Galaxy Note20 Ultra

Cool factor 5/5
Usability 4/5
Value for money 2/5

Samsung’s flagship phablet, the Note20 Ultra, is blazingly fast, and has the best hardware and good battery life. It is the latest and greatest in its class and comes in a stunning new "mystic bronze" shade.

The downside? It probably won’t fit in your pocket. In fact, this latest phablet also stands out because of its weight. It is heavy, and you won’t want to carry it around with a protective case, which will add to its bulk.

Measured against last year’s Note10+, the phone represents an incremental update.

It is powered by a faster processor, the Exynos 990, and has the same 12GB of RAM but less storage on the base model of 128GB (last year it was 256GB) with a 512GB variant. The screen size has been increased to 6.9 inches, and battery life is up to 4500mAh.

The screen retains its curved edge display that could leave you accidentally tapping it while holding it. But its display is top-notch with a 120Hz refresh rate, and this year the stylus sits on the bottom left.

On the back is Samsung’s now characteristic enormous camera bump, and as a result, the phone won’t sit flat on any surface. It has a 108MP wide lens, a 12MP telephoto lens and a 12MP ultrawide lens. The selfie cam is 10MP.

The camera is excellent, as expected from a flagship of this nature, complete with 8K video support. It also has a laser autofocus sensor to aid the 5x optical and 50x digital zoom, though we are still not fans of digital zoom.

The Note’s niche appeal remains to loyalists who cannot live without the stylus. The S-Pen has improved latency from a previous 45ms down to 9ms. It is so responsive when you’re scribbling notes that it is almost comparable to writing on paper. A new update called Anywhere Actions allows for touchless navigation, such as Smart Select, Screen Write, Back, Recent App and Home.

This phablet comes with all the bells and whistles. The model on sale in SA also comes with built-in 5G capabilities, but this affects its cost price. In this economy, justifying spending R37,000 on this gadget may be a hard sell.

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