Like Galaxy Note 10, Samsung released two models Galaxy Note 20: Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. Many existing Galaxy Note owners were very disappointed with this year’s Galaxy Note models. This post summarizes the top 11 disappointments of Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
These disappointments include inconvenient S Pen Slot location, lacking apps for S Pen, no S Note app, disturbing curved screen on Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, an inferior in-display fingerprint reader, mediocre Exynos CPU/chipset in most regions, missing micro SD card support on Galaxy Note 20, plastic back on Galaxy Note 20, overpriced, no spare S Pen nibs and removing tool, no USB connector and no clear cover.
Inconvenient S Pen slot location
Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra relocated the S Pen slot to the left side of the charging port. In all previous generations of Galaxy Note phones, the S Pen slot is always on the right side so that it is very convenient for right-handed users to access it.
The relocation is apparently to create space for the bumped camera modules on Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. It seems the engineer just duplicated the design of S20 Ultra, which does not need a slot for S Pen.
It is one of the most inconvenient “new” features of Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. For right-handed owners, it is very awkward to access the S Pen on Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
This relocation reflects the arrogance of Samsung engineers. And it proves very likely Galaxy Note designers never or seldom use S Pen. Maybe, they use iPhones.
Without the S Pen, Galaxy Note is just a bigger (now identical) Galaxy S phones. Designers should always put S Pen in the spotlight.
The inconvenient S Pen slot location is one of the top disappointments of Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
Lacking apps for S Pen apps
The two most useful features of S Pen are:
Using S Pen as a magic wand is a joke. And Samsung repeated the joke in Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
For creative works, Samsung used to bundle the now-free Adobe SketchBook Pro.
Anyway, Samsung does not offer any real S Pen apps on Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Very few third-party apps have good support of the S Pen.
Lacking apps for S Pen is not just one of the disappointment of Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. It also marks the death of Galaxy Note.
S Note app is not compatible with Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
To make it worse, S Note app is no longer supported on Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
You cannot install it on Galaxy Note 20 any more.
Please note, you can install S Note on Galaxy Note 10 and all previous generation of Galaxy Note devices.
Disturbing curved screen on Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
But very few owners find the usefulness of the curved screen. Edge screen now is just a software feature that can be implemented on a flat-screen.
Currently, Samsung used the curved screen as an aesthetic feature.
The infinity display may look great. But it is annoying for day-to-day usage. It is hard to hold the phone without a case. It is so easy to tap the screen inadvertently.
For S Pen, the curved screen is a disaster.
When using the S Pen, you expect a “flat”, not a “curved” paper. The curved part of the screen is simply wasted as explained here.
So, the usable area for the S Pen is actually smaller. The usable area of the 6.9″ Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is actually smaller than the 5.7″ Galaxy Note 5 (the last Galaxy Note phone with a flat-screen in a 16:9 aspect ratio).
The smaller work area is further exacerbated by the large aspect ratio (narrow screen). In fact, the usable screen area on Galaxy Note decreased after Galaxy Note 5.
The “smaller” Galaxy Note 20 with a flat-screen is better for S Pen. But we do not recommend it.
Frustrating in-display fingerprint reader
Samsung introduced the in-display fingerprint reader in Galaxy S10 (except S10e). Samsung touted it as a flagship feature with the “advanced” technology behind it.
But the issue is that it is not user friendly. It is:
- Slow and less efficient. You need to wake up the screen (unless you are using always-on display), look at the screen, find the location and use sufficient force to “press” that part of the screen. With the “old” fingerprint reader, all these can be done by putting your finger on the reader. You do not need to wake up the screen. You do not need to look at the screen/phone to locate the sensor.
- Hard to reach. You need to wake the screen or use AOD, to know where to press.
- High false rejection rate. The “advanced” technology requires more efforts to register your finger input. You may have to try a few times to unlock the phone.
It is unclear when Samsung will stop such stupid innovations on Galaxy Note. Anyway, the in-display fingerprint reader deserves a spot among top disappointments of Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
Mediocre Exynos CPU in most regions
Samsung’s Exynos chips have gradually become an issue on Galaxy phones.
In the early days, Exynos 3, 4 and 5 could match or even exceed Qualcomm’s flagship snapdragon CPUs in terms of performance and power efficiency. But since Exynos 7 7420 (in Galaxy S6 and Note 5), snapdragon started to show advantages. And the performance gap becomes wider and wider.
Samsung usually uses Qualcomm’s chipset for flagship phones sold in the US and a few other regions. In other regions, they opt for their own Exynos chipset. Because Galaxy S and Galaxy Note devices are overpowered for most owners, you will only hear a few complaints of the Exynos CPUs in these phones from heavy gamers. But the widening performance gap between the top Exynos chipset and Snapdragon is not a secret.
The latest Exynos 990 chipset in Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy S20 (all models) is only comparable to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 in terms of performance. Only Galaxy Note 20 owners in the US and a few other regions get the latest Snapdragon 865+ (an improved version of 865). In most regions, Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra get the same mediocre Exynos 990, which is identical to that on Galaxy S20.
Obviously, Samsung is aware of the inferiority of the Exynos chipset. In the home market (Korea), Samsung finally switched to Snapdragon this year for Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Note 20.
The majority of the Galaxy Note 20 owners have to embrace the mediocre Exynos CPU.
Lacking micro SD card support on Galaxy Note 20
It is unclear why Samsung ditched the micro SD card support on Galaxy Note 20. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra does support micro SD card.
Most Galaxy phone owners are happy to see the micro SD card support, although most of them may never use it.
But stripping a welcomed feature without justification shows again the arrogance of Samsung designers.
The micro SD card only takes a space of a micro SD size in the hybrid SIM card tray. In the dual SIM version of Galaxy Note 20, there are two slots anyway. So, it does not save any space.
The plastic back of Galaxy Note 20
Samsung switched to the non-removable glass back since Galaxy Note 5. Now, Galaxy Note 20 switched back to the plastic back (to save cost?). Galaxy Note 20 Ultra still use a glass back.
In fact, plastic is not as bad as you may think. It is more durable than glass.
The problem is Samsung switched to the plastic back to save cost without offering values. For example, prior to Galaxy Note 5, we all enjoyed the removable battery with the plastic back. Then Samsung switched to the glass back and told us the glass back did not allow removable battery.
For iPhone 6 (released in 2014), you can still get a battery replacement at $50 in most Apple service centres in 2020. This explains why iPhone users do not care about the glass back or non-removable cover. But for Galaxy Note 5 (released one year later than iPhone 6in 2015), it is almost impossible to replace the battery in any Samsung service centres. For Galaxy Note 4, you can still find many $20 (or cheaper) OEM batteries to swap in. The power of plastic back!!!
Personally, I’m not against the plastic back on Galaxy Note 20 if Samsung can share the saving (in cost) with owners or offer values for it.
But Samsung did neither.
Without the competition of Huawei, Samsung ramped up the price starting from Galaxy S20. Of course, the 5G licensing fee may be a factor as well.
But overall, Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra fail to offer the value for your money.
First, the S Pen is dead. It does not offer any value without supporting apps. And Samsung has no intention to offer meaningful apps for S Pen any more. So, Galaxy Note is simply a Galaxy S20 with a wasted S Pen.
For comparable performance and features, there are many alternative Android phones at a lower price.
No spare S Pen nibs
Different S Pen nibs offer different “drag” (resistance) on the screen.
So, S Pen requires different nibs on a naked screen or a screen with a screen protector to get the best experience. Actually, you may need to switch the S Pen nib if you change the screen protector from a plastic film to a tempered glass one.
Traditionally, in the Galaxy Note box, Samsung offers two types of spare S Pen nibs and a tweezer (to remove the nib).
In Galaxy Note 20 box, you can find the compartment designed for such spare nibs. But the compartment is empty!!
There are no spare S Pen nibs in Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra box. Good cost-saving.
Good luck if you need additional S Pen nibs.
The S Pen nib in the S Pen is good for the screen with the pre-installed screen protector. In most regions, a plastic screen protector is pre-installed on Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. If you remove it or change it to the tempered glass one, you may find the S Pen is too slippy.
No free cover or USB connector
It seems Samsung suddenly stopped offering such accessories from Galaxy Note 20.
You can still find the empty compartments for these accessories in the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra box. This means it is a last-minute decision to remove the offer.
In a few markets, even the headset is not included in the box. You have to ask for it.
Surely, this is one of the disappointments of Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra for a lot of buyers. Both are not sold as a budget phone.
What are your excitements and disappointments of Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra?
You may share your excitements and disappointments of Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in the comment box below.
If you have any questions on using Galaxy Note 20 or Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, you may check our Galaxy Note 20 guides page (coming soon).
You can also download the official Galaxy Note 20 user manual in your own language here (coming soon).