Samsung Unpacks 2 Pricey Smartphones, Other Devices In Virtual Event

In an event livestreamed from South Korea, Samsung yesterday unveiled five new devices including new versions of its Galaxy Note smartphones that reflect, in the marketing, the constrained times we are living and working in.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, large, expensive smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note were the best way to get the power of a computer on the go. Now? Well, we don’t go anywhere. And Samsung is fully aware of that with the release of its new Galaxy Note 20, Note 20 Ultra, and even its future Galaxy Fold Z2,” Joanna Stern tells us in an amusing video review for The Wall Street Journal.



“The company is certainly positioning what we use these devices for a bit differently. With the Samsung Note 20’s three rear cameras, including a telephoto with an ultra-zoom feature, you can take photos. In your backyard. Alone. With the pandemic puppy you just got,” she continues.

And then, as we see a picture of a white teddy bear perched perilously on the top of a couch in a workspace devoid of anything else that’s cuddly, Stern says: “Or you can takes pix of your new colleague In your office. And, of course, the front-facing camera is great for nonstop video calling.”

“Samsung, like many electronics companies, likes to stick to a naming scheme once it's established. That said, we didn't expect Samsung to follow up the Galaxy Note 10 with the Galaxy Note 11. Instead, Samsung followed the same naming approach it took with the Galaxy S20 earlier this year, and announced the Galaxy Note 20,” Jason Cipriani points out for ZDNet.

“Unlike the S20 line's three different models, the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are all you have to choose from,” he adds.

“As it did with the Galaxy S20 earlier this year, Samsung is explicitly trying to make the ‘Ultra’ moniker push the top-tier specs ever higher, which apparently allows the regular model to skimp on a few features. It’s a tale of two Notes,” Dieter Bohn observes  for The Verge.

“The regular Galaxy Note 20 lacks important features like a high refresh rate screen, microSD storage expansion, and periscope zoom lens, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t expensive. It’s $999.99 for a model with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM,” he continues.

“The Note 20 Ultra, meanwhile, has everything Samsung knows how to throw at a phone (short of a folding screen) and the price to match those specs: $1,299.99 for the 128GB storage / 12GB RAM model and $1,449.99 to bump that storage up to 512GB,” Bohn adds.

The cameras on both are, of course, the best it has put into a phone thus far,  says. 

“It also claims the new S Pen is more precise, with a drop to 9ms latency. There’s a 240Hz screen on the Ultra for less latency in screen updates for gaming, along with a partnership for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate that includes Xbox Game Streaming (nee xCloud) for three months and a free controller. And that’s just not for the new phones -- it's for all Galaxy devices,” Lori Grunin and Patrick Holland write  for CNET.

“Samsung was the largest phone seller in the world until earlier this month, when Canalys analysis said Huawei overtook it by market share. Samsung and Apple dominate sales in the U.S. But these new devices are high-end phones for people willing to spend $999 to $1,299, not mass-market budget phones that help Samsung achieve its huge market share around the world. Still, Samsung’s Note phones are the nicest crop of devices for the year and will compete directly with Apple’s upcoming iPhone 12 phones,” Todd Haselton writes  for CNBC.

“Samsung knows what Note fans want, and it has delivered with the Note 20 Ultra. It has everything the Note 10 Plus had, just amplified for 2020. It’s hard to find something it’s missing that you’d ever really need. On paper, it’s an over-the-top powerhouse that’ll last for years. My first impressions when using it indicate it’ll be worth the considerable financial investment to get one,”  Andy Boxall raves  for Digital Trends.

Samsung also gave us a peek yesterday at Tab S7 and S7+ tablets; the Galaxy Watch3 premium smartwatch with advanced health features; Galaxy Buds Live, earbuds and the aforementioned Galaxy Z Fold2 foldable smartphone.

Preorders for the Note devices start today and they ship starting August 21, so you can have one in time for the start of the post-Labor Day videoconferencing season.

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