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10 hidden Galaxy Note 20 features you do not want to miss



Note 20-ultra-2

Note 20 has many tricks up its sleeve.

Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra looks like amazing phones, like Early impressions from CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt seem to confirm. Like Jessica, I have used Not 20 Ultra, which provides a larger screen, a faster refresh rate, a larger battery and a microSD card slot for a few days now. Although I have not discovered all the new features and settings, I have found some amazing hidden features that make the Note 20 experience so much better.

For example, you can turn on an alarm that lets you know if you left your S Pen behind. Or did you know that you can lock your home screen layout so that it does not break after you have spent time getting everything exactly where you wanted it?

Below are 10 hidden features that make the Note 20 so much better than it already is.






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Take advantage of the faster screen

Note 20 Ultra has a variable screen refresh rate of up to 120Hz. This means that when your phone detects that you are doing something like scrolling through a long email or website, it uses a faster refresh rate, which makes the scrolling experience buttery.

Standard Note 20 has a 60 Hz screen, with no 120Hz option at all.

When you are just looking at a photo or doing something else that does not require much movement on the screen, your Note 20 Ultra will be 60Hz.

It is a good idea to double check that your phone has the Motion Smoothness feature on. To do so, open settings > Show > The smoothness of the movement and make sure adaptive is choosen.

As Samsung points out, the increased refresh rate will use more battery, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay for a better experience.

2. Do not forget your S Pen

The note’s S Pen is one of its flagship features, but it’s also very easy to leave it sitting somewhere, never to be seen again.

Thank goodness, if you go to settings > Advanced features > S Pen and scroll down to removal section you will find an option called Pen proximity warning. Turn it on.

When you leave your S Pen sitting on the desk, or it falls between your sofa cushions and you start walking away, your phone will beep when you reach out of range.

The Always On screen gives information a glance away

One of my favorite features of any Android phone is AOD (Always-On Display). When AOD is activated, you can quickly look at your phone to check the time, see any notifications, battery percentage and even control music playback all without having to wake up the phone or unlock it.

Note 20 has an option for permanent display, but out of the box it means you have to wake up the phone screen before it appears. It is counterproductive.

Change it by going to settings > Lock screen > Always displayed. Do not click the button to turn it on, instead press the text so you can customize how it works.

Go through each setting and section, select the watch and color you like and also set a schedule if you wish.

Looks? Much better.

Note 20-ultra-5

You really do not want to drop that S-pen, right?

Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

4. Shift up your shortcuts on the lock screen

When you look at the phone’s lock screen, you see an app icon that provides a quick way to launch an app in every corner. Samsung sets the phone and camera applications as default shortcuts, but can change which apps you can open and how to access the shortcut.

Open settings > Lock screen > Shortcuts and select Floating button. Once there, you can also change the apps displayed on your lock screen to whatever you want.

When the floating button is turned on, there will be a three-point icon that appears just above the fingerprint sensor on the lock screen. Long press on that button to see the app shortcuts and then drag your finger to the app you want to launch.

5. Change the number of notifications displayed in the status bar

It can be difficult to keep up with the countless warnings that our phones receive throughout the day. It’s even more of a struggle when the status bar on your Note 20 limits the number of app notification icons.

Note 20 Ultra I test has a limit of three app icons in the status bar, which is not close enough. If you open settings > notifications > The Status bar, you can change the status bar to show a number for all pending notifications (which can feel overwhelming, if you ask me), your last three or my personal favorite, all notifications.

Of course, there is only so much space in the status bar, so if you have a bunch of alerts from a large number of apps, not all of them will show up, but helped me have more than three present.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20-9871

Note 20’s home screen can be locked in place.

James Martin / CNET

6. Lock your home screen layout to look good

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time moving apps and widgets around your home screen. There is a rhyme and reason for which apps go there, and when things move, it throws the whole flow.

Samsung lets you lock your home screen layout and keep everything exactly where you left it.

Long press on an empty spot on your home screen, then press Hemskärmsinställningar when the options pop up. Find Lock the home screen layout and press the switch to turn the function On.

When enabled, you will see a reminder appear on the screen when you try to move an app icon. If you often hand over your phone to your child to watch videos, this feature is your new best friend.

Just pull up to go home.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

7. Dig the old-fashioned button navigation setting

Out of the box, your Galaxy Note 20 comes standard with Android’s traditional navigation with three buttons. There will be buttons to go back, home and display the app switch.

It’s time to move on to Android 10’s gesture-based navigation. After a few days of swiping around the phone, you will forget all about the buttons and appreciate the extra screen real estate.

To turn it on, go to settings > Show > navigation bar and select Wrap gestures. I recommend that you put on gesture tips for a few days while you learn the new navigation technique.

If you feel you are struggling, we have a complete guide to Android 10’s gesture navigation function, complete with animated images that show you exactly what to do.

Samsung note-20-ultra 5g-5750

The S Pen is one of our favorite Note 20 features.

Angela Lang / CNET

8. Use the new S Pen Air commands

Your S-Pen can do so much more than work as a pen for writing or drawing on your notebook screen. Starting with the Note 20 line, you can now use the S Pen to control your device from across the room. All you have to do is remove the S-pen, hold down the button and use one of the five new gestures to go back to a screen, go to your home screen and more.

We cover the new S Pen tricks in detail, so be sure to check it out.

S20-live callout

Live Caption on the Galaxy S20 Plus looks and works just like on the 20.

9. Live transcripts for audio on your note

Google’s Live Caption feature – which will transcribe videos, podcasts and even real-time phone calls – can be found on Note 20.

All you have to do is slide down the quick settings panel, find the tile labeled Live Caption and press it. A black bar appears with the live text taken directly from the audio. Turn off Live Caption by repeating the same steps in the Quick Settings panel.

10. Add extra security to select apps with Secure Folder

If you use a work phone but have personal or private information that you want to lock in with a different password or pattern, you can take advantage of the Notes Secure Folder feature.

Open settings > Biometrics and security > Secure folder to go through the installation process. You can install apps and store files and photos. It’s like using a completely different phone.

If you are still trying to decide whether to pre-order Note 20 or Note 20 Ultra or not, be sure to check out ours ongoing review where we cover all the good and bad with the phone. Or if you have already decided you can pre-order right now. The phone will be officially available on August 21st.




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