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Leaked Galaxy Note 20 Ultra video shows the Note’s biggest redesign in years

Published Jul 8th, 2020 2:59PM EDT
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Image: Samsung

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  • A leaked video shows the full Galaxy Note 20 Ultra design several weeks ahead of the phone’s official launch.
  • The Note 20 series will feature large hole-punch displays and big triple-lens camera modules on the back. Overall, the Note 20 will be similar to the S20 and Note 10 phones that preceded it.
  • The new Note line will feature one notable change though, and it’s the most significant design update in years.

Samsung just confirmed the Galaxy Note 20 will be unveiled on August 5th as previously rumored, announcing a virtual Unpacked press conference that will feature several other new products. The list includes the Note 20 series, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 foldable smartphone, and the 5G version of the Galaxy Z Flip clamshell phone. The Galaxy Watch 3 was also featured in several rumors in the past few weeks, and it’s likely to drop at the event. Most of these devices, if not all of them, will be available for preorder in the weeks following the launch.

The Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are easily the most anticipated handsets set to debut at the event. In its long history of copying the iPhone to get ahead, Samsung had a moment of inspiration with the original Note phablet, and other smartphone vendors decided to make handsets with bigger and bigger displays. Aside from size, the Note had another signature feature, the built-in stylus. As all-screen design technology evolved, the Note series lost its screen size advantage, prompting some people to speculate that the Galaxy S and Note series should be merged. But the Note still comes with an S Pen neatly housed inside, and the Note 20 series will not be any different in that regard.

However, the Note 20 will deliver the biggest design change the Note series has gotten in years. That’s what a YouTuber claimed on Twitter a few days ago when he shared images of a real-life Note 20 Ultra prototype. Jimmy Is Promo only gave us a partial look at the phone but said the S Pen stylus enclosure has been moved from the right side of the handset to the left side. All previous Notes come with the stylus on the right side, but the Note 20 will apparently change that.

We speculated at the time that Samsung might have a good reason to consider the change. The Note 20 will come with built-in 5G support, which means the phone will feature a standalone 4G/5G modem as well as separate antennas needed for 5G connectivity. Add to that the sizeable triple-lens camera system on the back and the increased battery consumption that comes with 5G connectivity and 120Hz screens, and internal space becomes a problem.

The same YouTuber has now published a video preview of the Note 20 Ultra, and this time around, he gave the world a proper look at the phone. We can see the handset’s entire screen, although parts of the display are hidden to protect the prototype’s identifying information. We’re also shown the phone’s model number, operating system version, and One UI upgrade. The camera module can be seen in all its glory, and the bump is supposedly larger than the Galaxy S20’s.

Galaxy Note 20
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra design shown on video before the phone’s launch. Image source: YouTube

But the clip also shows the repositioning of the S Pen slot. The stylus now sits on the opposite side of the rear camera, as seen in the image above. The leaker also tells us that the Note 20 S Pen has the same design as last year’s stylus.

The following image shows that the primary camera sensor occupies more space at the top of the phone. Even if the Note 20 is slightly taller, there’s apparently no place for the S Pen on the same side as the camera.

Galaxy Note 20
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra design shown in video before the phone’s launch. Image source: YouTube

Ultimately, this design change shouldn’t be a big deal. Longtime Note users will just have to reteach themselves to access the stylus. As for the S Pen, we do expect new features for the device and the YouTuber hinted at one of them: The S Pen can now be used as a pointer.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.