Samsung has a pretty predictable biannual release pattern for its flagship phone lines, so it’s a pretty safe bet that a new Galaxy Note phone or two (or three!) should be on its way later this year, with early August looking like a likely time for the new devices.
Presumably, it’ll be called the Galaxy Note 20 – despite the last model being the Note 10, Samsung is expected to skip the Note 11 through 19, as it did jumping from the S10 to the S20. Samsung is keeping tight-lipped about the phones either way, but between leaks, rumours, and what we know about the S20 series, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
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 the usually reliable leaker IceUniverse has reported the company has set a date of 5 August for the launch of the next Note and other devices including the Galaxy Tab S7 and Galaxy Fold 2, which lines up well with everything we’d expect.
We discuss that rumour, and more, 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 here 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?
In one of very few leaks concerning the upcoming Galaxy Note 20, reliable leakster Ice Universe 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 they were on the Note 10.
It’s worth noting that those directions are reversed on more recent renders of the Note 20 Plus – shared by leaker OnLeaks and case maker Pigtou – which are based on leaked CAD drawings.
These renders show a similar design to the Ice Universe 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 massive 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 module 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 while 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.
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 renders, 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 Galaxy S20.
It’s worth noting that this is not the only source to suggest under-glass cameras as a possibility, with Ice Universe 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.
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, for example – if not in the standard version then certainly in the Plus. Samsung has also killed off the headphone jack and dedicated Bixby button, so don’t expect either to make the cut later 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 would 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 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.
On the other hand Dutch site Galaxyclub reports that the top-end Note model will have a similar periscope zoom lens, so it may simply be a similar lens with a digital zoom that caps out at a lower level.
Another leak from Ice Universe suggests the Note 20 will have a 120Hz refresh rate. This was true for the S20, but the Note’s will be ‘more fine-tuned’. What this means exactly is unsure, but it could mean that it will be able to offer 120Hz at higher resolutions than Full-HD and could also be variable, with the phone adjusting the rate automatically.
Battery life is likely to increase based on a report from SamMobile into the Chinese 3C certification database, which cited a capacity of 4300mAh for the smaller Note 20 and expects the Note 20+ to tote a 4500mAh cell.
A bump in capacity like this will be 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.
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.