The Galaxy Note 20. The first few days.

I didn’t make it totally obvious but I got a new phone on Tuesday. A Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Initial reactions?

The most obvious change from the Note 10 is the total 180 flip of the design. The buttons move from the left hand side of the chassis across to the right hand side. It didn’t take much getting used to and actually feels more natural. They aren’t as easy to catch for a start.

The s-pen moving to the left on the other hand is a really awkward change. As a right handed person I want to grab my pen with my right hand, but I have to twist awkwardly to do this. I’m sure I’ll adapt, but bad Samsung. Lefties will be loving it though.

One UI 2.5 is sweet. I never had much love for Samsung’s old UI (Touchwiz) but I adore how smooth One UI is, and with 2.5 we gain some really nice improvements. Samsung have stopped loading it down with useless clutter and now make meaningful changes to how it works.

Wireless DeX seems interesting. I’ve played with it a couple of times (I do use DeX a hell of a lot) and whilst it’s not great on our TV as the lag is about half a second (a 2014 Samsung model) it works much better on my Microsoft wireless display adaptor and has hardly any delay. I think it’ll come in most useful for my presentations. If I ever do any again with the current situation!

Now let’s get to the camera.

With COVID I’m not traveling and photographing in the same way so I’ve not really had chance to do much with the camera, but it does seem better than the old one. I did take a photo of woods yesterday with the 108mp mode turned on and it was “interesting”. From a distance the level of detail looks really good, but not amazing.

Zoomed in however the software has turned it into something slightly trippy and as if Google Dream has had a bit of influence.

I’m going to have a few more tries with the 108mp mode but I’m not exactly blown away with it.

On the other hand the general photography has yielded good results in both good and poor light.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts.

The final issue that a few people have noticed is battery life. I don’t have many anxieties myself, but I am a very battery anxious person. I keep my life on my phone and if the battery runs low I panic.

That said, the Note 20 even with the Exynos processor isn’t faring too badly. I know you could say we don’t get a good a deal in Europe as the USA gets, but we do get a base storage of 256 gig in place of the 128 base the USA gets.

The phone definitely runs warmer, and on my initial setup the phone wouldn’t charge because the processor was fully throttled up – the charger merely maintained the battery percentage – but other than that I haven’t really noticed much difference between the Note 10 and Note 20 in real world use.

So final thoughts?

Well it’s a nice little upgrade, and certainly with the cameras feels less iterative, but if you don’t care for the cameras and you like your note 10, stay where you are.

The Old and the New

My new Galaxy Note 9 arrived.

My 18 month Galaxy Note 8 has served me very well and is a device I very much love, but a few features of the Galaxy Note 9 really sold it to me.

  • Bigger battery – less battery anxiety.
  • Bluetooth stylus – great for selfies
  • Dockless DeX – I use DeX loads!

I’ve noticed the bigger battery, although mostly because it takes a hell of a lot longer to charge. As for the DeX – that’s amazing. I’ve already ordered more cables. Actually the biggest annoyance with the DeX docks is actually having to remove your case to dock the phones – a little extra length on the USB C port would have stopped this being a problem.

So far, I love it. It really does feel like the Note 8 perfected.

As for the Galaxy Watch I also got, again, I love it. It’s the same as my old one, but smaller.

It seems to look more like a regular watch on my wrist, unlike the 46mm version which looks too big. This is more like the old Galaxy Gear 2 which I loved so much. The only downside is the battery life is nowhere near as good, but that isn’t helped by this one being 4G, so not only have I taken the battery hit from the smaller battery, but also from the 4G radio.

In other news, Jake got his first PVC jeans after I persuaded him… He’s the type of person who will really carry the look well.

Yet again… ASOS.

Of new tablets and stuff…

So, on Friday I saw a Galaxy Tab S3 in CeX (a chain of tech second hand shops). It was over £100 less than the full price in Currys and was actually in A1 condition. Not the 4G variant, but I can always tether to satisfy that problem.

I decided to take the plunge as my Lenovo Yogabook really wasn’t working for me. Funky as it is to look at, the Yogabook running Android Nougat is actually pretty piss poor. No window mode support, just split screen; and to add insult to injury the OS is buggy and has been abandoned by Lenovo so will never be fixed or updated. The styles implementation is lacklustre to say the least and borders on gimmicky. I hardly ever found myself grabbing the stylus as it was so bad!

Enter the Tab S3 – a very capable tablet created by Samsung who, whilst I won’t say are perfect, are much better at keeping their flagship devices running for a somewhat longer time with updates.

The Yogabook was traded in and the money used to buy a keyboard case (from Argos as CeX didn’t have any in).

Yes. It’s so much better!

Ditch the phone

It’s amazing how we all sit there with what in essence is a pocket computer in our pockets (think Blondie’s song “Picture this”).

We constantly have to check on our social world, just in case we have missed something; and yet the real world around us passes is by.

Getting a 4G smart watch made me think of trying something the other night though – ditch the phone, trust the watch.

I still have a means of communication, but all the apps and social media is gone. The notifications pushed from my phone stop so I just get basic calendar stuff, and I’ve still got a very basic browser and Google Assistant should I need to check soberin something.

Facebook, Instagram etc. are all history.

There was only one downside – no camera; however this was no biggie for feeling connected to the world.

I think I’ll do it more!

…of album releases, and stuff.

Tonight, I sit playing around with the Android dev kit on my Ubuntu laptop. It’s very nice… especially considering just 5 or so years ago I’d have paid £££ for a devkit (and indeed, did for a couple of Amiga devkits). Android really is the future – unlike Apple with it’s attempt at world domination, Android is free, and the variety of devices is becoming bewildering (although there are a few turkeys out there…).

Now just to educate the world that some of us have MP3 players that aren’t made by Apple… I’m sure there are more docks available for ipod and iphone than there are ipods and iphones in the world. A recent look in PC World came up with about 20 different shapes, sizes, types. Most of them rather poor quality, or with very poor sound (and far worse than a set of £20 2.1 speakers can give you).

PDMI is fitted on the Dell Streak as standard. Dell didn’t make this obvious at first, but then some smart guy figured out the pin-out is the same, the forums went ooooh and aaaah, and we realised that if PDMI is adopted as a universal standard the ipod dock will seem old hat.

The PDMI cable supplied with the Streak? – I’ll leave my judgement on that one to the masses, but I think the quality is poor. Mine now has surgical tape around one end to stop the cable exterior splitting any more. Carphone warehouse said it was wear and tear, but Dell promised to send me another one… it hasn’t arrived as yet (they quoted 2-3 days…).

Finally, Charlestown is out next Monday. The official release is tomorrow night at The Peel, Kingston-upon-Thames (just outside London). I am looking forward to it, but I do have concerns – our drummer John has been with us just 5 weeks and I hope he can cope. The last drummer, Conor, well let’s just say it didn’t work out… or more to the point he didn’t work.

Oooooh a new phone!


I got a new phone this week… OK… well… a huge slab of a device, but what a device.

It’s a Dell Streak, which is a mother of a 5″ screen yielding slab of technology – packed to the brim with goodies including a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, HDMI output, and to top it all nicely it’s running Android.

Yes, I know it’s only Android 1.6 at present, but Dell promise an update sometime in August to 2.2 Froyo which backed up with the snapdragon 1 gig processor should make for some silky smooth apps.

Of course, I could have followed the lemmings down the iphone path, but then I’d be looking for phoneboxes all the time to make calls… although I did read a good selection of jokes via Twitter t’uther day…

  • Apple: 0.55% of users have called about reception problems, the other 99.45% dropped the call.
  • Two iPhones got married. It was a lovely ceremony, but the reception was awful. Apparently they held it in the wrong place.

and that, as they say, is your lot.

Now I’ll stick with Android, thank you very much – because after all… Android phones are for porn.