Samsung went all out for that Note 20 UltraSamsung claims it is the strongest glass ever used on a phone. It is the first phone and the only one of the new Samsung models to have the latest version Gorilla Glass Victus According to Corning, it's more resistant to scratches and drops on both the front and back. The regular Note 20 has Gorilla Glass 5 (now two generations old) on the front and plastic on the back, but costs almost $ 300 less than the $ 1,300 (£ 1,180, AU $ 1,890) Ultra.

To test this claim, we had to put the new Note 20 Ultra through our own scratch-and-drop tests.

Scratch test 1: the pocket and purse test

The first thing I noticed about our brand new Galaxy Note 20 Ultra was that it lacked the usual screen protector that is usually pre-installed. Instead, it just had the traditional packaging plastic with a tab to remove. Samsung has added screen protectors to some of its flagship devices such as the S20 and S10 in recent years. I peeled off all of the plastic before starting our durability tests.

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For the first test, I put a set of keys, a pen, and about five different coins, along with a brand new one, in a small make-up bag Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, I zipped the bag shut and shook it vigorously for about a minute to mimic the real-world wear and tear your phone would get from jumping around in your purse or pocket.

The phone had a little dirt in the pocket when I pulled it out, but after wiping it with a microfiber cloth, the phone appeared to be completely unharmed. Even on closer inspection, I couldn't find a scratch.

The phone was put in a bag with keys, coins and pens to test its scratch resistance.

Vanessa Hand Orellana / CNET

Scratch test 2: the tile test

Next, I placed the phone on a slab of rough ceramic tile to see what would happen if it slid on a bathroom or kitchen floor. Since I only had one tile to test and not an entire floor to slide it over, I rubbed it face down on the tile in circular motions for about 30 seconds.

Again, I had to wipe the screen with a cloth to remove the loose, powdery residue that had peeled off both the phone and the tile to reveal some pretty significant damage. The phone had a few scratches on the left side of the screen, a couple of superficial scratches towards the center, and a couple of deep scratches on the top and bottom. Other than cosmetic damage, the screen still worked just fine.


The rough tile caused some deep scratches on the screen of the Note 20 Ultra.

Vanessa Hand Orellana / CNET

Scratch test 3: the sandpaper test

With the screen scratched, I turned the phone over to see how the back would hold up. Corning uses sandpaper to test the durability of its glass because it is very similar to the rough surface of the sidewalk. Instead of using the 180-grit sandpaper Corning used, I decided to improve it and use 80-grit sandpaper to see how the rear glass and camera module would hold up in extreme circumstances. The camera is covered with Gorilla Glass 6, the previous generation of Corning & # 39; s glass.

I rubbed the phone over the sandpaper for about 10 seconds, but the unevenness of the camera makes it impossible to lay the phone completely flat, so there was only minor damage to both the back glass and camera and only minor scratches on the frame around the camera was.

I then put more pressure on the phone than rubbed it back and forth on the sandpaper. This time there were a few deep scratches on the camera glass that made it look almost broken at the bottom, but they were low enough on the glass that they didn't interfere with any of the phone's three lenses. The glass on the back remained intact.


The sandpaper made some deep scratches on the glass covering the camera, but the glass on the back of the phone hardly had any damage.

Vanessa Hand Orellana / CNET

To make sure the back glass was in full contact with the sandpaper, I rubbed the phone one final time, with the camera bump hanging from the table. This time I was able to damage the sides of the glass, but the scratches didn't look as deep as the ones on the screen, and the matte finish of the glass made the scratches less noticeable.

The scratching of the phone makes it much more susceptible to breaks and our test phone has definitely been compromised. To test the durability of drops, my colleague, CNET maker Chris Parker, used another brand new Note 20 Ultra.

Drop Test 1: Pocket Height (3 feet), screen side down to the sidewalk

Most drops occur around waist level, for example when you put your phone in your pocket and pull it out of your pocket. While the phone survives a drop on a smooth surface, landing on the sidewalk is a different story.

The note swayed a little on the sides before finally landing screen down on the sidewalk. The screen appeared to be relatively intact, but on closer inspection we found that the phone had two small dents on opposite corners, probably the first points of impact. The lower dent caused a hair break that extended outward across the screen. The one on top of the phone was mostly on the metal frame, which didn't damage the glass too much and the screen would still work.


The first drop from waist height made a small dent in the corner of the screen.

Chris Parker / CNET

Drop Test 2: Pocket Height (3 feet), back facing down toward the sidewalk

For the next test, Chris dropped the Note 20 Ultra upside down.

This time the phone landed flat on its back with a loud thump. It sounded as bad as the damage: the glass floor was completely broken, and visible cracks covered the entire surface. But despite all the visible cracks, the phone felt relatively smooth and no glass fell off the back, as we've seen in previous drop tests (like the S20 Ultra).


The back of the phone cracked at the first drop from waist height.

Chris Parker / CNET

The camera remained intact, with only two tiny scratches on the sides of the frame.

Final drop test: 6 foot, 6 inch drop, face down to the sidewalk

This is the maximum height of fall that Corning Victus has tested at. However, the performance of the glass can be affected by other factors such as thickness and shape, which are determined by the manufacturer (in this case Samsung). For our final review, we decided to test the claim on the Note 20 Ultra's screen, which was still in decent shape.

The phone landed face down again, but this time it cracked everywhere. The dent on the bottom was torn further outward and there were breaks in the center and top of the screen. But for all this damage, the screen still felt relatively smooth and was only noticeable when I traced it with my fingernail.


The last drop from 2 meters high broke the entire screen.

Chris Parker / CNET

The collapse: better, but anything but invincible

We put the Note 20 Ultra through the alarm clock and went way beyond what is considered "normal use". It survived without a scratch after tumbling around in a bag full of keys and coins, and the screen was minimally damaged after falling from waist height on rough sidewalk.

In contrast, our Galaxy S20 Ultra cracked the first drop from waist height, despite the pre-installed screen protection, so that the note seems a bit harder. We can't be quite sure due to the nature of our real-world tests making it difficult to replicate exactly the same drop conditions with every phone. And even if the Ultra is tougher than its predecessors, I'd still recommend wrapping this $ 1,300 phone (and probably a screen protector) with a case.

If you want to live on the edge and still don't want to be case sensitive after reading this article, you should at least insure your new note to cover this type of damage. Samsung offers its Care Plus service for $ 11.99 per month, or you can get it insured directly through your carrier.


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