The Galaxy Note20 Ultra is the defacto flagship for Samsung fans this year. It’s packed with plenty of processing power, a gorgeous 120Hz display, and an elegant design that makes other phones drool. But we’re not here to toot Samsung’s horn — that post is over here. Instead, we’re going to take a look at 5 of the worst things about the Note20 Ultra, from its outrageous pricing to that offensively large camera bump.
You’ll have to auction off your firstborn
This phone is crazy expensive. We all love phones here, but there’s got to be a limit to how much we’re willing to shell out, right? When the Pixel 4a can deliver on the basics for a fraction of the Note20 Ultra’s price, it’s hard to justify what Samsung’s asking. We’ve seen flagship phones creeping upmarket for years now, but $1,300 is approaching used car territory. In his review, David said that “paying full MSRP for this phone seems totally crazy.”
The Mount Everest of camera bumps
Okay, so this one might not seem that bad at first, but picture this: you take out your super-powered S Pen and set your Note20 Ultra down on the table in front of you, ready to put your brilliant ideas down on (virtual) paper. But at the first touch of the pen tip, the canvas tilts. Wait, it isn’t the canvas — it’s the entire phone!
This is perhaps the biggest bump we’ve ever seen on a phone. Many devices help hide it by tapering the bump so it feels a little more svelte, but not Samsung. This is a hump that embraces its lumpiness. Sure, a case will help get rid of the unsightly rectangle, but that’s gonna have to be a pretty thick case, and do you really want to hide the hard work of Samsung’s industrial design team? (Editor’s note: Yes)
You’re buying a portal for advertisements
On a more serious note, Samsung has some major issues with ads. It seems like it’s gotten even worse recently. I wrote about the problem earlier this summer, and Max Weinbach wrote an entire editorial about it last month. There are ads in apps like Samsung Weather and Samsung Pay. Not even the default health app is exempt from the ad apocalypse. Do we really need to see misleading, clickbaity ads when we’re trying to track our step count?
In Max’s piece, he notes that the popup ad for Sirius XM in the Samsung Music app can be hidden — but it comes right back after a week passes. That’s right, even when you try to hide the unwanted promotions, they return to haunt you. Plus, Samsung is trigger happy when it comes to pushing
notifications ads for new products from Bixby.
You won’t be first in line for software updates
It’s great that Samsung is going to keep the Note20 Ultra updated with major OS upgrades for three whole years, but by the time the OTAs hit your specific device, it’ll probably be months old. Samsung is notorious for dragging its feet when it comes to incorporating major OS updates. Sure, things have gotten better as Project Treble and other improvements have taken off, but you’re still going to be waiting many months for upgrades that the $349 Pixel 4a will get on day one. In some cases, you might be waiting even longer for features that land in-between major yearly updates. When Android 10 launched last September, custom launchers didn’t work with the new gesture navigation system. Pixel phones got a patch to fix this in December, but Samsung? That fix is only landing now, over half a year later, with the OneUI 2.5 software debuting on the Note20 Ultra.
The same amount of base storage as Google’s budget phone
The Note20 Ultra has some pretty powerful cameras, with 50x zooming capabilities and video capture of up to 8K resolution. But do you know how much room a 5-minute long video in 8K takes up on your phone? Well, neither do I, but I bet it’ll fill up the Note20 Ultra’s 128GB of base storage in a flash. Sure, you can always buy an SD card thanks to the device’s expandable storage, but you shouldn’t have to spend more money on that when the phone itself already costs a pretty penny. I mean, the $349 Pixel 4a comes with the same amount of storage as Samsung’s $1,3o0 flagship. Doesn’t that make you scratch your head?
Despite these quirks, it’s hard to resist the allure of Samsung’s latest. Read our full review for the complete rundown on the Note20 Ultra, and if you want to get the other side of this list, check out the five best things about the phone.