Folks, it’s official: Samsung will unveil the new Galaxy Note 20 on August 5th. The company will be hosting an online-only event to introduce the smartphone to the world, and I’m sure there will be a flurry of fan fair.
I mean, why wouldn’t there be? After all, it’s a new Galaxy Note. Current rumors and leaks point to a tweaked design with a large camera bump, a Snapdragon 865 under the hood, a 120Hz display, 5G, an upgraded S Pen – y’know, all the stuff you’d expect from a Note in 2020.
At the same event, we’re also expecting to see a new foldable from the company, known as the Galaxy Z Fold 2, along with new Galaxy Tab S devices. It won’t be a slouch in terms of exciting announcements, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of thoughts that will get published here on Matridox.
But there’s something irking me about the Note 20. It isn’t the fact that the overall design hasn’t changed that much, the fact it will likely launch with last year’s Android 10, or even the fact that it’ll probably cost more than the Note 10 did. No, I’m talking about the camera bump. Specifically, I’m talking about the cameras themselves.
I don’t mind a large camera bump since I usually put a case on my phone anyhow, but I’m concerned about the quality of the shooters Samsung will pack inside. For years, the company has stood behind Apple, Huawei, and Google in terms of overall quality when it comes to still photography. That’s an important issue since most consumers (if not a vast majority) expect photos they take by simply hitting the shutter to be fantastic. During my time with Samsung phones over the past three years, I’ve complained about issues that have pegged the company for quite some time: oversaturation, blown highlights, and lousy nighttime photography.
I thought the Galaxy S20 family would fix that. Samsung talked a lot of game during its press event earlier this year by saying how they “reinvented” the camera system across the S20 line. Even if the S20 and S20 Plus sucked, I was gonna give the S20 Ultra a fair shot. After all, that phone starts at upwards of $1,300 after taxes. That’s a lot of money for a phone, and at that price, I want my photos to look astonishing.
To my utter surprise, in stark contrast to what they promised onstage, Samsung seemed to have stuck to its normal ways of building camera phones. Reviewers noted that photos were still oversaturated, not processed correctly, and taking photos at night left much to be desired. Check out the following outlets for proof of what I mean.
- Marques Brownlee [MKBHD]
- Michael Fisher [MrMobile]
- Dieter Bohn [The Verge]
- Eric Zeman [Android Authority]
- Anton D. Nagy [Pocketnow]
I have yet to hear how Samsung plans to handle the camera situation on the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. Rumor has it that the devices will ship with a triple-camera setup with at least one periscope-style lens. There will also be a 3D time-of-flight sensor beneath the flash. It sounds like decent hardware, but I’m worried that Samsung will once again stick to its old ways and under-deliver on what they promise.
The amount of insane specs and features Samsung will include on the Note 20 will likely make a underwhelming camera setup seem not that bad. However, at least for me, having a great, reliable camera in my pocket is extremely important. That’s why I carry around a Pixel 4 XL. Even though I’m running Android 11 and I run into more bugs than I’d like, the camera is too good to give up. I could just switch to the LG V60 and get 5G with a 5,000mAh battery, but its camera isn’t as great as the Pixel’s. Therefore, I refuse to use it.
If I get a review unit of the Note 20, I might a hard time using it. Not because of its size or software situation, but because of how Samsung might handle the camera. I could be wrong about all of this, by the way. I’m just speculating at this point. But if the Note 20 winds up being like the S20 in the camera department, I’m gonna have a hard time getting excited for the device since it will just serve as an incremental year-over-year upgrade.
And that’s no fun.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Samsung will disappoint with the Note 20’s camera quality? Will the company surprise the world with a completely new camera setup and crush the competition? Comment below!