BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.
Nowadays, I find myself using my phone in place of my laptop more and more. Whether I’m streaming on Netflix or collaborating on a project for work, my phone needs to be just as fast and user-friendly as my PC. In my search for the perfect phone to use for both work and streaming, I decided to test the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra, and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with how well this device met my needs.
What is the Samsung Note20 Ultra?
The Samsung Note20 is a smartphone designed to balance work and play. Samsung claims the device can stream at unprecedented speeds — a claim I found to be accurate, as the device seamlessly switched between my Wi-Fi and cellular networks as needed. This device can record videos in impressive 8K resolution, and the sound quality is just as remarkable.
The Samsung Note20 Ultra also includes a small stylus pen that you store inside the phone. As a digital artist, I found the pen to be an excellent additional feature that made the device ideal for drawing. The Samsung Note20 features a highly-responsive screen that made it even easier to draw what was on my mind.
Samsung Note20 Ultra features
- High-end speakers: The Note20’s speakers are incredible. Whether I was watching a movie on Netflix or a video I had taken myself, the sound was comparable to a portable Bluetooth speaker.
- Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: With an attachable controller, you can play Xbox games online from a vast library of games. Aside from the screen being smaller than a television, playing Xbox games on the Note20 feels nearly identical to playing them on the Xbox console.
- High-resolution camera: This device features a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera, a 108-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto camera and a 10-megapixel selfie camera. The photo quality was so impressive I was even able to see individual hairs on people’s heads.
- S Pen: The device’s included S Pen adds tons of functionality to the device for artists and professionals. Although there is a bit of a learning curve, you can even use the S Pen for “air commands” that allow you to use the stylus without touching the phone’s screen.
What you need to know before purchasing a Samsung Note20 Ultra
Samsung integrated tutorials and instructions that pop up whenever you use a new feature. I found these tutorials to be a helpful way to learn more about what I could do with the device. The Note20 is highly customizable, though it’s easier to leave the preset features the same. Still, as I learned more about the device, I gradually began altering some of my settings to fit my needs better.
The only thing I found particularly frustrating about the phone was the S Pen icon that pops up when you remove the pen from the phone. It’s convenient if you want to use the menu, but I found it annoying when trying to use the S Pen to navigate the screen.
Where to buy a Samsung Note20 Ultra
Sold by Amazon.
Other smartphones worth considering
The Galaxy S20 FE is an excellent budget alternative to the Samsung Note20 Ultra. This device features a 3x optical zoom and 30x super-resolution zoom that makes pictures look great, even when you’re not up close. The battery life and streaming capabilities are not nearly as impressive as the Note20, but for the price, you’re sure to be impressed. Sold by Amazon.
If you’re looking for something compact, you can’t go wrong with the Galaxy Z Flip3. This touch screen phone folds down just like classic flip phones. The touch screen on this device is surprisingly responsive, despite the fact it’s meant to be folded. The only major flaw with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is the battery life, which leaves a lot to be desired. Sold by Amazon.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.