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Galaxy Note 20 rumors: Photo leaks, camera specs, release date and more – CNET

galaxy-note-20

Could this be Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 for August? This render was based on recent rumors. 

OnLeaks via Pigtou

It’s a fact, not a rumor: Samsung is making another Note phone. What we don’t officially know… is everything else. The name — we’re going with Galaxy Note 20 in here — price, announcement date, camera configuration and any new stylus tricks are all unannounced. I’ve got some educated guesses about the Note 20’s features and details, and there are always the leaks, rumors and other speculation to fill in the rest.

If Samsung follows its historical patterns and unveils the Galaxy Note 20 family in August, its Unpacked event is sure to be virtual, given various states of lockdown in most countries. A Korea Herald report suggests the same (via Google Translate). Rivals like Apple, Huawei and OnePlus have also hosted their phone launches online.

What’s less certain is how the Galaxy Note 20 will be received. The Note line is well established as Samsung’s brand for power users, but the reality of the situation is that phone sales are in decline, while the chances of a global recession continue to climb. There’s some indication that Samsung could soften prices, or at least vary them, but more on that in the pricing section down below.

Read on for the top Galaxy Note 20 rumors, including all the specs we’ve heard and think we know. You can also brush up on the Galaxy Fold 2 rumors, Samsung’s next foldable phone that we think could arrive alongside the Note 20. This story updates frequently, so check back for the latest scuttlebutt.

New phones: Note 20 and 20 Plus. What about a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra?

Last year, Samsung unleashed the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus. It would be unusual not to see two new Notes this year. The Note 20 and Note 20 Plus would certainly follow suit, and numerous rumors tend to agree. 

What isn’t certain is if there will be a Note 20 Ultra in the future as well, to mirror the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Some rumors promote it, while others back away. For example, an unknown device thought to launch alongside the Galaxy Note 20 phones could actually indicate the Galaxy Fold 2, according to TechRadar, citing a tweet from display analyst Ross Young that’s now unavailable. If there is a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, it’d be a whopper, with a screen over 7 inches at the diagonal. 

Possible Note 20 screen sizes, with details from Pigtou and Phone Arena, citing additional tweets from Young, which are no longer available (SamMobile posted the text here):

  • Galaxy Note 20: 6.4 to 6.7 inches (From Young: 6.42-in tall, 2,345×1,084 resolution)
  • Galaxy Note 20 Plus: 6.9 inches (From Pigtou: 165mm tall, 77.2mm wide and 7.6mm thick)
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Over 7 inches
  • note-20-camaras

    note-20-camaras

    The Galaxy Note 20 is expected to look a lot like the Galaxy S20 phones. 

    WindowsUnited

Ultrafast 120Hz screen could save more battery than the S20 Ultra

If the high-end Galaxy S20 phones got a 120Hz screen, it’s a smart bet that the Note 20 phones will have it, too. Phones with high screen refresh rates are a trend among the premium market. Any screen with an option to refresh each pixel more often than the standard 60Hz (60 times a second) promises liquid-smooth scrolling and gameplay.

Frequent phone leaker Ice Universe suggests a more “fine tuned” version of the feature. Danish blog Galaxy Club goes a little deeper, suggesting that the update will use 15% to 20% less energy than the Galaxy S20 Ultra, a phone whose review unit guzzled battery in 120Hz mode rather than sipped it. Here’s more information about the battery-saving 120Hz display technology, called LTPO.

5G Galaxy Note 20 is practically a given 

We scarcely need a rumor to feel certain that the Galaxy Note 20 line will support 5G speeds. The Galaxy S20 phones do, with a caveat. There are some variants of the standard S20 that are 4G LTE only in certain markets, like Australia. 

It may be that some carriers in some regions will also sell a 4G LTE version of the standard Galaxy Note 20, like if the market is still building out its 5G networks, or if the carrier prefers a cheaper 4G version for its portfolio. Globally, we strongly suspect these will be known and marketed as 5G devices.

Here’s where US 5G plans stand now, and pointers on how to pick the best 5G carrier for you.

Now playing: Watch this: Everything there is to know about the Galaxy Note 20

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Last year’s phone was the Galaxy Note 10. Why is this Note 20?

Precedent is as good a reason as any to assume that the Note 20 is what Samsung’s calling this phone — just look at the Galaxy S20 line. That said, precedent would also suggest we’d see the Galaxy S11 and Note 11. Samsung shook up its naming convention to align with the year. By that token, we could expect the Galaxy S21 and Note 21 in 2021. I can hardly wait for the Samsung Galaxy Note 32!

It could look just like the Galaxy S20, only square and with a stylus

The suggestion that the Note 20 could look a lot like the Galaxy S20 — but with squared-off edges and the S Pen stylus — pops up again and again, and echoes Samsung’s pattern for several cycles. Here’s why. The Note series builds off the Galaxy S. If the S20 Ultra has four rear cameras, the fanciest Note 20 will match it or top it. 

At times, Samsung has used the Note to introduce an even higher-shelf hardware or software feature, which helps differentiate it from the “more approachable” Galaxy S and also help justify the new Note’s higher price.

Frequent Twitter leaker Max Weinbach put it bluntly, “Basically everything is the same.”

Note 20 cameras: 100x ‘space’ zoom or no?

Now we come to one of my favorite phone topics: camera specs. Will the Galaxy Note 20 series have 100x zoom or not? The answer to this question has an interesting edge to it. Samsung proudly announced the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 100x AI-assisted zoom called Space Zoom, a unique asset among the S20 range and one of the features meant to justify the phone’s stratospheric price. 

If Samsung passes on Space Zoom, as Twitter leakers Ice Universe and Sleepy Kuma seem to suggest (via the Korea Joongang Daily), it could be read as a rare admission of defeat on Samsung’s end that its marquee feature didn’t hit the right notes. 

It should be noted that many of the rumor-fueled image renders and supposed leaks of case designs show square cutouts for large camera bumps similar to the Galaxy S20 range.

So what could we see on the camera front? According to the Korea Joongang Daily and Ice Universe (via Weibo chat app):

  • Galaxy Note 20: 12-megapixel wide-angle (main), 64-megapixel telephoto, 12-megapixel ultra wide angle
  • Galaxy Note 20 Plus: 108-megapixel (main), 12-megapixel telephoto, 12-megapixel ultra wide angle. 50x zoom. Laser focus could help fine-tune focus in close-up shots (an issue for the Galaxy S20 phones).

Winebach also agrees that the Note 20 Plus will have a 108-megapixel sensor.

note-20-plus-samsung-foto

note-20-plus-samsung-foto

Samsung is rumored to be working on an under-screen front-facing camera. Some think the Galaxy Note 20 could be the first phone to use it. Then again, maybe not.

OnLeaks via Pigtou

What about the front-facing camera?

A juicy rumor is going around that the Galaxy Note 20 could use Samsung’s first-ever camera that sits beneath the display (also below). If true, it means that the sensor wouldn’t be visible most of the time. It might be that you may only “see” the sensor when using an app that works with the camera, for example, to indicate where to look when you’re taking a selfie or video chatting.

Galaxy Note 20’s battery, processor, storage size, RAM

We’ve compiled some possible specs based on various rumors, including those from ZDNet Korea, Phone Arena and Galaxy Club.

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, Samsung Exynos 990 or Exynos 992
  • Internal storage: 128GB or 256GB
  • RAM: 8GB, 12GB, 16GB
  • Battery: Note 20: 4,000mAh. Note 20 Plus: 4,500mAh

Android 10 for now, Android 11 to follow

We don’t even need a rumor to know that the Galaxy Note 20 will come with Android 10 to start with and upgrade to Android 11. That’s because Android 11 is in beta and isn’t ready for prime time. 

Furthermore, Google postponed its virtual event for June 3 in response to the protests that began sweeping the US on May 26. The software giant intended to make Android 11 beta available to all Android users, not just developers as it is now — a crucial step before releasing the final software update. 

It’s entirely possible that Android 11 will be ready or mostly ready for carriers, but Samsung, which uses a complex software layer over the Android base, typically needs more time than other phone brands to fully test and release new Android versions.

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note-20

This unofficial render imagines what the Note 20 could look like with a purple stylus and blue to purple gradient finish on the back.

@BenGeskin

Look for an August launch date and sale date

Will the coronavirus postpone Samsung’s launch of the Galaxy Note 20? That we don’t know, though with global phone shipments expected to drop 14% in 2020, it’s entirely possible that Samsung will want to salvage what’s left of the year by pushing ahead with its plans.

The annual August unveiling of nearly every Note phone is strategic, timed to predate Apple’s fall iPhone launch and set Samsung up for the holiday rush. Apple is rumored to possibly delay its iPhone 12 event as late as October as a result of the coronavirus.

Price: How much could the Galaxy Note 20 phones cost?

Galaxy Note phones are not for the budget buyer. Or at least that’s how the lineup has been since its early days. I’d expect the Note 20 and Note 20 Plus to largely follow last year’s pricing structure.

Galaxy Note 10 vs Note 10 Plus prices

Galaxy Note 10 Galaxy Note 10 Plus
Price off-contract (USD) $949 $1,099
Price (GBP) £899 £999
Price (AUD) AU$1,499 AU$1,699

For context, two things changed in the last year to make the Note series more affordable and, Samsung surely hopes, more approachable, too. 

The first thing that happened was the standard Note 10 started at a more approachable $950, down from the $1,000 starting price of the Note 9. (Meanwhile, the Note 10 Plus debuted at $1,100.) Samsung didn’t give the Note 10 quite as many extras as the Plus, but the sub-$1,000 price made it a better value overall. 

Samsung’s second decision was to announce the Galaxy Note 10 Lite in January. Never intended for the US market, the phone nevertheless struck me as significant, of evidence that Samsung may be willing to change one or two “rules.”

I said:, “Samsung’s impulse to create a “Lite” Note completely reverses everything the Note has come to stand for as the brand’s best of the best. In making a cheaper, more basic Note, Samsung is also democratizing the Note’s most distinct and enduring feature: the digital stylus.”

Does that mean Samsung will surprise us with a Galaxy Note 20 Lite? Probably not at this event. But it does mean there’s a chance the standard Note 20 could cost right around $950 again. However, with the addition of 5G, which tends to drive costs up, the Note 20’s final cost is still uncertain.

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