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Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: 5 Features I wish Apple would copy to iPhone 12

Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra

On the left is the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and on the right is the Note 20 Ultra.

Richard Peterson / CNET

In a virtual event on Wednesday, Samsung released a small army of new products, including one in-depth teasing of Galaxy Z Fold 2 complete with one appearance of the BTS group. But that’s new Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra which really got my eye. When Samsung laughed off the little novel with new features for each phone, I longed to see some of them come to the next iPhone aka the highly acclaimed iPhone 12.

I want to say this in advance that the design and hardware features for the next iPhone have probably been locked for months. But that does not mean we can not wonder how nice it would be to see some of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra features on the iPhone 12 or even an iPhone 13 – too soon?

There are five features in particular that I think Apple should consider adopting. That said, we know that Samsung loves to squeeze as many new features as possible into its phones. Apple introduces new features to solve a problem or enhance your iPhone experience. This difference is significant, and I doubt Apple would add any of these features just to add them.

The iPhone 12 needs a real telecamera

In February, Samsung released the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, which has 13x optical zoom and 100x space zoom (aka digital zoom). The new Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a 5x optical zoom with 50x digital zoom. The iPhone 11 Pro has 2x optical zoom. I’m not saying the iPhone 12 needs Space Zoom – no phone really does. But having a 3x or 4x optical zoom on the next iPhone would be welcome.

Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra

This is the giant camera bump on the back of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Richard Peterson / CNET

Apple currently offers the best overall camera system for photos and videos on any phone. However, many advanced Android phones offer a better zoom range.

But who knows if Apple would only rely on hardware to give the iPhone 12 a better zoom range? It can follow in Google’s footsteps and implement a software-based zoom that uses machine learning to improve results as on Google Pixel 4.

Gorilla Glass Victus for better durability

Every time a new iPhone is released, our team of expert taps tests the new devices to see how durable they are. The The iPhone 11 Pro turned out to be one of the most durable iPhones that CNET has ever tested.

But those drop tests were conducted before the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and its Gorilla Glass Victus the body came out. The new Gorilla Glass is twice as scratch-resistant as Gorilla Glass 6 and can survive drops from 2 meters to 1.6 meters. In theory, this means that a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra can survive a drop when you hold it up to the ear of a call.

For several years, Apple worked with Corning, the maker of Gorilla Glass, on a customized version of Gorilla Glass for the iPhone. And I hope we see a version of Gorilla Glass Victus for iPhone 12.

Apple Pencil support for iPhone 12

Obviously, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s biggest feature is the pen called the S-Pen. The latest S-Pen when used on the Note 20 Ultra has a latency of 9 milliseconds. The significance from the time you touch the screen with the S-Pen to the time when the screen / phone responds is fast. In fact, it has the same latency as the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro.


The iPad Pro has Apple Pencil support and it would be nice to have it on the iPhone 12, especially a larger screen version.

Sarah Tew / CNET

But a dream that many of us hope for is to be able to use Apple Pencil on an iPhone, especially the larger Max version. My fingers are crossed and I hope Apple Pencil support comes with the iPhone 12. I mean, iOS 14 came with picture-in-picture video from the iPad to iPhone. So let’s keep that trend going.

The S-Pen is used on the Galaxy Note 20.


And who knows, maybe Apple would make an Apple Pencil Mini that is about the size of a golf pen?

The iPhone 12 needs a minor hack

I think Samsung has the best approach when it comes to maximizing screen real estate and making room for the forward-facing camera. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a hole punch screen that is both attractive and useful.

The iPhone 12 must find a way to improve the iPhone hack, which seems great by today’s standards. Of course, Apple has more than just the front camera to report. FaceID has several components that are also on the front. So while I would like to see a punch on the iPhone 12, I do not think it is possible.

iPhone-x-notch 6158

Since the iPhone X, the hack on FaceID iPhones has been unchanged. I hope it’s smaller on the iPhone 12.

Josh Miller / CNET

But if Apple found a way to make the hack smaller on the iPhone 12, it would be a significant aesthetic improvement.

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First look: Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra


Apple needs to add a high refresh rate

The Note 20 Ultra screen also has a high refresh rate. Unlike the screen is updated 60 times per second, the Note 20 Ultra is capable of updating its screen 120 times per second. Similarly, the iPad Pro has a 120Hz Pro Motion screen. It’s time to see such a screen on the iPhone. Even if it was 90Hz, the iPhone 12 would have a high refresh rate. Apple Arcade games look great. Animations in iOS would look super soft. And if the iPhone 12 gets Apple Pencil support, the high refresh rate would be a must.

For more on the Samsung event and the products announced, read Samsung Unpacked: All Revealed.

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