When is the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 coming out?
Following previous fashion, we expect Samsung to announce its next flagship phone at an Unpacked event (though perhaps a virtual one, now) in August 2020. The Note 10 and Note 10+ were announced on 7 August 2019.
Samsung itself has confirmed that the next Note is due in the second half of the year and rumours suggest Q3 of 2020, which makes August likely.
Meanwhile, reliable leaker IceUniverse has reported the company has set a date of 5 August for the launch of the next Note, as well as other devices including the Galaxy Tab S7 and Galaxy Fold 2, which lines up well with everything we're expecting.
August 21st is the rumored date.— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) June 16, 2020
This has since been corroborated by Gizmodo, who claim that "reliable sources" also place money (figuratively) on a 5 August launch.
As for when you'll actually be able to buy the Note(s), tipster and writer for XDA Developers, Max Weinbach casually responded to a Twitter query on the topic with a date drop of 21 August - two and a half weeks after the anticipated launch event.
We discuss these rumours in an episode of our weekly podcast Fast Charge:
How much will the Note 20 cost?
Although we’re certain Samsung would love to keep its pricing low, the reality is that prices tend to rise year-on-year, and including 5G only makes that likelier. No credible leaks on pricing have been released yet, but we will share anything we hear.
For reference, the Note 10 went on sale at £899/$949, with the Note 10+ at £999/$1,099, while the 5G variant started at £1,099/$1,299. All three Note 10 models are now available online for significantly less.
What will the Note 20 design look like?
IceUniverse shared a framework design that gives away the placement of ports, suggesting that this new phone may also use the S20's domino-style camera assembly.
This may be the framework design of the Galaxy Note20, which is logical. pic.twitter.com/bO5w937vy2— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) January 26, 2020
At the bottom, we also see space for a mic, speaker, USB-C charging port and S Pen stylus, but no 3.5mm headphone jack.
The volume rocker and power button are visible once again on the left side of the phone, making room for the S Pen, as it was on the Note 10.
It's worth noting that those directions are reversed on more recent renders of the Note 20+ - shared by leaker OnLeaks and case maker Pigtou - which are based on leaked CAD drawings.
These renders show a similar design to the IceUniverse framework but move the S Pen and bottom speaker to the left, and power/volume buttons to the right-hand side, which would be a change from last year's models.
Otherwise, these renders suggest a sizeable 6.9in AMOLED display - this is the larger Plus model, remember - with a central selfie camera, a 10.7mm-thick frame at its thickest point (the camera bump) and an accented camera arrangement designed to draw attention to the three main lenses.
The standard Note 10 has only a 6.3in screen, while Note 10+ has a 6.8in panel; so although it's possible that the larger model will go up to 6.9in - matching the S20 Ultra in size - we’d expect the standard Note 20 to be in line with the S20, at around 6.5in.
We've also heard that the Galaxy Note 20 will have the ultimate curved display. Patents discovered by Patently Mobile reveal a waterfall display with buttons that protrude through the screen glass. Although there is no guarantee that this design will ever end up in a retail product, it is interesting for it means this Samsung phone would have a glass, rather than metal, frame. That might look cool, but what about durability?
The patent follows another that was recently granted by the US Patent and Trademark office that instead shows a curved display with touch buttons, much like we saw in the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. We don't expect either of these ultra-curved designs to materialise though, as Samsung's move to a flatter screen in the S20 series suggests it may be done with curvy displays.
Adding insult to injury, compatible phone cases have shown up on Alibaba that suggest the Note 20+ will have a curved display, but those curved edges will be relatively modest, while the standard Note 20 will sport a completely flat screen.
What's more, one of IceUniverse's most recent knowledge-drops suggests that the base Note 20's flat display will also sport rather conservative specs, topping out at extended Full HD resolution with a conventional 60Hz refresh rate.
Wide frame + flat screen + FHD resolution + 60Hz refresh rate.— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) June 17, 2020
It's a desperate specification.😑
Early renders such as the video we’ve posted below should be taken with a big pinch of salt. Renders, until you get closer to launch and start seeing official press imagery, are always based on rumours - and when rumours are thin on the ground they become more a case of what the creator wants to see in the new phone, or what will attract the most interest.
In this case, we’re pretty sure there are some aspects of the design that are incorrect, particularly the rear penta-lens camera assembly and potentially the overly curved edges of the display, considering Samsung adopted a flatter design with the Galaxy S20.
It’s worth noting that this is not the only source to suggest under-glass cameras as a possibility, with IceUniverse tweeting back in October that Samsung would release such a phone in 2020 and it would be neither the Galaxy S20 nor the Galaxy Z Flip (or Galaxy Fold 2). Korean site The Elec has also backed this theory.
One aspect that hasn't really been discussed has been the colours the next Notes will come in. The Note 10 series' Aura Glow was a real head-turner, so we're hoping that Samsung is cooking up something equally eye-catching for this year's Notes. However, early reports from multiple sources suggest that the Note 20 line will actually embrace more modest finishes overall.
Mobile accessory retailer MobileFun has received, what it believes to be, a complete list of official Galaxy Note 20 accessories from its suppliers, which not only highlights the various cases designed for two distinct models of Note 20 but also suggests the colours they'll be available in.
A run of replacement S Pen styli implies that the Note 20 series will be up for grabs in black, white, grey, copper and 'Mint' (presumably a light green). Based on the fact that the Ocean Blue Galaxy Note 9 came with a yellow S Pen, however, the colours listed here don't necessarily reflect the colours of the phones themselves.
It's true: Black, Grey & Copper colour options for the #Samsung #GalaxyZFlip 5G.— Ishan Agarwal (@ishanagarwal24) June 13, 2020
Note20 5G: Grey, Green & Copper
Note20+ / Ultra 5G: Copper, White & Black
Note: There may be more colour options but these, I can confirm. #GalaxyNote20 #GalaxyNote20Series #GalaxyNote20Plus https://t.co/R1BvAhlkRo
There's also overlap with word from tipster Ishan Agarwal, who claims that the base Note 20 will be offered up in grey, green (presumably the aforementioned 'Mint') and copper, while the more capable Note 20+ is cited to arrive in copper, white and black.
Speaking of that copper colourway, Twitter user @1garri spotted the below image on Samsung's Russian website (cached version linked) - oddly enough under the old Galaxy Note 8 URL and linking through to the Galaxy Note 10 product pages.
The page has since been taken offline but there's no denying that whether this was simply a rogue placeholder or otherwise erroneous image placement, the device in question does look suspiciously close in design to everything we've seen leaked so far, not to mention the level of polish and quality on display would look right at home on Samsung's official Galaxy Note 20 product pages.
What are the rumoured Galaxy Note 20 specs?
Potential specs for the device have already leaked on Geekbench and unsurprisingly point to top-of-the-line internals for Samsung's next flagship. Unsurprisingly this includes the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor (in the US, at least), which is thought to be slower than the A14 Bionic chipset on the upcoming iPhone 12.
There's expected to be a 120Hz display and a quad-lens camera that includes a 108Mp sensor - thought to be exclusive to the Plus model. Samsung has also killed off the headphone jack and dedicated Bixby button, so don't expect either to make the cut this year.
Then there's 8K video recording, enhanced camera features, larger battery capacity and a refined design with slimmer bezels than ever. The Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 processors (varying by region) will ensure 5G is possible on all versions of the phone, though there may still be a 4G version of the entry-level Note 20 in some regions, as we saw with the S20.
While a previous rumour reported by SamMobile suggested that baseline storage will drop from 256GB to 128GB, that may not be a concern as it could mark the return of the microSD card slot. This could also lead to a lower entry price.
One surprise comes in the camera. Usually, the Note line builds on the previous S phones, but the S20 Ultra's 100x Space Zoom won't make an appearance according to Ice Universe (this being the second time the leaker has stated that the Note 20 won't sport the Ultra's zoom capabilities).
Note20 Ultra will cancel 100X, the maximum is 50X, Samsung will strive to optimize the zoom experience of the maximum 50X, more focus on the experience.— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) June 22, 2020
This shouldn't come as a huge surprise as 100x maximum zoom was always more of a headline-grabbing gimmick than a useful feature - something we touch on in our own Galaxy S20 Ultra review. Instead, the Note will top out at a more modest (but still impressive) 50x zoom with better optimisation that hopefully makes shots taken at this magnification level actually usable.
Another leak from Ice Universe suggests the Note 20 will have a 120Hz refresh rate display. This was true for the S20, but the Note's will be 'more fine-tuned'. What this means exactly is unclear, but it could suggest that it will be able to offer 120Hz at resolutions higher than Full-HD and will also be variable, with the phone adjusting the rate dynamically.
Based on a separate report from SamMobile into the Chinese 3C certification database, battery life is expected to increase, with a cited capacity of 4300mAh for the smaller Note 20 and 4500mAh unit inside the Note 20+.
A bump in capacity like this is needed to meet the increased power drain of a 120Hz display, but bigger batteries do also mean more weight and bulk. Still, we saw exactly that on the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
The one key difference between S-series and the Note-series is, of course, the S Pen, and Samsung is unlikely to unveil a new Note without upgrading the stylus in some form, but we're not sure what to expect here yet.
How many Note 20 models will there be?
With the S20 we saw standard, Plus and Ultra models, differentiated in size (6.4in/6.7in/6.9in), battery capacity (4,000mAh/4,500mAh/5,000mAh) and cameras (64Mp/108Mp).
We would expect the Note 20 to come with a Plus model as previously, but despite initial expectations that a Note 20 Ultra wasn't going to serve as part of the lineup, new evidence, based on Bluetooth SIG certification (as spotted by MySmartPrice) makes reference to a 'Note 20 Ultra' by name, suggesting an even beefier iteration of the Note will also debut in August alongside these two other models.
Sure enough, Ice Universe has also contributed to this notion with a spec sheet that - despite not going into great detail - does outline some differences to the other two Note 20 models discussed so far.
Galaxy Note20 Ultra:— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) June 19, 2020
Evolution version Note10+
QHD+120Hz can be turned on at the same time
New camera function
New SPen and features pic.twitter.com/t6GN5UwZnC
Described as an "evolution of the Note 10+" the Note 20 Ultra is said to sport an as-yet-unknown enhanced version of Qualcomm's 2020 flagship mobile chip, dubbed the "865+". Its display will accommodate both a 120Hz refresh rate and QHD+ resolution, similarly to what we discussed earlier in this piece and both its cameras and S Pen are stated to offer new functionality of some sort.
There is also a possibility of a Note 20 Lite - successor to the Note 10 Lite - but if Samsung chooses to go down that path, there is no guarantee that it will arrive at the same time as the main Note 20, with the Note 10 Lite not arriving until January 2020.