with a 120Hz refresh rate that makes scrolling feel so smooth. This makes either device stand out from Samsung's earlier flagships, and it is one of the biggest reasons to switch if you're using the Galaxy S10, Note 10, or older flagship.

The differences between the two phones are subtle, but the Note 20 Ultra gives you a little extra.

Because we're talking about two devices that are so similar, we'll have to drill in to find the areas where they differ. The Note 20 Ultra has a 6.9-inch display versus the 6.7-inch screen on the S20+, and because of the larger screen, the Note 20 Ultra is 2.9mm taller. Also, the phone is also 22g heavier, even though both devices have the same 4,500mAh battery. The difference here is because of the S Pen and its housing.

The Note 20 Ultra features Corning's latest Gorilla Glass Victus screen protection, with the S20+ coming with Gorilla Glass 6. You shouldn't see any major difference in this area, but you're still better off picking up a case to protect your Note 20 Ultra.

Under the hood, the Note 20 Ultra is powered by the Snapdragon 865+ chipset, with the S20+ featuring the regular Snapdragon 865. Again, there's no difference here other than increased clocks on the primary core, and in day-to-day use both phones are identical. The international version of the Note 20 Ultra comes with the Exynos 990 — the same as the global S20+.

Galaxy S20 Plus

Galaxy S20 PlusSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Continuing down the hardware front, both phones come with 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM as standard, and the base variants have 128GB of storage. The S20+ has a UFS 3.0 storage module, while the Note 20 Ultra has a UFS 3.1 module. Both phones have a microSD card slot and feature IP68 dust and water resistance, but you won't find a 3.5mm jack though.

The biggest difference between the two phones is the S Pen.

The differentiator for the Note series has always been the S Pen, and that's the case for Samsung's latest flagship as well. Samsung made a few tweaks to its stylus with this generation, touting a latency of just 9ms. That makes the stylus even better for taking notes or sketching, and if you want the versatility that the S Pen has to offer, there's only one choice here.

Both phones have the same software, and with Samsung now committing to three years of platform updates, both the Note 20 Ultra and the S20+ will be updated to Android 13. That is a huge deal, and it is great to see Samsung taking the initiative here.

Rounding off the differences, the Note 20 Ultra has a 108MP primary camera that takes outstanding photos. The Galaxy S20+ is no slouch here either with its 12MP sensor, but the Note 20 Ultra has a slender edge in this category. As I said at the start, the differences between these two phones are minute. Both phones have 8K video recording and a gamut of shooting modes and effects to play around with.

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C ategory Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Operating system Android 10
One UI 2.5
Android 10
One UI 2.1
Display 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED
3088×1440 (20:9)
HDR10+
Gorilla Glass Victus
6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED
3200×1440 (20:9)
HDR10+
Gorilla Glass 6
Chipset Snapdragon 865+
1 x 3.0GHz A77
3 x 2.42GHz A77
4 x 1.80GHz A55
7nm
Snapdragon 865
1 x 2.84GHz A77
3 x 2.42GHz A77
4 x 1.80GHz A55
7nm
GPU Adreno 650 Adreno 650
RAM 12GB LPDDR5 12GB LPDDR5
Storage 128GB/256GB/512GB UFS3.1 128GB/512GB UFS3.0
MicroSD slot Yes (Up to 1TB) Yes (Up to 1TB)
Rear camera 1 108MP f/1.8, OIS
8K at 24fps
4K at 60fps
12MP f/1.8 OIS
8K at 24fps
4K at 60fps
Rear camera 2 12MP, f/3.0
telephoto, OIS
5x optical zoom
64MP, f/2.0
telephoto, OIS
3x optical zoom, 30x hybrid
Rear camera 3 12MP, f/2.2
Wide-angle
12MP, f/2.2
wide-angle
Rear camera 4 None ToF sensor
Front camera 10MP, f/2.2
4K video, autofocus
10MP, f/2.2
4K video, autofocus
Connectivity 5G NSA, Sub-6/mmWave
Wi-Fi ax 4×4 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0
NFC, AptX HD, A-GPS
5G NSA, Sub-6/mmWave
Wi-Fi ax 4×4 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0
NFC, AptX HD, A-GPS
Audio USB-C
Stereo speakers
USB-C
Stereo speakers
Battery 4500mAh
Non-removable
4500mAh
Non-removable
Charging USB-C PD 3.0
25W fast charging
15W wireless charging
USB-C PD 3.0
25W fast charging
15W wireless charging
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Security In-display fingerprint sensor (ultrasonic) In-display fingerprint sensor (ultrasonic)
Dimensions 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm
208g
161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8mm
186g
Colors Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, Mystic White Cloud Blue, Cloud Pink, Cosmic Gray, Cosmic Black

Whatever you choose, you'll end up with a great phone

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Bronze

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra BronzeSource: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

Right now, there's a $100 difference between the Note 20 Ultra and the Galaxy S20+, and they're both high-end flagship devices. The differences boil down to this: if you care about the S Pen at all, the Note 20 Ultra is the obvious choice. If you want a phone that's less cumbersome to hold and use, pick the Galaxy S20+.

The Galaxy S20+ gets a lot right, but the Note 20 Ultra is a better option.

For my money, I would go with the Note 20 Ultra. The screen is larger, and you get the versatility of the stylus and a 108MP camera that is one of the best on any phone today. I also like the design of the Note 20 Ultra better, with the Mystic Bronze version in particular looking every bit as premium as its $1,300 price tag would suggest.

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Samsung knows what its customers want, and there is a sizable audience that wants a stylus. For those users, the Note 20 Ultra is the better choice. The larger screen is more conducive to note-taking and sketching, and the phone isn't lacking in any area. The S20+ is just as good, and if you want a more mainstream option, it is the ideal choice for $100 less.

The ultimate flagship



Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Power-packed goodness

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is packed with all the features you care about. The 120Hz AMOLED panel is sublime in day-to-day use, the internal hardware is the latest you'll find on a phone today, you get all-day battery life with 25W wired and 15W wireless charging, and the cameras are outstanding. Combine that with a versatile stylus and you get the best all-round phone right now.

Mainstream choice



Samsung Galaxy S20+

Still a fantastic phone

The S20+ has an array of new features, but the most exciting is the 120Hz display. The high refresh rate makes interactions silky smooth, and it's just a delight to use. You also get upgraded cameras, 5G connectivity, and incredible hardware. If you're in the market for a flagship and don't care about a stylus, the S20+ is the device to get.

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