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The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra feature I want the iPhone 12 to steal

Published Aug 25th, 2020 7:31AM EDT
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Image: Samsung

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  • A Galaxy Note 20 Ultra drop test shows that the new Corning Gorilla Glass Victus is a lot more resistant to impacts against rough surfaces than previous versions.
  • The drop test shows that the Note 20 Ultra survived the same drop tests with better results than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
  • The Gorilla Glass Victus choice seems to be a clear win for Samsung, one that Apple will hopefully replicate on the iPhone 12.

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 20 series in early August, proving that all the rumors that preceded the launch event were accurate. The two Note 20 models would not offer the same experience, but they are both expensive phones. The regular Note 20 has a plastic back and several other compromises, but it starts at $999. I’ve told you a couple of times that you should steer clear of that phone, given the many differences between the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. The latter is the better choice if you can swallow the $1,299 starting price.

Now that the Note 20 phones have reached consumers, it turns out there is one key Galaxy Note 20 Ultra feature that deserves praise, and it’s something I want the iPhone 12 to “steal.”

Both the front and back of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra are covered by Corning’s brand new Gorilla Glass Victus protective Glass. It’s supposed to be even more resistant to drops than the previous Corning Gorilla Glass versions, and actual drop tests prove that Victus is indeed a tough as advertised.

YouTube channel PhoneBuff put the Note 20 Ultra through the same drop tests that we’ve seen before and compared the results with footage from the iPhone 11 Pro Max drop test. The winner is, without question, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

The phone survived most drops, including the ones that matter most: the direct impact of the screen against a rough surface. The Note 20 Ultra wasn’t wholly unharmed. The glass on the back of the phone, around the camera bump, broke on the first drop. The bottom scratched when the phone was dropped on one of its corners.

But the screen survived without any damage. The phone withstood 10 consecutive drops on the display side from 1.5 meters high, and the glass did not break. Also noteworthy is that the rear-facing Victus glass panel did not sustain more residual damage following the additional drops. At the end of the test, the Note 20 Ultra was still completely functional.

The screen, the in-screen fingerprint sensor, and the rear camera all continued to work. As you’ll see in the video below, the iPhone 11 Pro Max didn’t fare as well after the same number of drops. The screen shattered much earlier in the test, and while the phone was still functional at the end of the extra drops, it was a complete mess when it comes to damage. And the rear-facing camera did not even work.

It’s unclear whether the iPhone 12 models will feature Gorilla Glass Victus screens, as that sort of detail isn’t usually covered in rumors. Apple has probably decided what type of glass panels to use on the iPhone 12 a long time ago. We can only hope it’s Victus.

No matter how durable, glass is still glass, and your mileage may vary even with Victus. You might end up damaging your Note 20 Ultra no matter how resistant it might be. That’s why you should consider using protective gear for the handset.

But it’s clear that the Gorilla Victus screen is a winner, and I can only hope the iPhone 12 series will be just as resistant. As for the cheap Note 20, the $999 phone comes with Gorilla Glass 5 on the back, which will not get you the same protection. The Note 10 and Note 10+ both feature Gorilla Glass 6 screens, which gives you another reason to avoid the regular Note 20.

A Note 20 drop test was not performed, but here’s PhoneBuff Note 20 Ultra drop test:

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.