I clearly remember the day Samsung announced the first-generation Galaxy Note last 2011 at IFA Berlin. Back then, it got all of the attention because it’s one of the first few “phablets” with a gigantic 5.3-inch display, simply dwarfing the 4.3-inch-touting Galaxy S II. Other than the big screen, the inclusion of S-Pen is what set it apart from other contenders.
Ever since that release, I’ve dreamed of owning one — until I had my first Note with the Galaxy Note 5. Five years later, I had the chance to get my hands on the newest Note flagship, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
As a long-time Note fan, it’s amazing to see how Samsung tried their very best to keep up with the smartphone game by undergoing certain improvements and changes. It’s also been a while since we’ve had a dedicated Galaxy Note comparison article so why not make a new one?
After riding that nostalgia train, I tried listing down 20 changes from Galaxy Note 5 to the latest Galaxy Note 20 Ultra — that’s five Note generations passed in just five years. Here’s a testament to Samsung’s smartphone superiority.
One obvious change is with their sizes. In 2016’s standards, the Galaxy Note 5 is simply one of the biggest smartphones you can own alongside its cousin, the Galaxy S6 Edge+, as well as Apple’s iPhone 6s Plus. But with a larger display, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra simply makes the Note 5 look like a “regular-sized” piece of slab.
Speaking of display, the Galaxy Note 5 has a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a 60Hz refresh rate. On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra sports a massive 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a smoother 120Hz refresh rate.
The new display tech is a huge step-up not just for the Note line, but for Samsung’s mobile display technology. Other than the large size gap, the Note 20 Ultra also features a curved edge display that first made its debut on the Galaxy Note Edge.
The Galaxy Note 5 was the start of a new era where removable batteries became a thing of the past. While nothing much has changed with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, its back is now matte instead of the shiny and glossy back of the Note 5 that’s super smudgy and prone to fingerprints and hairline scratches.
The newer Note also feels more premium even without a case because of the new material. Although the Galaxy Note 5 has curved edges on its back, it still failed to achieve better ergonomics because of its flat front which the newer Note has managed to ace because of its symmetrical design. Also, the aluminum frame was replaced by a sturdier and more elegant-looking stainless steel frame.
Samsung still kept the micro USB port on the Galaxy Note 5. The Galaxy Note 7 paved the way for the introduction of USB-C in the Note series — which the Note 20 Ultra still has today. Other noticeable differences are the placements of the S-Pen and speaker grilles and the removal of the 3.5mm audio jack.
To make way for that edge-to-edge display, Samsung has excluded the physical fingerprint scanner on the Note 5. While it was still present until the Galaxy Note 9 (just moved at the back), the newer Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is equipped with an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader which made its debut on the Galaxy Note 10 series.
Other than that, the heart rate sensor of the Note 5 was also removed and is nowhere found on the latest Note flagship. This sensor has moved to smartwatches which is more widely available compared to when the Note 5 first came out.
Samsung introduced the clicking mechanism on its digital pen with the Galaxy Note 5 to imitate a retractable ballpoint pen. Several generations after, the mechanism still exists but the new S-Pen of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a Bluetooth connection for Air Actions. It’s also battery-powered and can be charged through its slot.
The fine ergonomic when writing is still there but the newer one is slimmer and has a slimmer nib. Other than that, the Note 20 Ultra has a 9-millisecond latency which makes scribbling and sketching closer to reality as if you’re writing on a paper.
P.S.: Both versions of the S-Pen work on both devices; Note 5’s S-Pen works on the Note 20 Ultra and vice versa. I accidentally inserted the Note 20 Ultra’s S-Pen all the way to the Note 5 slot but of course, the older S-Pen won’t fit inside the new S-Pen slot.
7. Rear Cameras
Their rear cameras also signify the biggest jump in Samsung’s Galaxy Note line. The Galaxy Note 5 sports a single 16-megapixel f/1.9 camera sensor on its back. During my early time with this phone, it took a lot of great shots in such form factor. That’s a realization that Samsung seriously focused on their camera department.
Five years after, the megapixel size of the main sensor multiplied nearly 6.5 times! Other than the 108-megapixel f/1.8 camera, you also get two 12-megapixel telephoto and ultra-wide lenses, making it a triple-camera setup. The additional ToF 3D and Laser AF (Autofocus) sensors make the quality better than ever.
If you like all those large numbers, the newer Note 20 Ultra can record in an ultra-clear 8K/24fps resolution while the Galaxy Note 5 can shoot at 4K/30fps max — and both resolutions aren’t fully-maximized up until this day.
8. Front Camera
A larger hole doesn’t mean its better. The Note 20 Ultra has a bigger 10-megapixel f/2.2 front camera compared to the 5-megapixel f/1.9 selfie shooter of its predecessor. Video quality is better at 4K/60fps max while the latter can manageably shoot up to 2K/30fps.
Other than the new designation for their speaker grilles, one notable change is the inclusion of stereo speaker in the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. The Galaxy Note 5 only had a mono bottom-firing speaker. This makes the multimedia experience better and more dynamic.
Those microphones were also leveled-up. You get to record crystal clear and a surround sound audio with the upgraded mics found in the Note 20 Ultra.
Samsung’s ultra-buggy and bloatware-filled TouchWiz that’s found on the Galaxy Note 5 got replaced by One UI with a more striking and visually-appealing set of icons and animations.
The new UI is a drastic change for someone like me who used TouchWiz for a long time, considering it was one of the biggest drawbacks of owning a Samsung smartphone in the previous years.
Samsung ditched the Snapdragon variant for the Galaxy Note 5 in favor of their very own Exynos 7420 chipset. Several generations after, Samsung brought back the two chipset options with a Snapdragon 865 variant as well as the Exynos one. Fair enough, my review unit came with the Exynos 990 processor.
After years of innovation, Samsung’s in-house chip improved so much that it can keep up with its Snapdragon counterpart. Performance in the new Note has been topnotch. Meanwhile, the 5-year-old Note 5, although usable, suffered from stutters and lags mainly due to software and hardware degradation.
12. RAM and Storage
In today’s standards, the Galaxy Note 5’s 4GB RAM won’t be enough for the everyday needs of a pro user. Meanwhile, the newer Note 20 Ultra has triple the amount of memory with a whopping 12GB RAM that helps you do multitasking with ease.
Storage options for the older Note were only limited to 32GB and 64GB, while finding a 128GB variant was very rare. This year’s Note starts with that storage capacity, followed by 256GB and 512GB, plus a microSD slot for better expandability — which the Note 5 failed to keep during its time (making it the only Note device without a dedicated memory card slot).
Over the years, every Android smartphone has significantly increased their battery capacities. Although Samsung faced the hardest bang with the battery fiasco of the beloved Galaxy Note 7, they have learned their lesson by improving their batteries’ safety and technology in every Note (and even S) flagship phones.
Generations after that, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra was able to pack a beastly 4,500mAh battery over the Note 5’s minuscule 3,000mAh unit.
Charging technology has vastly improved over these years. With the bundled 25W charger, it can fill it up from zero to 100 percent in just 70 minutes. Buying an optional 45W charging brick would speed it up more.
On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 5 has a lower battery rating yet charging speeds are a little bit longer at around 90 minutes with the bundled 15W charger.
15. 5G vs 4G LTE
As you can see in the photo above, 5G speeds in the Galaxy Note 5 Ultra are instantaneous over the regular speeds you get while using 4G LTE in the Note 5.
It’s not totally a deal breaker for now as there are only a handful of 5G-enabled hotspots around the world that can maximize this feature. Still, it’s amazing to see how Samsung made the latest Note future-ready.
16. Desktop eXperience
This is a feature that’s totally missing on the Galaxy Note 5. Die-hard Samsung users would know that Samsung DeX was first introduced in the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 series via an optional dock. This is made to level up the use of their flagship smartphones by hooking up an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse into the dock to mimic a desktop-grade experience.
Although this isn’t new on the Note 20 Ultra, the ability to use it wirelessly is definitely a bump-up to make a wireless and cordless DeX-perience. And yes, it successfully runs on my MacBook Pro just via a single USB-C cable.
17. Water and Dust Resistance
Another Note-worthy feature that’s not in the Galaxy Note 5 is an IP certification rating. The old Note can withstand tiny splashes but it simply wouldn’t protect it from a full immersion in water and dust.
The Galaxy Note 7 had an IP68 rating, making it the first Note device to do so. It basically makes the phone withstand dust and water of up to 1.5 meters for thirty minutes. This rating continued generations after up until the latest Note 20 Ultra.
18. Android Software Support
For the first time in forever, Samsung has committed to a three-year support to Android software updates — which will make the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra receive an Android 13 update in 2022. The current phone runs One UI 2.5 based on Android 10 with an upcoming One UI 3 based on Android 11.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy Note 5 only lasted until Android 7.0 Nougat with TouchWiz Grace UX while the ability to run Android 9.0 Pie with One UI was entirely based from the Custom ROMs of several modders found at XDA-Developers.
19. Color Options
The Galaxy Note 5 was available in four different eye-catchy colors: Black Sapphire and Gold Platinum were the most common units people were rocking that time while White Pearl and Silver Titan were harder to find.
On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has three colorways with Mystic White being the common denominator among the two devices. There’s also a neutral Mystic Black unit and a more premium-looking Mystic Bronze color — and the photos above prove that claim.
20. Launch Price
With all the spec bump and feature upgrades, it comes as no surprise that the latest Note 20 Ultra retails more than double the price of the Note 5 from five years ago.
The base 32GB model of the Note 5 retailed for US$699 (PhP 32,990) while the base 128GB Note 20 Ultra 5G was launched at US$ 1299.99 (PhP 72,990).
moto g 5G plus: Fast in more ways than one
Should this be YOUR 5G smartphone?
Things aren’t slowing down any time soon. To keep up with the pace, Motorola gives us the moto g 5G plus — a phone that’s fast in more ways than one.
Next-gen 5G connectivity
It’s no secret that the primary draw of this phone is its 5G capability. If you find yourself suddenly needing to buy a phone, it’s best to get one that’s future-proof in terms of connectivity.
A faster connection means faster downloads both for media and for your usual browsing. It also improves latency for your online mobile games.
To make things easier for you, snapping up the moto g 5G plus gets you a free GOMO 5G sim with 25GB of data that DOES NOT EXPIRE as part of an ongoing promo that lasts up to January 31, 2021. How fast you consume that 25GB of data allocation depends entirely on your usage, but when you’re near a 5G area, this is the kind of speed you’ll get.
Take note, this particular test was done indoors and normally plays between the 90mbps to 150mbps range. 5G is real, it’s here, and it’s pretty awesome.
A smooth, speedy display
The moto g 5G plus sports a tall 6.7-inch FHD+ display with support for a 90Hz refresh rate. We can’t gush enough about how when you go to 90Hz, it’s a little hard to go back to 60Hz.
Not only is it a smoother and faster experience overall, it’s also better for your eyes. Plus, it’s extra satisfying rummaging through your crush’s Instagram posts when the screen looks and feels this smooth.
My UX is satisfyingly clean
As far as Android skins go, we think My UX is grossly underrated. There’s not a lot of bloat and it certainly feels just as snappy as vanilla Android.
The animations don’t stutter, everything feels seamless, and overall interaction with the UI and the phone just feels like an uninterrupted flow. You also get to make it your own with a few customizations here and there.
The Snapdragon 765G is no slouch
Qualcomm has managed to deliver midrange chips that can go toe-to-toe with and perhaps be even better than flagships from years past. The Snapdragon 765G housed inside the moto g 5G plus is a testament to that.
This chip won’t leave you wanting whether you’re using it to answer work emails, a quick gaming session to take a break, or browsing through Netflix’s library until you find the title you want to watch.
For a lot of people, this level of power and productivity will more than suffice.
Here’s an aspect that you’re thankful isn’t fast — this phone promises up to two days of battery life with its 5,000mAh battery. Naturally, this will vary with your usage. In our experience, it’s a phone that won’t have you panicking in case you forget to juice it up before hitting the sack.
For filling up, the phone supports 20W TurboPower charging. That’s enough to give you a few hours of extra usage despite only charging for minutes.
Pricing and availability
The moto g 5G plus retails for PhP 16,995. As of writing, it’s the most affordable 5G-capable smartphone in the Philippines. You can snap one up at any authorized reseller nationwide. It’s also available in the Lenovo Mobile Official store in Lazada. As mentioned earlier, there’s an ongoing promo up to January 31, 2021 wherein buyers can get the moto g 5G plus bundled together with a free GOMO 5G sim with 25GB of data that DOES NOT EXPIRE. If you avail of the promo quick enough, you may also get a free Lenovo Smartwatch S2! Visit http://lenovoph.com/motog5gpluslazada for more info.
This feature is collaboration between GadgetMatch and Lenovo Mobile Philippines
ASUS ZenBook S (UX393): Unboxing and First Impressions
Sleek, gorgeous, and sexy!
There’s a premium laptop in town, and it’s worth your every attention. Meet the ZenBook S (UX393) — one of ASUS’s most premium headliner laptop.
In case you didn’t know, ZenBooks got all the coolest features that you can find on a laptop today. While looking fancy.
Without further ado, let’s unbox this beaut!
Bringing that sexy black
The ASUS ZenBook S UX393 landed in my home in a black box. You’ll know it’s not the usual laptop seeing how most laptops use a brown box made with sustainable materials.
Taking a peek inside, you’ll see two black boxes: one that carries the laptop and one that contains the peripherals.
There’s also a sleek, laptop sleeve!
But first, let’s take the smaller, rectangular box out. Inside, you can find a long, 65W fast charger in USB-C.
There’s also a USB-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter. Yes, you read that right. This gorgeous notebook doesn’t have a headphone jack anymore.
Moving on, the bigger box carries the ever-gracious ZenBook S. But first, let’s admire how sleek and sexy the box is — in and out. With its minimal Zen-like pattern, it’s easy to be astonished at first sight. It also looks posh with its sexy black and copper-red combination, the same colors utilized by the beautiful ZenBook S.
Upon opening, you’ll find ASUS’s stamp regarding its commitment to sustainability, honoring its promise to using environment-friendly materials despite using a different color for its packaging.
Underneath the laptop, you can find the usual product guide and warranty card tucked inside a discreet envelope.
Gorgeous and stunning
Looking at the ZenBook S is like staring at a Valentino coat and Burberry underwear. You’re not sure if you need it, but you know you want it.
It maintained the iconic, off-centered logo on its lid, with a spun-metal finish, embellished with its prominent Zen-like concentric circular patterns.
Its luxurious Jade Black finish is accentuated with subtle Red-Copper diamond-cut edges, certainly leaving quite an impression — whether it’s you looking or the one showing it off.
On its sides, the ZenBook S demonstrated a design made for people on-the-go. It has a full-size HDMI, USB Type-A ports, MicroSD card reader, and Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports.
These Thunderbolt ports support fast charging, 4K UHD external displays, and up to 40Gbps of data transfers.
The ZenBook S embodies ASUS’s philosophy when it comes to premium laptops. Just the way it looks, it’s pretty clear that it’s meant to be fancy, smart, and glamorous.
ASUS also brings in innovative features — an ergonomic backlit keyboard design, function keys that make navigating easier, and the NumberPad 2.0 which makes the touchpad work as an LED numeric keypad, too.
For the price it commands, it’s certainly convenient and secure to use. With Windows Hello, your face is your password! The front infrared (IR) camera recognizes your face in seconds and lets you log in instantly and securely.
The ZenBook S also sports ASUS’s proprietary NanoEdge display albeit with a taller 3:2 aspect ratio and a 3300×2200 resolution touchscreen.
Its screen has a Pantone-validated color accuracy, as well, making it an excellent choice for budding creatives. Coupled with Intel’s Evo platform powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, it runs any software seamlessly while you multitask for an efficient workflow.
Price and availability
The ASUS ZenBook S (UX393) is like meeting someone and falling in love at first sight. There’s so much to explore, and you can’t keep your hands off it. That’s what the experience with the ZenBook S felt like.
And for a flagship headliner, we know this laptop still has a lot of surprises on its sleeves. It currently retails for PhP 99,990.
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines.
ASUS ZenBook Flip S (UX371EA) Unboxing & First Look
ASUS is always coming out with head-turning devices, but the ASUS ZenBook Flip S might just be the one that really grabs your attention. Let’s take a look at it!
There’s nothing particularly striking about the box.
And this one’s pretty beat up when we got it, but that happens. Everything on the inside is fine.
Jumping straight to the contents — here’s the power brick.
It’s USB-C so it can also charge your smartphone — so long as it also has a USB-C port.
You also get a USB to LAN cable and a USB-C to 3.5mm audio jack cable.
Opening the inner box reveals the laptop plus some product information.
Digging in a little further, you’ll see it comes with a pen.
It’s worth noting that there’s no holster on the laptop for the stylus. You’re gonna have to keep it safe at all times and store it somewhere in your bag or your pocket to make sure you don’t lose it.
And the usual manual and warranty card.
Ta-dah! Here’s the ASUS ZenBook Flip S.
With that patented concentric circle design originating from the ASUS logo. Nice and sleek.
Like plenty of ASUS laptops, the screenpad also doubles as the numpad.
Over on the right side are the power button and the USB-A port.
And on the left, an HDMI port along with two USB-C ports.
The fun thing about 2-in-1s is that you can spread it out like this.
It’s a bending ability that we recently realize can come in handy.
You can, of course, use it as a regular laptop.
But there’s also this tent mode perfect for consuming media.
Then, there’s tablet mode which works nicely for something like this that’s relatively light.
You are working with an OLED touch screen so that’s fantastic for your eyes.
The keys on the keyboard though are a tad smaller than we’d like.
It might take a few hours to a few days to really get used to the keys. They just seem off by a fraction of a millimeter but it does make a difference. No complaints on key travel though, just the size of the keys.
Inside it is the latest 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and Intel Iris X graphics, combined with up to 16GB of RAM and up to a 1TB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD. That means it can practically handle most regular office tasks. It’s actually overpowered for that kind of work.
After about a week of usage, we can say this can power through a regular workday and then some. You’ll have enough juice to watch an episode or two as you wind down for the day.
It retails for PhP 94,995 and could possibly be the sexiest piece of tech you can own.
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines
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