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.

One port to rule them all?

So after purchasing my new tablet (Tab S3 in case you missed it) I have now headed another step down the road to being totally USB C sufficient.

USB C is the new de-facto charging standard which if rumours are correct might even be coming to Apple devices (yes, I know, Apple using a global standard rather than making their own) but then Apple did adopt Qi charging so perhaps they’ve realised that being exclusive is hurting customers?

It’s great to see USB C on my phone, tablet, Nintendo Switch, and one of my 360 cameras.

So I suppose the next step is to now get the other end of the cable to be USB C so the charger and power bricks support the standard?

Well here’s my new power brick…

Note the single USB C socket on the end. This can be used to both charge the brick, and to charge other devices (as is the nature of USB C), and amusingly, when the device you plug into this brick recognises it, it offers the choice to charge the phone from the brick, or charge the brick from the phone. Quaint.

I think we’re a few years away from the one port to rule them all, but with its flexibility, ability to send video, data and power the USB C port might be the answer.

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!