I have had a weird relationship with Samsung. To explain that in terms of an easily understandable way, let’s say I fell in love with Samsung in 2011 when they launched the Samsung Galaxy S2. I loved that phone. Then we both got fed up with the relationship as Samsung became boring. Then it again got my interest in the launch of S8 and I felt the love waking up again. The Galaxy Note 20 killed that love. Here’s why.
There are only a handful of instances where I was utterly perplexed by the decisions companies made with their product. One example was bringing Windows to the mobile phone (and in such a terrible way). Apple getting rid of the headphone jack and calling it a “brave” move. The recent addition to that list is Samsung’s decision to pricing the Galaxy Note 20.
Samsung’s love for having multiple options goes way back. Back in 2013-14 when Google started making all the stock apps. Samsung would add their own, far more inferior versions of the same apps. So you’d have two gallery apps, two music players, two messaging apps, ad nauseam. This preference of multiplicity in choices has traversed to hardware as well. They have 3 flagship devices.
Samsung has a great phone, the Galaxy Sn where n represents the latest version. The Note series is the S series with a stylus. And the Fold series is a mix of a narrower Galaxy S and a wider Note phone. But they wanted a further division. I had no problem with that but now they are getting stupid.
The Galaxy Note 10 is bad
I haven’t got a phone in my hands yet. I haven’t even tried it yet. But no matter what, it is a bad phone. And the reason for that is the price. The phone costs a thousand bucks, US. And this is where the comparison begins. You see, two phones are not compared based on their processor or battery, but the price they are asking.
The problem is that this phone can barely compete with the similarly priced phones, such as the iPhone 11 Pro, OnePlus 8 Pro (which is cheaper than it) and barely beats much cheaper phones such as the SE 2, Pixel 4a, OnePlus phones. So why is it bad?
Everything wrong with the Galaxy Note 20
Samsung Note 20 has a 6.7-inch flat 1080p display with a 60hz refresh rate. 60hz is outdated but it is the cheaper version of the Note 20 Ultra so I’ll give it a pass.
It has the S-pen but the latency here is higher than the one in Note 20 Ultra. But it won’t be noticeable and I understand that folks at Samsung need some cost-cutting, after all, it is the cheaper Note. The camera is also very similar to the Ultra version, albeit it lacks the laser autofocus, optical zoom up to 3x (Ultra has 5x), etc. But again, it is the cheaper version so cost-cutting is understandable.
Note 20 also has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage, non-expandable. The storage depends on the model as the 5G versions have 256GB while the LTE ones have 128GB. So cost-cutting here as well.
The phone has a flat-screen so no futuristic curved glass that’s seen on the S20 series and the Note 20 Ultra. The body is also made of plastic that feels like plastic and not glass. That’s a lot of cost-cutting.
So this is pretty much all you need to know about the Note 20. It is a lighter version of the Note 20 Ultra and a victim of necessary cost-cutting. So with so many sacrifices, it must be a mid-tier phone, right? Wrong, it costs $1,000 US. In the UK, it’ll cost around £950 and for the Aussies, AU$1,650, and CAD 1,399 for the Canadian. That is not a phone with a good price to features ratio.
What’s Samsung up to? You can’t make a phone with a 1080p screen with a refresh rate of 60-Hz and a cheap plastic back and mediocre, cookie-cutter design, and ask for a thousand dollars! Has Samsung lost its mind? What are they trying to do with it? Don’t they realize that they missed a great product?
What Samsung missed
Let me tell you how big companies with over $1,000 phones are entering the low/mid-tier market, offering phones from $300-$400. Let’s focus on Apple, Google, and OnePlus, because these three are considered to be the big players, offering phones worth your student loans.
Apple is desired for its ecosystem, great, polished software experience, security updates, etc. But the iPhones are expensive. So Apple launched the SE and the SE 2 to give people everything desirable at a cheaper cost. And it was a success.
Google is trying hard to get into the premium market by selling “grand” phones but they just have a great (the greatest) camera on phones. They also keep adding RADAR detectors and other gimmicks. So they saw people wanted their camera, but weren’t willing to spend more than $700. So they introduced the “a” version of their phone and the latest Pixel 4a is a hit. It costs $350.
OnePlus started as the solution for the $1,000-phones. But soon, they started making phones close to that price. But they remembered why people started buying their phone and now they are coming with the Nord, soon to come to the US. So you see how every major phone companies targeted their strengths for the lower markets? Samsung missed an opportunity.
People want the Note for the stylus. So making the Note 20 cost around $700 would have been a great strategy to take on the mid-tier phones. But no, they didn’t want that. They have the Note lite versions to do that. The reason that I can think of for pricing the Note 20 so high is manipulation and justification.
Why is Note 20 so expensive?
It’s psychology, a form of manipulation, and a way of justification. Let me elaborate, but before, let me clarify that this is what I think the reason is.
The Note 20 Ultra is priced at $1,299. That’s $3,00 more than regular Note 20. So a glass back, slightly better camera, better memory worth 300 bucks? Nope.
See Samsung wanted to increase the price. But no one would say that $1,300 is a good price for a phone that will be beaten in performance by the iPhone 12 next month. To justify their prices, Samsung launched this $1,000 phone. Is the Galaxy Note 20 good? Of course, it is a great phone. But when you look at the price to features ratio, it falls flat on its plastic back.