Samsung'saim to thread the needle between work and play, but most of us Note customers are really in it for the productivity gains. The Note 20 Ultra has included a bevy of under-the-radar features that could add up to real-time savings in the remote work world.
My bet is that devices like the Galaxy Note 20 and Microsoft Duo will ultimately be judged on the little features that save a business user time. With the juggling of work, schooling and heightened stress amid the COVID-19 pandemic, these productivity gains measured in seconds and minutes will win the day more than gadget lust does.
Here are the five best productivity features for Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra based on click and time savings.
5. A folder structure in Samsung Notes. This feature is so obvious that it's a bit stunning that a productivity-first device lacked it before. This folder system blends with how you organize your PC and cloud storage files and will ultimately save you a few minutes a day finding things.
4. Microsoft phone integration. The combination of Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Microsoft's Your Phone will likely be powerful as remote workers ultimately aim to put their devices on one screen. While Samsung and Your Phone integration launched with the Galaxy Note 10, the pending addition of adding the smartphone's apps will be a key productivity tool. Simply put, you're likely to look down at your phone a lot less when your kids Snap you with something and are able to keep your flow.
3. Wireless DeX connections. Samsung DeX is improved but remains a work in progress. However, the ability to use DeX wirelessly across multiple screens is a nice upgrade. This feature will become more useful in huddle and collaboration rooms should offices reopen. The DeX icon and text within settings fast tracks you to settings for better control. We've also heard that Samsung may use its product portfolio to give DeX a boost with new monitors with Miracast support. In theory, wireless DeX should make it easier to use virtual desktops across devices and screens.
2. Native integration with Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and network storage on Samsung's Note App. This feature flies under the radar in many cases but will save you clicks into separate apps for each cloud storage option you use. In practice, this integration with different cloud storage options natively will save you time that adds up over a year. One nit is that I wanted more options like native integration with Dropbox, Amazon Drive, and Box. You can overdo the native integrations and confuse the user, but most of us have multiple backup services for different content types.
1. PDF Annotation. How many times have you had to print a PDF (assuming your printer has ink), sign, scan, and send a document back in the most basic transactions? Probably a lot. Should you be refinancing a mortgage or buying a home, you'll be doing that drill a lot. Even with tools like DocuSign, a huge improvement on digitizing documents, you will still have to sign a document and send it back. PDF Annotation allows you to sign a PDF from your phone and then export it or email it. Over time, those signatures can add up to hours of saved time. It's also worth noting that the Samsung Notes app will enable you to swap pages around in a PDF.
And a word about S Pen: I tried out some of the air gestures and flunked the tutorial enough to give up. S Pen is a time saver as a stylus and writing instrument, but the new features just don't add up to savings. One thing that could change that equation is broader business app support for the S Pen. For instance, Verizon's Blue Jeans will enable you to mute video and audio with the S Pen. More use cases like that will add up to time savings, but we're not there yet.