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Comparing Specs: Galaxy Note 20 vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra in 2023

October 1, 2023
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Galaxy Note 20 vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra Based on the storied Galaxy S23 and with a 5.3-inch screen, the first Galaxy Note 20 Ultra was released back in 2011. When the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra was finally unveiled in 2020, it served as the final device to bear the Note name. It boasts an enhanced S Pen, a 6.9-inch display, and many rear cameras.


Since the Note’s features were included in the S22 Ultra, the Note was thankfully only dead in the name. This recipe has been improved with the Galaxy S23 Ultra, making it one of the best smartphones Samsung has ever made. But will that satisfy note owners from the past? The S23 Ultra: Is it a worthwhile upgrade?

Galaxy Note 20 vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra Cameras

The Note 20 Ultra has a 12MP ultrawide lens, a 12MP 5X periscope zoom lens, and a first-generation 108MP sensor. At the time, these cameras were very good, but the S23 Ultra is far superior. The Note’s 5X lens was excellent for shooting pictures of objects in the distance, but it would digitally crop the 108MP sensor if you only needed a tiny amount of magnification, like 2X or 3X.

One of the two 10MP lenses on the S23 Ultra is a 3X telephoto lens, and the other is a 10X periscopic lens. As a result, the camera system is far more adaptable. Although it may also function as a macro camera in the latest phone, the ultrawide is roughly the same.

The new 200MP main sensor of the S23 Ultra represents a huge improvement above any of Samsung’s prior smartphones. We now consider using this camera to be one of our favourites. Its images are fantastic, and performance in all lighting settings is excellent.

Software and performance

The significant news with the S23 Ultra is that, regardless of where they are being marketed, Samsung is now using a Snapdragon chip for all models of this phone.

We’re delighted to see that unfair treatment is over with the newest phone because in the past, notably on the Note 20 Ultra, you had a U.S. model with a Snapdragon CPU while the rest of the globe received an inferior experience with a less powerful Exynos chip.

And the S23 Ultra’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is a significant advancement. It represents the largest generational change in processors in recent memory, and the difference from the much older Note 20 Ultra is only highlighted.

The new S23 Ultra performs astonishingly well in the GeekBench CPU test, scoring 70% faster in single-core speeds and almost 80% faster in multi-core.

Additionally, the S23 Ultra performs significantly better and goes for longer periods of time without throttling in the 3D Mark Wildlife Extreme Stress test for gaming. Even after 20 minutes of gaming, the low score is still about 2.5 times higher than the Note 20 Ultra. The initial score is also nearly 2.5 times higher than the Note 20 Ultra.

This particular performance boost merits an update all by itself.

It’s important to note that the base model of the S23 Ultra has twice the onboard storage of the Note 20 Ultra, which is a pretty significant boost.

On the other hand, the Note 20 Ultra did have a microSD card slot for expandable memory, whereas the S23 Ultra does not.

Longer software upgrades are included with the S23 Ultra as well. In the future, it will get Android 17, whereas the Note 20 Ultra is quickly approaching the end of its support cycle. It launches with Android 13 and One UI 5.1, and Samsung promises 4 years of major OS updates and 5 years of security updates, so it will get Android 17 in the future.

Battery and charging

The S23 Ultra’s 5,000 mAh battery is an upgrade over the Note 20 Ultra’s 4,500 mAh battery, but while that is a good gain, the S23 Ultra’s main selling point is the new and far more efficient Snapdragon CPU. 

See the precise differences in battery life across a few distinct usage situations in the independent battery test results we’ve provided below.

To guarantee a level playing field, we must note that all of the phones we evaluate are set to the same brightness level.

The new S23 Ultra performs better in our online surfing test and has significantly more battery life when playing 3D games, but the battery life on our YouTube video streaming test has more than doubled.

The S23 Ultra typically lasts us a day and a half in practical use, and with moderate use, it can even last two days, which is something we rarely get out of the Note 20 Ultra.

The Note 20 Ultra’s highest charging speed is 25W, compared to the S23 Ultra’s 45W wired charging capability.

Although there isn’t a significant difference between the charging times for the S23 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra using a 45W charger you are used to getting quick notice of the newer model’s higher charging speeds after a 30-minute top-up at lunch.

It’s interesting to note that the S23 Ultra’s wireless charging speed is 10W less than the Note 20 Ultra’s 15W. Again, a little distinction, but one that should be noted.

Display

While the 6.8-inch QHD display on the S23 Ultra can likewise reach 120 Hz, the 6.9-inch QHD display on the Note 20 Ultra can. There are other substantial changes in addition to the 0.1-inch. Since the Note 20 Ultra, for instance, doesn’t have a variable refresh rate, you can choose between running it at 60 Hz or 120 Hz in the settings menu. Additionally, it cannot run at both 1440p and 120Hz concurrently, so you must choose between sharpness and smoothness.

None of these limitations are made by the S23 Ultra, which can automatically change its refresh rate from 1-120 Hz depending on the presented content. Additionally, it is substantially brighter than the Note, which only reaches a maximum brightness of 1,500 nits. Overall, the S23 Ultra’s newer display dominates the Note’s older panel.

Design and build quality

Sharp corners and a curved display give the S23 Ultra a Note-like appearance, but the latter is much more softly curved than in earlier models. Particularly if you get them in the appropriate shade, like the Note 20 Ultra’s Mystic Bronze, both smartphones have exquisite looks and feels.

Even though the differences are minor, the S23 Ultra is unquestionably the superior design. It is simpler to grip and operate, especially with the S Pen, because the screen doesn’t bend over the sides nearly as much as it did on the previous Note. The material options are also superior, using armoured aluminium and Gorilla Glass Victus 2 instead of stainless steel and Gorilla Glass Victus. We’ll go into more detail regarding the cameras later, but in terms of design, the S23’s individual lenses appear nicer than the Note 20 Ultra’s noticeable camera bump.

Price, availability, and specs

Since the Note 20 Ultra is nearly three years old, finding one will require buying a used or refurbished model. On the other hand, the S23 Ultra is easily accessible from all significant shops and carriers globally. It costs $1,200 to start, but on sales occasions like Amazon Prime Day, you can get it for less than $1,000. The following specification sheet illustrates the significant internal differences between these two phones despite their similar outside appearance:

Conclusion

Released in 2020, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra was the final device to bear the Note name and included a 6.9-inch display, back cameras, and an upgraded S Pen. However, the S22 Ultra’s capabilities were included in the S23 Ultra, making it one of the best smartphones Samsung has ever made.

The Note 20 Ultra has a 12MP ultrawide lens, a 12MP 5X periscope zoom lens, and a first-generation 108MP sensor. The camera system is more adaptable thanks to the S23 Ultra’s dual 10MP lenses, one of which is a 3X telephoto and the other a 10X periscopic lens. The new 200MP main sensor of the S23 Ultra represents a huge improvement above any of Samsung’s prior smartphones.

The Note 20 Ultra and S23 Ultra differ significantly in terms of software and performance as well. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 CPU, which powers the S23 Ultra, is the most generational advancement in processor technology in recent memory. The S23 Ultra performs over 80% faster in multi-core operations and 70% quicker in single-core operations in the GeekBench CPU test.

The software updates for the S23 Ultra are also longer; it was released with Android 13 and One UI 5.1, and Samsung guarantees 4 years of significant OS updates and 5 years of security updates. Its 5,000 mAh battery is an improvement over the Note 20 Ultra’s 4,500 mAh battery.

The 6.8-inch QHD display on the S23 Ultra has a better refresh rate and brightness and can operate at 120 Hz. The design and build quality of the S23 Ultra are comparable to those of the Note 20 Ultra; however, the S23 Ultra is more understated in appearance and makes better use of materials.

When deciding between the Note 20 Ultra and the S23 Ultra, it’s vital to take specs, price, and availability into account.

FAQS

Is the Note 20 Ultra better than the S23?

The Note has received all Android upgrades, with the exception of a few additional security patches, while the S23 Ultra still has four Android updates to go, bringing it up to Android 17. When the Note 20 Ultra was released, the Snapdragon 865+ and 12GB of RAM made it an amazing powerhouse.

Is it worth upgrading from the Samsung Note 20 Ultra to the S23 Ultra?

In comparison to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is still an almost flawless improvement. Better front and back cameras, a faster processor, faster RAM, faster storage, a brighter screen, better screen protection, a longer battery life, quicker charging, and much longer software update support are all present.

Is the Samsung S22 Ultra better than the Samsung Note 20 Ultra?

One of the top smartphones on the market right now is the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. It is a great improvement over the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra because of features like its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU and sophisticated camera array.

Is the S23 Ultra like the Note?

In all but name, the device is the Galaxy Note’s successor, a product that Samsung invented as a hybrid between a tablet and a phone. It’s almost awkward to hold with one hand at 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm, but that significant amount is made up for by a 6.8-inch dynamic AMOLED display with a resolution of 3088 x 1440.