Samsung Galaxy S20 5G vs Galaxy Note 10 5G: The S Pen Factor

When Samsung first released the Galaxy Note series, they blurred the lines between phone and tablet due to their size. Slowly but steadily did the displays on the flagship Galaxy S series grow though, until they’re now practically the same. The upcoming Galaxy S20 5G and the Galaxy Note 10 5G are now as tall as each other, so let’s dig deeper to see how these two actually compare.

Samsung Galaxy S20 5G vs Galaxy Note 10 5G Comparison Chart

ModelSamsung Galaxy S20 5GSamsung Galaxy Note 10 5G
Samsung Galaxy S20 Cloud BlueSamsung Galaxy Note 10 5G Aura Silver
PriceComing SoonCheck Price
Display120 Hz WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display60 Hz FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display
Screen Size6.2″6.3″
Resolution3200 x 1440 pixels2280 x 1080 pixels
Pixel Density563 ppi401 ppi
Dimensions152 x 68 x 7.9 mm151 x 71.8 x 7.9 mm
Weight164 g168 g
CPUExynos 990 / Qualcomm Snapdragon 865Exynos 9825 / Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
RAM12GB12GB
Storage128GB, 256GB256GB
Rear Cameras12MP Wide, 64MP Telephoto, 12MP Ultra-Wide12MP Wide, 12MP Telephoto, 16MP Ultra-Wide
ZoomUp to 30X Digital ZoomUp to 10X Digital Zoom
Front Cameras10MP IMX 37410MP
VideoBack: up to 8K 30 fps
Front: up to 4K 60 fps
Back: up to 4K 60 fps
Front: up to 1080p 60 fps
Battery4000mAh3500mAh
Water ResistanceIP68, up to 5 metersIP68, up to 1.5 meters
Android VersionAndroid 10 with One UI 2.0Android 9 with One UI
S PenNoYes
MicroSDYesNo
3.5 mmNoNo
Colors45

Design

The Samsung Galaxy S20 5G is more rounded than the Galaxy Note 10 5G.

Samsung Galaxy S20 5G vs Galaxy Note 10 5G Design
In many ways the Galaxy S20 (left) takes after the Galaxy Note 10 (right) more than the previous S design.

One clear distinctive quality that sets the Galaxy S and Note series apart is their shape. The Galaxy S20 5G curves off its corners more smoothly than the almost-rectangular outline of the Galaxy Note 10 5G. In addition, the Note 10 is slightly wider, but it shares the same thickness and weight as the S20. Both should feel similar in hand, though you might need both for phones this size.

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It’s interesting how Samsung chose to emulate the Note 10 more in its design for the brand new Galaxy S20 series. Notice how close the bezels look on both models, as it now looks like the S20 will enjoy the same screen-to-body ratio of the record-setting Note 10. Also highly noticeable is the punch hole for the selfie camera, which is now moved to the center of the S20 as well as made smaller.

The similarities continue at the back. The Galaxy S line traditionally has its rear cameras centered along the Y-axis, but it’s now grouped up into a distinctive hump on the top left. Samsung packages the S20 into four back cover colors: Cloud Pink, Cloud Blue, Cosmic Black and Cosmic Grey. Aside from the Note 10’s Aura Glow color though, the rest of its options are pretty stark: Aura Black, Aura White, Aura Red and Aura Pink.

Display

The Samsung Galaxy S20 5G has a higher refresh rate and resolution than the Galaxy Note 10 5G.

Samsung Galaxy S20 5G vs Galaxy Note 10 5G Display
Pictured above are the gorgeous displays of the Galaxy Note 10+ and Note 10 which may soon be outshined by the Galaxy S20.

In almost every aspect will the Galaxy S20 5G’s display outclass that of the Galaxy Note 10 5G. With almost similar screen sizes of 6.2″ and 6.3″ respectively, the former will rock a 3200 x 1440 max resolution and 563 ppi compared to the 2280 x 1080 pixels and 401 ppi of the latter. Samsung is pumping as many pixels as they can pack into the S20, as it promises to be sharper than even the Note 10+ and S10 5G.

Not only that, it looks like the Galaxy series will finally have its 120 Hz displays to compete against the flagships of other top Android-powered brands. In addition, the S20 is also WQHD+ enabled while the Note 10 is limited to FHD+ quality. We can expect super-smooth interfaces and animations while also enjoying a greater level of clarity than ever.

Another notable change that remains to be confirmed is that the Galaxy S20 might no longer be sporting an Edge display. This unique Samsung innovation has been part of the series since it was introduced in the S6 Edge. The S20 might be coming in with a flatter 2.5D display as a result, which may be a win or a loss depending on your own preferences.

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With Samsung moving the fingerprint sensor under the display of the Note 10, look forward to improvements on the Galaxy S20’s speed and features. The company has continued development on its supersonic fingerprint tech, and options such as dual-fingerprint security is likely to materialize.

Performance

The Samsung Galaxy S20 5G will be faster than the Galaxy Note 10 5G.

Samsung Galaxy S20 5G vs Galaxy Note 10 5G Performance
With its next-generation chipset, the Galaxy S20 5G is expected to provide richer gaming experiences than the Note 10 5G above.

There’s a lot of anticipation building up for the actual speed and performance of the upcoming Galaxy S20. Samsung has been struggling to keep up with Apple’s pace in terms of processing power, a lead that continues with the iPhone 11 Pro Max outperforming other Android devices. However, that may soon change once the Galaxy S20 arrives.

The S20 5G will be powered by either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (for North American users) or a Samsung Exynos 990. An early prototype of the Snapdragon 865 revealed benchmark scores that nearly close the gap that the iPhone 11 Pro Max set. With the S20 being equipped with 12GB RAM, it’s a near-certainty that it will reign at the top of the speed heap.

In contrast, the Galaxy Note 10 5G runs the current Snapdragon 855 and Exynos 9820. It makes the Note 10 one of the most powerful Android flagships available today. We’ll have to see how far the S20 will leave it behind though. Also note that it still runs on Android 9 Pie with OneUI, while the S20 will have the latest features of Android 10 and OneUI 2.0.

Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy S20 5G has better cameras than the Galaxy Note 10 5G.

Samsung Galaxy S20 5G vs Galaxy Note 10 5G Cameras
Each of the Galaxy S20 models will have their own repertoire of cameras. (L to R: S20 Ultra, S20+, S20)

Samsung is going ham with their camera upgrades for the Galaxy S20, giving it better sensors and more powerful lenses. All of the three S20 sizes will have the same 12MP Ultra-Wide angle lens, which seems a drop from its 16MP counterpart in the Note 10. However, the S20 and S20+ models will be rocking a 12MP primary Wide sensor and a whopping 64MP Telephoto lens. In contrast, the Note 10 5G has 12MP Telephoto and Wide cameras.

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Aside from just raw megapixel count, we expect the cameras on the Galaxy S20 line to have further improvements that will make them superior to current models. A big change if true is that the primary Wide-angle camera will no longer sport Dual Aperture technology. If so, we can look forward to something even better since it’s unthinkable for Samsung to release a worse camera sensor.

We’ll also have to wait and confirm the features of the Galaxy S20 5G’s selfie camera. Though they’re both listed at 10MP, the Note 10 5G uses Dual Pixel AF enabling Live focus photos and videos. Meanwhile, it’s rumored that the 10MP sensor on the S20 is the Sony IMX 374, which will support 4K 60fps video recording for the front camera.

Other than camera specs, expect brand new photography modes and plenty of tweaks to image processing software. Experts are anticipating big upgrades for Samsung’s cameras this year.

Battery and Other Features

The Samsung Galaxy S20 5G has a bigger battery capacity, but the Galaxy Note 10 5G has a stylus.

Samsung Galaxy S20 5G vs Galaxy Note 10 5G Battery and S Pen
Perhaps the biggest reason to go for the Galaxy Note models is its nifty S Pen.

Battery capacity has been bumped up across the board for the entire Galaxy S20 lineup. That puts the 4000mAh battery capacity of the S20 well over the 3500mAh of the Note 10 5G. Actual runtime will need official disclosure though, since the upgraded system-on-chip and cameras of the S20 will require more power. Setting its display to full 120 Hz will further drain battery life quicker.

Now, here’s where the Note 10 has an undeniable edge over the Galaxy S20: the S Pen. Samsung has further improved the stylus of the Note 10, adding features such as gesture control, remote control, text export, etc. , and made it more responsive and sensitive. It adds an extra dimension to the whole Note experience, making it one of the best reasons to opt for it instead of the mainstream S10 devices.

The Galaxy S20 comes in 128GB and 256GB variants while the internal storage for the Note 10 is fixed at 256GB. Those who must absolutely have more space will love that the S20 retains a MicroSD slot, which is notably absent from the Note 10. Both don’t have any 3.5 mm headphone jacks though, which is partly why these phones can remain so slim, but it’s a big bummer for audiophiles everywhere.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S20 5G is the better pick unless you want an S Pen.

Samsung Galaxy S20 5G

Samsung Galaxy S20 Cloud Blue

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 5G

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 5G Aura Silver

All signs point to the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G being superior to the Galaxy Note 10 5G in nearly every regard. Unlike the Note 10 series which has different LTE and 5G units, every S20 phone will have 5G connectivity built in so that’s no longer a decision point. With a beefier processor, sharper and smoother display, along with upgraded cameras, the Galaxy S20 5G is definitely worth waiting for if you’re looking for a major phone upgrade this year.

Now that all changes if you find the S Pen stylus a must-have, which won’t be a surprise given the things you can do with it. It remains the top reason to opt for the Galaxy Note 10 5G, since the S10 5G packs more serious specs while still offering super speedy wireless connections. More importantly, a new generation of the Note is still a way off, making the current Note 10 a logical and not-at-all consolatory choice.