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Features

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: GadgetMatch for The Manager

Perfect phone for the team leader?

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra represents the current pinnacle of the Galaxy Note line. That’s why it’s not far fetched to think that it can seamlessly add value to people from different walks of life.

In this first of a three-part feature, we’ll explore how the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra can be reliable partner for three specific people:

  1. The Manager
  2. The Casual User
  3. The Multimedia Creative

Note: Link to part 3 will be added when it’s published.

A balancing act 

Having the ‘Manager’ title entails a lot of things. But more than anything, it’s a balancing act: juggling tasks, weighing interests, and considering several options. Having the right device to let you… manage, and give you one less thing to think about goes a long way.

In many ways that’s what the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is — a device so good at so many things that you don’t have to worry whether it can do something or not. It just works.

My daily grind

On any given day, I’m jumping from app to app, doing anything and everything from answering emails, coordinating via chat apps, taking unexpected calls, copy-editing, sharing stuff on social media, and also going on zoom meetings/events. When I said the work involved a lot of juggling tasks, I wasn’t exaggerating.

What “work from home” actually looks like

Thankfully, I shared a good chunk of these days with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. With it, I didn’t have to worry about whether my phone would conk out on me out of nowhere.

During random afternoons where my lower back would hurt, I can leave my laptop for a while and do all my work on the phone. Yes, that includes writing and copy-editing. The large 6.9-inch display is as close to tablet territory as you can get on a device that’s still somewhat pocketable.

It’s the perfect size for tasks that need plenty of screen real estate.

Not an actual article lol

This is true as well for some basic video editing. I hadn’t fully adjusted to any video editing app on Windows (I’ve mostly used Final Cut on Mac), but that’s not the case on Android. I’ve primarily been using CapCut, and the large display again comes into play in making video edits relatively easy even with my stubby fingers.

Video editing is less cumbersome on a bigger display

The processor, RAM, and storage naturally all played a part in this as well. Tackling all these tasks hiccup free won’t be possible without the 12GB+512GB combo as well as the Exynos 990 chip equipped on the unit I used.

A polished gadget

What stood out to me on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is just the overall polish of the device. At this point, we’ve all seen the design and the majestic look of the copper variant. But the polish goes beyond its physical look.

Samsung’s move from TouchWiz to ONE UI has been one of the best things to ever happen to the brand’s smartphone line. TouchWiz borderline unbearable. Meanwhile, ONE UI is as smooth and clean an experience as you’re going to get.

The UI plays a huge part in our interactions with our phones. And Samsung’s ONE UI does all these little things that truly make it easy to use.

I can long press on an app and immediately jump to a task or a conversation that I had left off. Switching from a paired bluetooth speaker to a bluetooth headset, and to the phone’s own speakers is seamless with the SmartThings app working in the background.

These quick actions are really nice

These little things are easy to miss or take for granted if you’ve only ever used a Samsung phone, but for us who jump from phone-to-phone due to the nature of our work, it’s such a welcome thing.

Things I wish I could have used more

There are two things on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra that truly make it stand out against other phones. Unfortunately, those are the two things I barely used.

The S Pen is the Galaxy Note’s headline feature. It’s improved over the years and will continue to do so as the Galaxy Note line evolves. But I found little use for it in my day-to-day life.

S Pen underutilized

Sure, it’s useful for signing documents here or there. But it’s not something I do very often. And I’ve also already established a workflow on this particular task that doesn’t require the assistance of a stylus.

I tried sketching with it too. But my days of sketching to help my mind glide are far behind me. Plus, I had also recently experienced sketching on a larger screen and that just feels more natural and intuitive than doing so on what feels like a tiny canvass.

I suck at sketching now. Not that I was any good to begin with

Lastly, there’s the camera. Despite not rating as the absolute best, we all pretty much already know what to expect from Samsung flagship cameras. They capture detail well and ups the saturation just a little bit for that distinct Samsung look.

However, being stuck at home and having a pile of work left me with little to no time to really explore the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s cameras. I do take photos regularly. But these are product shots that I still prefer to use my mirrorless camera on versus a smartphone camera.

It wasn’t all work

Naturally, I didn’t just use the phone for work. Every now and then I’d play a match or two of Call of Duty: Mobile. Naturally, the phone had no trouble running it on max settings.

My one takeaway is the uneven feeling when you’re holding the phone while you’re playing. The camera bump on this thing is massive, and it’s almost impossible not to grace the lenses when you’re in the heat of the moment.

Speaking of heat, I did experience some heating on this phone, although nothing that’s significant. But it didn’t happen while playing. The most strain happened while I was screen recording a live stream. It’s hard to imagine that to be something that most managers would do.

I also watched the K-Drama Memories of the Alhambra on this thing. I intentionally did so because of the gorgeous display. Plus pairing it with HiFi speakers was just an overall better experience versus the (relatively old) TV I currently own.

Watched this because of Park Shin-Hye

Is the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra fit for a Manager? 

It surely is. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is filled to the brim in terms of specs and features. Anything you think you would need, the phone has it. One can even say it’s an overkill. But for getting practically anything done without any trouble whatsoever, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is an absolute killer.

Our Associate Creative Director insisted that this photo be included

I’ve had a personal infatuation with the Galaxy Note line. But as my need (and want) for the S Pen has waned, so has my desire for a Galaxy Note. One of its biggest appeals to me — a large display — is now also present on most phones today.

Personally, it’s no longer the perfect fit for me in terms of need. But for any other manager, it’s easy to say that the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has everything you need. And then some. If you have the means to splurge, this phone will go a long way in helping you with your tasks and making you look good.


Watch our Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Review

Features

What selfies look like taken on an under display camera

Using the Rakuten BIG

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ZTE Axon 20 5G. Photo by Yasuhiro Yamane

The ZTE Axon 20 5G — the world’s first smartphone with an under display camera — launched in September but not very many people have had a chance to try it. The relatively obscure Vinsmart Vsmart Aris Pro (Vietnam) and Rakuten BIG (Japan) followed suit.

Now, thanks to our tech journalist friends Ayano Tominaga and Yasuhiro Yamane, we can show you what it’s like taking a few selfies and video using the Rakuten BIG’s front-facing under display camera.

Rakuten BIG

Photo by Ayano Tominaga

The Rakuten BIG is a 6.9-inch phone with an OLED display. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It also has a battery capacity of 4,000mAh.

On its rear is a quad-camera module: 64MP main sensor, and 8MP ultra-wide angle lense, a 2MP depth sensor, and a 2MP macro camera.

If those specs seem familiar that’s because they’re exactly the same as the ZTE Axon 20 5G. Well, almost exactly. There’s a bit of a difference in the battery capacity 4,000mAh vs 4220mAh but that’s still pretty close.

Photo by Yasuhiro Yamane

The selfie camera

For all intents and purposes, the Rakuten BIG may just be a rebranded ZTE Axon 20 5G. They also share the same megapixel count for the selfie camera which is 32MP.

If this is the case, the phone might be using the same transparency material that includes new organic and inorganic films, to balance the performance of the display and the front camera.

NO Notch. Photo by Ayano Tominaga

The selfies

Here are what some quick selfies look like. These were taken indoors, inside a hotel with sufficient amount of lighting. No editing was applied to the photos but they were resized in the interest of faster load time.

It certainly doesn’t seem like a photo taken by a camera lens with a cover over it. But you can tell the software is doing a lot of heavy lifting. At first glance it looks like a regular selfie, but a closer inspection shows some detail smoothing.

Color reproduction is a little inconsistent too. Here’s a pair of selfies taken just seconds apart.

The selfie on the left is considerably warmer than the one on the write. Note that Ayano was in the exact same place with nearly the exact same pose and angle.

Here’s another sample with a better look at the lights in the background — which probably most represents all the post-processing the phone is doing. Take note that you can’t take selfies in rapid succession. The phone really does take longer than most to process the images.

What we were impressed with though is the video. The picture quality was clear and didn’t have any excessive traces of post-processing during a video call via Facebook Messenger.

Here’s a sample video taken separately after the call with beauty mode turned on. The post-processing is more pronounced here but it certainly doesn’t harm the picture quality.

What do you think of the selfies? Pretty good already for an under display camera?

Price and availability

The Rakuten BIG retails for JPY 69,800 Yen (US$ 665) and is currently only available in Japan. It comes in three colors: Black, White, and Crimson Red.

h/t: Ayano Tominaga, Yasuhiro Yamane

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Reviews

Huawei Mate 40 Pro Unboxing and Review: Last of its Kind

Hopefully not

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Every year, Huawei’s Mate series dominate the smartphone world with hosts of new features.

This October, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro finally made its way out of the limousine. As usual, it’s packed with the latest and greatest internals minus the full Android experience. Albeit, you still get support for AppGallery and other existing Huawei services.

With all that mind, is it still worthy to invest your money just to buy this smartphone?

You can watch our Huawei Mate 40 Pro review by clicking this link.

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Features

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: GadgetMatch for the Casual User

So well-rounded, it simply works

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra represents the current pinnacle of the Galaxy Note line. That’s why it’s not far fetched to think that it can seamlessly add value to people from different walks of life.

In this second of a three-part feature, we’ll explore how the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra can be a reliable partner for the average, casual user.

In this first of a three-part feature, we’ll explore how the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra can be reliable partner for three specific people:

  1. The Manager
  2. The Casual User
  3. The Multimedia Creative

Note: Link to part 3 will be added when it’s published.

All-around for the well-rounded

Life is all about finding balance. Wherever you are in this walk of life, we always cut a portion of our time to do things that matter: self, hobbies, love, career, health, and more.

But how do you manage to find balance when it feels like we don’t have enough time? The answer is simple: Get an all-around phone that’s as well-rounded as you. In particular, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Let me set the record straight: I’m not a techie, a gamer, a selfie master, or an aspiring content creator. I simply don’t fall into any stereotype. While I can try to look like a D-lister, I’m just like the average consumer, using a phone to navigate life in the 21st century.

Though I work in the technology industry, I was never caught up in the hottest specs, highly innovative pieces, great hardware, or monster features. All I ever needed — as I’ve been saying for three years now — is a phone that’s smart enough to carry with for my everyday life.

Having the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra helped me find the balance I need, accompanying me in juggling my hectic yet blissful life.

Work and play

Being in a remote work setup for god-knows-how-long, I’m used to being glued on my phone almost 24/7. While it’s a habit that I’m still trying to change, I’m thrilled with how I can do my tasks on-the-go. With a 6.9-inch screen, it’s easy to do your work even when you’re away from your desk.

You can browse through social media, switch between apps seamlessly, and multi-task. When you apply the 120Hz refresh rate? Oh, it’s so buttery-smooth, you won’t even consider going back to a lower refresh rate!

In essence, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is swift and powerful enough to do whatever tasks you need to do on your phone.

And when things get a little bit boring, you can hop to Spotify, YouTube, or watch your favorite shows on Netflix. With its massive screen, impressive display, and astounding speakers — you’ll feel like you have your portable home entertainment albeit a little bit smaller than the usual setup.

If you want a little bit of privacy, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra works seamlessly with my Galaxy Buds or with my wired USB-C earphones. Connectivity wasn’t an issue; be it via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular strength, and even connection between devices.

Not gonna lie, my gizmos are mostly Samsung’s. I’ve fallen in love with it and its ecosystem ever since I switched. I’ve enjoyed its exclusive features and I’ve grown accustomed to One UI.

Besides, Samsung never fails to provide an experience you won’t forget whether it’s through midrange or flagship smartphones.

The art of pleasure

Speaking of experience, the whole shebang with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra teaches the art of pleasure. I played League of Legends: Wild Rift, watched Lucifer on Netflix, edited my photos on Lightroom, produced a video using Rush, and created art using the S Pen.

Being able to do what makes me sane, feeds my soul, and gives my heart joy is possibly the greatest pleasure I can find in my day-to-day life.

I was able to keep on doing it because of the impressive battery, which lasted me enough to finish one task before charging its juice again. After all, to achieve pleasure you must have enough juice to keep going and be long-lasting.

But if there’s one thing you must not forget: It’s finding beauty in every day, no matter how the weather (or your day) sucks.

Finding beauty in everyday

Beautiful is an understatement when I first saw the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. It’s polished, sleek, gorgeous, and sexy. Touching it was like caressing someone you’re really passionate about; gentle, smooth, and oozing with desire.

It’s no wonder anyone can fall in love at first sight upon seeing this dandy. Of course, the Note 20 Ultra isn’t the epitome of beauty — but it’s a great accessory to wear to look astonishing.

While it seems like I’m asking people to keep on looking at the phone, beauty can really be found everywhere. The search won’t be difficult, seeing how the Note 20 Ultra is equipped with capable cameras.

You can capture whatever type of beauty you’re looking for. In my case, it’s capturing myself through my mirror selfies and portraits, as well as coffee and furniture.

Like any other consumer, having great cameras is one of my major concerns before buying a smartphone. Thankfully, I was able to capture Instagram- and Pinterest-worthy photos using the Note 20 Ultra — which I may or may not upload to my social media accounts.

Is the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra fit for the Casual User?

Definitely. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra — to most people — can be too much. Yet it’s perfect for those who just want a smartphone smart enough to get things done.

You don’t have to worry about running out of space, lagging, tinkering to install apps you don’t have, or encountering issues you normally would on a midrange phone.

It’s so well-rounded, it simply works. And for a person who tries to find the balance in doing a little bit of everything, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the perfect GadgetMatch — only the best for someone who deserves the best.

SEE ALSO: Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: GadgetMatch for The Manager | Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Review: Last of Its Kind?

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