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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

In the battle of samsung galaxy note 20 vs samsung galaxy s23 ultra specs, both phones have their own strengths and weaknesses. The Galaxy S23 Ultra shines with a larger canvas and a superior zoom camera but lacks microSD support. On the other hand, the Note 20 Ultra, though the last of its line, impresses with expandable storage and vibrant colors, but falls short with a smaller battery and no more Android updates. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Choose your warrior wisely!

Feature Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Form Factor Vast 6.8-inch canvas Last of the beloved Note family
S Pen Enhanced experience Mighty S Pen
Display Variable refresh rate at 1440p Nice colors
Battery Larger battery Smaller battery
Updates Four years of Android updates No more Android updates
Expandable Storage No microSD MicroSD
Zoom Camera Superior Flawed
  • Variable refresh rate at 1440p
  • Ample battery capacity
  • Assured four years of Android updates
  • MicroSD Supports
  • The phone is with Nice colors
  • Absence of microSD card slot
  • Camera zoom has limitations
  • Reached the end of Android updates
  • Less capacious battery


Back in 2011, the original Galaxy Note hit the shelves, a product of the esteemed Galaxy S2 lineage, boasting a mammoth 5.3-inch screen, quite the spectacle in those days. Skip to the year 2020, and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra graced the scene, marking the pinnacle of the Note series. Flaunting a 6.9-inch display, an array of rear cameras, and an enhanced S Pen, it stood as a testament to Samsung’s relentless innovation. However, this marked the swan song for the Note moniker, or so it seemed.

Fortunately, the legacy of the Note was far from over, as its quintessence seamlessly merged into the DNA of the S22 Ultra. Retaining the essence of productivity and creativity, the S22 Ultra upheld the cherished Note features. But Samsung didn’t stop there. Enter the Galaxy S23 Ultra, a refinement of this celebrated formula, arguably securing its position as one of Samsung’s most exceptional creations to date.

Yet, amidst the enthusiasm for this newfound marvel, a crucial question arises – does the S23 Ultra satisfy the discerning tastes of loyal Note aficionados? Is it a leap worthy of the devoted Note users who’ve witnessed the series evolve and carve its niche in the smartphone realm? Let’s delve into this inquiry to decipher whether the S23 Ultra stands as a befitting upgrade for those rooted in the Note legacy.

Price, availability, and specs

galaxy s23 ultra hand black

The Note 20 Ultra, which is almost three years old, is not something you’ll find easily unless you’re thinking about getting a used or refurbished one. On the other hand, the S23 Ultra is readily available. You can buy it from all the big stores and phone companies worldwide. It starts at $1,200, but during sales events like Amazon Prime Day, you can get it for less than $1,000. While these two phones might seem similar when you first look at them, the difference of two and a half years makes a big impact on the inside, as you can see from the detailed spec comparison below:

Feature Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Display 6.8″ QHD+ curved-edge AMOLED, 1~120Hz refresh, 240Hz touch sampling 6.9-inch 1440 X 3088 AMOLED @ 120Hz
RAM 8GB or 12GB 8GB, 12GB
Storage 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Battery 5,000mAh 4,500mAh
Operating System One UI 5.1 w/ Android 13 Android 12 with One UI 4
Front Camera 12MP f/2,2 10 MP, f/2.2
Rear Cameras 200MP f/1.7 OIS main, 12MP f/2.2 wide (120°), 10MP f/2.4 OIS zoom (3x), 10MP f/4.9 OIS zoom (10x) 108 MP, f/1.8 primary, 12MP f/3.0 5x telephoto, 12 MP, f/2.2 ultrawide
Connectivity 4G, 5G, UWB, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC Wi-Fi 802.11 A/B/G/N/AC/6E; Bluetooth 5.2; 5G MmWave and Sub6
Dimensions 163.3 × 78 × 8.9mm 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm
Weight 234g 208g
IP Rating IP68 IP68
Micro SD Card Support No Yes
Stylus Type S Pen included S Pen

Design and build quality

galaxy note20 ultra 21

The S23 Ultra has a bit of a Note-like feel to it, thanks to its sharp corners and gently curved screen, although the curve is not as pronounced as in previous models. Both phones look really nice, especially when they come in cool colours like the Note 20 Ultra’s awesome Mystic Bronze. Even though the differences may seem small, the S23 Ultra definitely has a better design.

Unlike the older one, its screen doesn’t curve too much over the edges, which makes it easier to hold and use, especially with the S Pen. They also used different materials this time, going for tough aluminium and Gorilla Glass Victus 2 instead of stainless steel and Gorilla Glass Victus. We’ll talk more about the camera stuff later, but just focusing on how they look, the S23’s camera lenses are more pleasing to the eye compared to the Note 20 Ultra’s big camera bump.

Software and performance

The Note 20 Ultra originally came with Android 10 but has been updated to Android 13 with One UI 5.1, which is the same software that’s on the S23 Ultra now. With One UI 5.1, we got some new widgets, better integration with the Expert RAW app, and a few other small improvements.

Now, here’s where things start to differ. The S23 Ultra is set to get four more Android updates, all the way up to Android 17, which is pretty cool. But the poor old Note has reached the end of its journey, and from now on, it’ll only get security updates.

When the Note 20 Ultra first came out, it was a real powerhouse with its Snapdragon 865+ and 12GB of RAM. It could handle almost anything you threw at it. But times change, and now we have the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which is even faster, cooler, and more efficient. There’s one catch, though – the S23 Ultra comes with 8GB of RAM, unless you go for the 512GB version, which matches the Note’s 12GB. So, while the Note is still a good phone, it’s not quite as powerful as its successor.

Battery and charging

Here’s where the S23 Ultra really shines. Even though it’s a bit smaller than the Note 20 Ultra and still has space for an S Pen, it packs a big 5,000mAh battery, while the Note had a 4,500mAh battery. And when you pair that with the more efficient chip it’s got, you’ve got a flagship phone that’s practically unbeatable when it comes to battery life.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Note 20 Ultra had good battery life, but it can’t even come close to competing with the new S23 Ultra. The best part is, both of these phones support 45W fast charging, 15W Qi wireless charging, and reverse charging for your accessories. So, you won’t be stuck waiting around for your phone to juice up.


Let’s talk about the screens on these phones. The Note 20 Ultra has a big 6.9-inch QHD display that can go up to a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Now, the S23 Ultra’s screen is just a tad smaller at 6.8 inches, but it’s also a QHD display with the same 120Hz capability. Sounds pretty similar, right? Well, here’s where things get interesting.

The Note 20 Ultra gives you the option to choose between 60Hz and 120Hz in the settings. However, there’s a catch – you can’t have both the super-smooth 120Hz and the super-sharp 1440p resolution at the same time. You have to pick one or the other.

Now, the S23 Ultra takes a different approach. It doesn’t make you choose. It automatically adjusts its refresh rate from a super-low 1Hz all the way up to 120Hz, depending on what you’re doing. So, you get that smooth performance without sacrificing sharpness.

And when it comes to brightness, the S23 Ultra really shines. It can go up to a whopping 1,750 nits of brightness, while the Note tops out at 1,500 nits. In simple terms, the S23 Ultra’s screen is not only better but also more versatile compared to the older Note 20 Ultra.


The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is equipped with a first-generation 108MP sensor, coupled with a 12MP 5X periscope zoom lens and a 12MP ultrawide lens. During its time, these cameras showcased remarkable performance. However, in comparison, the S23 Ultra outshines them by a significant margin.

One notable feature of the Note 20 Ultra was its 5X lens, ideal for capturing distant subjects. Nonetheless, if you needed a lesser zoom, such as 2X or 3X, the Note 20 Ultra would resort to digital cropping from the 108MP sensor. In contrast, the S23 Ultra boasts dual 10MP lenses – a 3X telephoto and a 10X periscopic lens. This arrangement renders the camera system far more versatile.

Although the ultrawide lens performance remains comparable, the S23 Ultra introduces a novel functionality. The ultrawide lens can now double as a macro camera in this newer model. However, the standout enhancement in the S23 Ultra lies in its brand-new 200MP primary sensor. This sensor has quickly become a favorite among users due to its outstanding performance across varying lighting conditions, delivering exceptional photos.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra – Should you upgrade?

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Absolutely! The Note 20 Ultra is getting on in years, and it’s nearing the end of its journey. But the S23 Ultra, even though it says goodbye to the Micro SD slot, more than makes up for it in other ways. I’ve found it to be one of the most reliable phones I’ve ever used. Plus, unlike the Note, it brings that top-notch Snapdragon experience to everyone, instead of making some countries settle for an Exynos chipset.

Now, if you’re curious about trying out the S Pen and want to see if it fits your style, but you’re not keen on splurging on a brand-new phone just for that, the Note 20 Ultra could be a clever choice. You can often find them on Amazon for as low as $400 these days, and that’s a pretty reasonable price. So, it’s definitely worth considering if you want to give the S Pen a spin without breaking the bank.


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Elena Petrovich

Elena Petrovich is a passionate Tech Enthusiast and skilled Audio Engineer with a keen interest in the ever-evolving world of technology. With extensive experience in the tech industry, she has been instrumental in crafting insightful content covering a wide spectrum of devices, including Phones, Tablets, Laptops, Home Theater systems, Soundbars, Speakers, Headphones, Smartwatches, and Gaming peripherals. Her expertise lies in distilling complex technological concepts into accessible and engaging narratives, making her a valuable voice in the tech community.

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