A growing number of reports strongly suggests that we’ve seen the last of the Galaxy Note series from Samsung. The latest such report claims the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, released just the past August, will be the final Note in the phablet family. Moving forward, Samsung will push the resources used in developing the Note over to its roster of folding phones. Moreover, the S Pen stylus, the defining feature of the Note, will also find its way into the Fold.
The Galaxy Note was a game-changing phone in its heyday that set the tone for what smartphones would eventually become. Nearly every modern phone owes something to the Galaxy Note series. While it makes some business sense for Samsung to consolidate its lineup of flagship devices, the prospect of losing the Note has us experiencing the feels.
Should Samsung bag the Galaxy Note or keep it around? Here are some pros and cons for the Galaxy Note and its future.
Galaxy Note: We need it!
Status symbol. The Samsung Galaxy Note was, for many years, the absolute pinnacle of smartphone design and technology. Carrying one meant you carried the best, most powerful phone you could buy. It was a status symbol for those who could afford it. We’d hate to see such a showpiece disappear from the market.
Stylus support. The S Pen stylus is still a rare feature among smartphones. While a handful of mid-range devices from LG and Motorola happen to include a stylus, few have the Bluetooth-enabled power pen of the Galaxy Note. Losing the S Pen would be a shame, particularly to power users. Right now, talk is that the S Pen would become an optional accessory to Samsung’s foldable phones. That’s not the same thing at all.
Not everyone wants a foldable phone.
Technology showcase. Samsung often used the Galaxy Note to showcase its best engineering. The phone shipped with the top chips, the best cameras, and a powerful blend of software to make it all work together seamlessly. We called the Galaxy Note 10 Plus one of the best smartphones ever, and the Note series often makes it into yearly top 10 lists.
Foldables not a Note replacement. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a stunning device that will multitask with the best of them, but it’s a wholly different form factor from the Note series. Not everyone wants a foldable phone. Moreover, the Z Fold 2 was stunningly expensive at $2,000 and would need all new glass to support the S Pen. That would only add to the cost.
Galaxy Note: Time for it to go
Too similar to S. Once Samsung began to offer multiple screen sizes for the Galaxy S series, there was little room to differentiate the larger Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note. This year, the 6.7-inch Galaxy S20 Ultra was nearly the same size as the 6.9-inch Galaxy Note 20. Moreover, the internal chips were carried over from the S20 to the Note 20, as were many of the camera features. This left little to separate the two other than the S Pen.
Who needs the stylus? It’s easy to question just how prevalent use of the S Pen stylus is amongst Galaxy Note owners. Was it most, many, some? I’ve owned many of the Galaxy Note devices over the years and hardly ever used the included stylus at all. If no one is using the stylus, there’s hardly a reason to continue making the phone. Surely Samsung has the data needed to make this decision. Right now, reports say Samsung will make the S Pen an accessory available to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 when the foldable debuts next year.
Too expensive. Along with the gigantic screen of the Galaxy Note came a gigantic price tag. Costs for the Galaxy Note series skyrocketed in recent years, with some variants pushing $1,600. In the time of the pandemic, there appears to be little interest in pricy phones.
Foldables are the next real evolution in screen technology.
Not the trend-setter it used to be. Once the big phone fad caught on, other phone makers were swift to introduce their own gigantic devices. Now, the market is awash with big-screened smartphones that offer split-screen multitasking and monstrous battery life. Further, companies such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Huawei, and others have done more to introduce innovative camera and charging technology to their devices. The Note 20 Ultra, while a solid offering, did not feel like the design and engineering showpiece of Notes of old. Rather, it felt like another version of the Galaxy S line. Most importantly, the secondary, smaller Note 20 felt like a tired retread that didn’t cover new ground.
Foldables are the way to go. The industry — and Samsung — have done all they can to up the ante with respect to screen tech. We’ve got 120Hz displays on most flagships now, and the ability to watch HDR or Dolby-quality content. Foldables are the next real evolution in screen technology and there’s plenty of room for Samsung to innovate there. We saw a huge leap between the original Z Fold and and the Z Fold 2, while the Galaxy Z Flip offered its own spin on things. If Samsung can slim the Z Fold 3’s footprint some, it could be the Samsung Galaxy Note replacement we need.
Samsung is mum … for now
Samsung has not commented on the rumors swirling around its future products. It certainly hasn’t confirmed the latest repots that the Note has run its course. We may, however, find out soon. Reports suggest that the launch of the Galaxy S21 is close. Samsung has typically revealed the Galaxy S line in late February. The 2021 Galaxy S21 series, depending on how many devices are included, may provide all the confirmation we need when it comes to the future of the Galaxy Note.
Want to voice your own opinion? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts on whether or not Samsung should scrap the Note line.