Home : Smartphones

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs S10 Lite: Should You Upgrade?

author Luis Silva (October 2020 Updated: August 2021 - 6 min. reading time)

You'll spend more on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but it also has better specs.

It features better glass protection, a better display, water-resistance, a glass back, and more internal storage (256GB vs. 128GB).

Anything else?

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra also features a higher refresh rate, larger (+0.2") display, better outdoor brightness, a telephoto lens (+108 mm), wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, and more RAM (12GB vs. 6GB). But the Galaxy S10 Lite will give you faster-charging speeds (45w vs. 25w).

How much more are you willing to spend on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra?

If you're going off-contract, it should be about $525 more expensive.

Is it still worth buying the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in 2021?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is clearly worth buying in 2021, even if there are better phones out there. Of course, you'll also be happy with a device like the Oppo Find X2 Pro, but this one does hold a good cameras, good battery life, tons of storage, excellent glass protection, and optical zoom.

Is the Galaxy S10 Lite still worth getting in 2021?

Just because the Galaxy S10 Lite was released last year doesn't mean I won't recommend it. I like its good performance, good battery life, tons of storage, and fast charging. But don't just ignore the Galaxy S20 FE.

Keep reading for answers to all your questions about their differences, how they differ from their competition, and how other specialists evaluate them.

Check prices on Amazon Check prices on Amazon
Click here or scroll down to check prices on eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

Photo by Fernando Gimenez from Pixabay


Click on one of these
shortcuts and then tap
"back" to return here


I'm guessing you're here because you want to know what you won't get by going after the cheapest ex-flagship Galaxy S10 Lite. But let's also assume that someone may be considering purchasing any of these two.

Alright, let's see what Samsung added to the Note 20 Ultra.

While Samsung's Galaxy S10 Lite hit stores in February 2020, Samsung's Galaxy Note 20 Ultra went on sale in August 2020.

Here you can look at the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and the Galaxy S10 Lite, compare each other's features, and decide which one is best for you. Let us delve into the finer details.

The weight of each section

For additional information regarding our smartphone comparisons, check this FAQ.

to check who their rivals are.

Device Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite
Release Date 2020, August 2020, February 0y.
OS Updates 3 years 3 years 0y.
Security Updates 4 years 4 years 0y.

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Which One Has The Best Performance?

As you may have guessed, Geekbench 5 gave these two the same performance. Basically, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

The Galaxy S10 Lite's performance does stand out if you consider related-priced phones. About 44% above.

By the way, you can define both of them as lower high-end.

PS: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ (with the Adreno 650 GPU) and the Exynos 990 (with the Mali-G77) are market-dependent.

There's a considerable performance increase of about 20% on the 865+ for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Features Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite
SoC Exynos 990 Snapdragon 855
Graphics Mali-G77 MP11 Adreno 640
Geekbench 5 Score 2561
OS Android 10 and OneUI Android 10 and OneUI

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 12.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra front transparent png Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite front transparent png

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has the best screen, and the difference is considerable.

Given the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, just know that all of its rivals can play HDR content and have an AMOLED screen, 83% offer you more than 60hz of refresh rate, and 89% have an Always-On display.

Compared to the Galaxy S10 Lite, 81% of its rivals have an AMOLED screen. In contrast, only 15% of them feature Gorilla Glass 6 or Victus.

Display Density (DPIs)*
Features Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite
Size 6.9
Resolution (px) 1440x3088
Refresh Rate 120hz 60hz -60
Dots per Inch 493.80
Always-On-Display Yes Yes
Notch Hole Hole
Peak Brightness 1024 nits
705 nits
Sub Tek-Score
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Corning Gorilla Glass 3

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra back transparent png Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite back transparent png

Considering their score, I think that the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a more dependable camera.

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is also known for its impressive 50x hybrid Space Zoom. In theory, that's a step down from the S20 Ultra 100x, but since it's an "AI-powered" zoom, it shouldn't matter much.

About the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: DXOMARK tested this camera and gave it a score of 122. If you also consider the telephoto and wide-angle lenses, you'll end up with a score of 136. If you want to know more about it, click here.

PS: all of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization, and 89% feature a telephoto lens. On the other hand, none of them feature a macro lens.

About the Galaxy S10 Lite: DXOMARK's gurus must be rating this camera shortly. In the meantime, our in-house formula gave it 115* points. Plus, combining with its wide-angle lens, we get a score of 127** points.

Furthermore, 85% of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K, and all have an ultra-wide-angle lens. Moreover, only 19% of them come with a telephoto lens, and only 23% of them come with Optical Image Stabilization.

If you prefer, we can grade the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra as a high-end and the Galaxy S10 Lite more as a lower high-end.

*The guys over at DXOMARK know how to benchmark these shooters. I'd love to see more tests, but some phones are just left out. So what do I do? I score every camera spec (like sensor size, lenses, and so on) to get a similar global score. As of now, you can expect a deviation of up to 2 points.

**This score still needs improvement, especially for cameras with no zoom and with less than 40MP. They moved to a new camera test protocol, and I only have few reviewed devices to deduce a compatible score.

Picture Quality*
Primary Camera Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite
Megapixels 108
Aperture 1.8
Lens 26mm
Lens Type Wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Flash 1 1 0
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 4320 2160 -2160
Score 136

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite vs.
Megapixels 12
Aperture 3.0
Lens 120mm (4.6x zoom)
12mm -108
Lens Type Telephoto lens Ultra-wide-Angle
Megapixels 12 5 -7
Aperture 2.2 2.4 0.2
Lens 13mm 25mm 12
Lens Type Ultra-wide-Angle Macro
Score 14 12 -2
Selfie Camera Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite vs.
Megapixels 10
Aperture 2.2
Lens 26mm 25mm -1
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite vs.

Who has the best frame?

I'd go for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra for its glass build, water resistance, and better looks.

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is 22 g. (0.78 oz) heavier than its sibling, which sits at 186 g. (6.56 oz). If you're looking for a lightweight device, I've created an adapted score for a "weight to display size" ratio. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra got 4.4, showing it has an acceptable score for its screen size. In the meantime, the Galaxy S10 Lite has 6.2, which is pretty nice.

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra truly is water-resistant. It can be submerged 1 to 3 meters deep. That should be for up to 30 minutes, on standby, and freshwater only.

Body Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite
Size 164 x 77 x 8 mm
(5.78 x 2.72 x 0.28 in)
162 x 75 x 8 mm
(5.71 x 2.65 x 0.28 in)
Weight 208 g. (7.34 oz)
186 g. (6.56 oz)
Build Front and back glass Front glass
Colors Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, and Mystic Black Prism White, Prism Blue, and Prism Black
Screen To Body Ratio 93.17%
Disp.Size To Weight Score 4.4 6.2 1.8
Looks 9.1/10
Waterproof IP68 -
Biometrics Under Display Fingerprint Under Display Fingerprint

*100% = 4+ colors + front and back glass + S2BR: 86+%.

Which has the best battery?

In theory, they should have about the same battery life because they have the same capacity: about 4500 mAh. And as reported by GSMArena, both should theoretically get the same battery life.

Just be aware that the Galaxy S10 Lite can also beat almost all devices I've analyzed. Do check our top 10 list of smartphones with the best battery life.

If you fancy quick charges, you can count on the Galaxy S10 Lite. Smartphones from this price range usually sit at nearly 22w.

The Snapdragon 865+ variant also has better battery efficiency, about 7% of additional screen-on-time.

Features Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite
Capacity (mAh) 4500 4500 0
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 83% left
85% left
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 69% left
70% left
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 72% left
74% left
Bat. To Phone Size Score 2.6 4.3 1.7
Sub Tek-Score
Fast Charging 25w
Wireless Charging 15w
No -15
Reverse Charging 4.5w
No -4.5

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A31.

Which has more storage?

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has about two times more storage.

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes equipped with 256GB of integrated storage and 12GB of RAM. Also, similarly priced adversaries usually deliver less RAM and less storage. They're around 9GB of RAM and 156Gb of storage.

Features Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite
Internal (GB) 256GB
Micro SD microSDXC (shared SIM slot) microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot)

*Internal Storage + 256GB Memory Card (Max: 512GB).

Which is the most connectivity-friendly?

You can only get 5G with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Do you still favor wired headphones? None of them will help you with that. You can buy an adapter, but the wireless buds are your only option. You can have it anyway if you just ignore these two. You can get that with the Galaxy Note 10 Lite.

You can find the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in the LTE or (LTE and) 5G variants.

Features Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite
Network 5G (also available in LTE) LTE
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack No No

Which is more affordable?

Here's what we've found out:

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Reference: $995

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

Reference: $470

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions, but it will mean a lot if you click on one of these buttons before purchasing your next phone (or whatever else you end up buying). You'll be helping to take this to the next level.

Prices on eBay are in $US but Europe-based. You can click to check the prices in your country.

Prices marked with ! are from renewed/refurbished/carrier-locked phones (except eBay prices that, as a last resort, can be from bids or used devices).

How much of a "phone" can your money buy?
That's how much "score" you can get with $100 based on the global score that you'll see in the next section (higher is better).

Have you found better prices elsewhere? The formula is simple: score/price*100.

Value for money Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite VS
Amazon 0.90 - -
eBay 0.85 2.01 1.16
Best Buy 0.67 - -
Walmart - - -

Also, don't forget to check the latest deals from these four stores, and the state of the art on mobile technology, if you don't want to overpay on your next smartphone.

Related articles:

Best smartphone deals

The Best Unbiased Smartphones For All Budgets

Smartphone Specs Statistics: The State Of The Art (Q1 2021)

Want to know about that global score? But first, let's see where its rivals are. They're at 7.3 (for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra) and 5.7 (for the Galaxy S10 Lite).

Verdict: What Makes the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Stand Out?

If you only care about performance, and you can't get a Snapdragon variant of the Note 20 Ultra, then the S10 Lite is a perfect choice. At least, you'll end up saving tons of money.

But if you also value higher refresh rates, a decent Gorilla Glass protection, a top of its class telephoto lens, and a water-resistant full glass body, then you should consider the Note 20 Ultra. And while the S10 Lite has a slightly better battery life, it lacks wireless charging.

Last but not least, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra also has double the RAM and the internal storage.

Pros Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite
#1 Performance Performance
#3 Always-On-Display Always-On-Display
#4 Cameras Cameras
#5 Battery Life Battery Life
#6 Fast Charging Fast Charging
#7 Wireless Charging MicroSD Slot
#8 MicroSD Slot
#9 Storage
#10 Glass Protection
Cons Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite
#1 Weight Wireless Charging
#2 3.5mm Jack Weight
#3 Price 3.5mm Jack
#4 Price
#5 Glass Protection
Relative Score*
Global Score Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy S10 Lite
Gaming Score
Your Score

Scroll the sliders down below to get your own personalized score. Let's suppose you value performance and battery life, and you don't really care about anything else. Then, just set the "Performance" and the "Battery" sliders up to 5 (5+5=10), and then the other sliders down to 0. You'll know what's the best phone for you.

Performance 1.9
Display 1.7
Cameras 1.4
Frame 0.9
Battery 1.9
Storage 2.0
Connectivity 0.4
Total Should be 10 or as close as possible: 9.6

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

For suggestions and bug reports, click here. Your help is appreciated. Thank you.

If you want to know more about them, click here:

About me


My name is Luis Silva, and I have a degree in computer management. Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved everything to do with tech. Music, pictures, video editing, I've done it all! This site is a place for me to share some of the knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current trends. This is a wonderful place for tech-geeks and everyone else that just want to learn more about tech and smartphones in general.

Keep in touch

pinterest logo Follow us on Pinterest

facebook logo Join our Facebook group

No spam, I promise. You can unsubscribe at any time and I'll never share your email without your permission.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Related Comparisons

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite Related Comparisons


"Display size to phone weight" ratio explained

This indeed is a "display size to phone weight" ratio, but because every phone ended up somewhere between 0.0272 and 0.0421, I've amplified (adapted) those values so they would fit in a 0-10 scale. As of now, the best smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy A40, with 140g. (4.94 oz) for a 5.9 inch display. It got a score of 9.92. While the worse device is the iPhone 8 Plus, which weighs 202 g. (7.13 oz) and has a 5.5-inch display. It ended up with a score of 0.75.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.


"Battery to device size" ratio explained

This score should give you an idea about the energy footprint of the devices you're considering. It reflects not only the hardware and the energy that it requires but also the amount of energy that the battery can deliver.

The major spenders on any device should be the display and the SoC. But everything from a notification led to its modems need to be optimized, or else, the OEM should simply include a bigger battery as a compensation. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible due to size limitations. But in the end, if a particular OEM can do a good job and give you excellent battery life on a small device, so should everyone else. That's why I've added a "battery to device size" ratio. But since the real scale went from 119 (for the Galaxy S10e, Snapdragon variant) and up to 164 (for the iPhone 7 Plus), I've decided to convert them so they would fit in a 0-10 scale, being 0 the worst device, (the iPhone 7 Plus) and 10 the one every OEM should look up to.

As an example, Apple did an excellent job on the iPhone 7. It has a score of 8. Despite having a small capacity, the hardware is well optimized, and it still gives you decent battery life considering its size. The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, with those bezels shrinking its display size, clearly could've been the #1 in our top 10 list of best battery devices if Apple simply filled all that empty space with a bigger battery.

As a side note: I haven't included the dept of the devices in this formula because even if a device ended up being 1mm/0.03 inches thicker, it wouldn't matter that much to those who really value battery life.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.



As of now, these are the rivals that were considered for each of them. They may change every time its prices are updated.

These are the lowest prices found on Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.

 Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Pro
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro Max
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.SD
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.EX
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.SD
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
  • HuaweirivalMate 30 Pro
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
  • HuaweirivalMate 40 Pro
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Ultra
  • OpporivalFind X2 Pro
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Ultra
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
  • OnePlusrival9 Pro
  • VivorivalX60 Pro

 Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite 
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A50
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A70
  • ApplerivaliPhone XR
  • HuaweirivalP30 Lite
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A40
  • XiaomirivalMi 9T
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy M30s
  • XiaomirivalPocophone F1
  • ApplerivaliPhone 7 Plus
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S9
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ EX
  • OnePlusrival7T
  • RealmerivalXT
  • ApplerivaliPhone 7
  • OnePlusrival6T
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S9 Plus
  • HuaweirivalMate 20
  • XiaomirivalMi 9 Lite
  • XiaomirivalMi 9 SE
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A51
  • GooglerivalPixel 4a
  • OnePlusrivalNord N10
  • XiaomirivalMi 10T Lite
  • XiaomirivalMi 11 Lite
  • XiaomirivalRedmi Note 10 Pro
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A32
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A42
  • XiaomirivalPoco X3 Pro
  • XiaomirivalRedmi Note 10 Pro Max
  • XiaomirivalMi 9t

Formula deviation

Since the guys at DxoMark don't review every camera out there, I've come up with a formula based on the ones that they do rate, so I could get an equivalent score for the ones they don't review. After testing it against these cameras, I got the deviation between that and their DxO score.

Device: DxOScore Deviation
Samsung Galaxy A50: 88 -1
Apple iPhone XR: 104 1
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro: 108 -7
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro: 87 1
Sony Xperia 1: 99 -1
Sony Xperia 5: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: 126 2
Apple iPhone 8 Plus: 96 -3
Xiaomi Pocophone F1: 92 -1
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: 90 -1
Apple iPhone X: 101 3
Apple iPhone 11: 112 -1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: 107 1
Apple iPhone XS Max: 110 -2
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 124 1
Samsung Galaxy S10: 124 2
Apple iPhone XS: 110 -1
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: 120 -2
OnePlus 7 Pro: 122 0
OnePlus 7T Pro: 122 0
Huawei P30 Pro: 125 -1
Google Pixel 4: 117 0
Google Pixel 3: 103 0
Google Pixel 2: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: 127 -2
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 132 2
OnePlus 6: 100 0
OnePlus 6T: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: 105 -1
Huawei Mate 20 Pro: 120 0
Xiaomi Mi 9: 115 0
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: 132 0
Huawei P40 Pro: 140 -1
Apple iPhone SE 2: 101 0
OnePlus 8 Pro: 126 0
Xiaomi Mi 8: 105 1
Samsung Galaxy A71: 89 1
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro: 134 0

As you can see, most cameras sit between 1 and -1, while a few of them go up to 2 or -2. That means it's reasonable to assume other similar cameras that they don't review to, in the worst-case scenario, be anywhere from -2 to 2 points from the score that the formula gets.

For example: Given that the Pixel 4 got 117 points and that the Pixel 4 XL share the same year and camera specs, it's reasonable to expect a score of 117 too. But in reality, if they do review that camera, it may end up anywhere between 115 and 119.

Be aware that at DxO, they give a score based on their opinion, not based on any formula. That's why I think there's an odd difference of 6 points between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. In theory, they should have the same camera.

I'm guessing that the Mi 9T Pro got a deviation of 7 points because they tested its Chinese variant (the K20 Pro).

Update: They just changed their protocol to include preview image evaluation and trustability. I'm keeping the old table (for now) for reference purposes, and I'll be adding a new one as soon as they review at least a couple of new mclass-range cameras.

You can expect the same (or a bit bigger) deviation for high-end cameras, but anything with a score below 100-110 should be taken with a grain of salt.

This is valid for all cameras tested with the previous protocol. For those that they dclassn't test, the deviation may be up to twice as much.


About GeekBench 5

This is just a quick note to let you know that, if, by any chance, the smartphone you're looking for isn't on the GeekBench site yet, you can check on GsmArena.com, as they also usually test smartphones with that benchmark tool.

Top 10 Smartphones