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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 rumor review: what is Samsung's "Next Big Thing" going to be like?


Well, ever since we saw the Note 10, we now know that Samsung is — yet again — headed to a new age. A small “transformation” if you will. A lot of new features and the great culling of some of the older ones. So, that begs the question — what will the Note 20 be all about?

With rumor culture being what it is, information is already trickling down. Some might end up leading nowhere, some might end up being correct, and some might need some extra speculation for us to make sense out of them. Let’s see what we have!

Design and display


Any sort of notch or selfie camera cutout is just a temporary thing — we know that. Manufacturers are hard at work trying to hide that selfie samera somewhere and have a true all-screen front with a minimal bezel all around. Some are experimenting with various mechanical modules, which flip the rear camera or pop the selfie camera from within the phone’s body; others are simply adding a secondary display on the back of their phones, so you can use that when you need to face a camera and a screen at the same time (video calls or selfies, that is).Samsung doesn’t really appear interested in either of those when it comes to its top-tier phones. Yes, the company dabbled with a flip module on the Galaxy A80, which looks cool, but does add some bulk and take away from precious space within the phone.

Rumor has it that the Galaxy S20 will come with an Infinity-O display with a single hole up top, just like the one on the Note 10. Then what about the Note 20?

It’s very possible that Samsung might be hoping to produce a selfie camera that hides right under its AMOLED panel. When not in use — the camera is covered by glowing pixels. When it’s needed, the part of the screen that covers it turns off to “reveal” the hidden sensor.

We’ve heard faint whispers of Samsung working on that over the past few months, and we do know that the technology is available since a couple of Chinese manufacturers have already demonstrated it on working prototype phones. So, could the Galaxy Note 20 be the first Samsung flagship to do away with the notch / cutout solution?

As far as design goes, we expect a natural evolution of the Galaxy Note 10 mixed with Galaxy S20 vibes. The Note line has been leaning towards a more stern, rectangular look as of late, and we fully expect the Note 20 to keep that trend going. It will also have a crazy camera module on the back — that's a given. Also, a small rumor that contained a sketch for a Note 20 case affirmed this belief.

Hardware


Another year, another chipset — of course, the 2020 Galaxy Notes will be powered by 2020 hardware. Units sold in the US will likely be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865. The chip will be built on a 7 nm process just like this year’s edition, but the production itself will employ something called Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography — a technology that has been decades in the making. It will make the 7 nm production process much easier and cheaper and many speculate that this would make it possible for manufacturers to build more efficient chips.

Another report stated that Samsung is hoping to be able to go down to 3 nm soon and speculated that the Exynos chip for the international Note 20 might be the first processor built on that process. That sounds… optimistic to say the least. We would assume that Samsung will want the US and international version of their phones to be nearly identical in specs and performance. So, if the Note 20 is to have a Snapdragon 865, then its Exynos counterpart will probably also be a 7 nm chip.

In any case, if Samsung insists on making 5G phones, then it will need to find a way to integrate 5G modems into chipsets. And, judging by the Galaxy S20, it seems the Note 20 in the US will be fully decked out for 5G as well.

Last but not least — we should expect even faster multitasking, as reports say the next generation of chips will support LPDDR5X RAM and Samsung will be outfitting its Note 12 series with 12 GB modules as a starting point. Nice.

Camera


The Galaxy S and Galaxy Note cameras have been pretty great for some years now. But Samsung has essentially been using the same sensor since the Galaxy S7 age. Improvements to the whole camera module, like aperture size and lenses, as well as extreme software post-production algorithms have helped it keep up with the times. But since we are back in the megapixel wars with hybrid zoom being used as a new weapon, it seems it’s high time for Samsung to come up with something new.

As we already know, the Galaxy S20's camera will be an enormous leap forward. In fact, the S20+ will allow up to 100x hybrid zoom, have an enhanced Night Mode, various pro modes, and — allegedly — 8K video recording. Since the Note series always has to one-up the Galaxy line, we expect to see the same feature pack in the next S Pen beast, even with some refinements on top.

Expectations


The Galaxy Note 10 was a side step for Samsung’s design and usage philosophy when it comes to its handsets. It’s set up as a product that is a part of a bigger ecosystem — it no longer tries to “do everything”, it is there to “do its job”. For example — the heart rate sensor was removed. Want that feature? Get a Galaxy Watch. The headphone jack was removed. Want easy connectivity? Opt for Bluetooth buds.

Needless to say, some customers weren't thrilled, but that doesn't mean that Samsung can't pull off a satisfying user experience. But if it wants to get there and have its devout following forgive those decisions, Samsung needs to consistently put out ace devices. So the stakes are high for the Note 20 to be a truly impeccable upgrade, focusing on the strengths of the Note 10 to a point where the minor annoyances that it introduced become background noise. Needless to say, it will be a hotly anticipated device!

When will it come? Most probably in August of 2020 — that has been the Note's month for a few years now. How much will it cost? Well, if the Galaxy S20 line's price tags are anything to go by, we are expecting something along the lines of $1,099 for the Note 10 and $1,399. That's pure speculation, though — keep your fingers crossed.


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