Opinion

The Galaxy Note 20 has turned out to be its own ‘Lite’ variant

Samsung came out with the “Lite” variants of the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 last year. The company watered down its high-end devices to provide a premium experience to customers who didn’t want to pay flagship-level prices.

We already know that the company is planning such a variant for the Galaxy S20 which may be launched as the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition. Why have we heard nothing about a Galaxy Note 20 Lite or Fan Edition? That’s because the Galaxy Note 20 is basically its own Lite variant.

Would a Galaxy Note 20 Lite even make sense now?

The major Galaxy Note 20 leak yesterday revealed that there will be significant differences between it and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. While they will share the same chipset, these devices won’t be nearly as similar as the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ were.

Take the display, for example. The Galaxy Note 20 features a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a 60Hz refresh rate. It won’t support the 120Hz dynamic refresh rate we expect on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. That’s surprising, given that all three models in the Galaxy S20 series feature 120Hz refresh rate. This FHD+ resolution display will be a flat panel with a very noticeable chin, not something you’d expect to see on a flagship phone in 2020.

Unlike the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the Galaxy Note 20 is only going to have 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage. There won’t be a microSD card slot so external expansion is not going to be possible. Even the stylus may not be as capable. The leak reveals that the Galaxy Note 20’s S Pen will have a 26ms latency while the Ultra’s S Pen will have an ultra-low latency of just 9ms.

There’s going to be a huge difference in the camera setups of these devices as well with the Galaxy Note 20 missing out on the 108-megapixel f/1.8 sensor. Perhaps the most alarming indication of this not being a fully premium device is the alleged plastic back even though it’s going to have a metal frame. That’s what the leak claims, anyway, and it is indeed difficult to imagine a flagship phone in 2020 without a metal and glass build.

It’s evident that there needs to be a substantial price difference between the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. That’s because a lot more compromises have been made this time around than we’ve ever seen before on these multi-model flagships from Samsung. A recent report claims that there will at least be a $200 price difference between the two models.

Samsung will maintain some feature parity across both handsets. They will both enable users to access DeX wirelessly, access almost 90 console-level games through Xbox Game Pass via Project xCloud in addition to having support for 5G and Wi-Fi 6. They’re also going to run Android 10 out of the box with One UI 2.5.

The company would need to cut a lot more from this device if it intends to launch a Galaxy Note 20 Lite. There won’t be enough to shave off, to begin with, at least when compared to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. If it does, the resulting device will essentially be a mid-range handset which would seem out of place in Samsung’s 2020 lineup. The S Pen would still remain the obvious draw for customers but the Lite variant will be cheaper and it might end up cannibalizing the Galaxy Note 20’s sales.

It already has a very capable mid-ranger in the Galaxy A71 and Samsung has also released a 5G-equipped variant of that device. Samsung may have made all of these calculations and realized that a Galaxy Note 20 Lite might not fit the bill this year. So perhaps the decision was then made to have a much wider split between the capabilities of the two Galaxy Note 20 models.

Ultimately, it all comes down to pricing. For many, the sweet spot for the Galaxy Note 20 is going to between the $949 Galaxy Note 10 and ~$700 Galaxy Note 10 Lite. Could Samsung really consider a sub-$900 price for its newest flagship? That we’ll only come to know once the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra are unveiled on August 5.

  • Model: SM-N980F
  • Dimensions: Bar: 161.6 x 75.2 x 8.3 mm
  • Display: 6.7 inch / 170.18 mm Super AMOLED Plus
  • CPU: Exynos 990
  • Camera: 12MP
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