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3 years after the Galaxy Note series death, has the S Ultra fully replaced it?
It’s been three years and a half since Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 20, the last entrant in the powerful and beloved Galaxy Note series. While it’s hard to believe that this much time has elapsed, the Galaxy Note series feels like it’s done and dusted for good. A glorious chapter of smartphone history that we’ve tucked away in the past, just like the HTC One or LG G series — at least in name.
We all know that the Note series lives in spirit through the flagship Galaxy S Ultra line-up. It has been the case for three years now, ever since the Galaxy S21 Ultra. While that phone lacked the built-in S Pen slot, it offered S Pen support and features in a large Note-like body. One year later, the S22 Ultra took things further, embodying the Note spirit in everything but name with an S Pen slot too. The S23 Ultra continued with that legacy, cementing itself as a proper Note successor and the best all-around Samsung phone.
Now that the Galaxy S24 Ultra is official, it seems like the question of the S Ultra’s rise to take over the Note series’ legacy is a bit moot. But let’s ask it, one more time: Do you think the S Ultra flagships have fully replaced the Note line-up?
Has the Galaxy S Ultra fully replaced the Note series?
To me, there’s no question about it. The S24 Ultra is everything a modern-day Note 24 would have been: top-of-the-line processor, gigantic and high-end display, powerful cameras, S Pen support, and a lot of smart functionality baked in with Galaxy AI. It even has the price to boot: This year is the first time the S24 Ultra has gone for the base selling price of the last Note 20 — $1,299.
The Galaxy S24 Ultra is everything a modern-day Note 24 would have been.
But I say this as a tech observer and someone who has neither used a recent S Ultra nor an older Note. Note fans might disagree. There may be bits and pieces of the Note experience that haven’t carried through yet and that I’m not aware of. And there may be a level of Note nostalgia and magic that Samsung hasn’t managed to recreate with the S Ultra series.
Does the fact that this is now a phone for the (high-end) masses make it less charming than the outsider and challenger position of the Note line-up? Only Note fans can answer that.
And Note fans have been quite vocal over the last years here on Android Authority. Since the rumors of the series’ discontinuation, they’ve voiced their concern over this Samsung strategy change.
At the end of 2020, right when the rumors popped up, 60% of you said Samsung shouldn’t kill the Note series nor merge it with the S line. In August of 2021, 64% affirmed they’d prefer a new Note series instead of the S series. But come 2022, the tendency started shifting. Only 35% told us the S22 Ultra wasn’t enough to replace a Note 22, but you were still nostalgic about the series’ disappearance with 64% saying they missed the Note series in 2022.
It's a testament to the Note's success that it's no longer a side project now, but fully integrated into Samsung's biggest money-maker series.
One year and two S Ultra phones later, it feels like the gulf between the two line-ups is narrower than ever and nostalgia is fading away while reality has set in. This is the way things are. Foldables have taken the mantle of Samsung’s experimental focus away from the Note, and there’s nothing we can do to revive the series anymore.
That’s a bit sad, but it’s also a testament to the Note’s success that it’s no longer a side-project now, but fully integrated into Samsung’s biggest money-maker lineup.