Samsung unveils new Note20 phones touted as 'most powerful'


Samsung has two new premium-sized and priced Note smartphones for you, calling them “power devices” that have more oomph than last year’s models.

At a live-streamed event from Korea, Samsung on Wednesday confirmed the pending release of the two Galaxy Note20 phones, an updated smartwatch, two new tablets, Galaxy Buds and a new version of the Fold phone, the nearly $2,000 hybrid tablet/phone first seen in 2019.

It’s that time of the year when manufacturers begin introducing and shipping new phones. This week, Google announced its new budget Pixel 4A, selling for $349, and in September, Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 12 for an October release. The new device will be delayed from its usual September release. 

The new Note20 phones will be available Aug. 21, and they’re not cheap: They’ll start at (Note20) $1,000 and (Note20 Ultra) $1,300 with 128 gigabytes of storage. That’s around the same ballpark as the smaller Samsung Galaxy S20 phones that were released in March – the S20 for $999, S20+ for $1,200 and S20 Ultra for $1,400.

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The Note has historically been the larger phone to the S series and operates with the use of an accessory digital pen, for taking notes and writing. There is a new and improved S pen this year that Samsung says has “more lifelike precision,”…”accuracy and responsiveness.”

While the new Note20s are larger (6.7 inches and 6.9 inches) than the 6.3-inch and 6.8-inch 2019 models, they aren’t bigger than two of the Galaxy S20 2020 phones, the 6.7-inch S20+ or 6.9-inch S20 Ultra.

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“Historically there has been a niche set of consumers who could be termed ‘Note loyalists’” says Ben Wood, an analyst with CCS Insight. “They appreciated the biggest screen and particularly loved the stylus. These days the screen size is no longer a differentiator, so Samsung will be hoping the stylus is enough to set Note20 devices apart from its Galaxy S20 products.”

Samsung says the new Note phones are “the most powerful Note series,” yet, in that they work “like a computer and lets you game like a pro.”

Samsung Galaxy Note20 gets Xbox Game Pass subscription

Samsung is pushing gaming for the Note series, announcing a deal with Microsoft to offer a $15 monthly subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which will allow over 100 videogames to be played on the Note. Currently, the subscription is only available for PCs and consoles. The Game Pass offer will begin Sept. 15.

The Ultra phone has a 120Hz refresh rate, which means that webpages and videos will open faster, compared to 60Hz on the previous edition.

The new Z Fold2 is the update to last year’s Fold phone, with a larger body (unfolded, it’s 7.6 inches, to the previous 7.3 inches.) Pricing hasn’t been announced.

The tablets, Galaxy S7 ($650) and S7+ ($850) will be Samsung’s first ones that work with the new and growing 5G faster high-speed wireless standard and the new, improved S pen. Like the Note20 phones, the tablets both have a 120Hz refresh rate, and the S7+ has a super large 12.4-inch screen. Samsung lists availability as “fall.”

New Galaxy Watch to catch your fall

The Galaxy Watch3 ($400 or $430) will be sold beginning Thursday and is available in two models, 41mm and 45mm variants. There are 120 video workouts available for viewing, via the Samsung Health app, and steals a page from Apple’s playbook with a “Trip Detection,” feature that sends an SOS to emergency if it detects a fall. Apple introduced that in the 2018 edition of the Apple Watch.

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The South Korea edition also features the ability for ECG and blood pressure monitoring.

Finally, the new Buds ($170), also available Thursday promise a larger, 12mm speaker than on last year’s model and improved noise-cancellation features.

Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter



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