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Not loving the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series? These are the best alternatives

From Xiaomi to OnePlus and beyond, Samsung's Galaxy Note 20 series isn't the only 'big and powerful phone' game in town.
July 22, 2021
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra screen straight on close 2
David Imel / Android Authority
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 20 phones back in August of 2020, marking the latest entry in its S-Pen-toting flagship series. The phones are pretty solid on paper too, featuring flagship chipsets (in the US, at least), plenty of internal storage, OLED screens, and triple rear camera setups.

Like the idea of these super-sized phones but don’t want to spend a ton of cash? Maybe you just want to know if there are similar alternatives out there? We’ve rounded up the best Samsung Galaxy Note 20 alternatives on the global market.

1. Samsung Galaxy S21 series

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G in the hand in the pink
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

What better alternative to the Galaxy Note 20 series than Samsung’s own flagships that are newer. The Galaxy S21 series shares a lot of features with its Note counterparts, such as One UI, IP68 designs, wireless charging, and 120Hz OLED screens (with the exception of the vanilla Note 20). Taking things to the next level, the Galaxy S21 Ultra even comes with S-Pen support, even though it doesn’t have a dedicated slot for it.

Our review: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review

Samsung’s standard Galaxy S21 is arguably a much better buy than the vanilla Note 20. You get a better display, a faster processor, better cameras, and a more affordable starting price. The Galaxy S21 Ultra might be the one to get if money isn’t an option and you want a cutting-edge experience.

2. Xiaomi Mi 11

Xiaomi Mi 11 back against brick
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

One of the better Galaxy Note 20 alternatives is the Xiaomi Mi 11. You’ve got the 2021 flagship of choice, the Snapdragon 888, a large, 6.81-inch display, as well as a powerful 4,600mAh battery, and 55W fast charging. Xiaomi also chose a triple camera array to lead the charge, topped off with a 108MP main sensor. On the front, you’ll find a 20MP lens for all of your selfie-shooting needs. Although the Xiaomi Mi 11 runs Android 11 right out of the box, the phone runs on the MIUI 12 skin, which isn’t for everyone.

Our verdict: Xiaomi Mi 11 review

If you’re looking to get the latest and greatest from Xiaomi, you’ll have to turn to the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. However, the $749 price tag of the standard Mi 11 makes it a very compelling choice, especially when pit against the high starting price of the Galaxy Note 20 series.

3. OnePlus 9 series

OnePlus 9 Pro vs OnePlus 9 backs
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

OnePlus has slowly been making the move into true flagship territory with its recent releases and completes the jump with the OnePlus 9 Pro. The vanilla OnePlus 9 is an excellent value proposition as well, coming with all the bells and whistles you’d expect, without the hefty price tag.

Find out more: OnePlus 9 series buyer’s guide

OnePlus is also finally ready to take on the best from Samsung with an upgraded camera setup and a new partnership with Hasselblad. Both devices offer powerful 50MP and 48MP main shooters, while only the OnePlus 9 Pro carries an 8MP telephoto lens. It’s Hasselblad’s software tweaks that take the OnePlus 9 series’ photography capabilities to the next level. Inside, you’ll find the Snapdragon 888 humming away backed by either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage.

4. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone 12 Pro Max screen with neon 2
David Imel / Android Authority

Yes, we’re an Android-focused website, but Apple’s iPhones are among the most popular smartphones and the iPhone 12 series is pretty darn great. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is perhaps the most suitable Galaxy Note 20 alternative in Apple’s stable, offering a similarly large screen, a long-lasting battery, water resistance, and wireless charging.

Our take: iPhone 12 Pro Max review

The iPhone 12 Pro Max sports the powerful A14 processor to ensure a speedy experience. Apple’s phone also packs a few other tricks, like a flexible triple rear camera setup (12MP main, 12MP 2x telephoto, and 12MP ultra-wide), Face ID, and the firm’s ecosystem of services. And the Cupertino company’s commitment to updates means it’ll receive the latest software years down the line.

If you want a phone with a big screen and are curious about Apple’s platform, this is the one to check out.

5. Moto G Stylus (2021) and Moto G Stylus 5G

Moto G Stylus 2021 stylus popped out
David Imel / Android Authority

If you’re looking for an alternative to the Galaxy Note 20 series, a stylus is likely an important feature for you. The great news is that you don’t have to spend a thousand dollars to get this feature. At the other end of the price spectrum is the Moto G Stylus (2021), which, as the name suggests, comes with a stylus that slots into the phone’s body.

The specs aren’t going to hold a candle to the powerful Galaxy Note 20 devices of course, but it doesn’t have to. The Moto G Stylus (2021) comes with the Snapdragon 678 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a quad-camera setup led by a 48MP shooter, and a 4,000mAh battery. What makes this a great alternative is its $299 price tag.

If you have an extra $100 to spare, you can also pick up the 5G-version of the Moto G Stylus. Apart from offering superior data speeds, the 5G-capable iteration of the phone comes with a larger battery, more RAM, double the storage, and the latest version of Android on-board. It’s more expensive, but the 5G version of the Moto G Stylus is also the better of the two.

That’s it for our rundown of the best Galaxy Note 20 alternatives! Are there any other phones you’d recommend as rivals to Samsung’s new flagships? Let us know in the comments!