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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Should you upgrade?

They might look eerily similar, but there are plenty of differences.
By
June 7, 2022
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra rear on carpet
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung’s loyal Galaxy Note fans have wanted an update for a while now. The lack of a Galaxy Note 21 means many are still rocking their Note 20 or older. Now, there’s finally an opportunity with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. While the name may not be the same, there’s no denying that Samsung’s flagship is its phablet successor. Let’s weigh the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra to see if it’s time for you to upgrade.

See also: Which Samsung Galaxy S22 phone is right for you?


Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra


Design and display

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra white with plant
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

If you’ve been waiting for the Spider-Man pointing meme to come to life via the medium of smartphones, then wait no longer. The Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra sport nearly identical, boxy designs. However, the aging Galaxy Note is ever so slightly taller — about 1mm.

Even the materials that Samsung chose haven’t changed much between 2020 and 2022. Both models incorporate Gorilla Glass Victus for the back panel and the display, though the Galaxy S22 Ultra opts for Victus Plus rather than traditional Victus. Samsung kept a familiar satin finish for its rear glass, which feels great in hand. You’ll also get an Armor Aluminum frame on the Galaxy S22 Ultra instead of the stainless steel option on the Note 20 Ultra.

Of course, we can’t talk about design without digging into the S Pen. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is the first non-Note device to offer built-in S Pen storage, and it’s in the same spot as its predecessor. You’ll still get a down-firing speaker along with the USB-C port on the bottom edge, too.

Check out: The best Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra cases

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra astray
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Perhaps the most significant design change between the two devices lies in the camera module. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra offers a familiar raised set of cameras in a corner-mounted rectangle. You get three lenses to work with, but we’ll touch more on that in the next section. As for the Galaxy S22 Ultra, you’ll notice that each camera is self-contained in a metal ring. This minimizes the overall look of the camera design, something like the underloved LG Velvet.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra sport nearly identical, boxy designs.

Moving around to the front, we mentioned that the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s display is slightly larger, measuring 6.9 inches to the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 6.8 inches. Both devices carry AMOLED panels with 120Hz refresh rates and HDR10 Plus support. Samsung also used its Infinity-O design for both panels, planting a punch hole selfie camera in the top center. Otherwise, there’s not much to say about the two nearly identical designs.


Hardware and cameras

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra on top.
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

We’ve established that the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra look nearly the same outside, but the main changes lie under the hood. Samsung’s final Note device carries the Snapdragon 865 in the US and select markets, while it offers the Exynos 990 in others. The Galaxy S22 Ultra, on the other hand, provides the brand-new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 for the US and the Exynos 2200 for international markets.

You can start with 128GB of storage on either model, though the Galaxy S22 Ultra pairs it with 8GB of RAM. All Note 20 configurations get 12GB, and you can add up to 512GB of onboard storage. However, the new Galaxy S22 Ultra offers a whopping 1TB at its highest tier. The Note 20 Ultra is also one of the last Samsung flagships to offer a microSD slot.

See also: The best phones with expandable storage

At this point, it’s pretty safe to say that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is far ahead of the Snapdragon 865. Qualcomm has had plenty of time to refine its design and shrink it from 7nm to 4nm. That said, you might not notice too much difference in daily tasks until you really push either device.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra also holds an edge when it comes to software — or at least, software updates. Samsung’s Note 20 Ultra has around a year and a half of updates under its belt, while the new Galaxy S22 series is starting fresh. We’ve already seen the Note 20 Ultra receive Android 11 and Android 12, but the Galaxy S22 Ultra will receive four Android version updates, carrying it to Android 16. It should also get five years of security patches, taking it into 2027.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Bottom edge
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Another significant difference between the two monster phones is the battery and charging setup. The Galaxy S22 Ultra offers a significantly larger cell at 5,000mAh compared to 4,500mAh on the Note 20 Ultra. It’s quicker to charge, too, topping out at 45W wired speeds as opposed to the 25W wired speeds of the Note. However, the two devices are equal in wireless power, reaching 15W wireless and 4.5W reverse wireless charging peaks.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra not only offers a bigger battery but also much faster charging.

The final key difference to touch on brings us back to the camera setups. Outside of the noticeable design differences, both the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra offer 108MP main cameras. You’ll also find dual 10MP telephoto cameras on the Galaxy S22 Ultra with support for 10x optical zoom, while the Note 20 Ultra maxes out at 5x optical. The final lens shared by both phones is a 12MP ultrawide option.

Samsung’s choice of selfie cameras is another important distinction, as the Note 20 Ultra carries a 10MP option instead of the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s beast of a 40MP lens.

See also: The best camera phones you can get


Price and colors

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra color family on wood showing Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, and Burgundy.
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (8GB/128GB): $1,199
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (12GB/256GB): $1,299
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (12GB/512GB): $1,399
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (12GB/1TB): $1,599
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (12GB/128GB): $1,299
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (12GB/512GB): $1,449

Samsung’s excellent Phantom colors are back on the Galaxy S22 Ultra for another year. All carriers will have access to the same base shades — Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, and Burgundy. However, there are a few colors that you can only get from Samsung’s online store — Sky Blue, Red, and Graphite.

As for pricing, the Galaxy S22 Ultra kicks off at $1,199 for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. All other models jump to 12GB of RAM if you want to upgrade. Moving to 256GB of storage should set you back $1,299, or you can drop $1,399 for 512GB. Finally, Samsung offers a massive 1TB version of the Galaxy S22 Ultra with a massive price tag to match — $1,599.

Save some money: The best Samsung Galaxy deals

You might remember that the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra launched before Samsung adopted the Phantom colors. However, the satin finish is pretty similar, and it launched in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, and Mystic White. Samsung’s 2020 phablet started at $1,299 for 12GB of RAM with 128GB of storage, or you could upgrade to 512GB of storage for $1,449. Overall, the newer device offers better storage options for less cost, even if the base model cuts back on the RAM.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Ultra-premium build quality • Gorgeous screen • Solid performance
Samsung has merged the Note and S series into one device
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra pushes productivity, power, and photography to the utmost to satisfy those seeking a premium experience. It combines outstanding performance, a stunning design, and an S Pen in one device.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra screen straight on wide
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Putting the Ultra in Note 20 Ultra
Samsung's Galaxy Note 20 Ultra packs plenty of bells and whistles, ranging from water resistance and wireless charging to the expected S-Pen and QHD+ 120Hz OLED screen. The basic specs are also top-notch here, featuring an Exynos 990 or Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, a 4,500mAh battery, and a 108MP camera setup.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 UltraSamsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Display
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
6.9-inch AMOLED
19.3:9 aspect ratio
Edge display
QHD+ resolution
(3,080 x 1,440)
500ppi
120Hz adaptive refresh rate
HDR support

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Edge display (curved)
19.3:9 aspect ratio
QHD+ resolution (3,088 x 1,440)
120Hz adaptive refresh rate (1Hz to 120Hz)
240Hz touch sampling rate
Processor
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
US: Snapdragon 865
Global: Exynos 990
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
US: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Global: Exynos 2200
RAM
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
12GB
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
8GB or 12GB
Storage
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
128GB, 256GB, or 512GB
UFS 3.0
MicroSD card support
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
128GB, 256GB, or 512GB with additional 1TB option
No microSD card support
Power
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
4,500mAh (typical)
25W wired charging
USB-PD 3.0 (PPS)
15W wireless charging
4.5W Reverse wireless charging

Charger in box
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
5,000mAh battery
45W wired charging
15W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging

No charger in box
Cameras
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Rear
- 108MP main
0.8 μm, ƒ/1.8
1/1.33-inch sensor
OIS
- 12MP ultrawide
1.4 μm, ƒ/2.2
- 12MP periscope telephoto
1.0 μm, ƒ/3.0
5x optical zoom
OIS
- Laser autofocus

Front:
- 10MP single
1.22 μm, ƒ/2.2
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
REAR:
- 108MP wide (0.8μm, ƒ2.2, 23mm, 85-degree FoV)
- 12MP ultrawide (1.4μm, ƒ2.2, 13mm, 120-degree FoV)
- 10MP telephoto (1.12μm, ƒ4.9, 230mm, 11-degree FoV, 10x optical zoom)
- 10MP telephoto (1.12μm, ƒ2.4, 69mm, 36-degree FoV, 3x optical zoom)
- Laser autofocus

FRONT:
- 40MP wide (ƒ2.2, 23mm, 80-degree FoV)
Video
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Rear:
8K at 24FPS
4K at 30/60FPS
1080p at 30/60/240FPS

Front:
4K at 30/60FPS
1080p at 30FPS
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
REAR:
- 8K at 24fps (main lens only)
- 4K at 60fps (all lenses)

FRONT:
- 4K at 60fps
Audio
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Stereo speakers
No 3.5mm port
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos support
No 3.5mm port
Connectivity
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11a)
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC support
UWB chip
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
5G (mmWave + Sub6)
Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz)
Bluetooth 5.2
NFC support
Ultra-wideband support (UWB)
Security
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Ultrasonic under-display fingerprint sensor
4 years security updates
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Ultrasonic under-display fingerprint sensor
4 x 9mm size
5 years security updates
Software
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Launched with Android 10
Android 12 update available
One UI 4.1
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Android 12
One UI 4.1
S Pen support
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Yes, with storage slot
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Yes, with storage slot
Materials
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Gorilla Glass Victus front and back
Stainless steel frame
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Gorilla Glass Victus Plus front and back
Armour Aluminum frame
Durability
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
IP68 certified
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
IP68 certified
Dimensions and weight
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm
208g
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm
229g
Colors
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Mystic Black, Mystic White, Mystic Bronze
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Burgundy

Samsung exclusives: Sky Blue, Red, Graphite

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Should you upgrade?

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra back glass
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

We’ve run through just about all of the key points between the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and now it’s time to make a decision. Is it time to upgrade, or should you stick with the Note 20 Ultra for another year? Well, the answer comes down to just how badly you need a new phone. The design changes aren’t massive, but the updated internals could make all the difference in this case.

Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra holds the advantage when it comes to pricing, maximum storage, and software updates. It’s tough to argue against security support through 2027 and Android 16 when the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra will only see Android 13 and security support through 2024. While you won’t find a 1TB Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, it’s one of your last chances to grab a built-in microSD slot for expandable storage.

If you can afford the update, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra checks every box.

Qualcomm’s newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor should leave the Snapdragon 865 in the rearview mirror, too. It’s available for the US and select markets, but Samsung’s Exynos 2200 offers a similar boost over its Exynos 990 option.

The newer Galaxy S22 Ultra has an advantage in the camera department, too. It offers a significantly sharper selfie option, and the extra telephoto lens adds flexibility to the setup.

Our verdict: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review | Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review

You might expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra to offer some benefit in the price department, but we haven’t seen that come true yet. Device shortages mean that the Note has retained most of its cost, which is equal to the 256GB Galaxy S22 Ultra launch price.

Have you made your decision? Be sure to let us know in the poll below.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Do you plan to upgrade?

876 votes