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The Galaxy S21 Ultra convinced me that the Galaxy Note is outdated



It’s been a few years since I last used a widescreen Samsung phone for any length of time. When I used the Galaxy S, it was usually one of the smaller models. However, over the years I have also used and enjoyed the Galaxy Note series, many of which rank among the best Android phones. But spending more time with the Galaxy S21 Ultra in the last week or so convinced me of that this, not Note, is the future of Samsung ‘s widescreen plate – shaped phones.

Or, in other words, the Galaxy Note in its current form is obsolete.

It seems that Samsung itself may be of the same opinion, as the head of the company̵

7;s smartphone division basically told us not to expect the Galaxy Note 21 this year, and the Note is expected to return in 2022 instead. why is this the case? Well, I don’t want to go too down this particular rabbit hole. Samsung indirectly blamed this year’s missing Note for the current shortage of chips worldwide; however, the best information I have from my sources is that the decision to refrain from note 21 is ahead of the current global supply problems.

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However, after using the S21 Ultra, as in the last few days, it became clearer to me than ever that we just don’t need the Note in its current form anymore. This does not mean that the previous notes were bad or that the whole brand of notes should die. Just think that when the note right come back, it won’t just be the “Ultra” Galaxy S with the S Pen. I think the time for this type of phone is over.

With the arrival of “ultra” Galaxy S phones, it was written on the wall for Note.

Since Samsung began developing larger Galaxy S phones, it has been difficult to distinguish the Note in any meaningful way other than the S Pen. And including the pen in the phone comes with its own set of engineering challenges. Every square millimeter of space in the smartphone is priceless and the S Pen docking station eats it. That’s why the S20 Ultra has a bigger battery than the Note 20 Ultra, as with the Note 10 Plus and S20 5G, and so on. All other things being equal, a phone without an internal S Pen silo will always have a larger battery.

Spigen Liquid Air P Galaxy S21 HeroSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

This look undermines the image of the Note as the best phone for enthusiasts. In fact, if you look at last year’s Samsung phones, if it weren’t for the widespread autofocus issues with the S20 Ultra’s main camera, there would be almost nothing that the Note could do better. The types of mid-cycle hardware upgrades that made previous notes useful just don’t show up as often.

Instead, the combination of the Galaxy S21 Ultra plus the optional, standalone S Pen makes more sense for Samsung. While some of the early cases of attaching the stylus to the phone are undoubtedly a bit annoying, this is a problem that case manufacturers will eventually solve. And the presence of an external S Pen means that the pen itself can be larger, making it more convenient to use for long periods.

Samsung no longer has to ship two near-identical phones that both serve mostly the same audience.

It is true that with the current external S Pen, we miss the Bluetooth features we first saw in Note 9. But powered features like the remote shutter and wavy gestures will eventually return in the form of the S Pen Plus later in 2021, just in time for new folders with S Pen capability like the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 3.

With a standalone S Pen, the Galaxy S21 Ultra makes a pretty great replacement for the Galaxy Note, doing most of what previous notes could. What’s more, it allows Samsung to include a competitively sized battery and eliminate all the inconveniences and competitive disadvantages of digging a silo inside the phone itself – while not competing with itself by delivering two unstable wide-screen smartphones which mainly serves the same audience.

But let’s hold on a second, because we already know the Galaxy Note will will return in some form in 2022. And while it’s certainly possible for Samsung to return to creating a basic Galaxy S Ultra to fit the internal S Pen, I don’t think it makes much sense when you look at the direction of travel for Samsung premium phones.

At the highest end, Samsung is focusing more on folding and newer form factors. We’ve already seen Samsung’s clamshell models unfolding in the form of the Z Flip and Z Fold lines, and rumors of a mobile phone are also working.

When the Galaxy Note returns, it should be as foldable or removable.

Prototype of TCL mobile concept

Source: Andrew Martonic / Android Central

This kind of unique phone, I think, would be the perfect way to rediscover the Galaxy Note – still a premium phone, but with its own unique form factor, separate from Samsung’s other premium offerings. The expandable screen would be ideal for a flagship phone built around the S Pen. And while Samsung will still have to make room for a stylus silo, let’s also remember that this type of phone will be larger by default, so you’ll probably have more interior space to play.

This kind of thing will not be unprecedented. Years ago, Samsung used the Note line to experiment with the first curved OLED displays in the 2014 Note Edge. And the screen curve eventually became a major design feature of future Notes, albeit in a less dramatic way than we saw with the one-sided curve of the Note Edge.

So, as the S-series “Ultra” really emerges as the best traditional smartphone that Samsung can offer, including stand-alone support for the S Pen, it’s time for the Note itself to change radically. This is what I hope and believe Samsung will offer when it resurrects the Galaxy Note in 2022.




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