Windows 11 could make checking your phone from your PC even better – so Apple, take note for macOS Sequoia

Windows 11 could put your iPhone or Android device right into the heart of the Start menu, in a manner of speaking – or at least the Phone Link app is apparently headed this way.

That’s according to clues unearthed by MS Power User, which reported on whispers from Windows 11 testers to the effect that Phone Link is set to be made into a Start menu ‘Companion.’

If you’ve missed the Companion panel appearing in Windows preview builds last month, it’s a floating panel that can be docked to the left or right of the Start menu. The Companions it plays host to are a bit like Live Tiles of old, widget-style affairs that display real-time info which is piped through.

In theory, Phone Link will be one of the apps that’ll appear in the Companion panel, as MS Power User took a deep dive into files from Phone Link and found a number of code strings relating to ‘StartMenuCompanion’ settings.


Analysis: Dialing up the work on phone integration

This would appear to be the groundwork for Phone Link to become a Start menu Companion, but of course, this is just work hidden in testing right now – and we can’t take it for granted this will happen. Indeed, the Companion panel itself might be abandoned yet if Microsoft thinks better of it – only time will tell.

Given the rumors, and at least some concrete evidence that Phone Link will get this treatment, it seems more likely to happen than not, on balance. Phone Link would also be a logical and useful app to have in the Companion panel, in order to pipe notifications through from your smartphone, bringing them to your attention when you’re in the Start menu.

Phone Link has been a key part of Windows for some time now, and it’s not surprising Microsoft is pushing ahead with potential features like this – and work on the Cross-Device Experience Host (albeit that has stumbled of late) and other phone-related capabilities besides – given that Apple now has iPhone Mirroring inbound with macOS Sequoia.

Whichever way you dice it, smartphones are becoming more and more deeply integrated into desktop operating systems these days.

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Students take note: Windows 11 update reportedly has a bug that’s taking down Wi-Fi at universities

Windows 11 just received a new cumulative update, but apparently Microsoft’s round of patching for December introduces a big problem for some students.

Windows Latest highlights reports from a number of students who are readers of the tech site – and universities themselves – about patch KB5033375 breaking Wi-Fi networks on campus.

Apparently, this isn’t happening to everyone by any means, but it is a serious glitch for some of those running Windows 11 who aren’t getting internet on their own laptop. As Brunel University London (UK), one of the affected unis, informs us, this isn’t happening with official university hardware, but BYOD notebooks (possibly because admins have already side-stepped the issue, perhaps?).

One theory from a system admin at a university, as Windows Latest points out, is that there may be a compatibility issue at play here (involving the Qualcomm QCA61x4a wireless adapter, and maybe others).

Another establishment to warn its students about the December update is the University of New Haven (Connecticut, US), which advises: “A recent Windows update released on 12/12/2023 has caused users to not be able to connect to the wireless networks. This update is known as KB5033375.”

Other reports are present on Reddit, with students in European countries being affected, and the issue seemingly pertaining to other Qualcomm wireless adapters.


Analysis: Update removal seems to be the only way forward, for now

In fairness to the December update, it does contain some useful fixes, including the solution to a longstanding problem with File Explorer randomly popping up on the desktop.

However, if you’re at university, any potential plus points here are likely to be outweighed by the danger of not being able to get on Wi-Fi, which is a nasty problem indeed.

A commonality here seems to be Qualcomm components, and the above mentioned Qualcomm QCA61x4a wireless adapter is a commonly used piece of hardware seen in notebooks such as the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, Lenovo Yoga models, and many other laptops besides.

This problem also affects some business users, but for students, the only realistic way of resolving the bug is to uninstall the update, as the universities in question are recommending. (To do this, go to Windows Update in Settings, and click to view the Update History – that shows all the updates installed, and you can remove KB5033375 from here).

Hopefully Microsoft is looking into this one, and we’ve contacted the software giant to check if there’s an investigation underway. We’ll update this article if we hear anything back as to what’s going on here.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 release date, price, news and leaks

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 release date may be August 5, according to rumors, and with the OnePlus 8 devices out the way, Samsung's latest are the next big phones we're expecting in 2020. Our eyes are starting to shift away from the Samsung Galaxy S20 phones, to ponder what the new devices could be like.

We'd expect a lot of the tech from the Galaxy S20, as well as S20 Plus and S20 Ultra, to make their way to the Note 20 phones – after all, the S20 devices were the company's first flagships of the year. The Galaxy Note 10 Lite from January 2020 might also affect the Note 20 DNA, given it beckoned in a future of affordable stylus phones.

If there's a Galaxy Note 20 Lite, Samsung wouldn't need to worry about other cheap phone stylus competitors, and could instead focus on creating a true top-end model that blows the socks off any device before it. Some think Samsung is angling for the Galaxy Fold 2 to actually be the top-end Note phone, but that seems like a Game-of-Thrones-style plot twist, so we're not too sure just yet.

Before the Samsung Galaxy S20 came out we were expecting it to be called the S11, and we were also expecting this phone to be the Note 11, although that seems unlikely now. Some of the early phone leaks refer to the Note 11, but that's just referring to this handset.

So you can have an idea of what's to come with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, we've collected every leak we've heard so far. On top of that we've got a wishlist of what we want to see in the Samsung Galaxy Note 20. Since the stylus is so central to the phone’s identity, we want to see the S Pen become a true extension of the device: more physical controls, more reason to pull it out of the phone.

Latest story: We've heard the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 might not have the S20's high-res zoom camera, and its zoom capabilities might not match the S20 Ultra either – however perhaps the Plus will have a 108MP snapper.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

Cut to the chase

  • What is the Samsung Galaxy Note 20? The next stylus-packing flagship phone from Samsung.
  • When is the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 launch date? Probably August 2020.
  • How much will the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 cost? The price may be around $ 949 / £869 / AU$ 1,499

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 release date and price

Given previous phones in the line came out in August or September of their year, we’re expecting the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 to be released in August 2020, and specifically August 5 has been rumored multiple times.

One thing we can be confident of is that it's coming, and this year. Not only because Samsung always releases its Note handsets on a yearly cycle, but because the company has now said that a new Note is on the way in 2020.

As for cost, the Note 10 was released at a starting price of $ 949 / £869 / AU$ 1,499, so we’d expect a starting pricetag around there or even higher. The larger Note 10 Plus cost $ 100 / £130 / AU$ 200 more, so we expect a similar price jump for the inevitable Note 20 Plus. This price scheme has become pretty standard for top-tier flagship phones.

It’s likely that Samsung’s flagship phones will come with 5G capability across the whole range – the Snapdragon 865 chipset is expected to be at the heart of the almost all 2020 flagship Android phones, and Qualcomm's new chipset is coupled with a 5G modem.

That brings up an issue for all 5G phones in 2020. The Note 10 Plus 5G was sold by Verizon in the US for $ 1,299 (around £974 / AU$ 1,888), so we’d expect a higher-than-normal price tag for any 5G-capable version of the Note 20.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 leaks and news

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is still months away from being released, but there’s been a few potentially revealing leaks that give us a first look at the phone.

Let's start with something disappointing – there might not be a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and it seems there will only be two phones in the range (the 'base' device and the Note 20 Plus). However the same source that provided that information suggested the Galaxy Fold 2 could functionally replace the Ultra, acting as the top-end device in the line.

Now, let's get into some section-specific leaks, news and rumors on the phones:

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 design and display

Our clearest look yet at the possible Galaxy Note 20 design comes from leaked renders, which show a flat 6.7-inch screen with hardly any bezel, a single-lens punch-hole camera, and a large Galaxy S20-like camera block on the rear.

Dimensions are apparently 161.8 x 75.3 x 8.5mm, which would make it thicker than the 7.9mm Note 10 range, and despite that massive screen this is apparently the standard Note 20, not the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Plus.

The renders also show the power and volume buttons having been shifted from the left to the right edge, and the S Pen slot moving from the right to the left.

We've now also seen leaked renders of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Plus, which show a similar design, albeit with visible rings around the lenses on the camera, and a curved screen.

The source of these renders says to expect a 6.9-inch screen and dimensions of 165 x 77.2 x 7.6mm, rising to 10.7mm thick at the camera block.

It's worth noting though that these screen sizes are at odds with an earlier leak, which listed a 6.42-inch screen with a 2345 x 1084 resolution for the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, and a 6.87-inch screen with a 3096 x 1444 resolution for the Note 20 Plus, both with 120Hz variable refresh rates.

We also have an idea of the colors the phones might come in, with sources suggesting gray, copper and green shades for the Galaxy Note 20, and black and copper shades for the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Plus.

Elsewhere, we've seen that the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 screen might curve at the top and bottom as well as the sides, according to one patent, which would make the phone look a lot more pebble-shaped than the Note 10.

A Samsung patent won just after the Samsung Galaxy 20 launch shows a phone with a display that curves all the way to the rear of the body, but with physical buttons that protrude from the curves of the screen. Could this be the Galaxy Note 20? We're not sure, as it could be a 2021 phone (or never materialize in reality), but we'd hope so.

We've also heard that the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 could have a 120Hz refresh rate screen that's 'more fine-tuned' – they don't say what it's more fine-tuned than, but presumably they mean the Galaxy S20.

Either way, this could mean it's less of a drain on battery, or has better automatic refresh rate detection. We're not totally sure yet, and the tweeted message was rather cryptic.

The Note 20 could also pack an in-screen front-facing camera, which would sit under the full display instead of within a notch or pin-hole, industry sources told South Korean tech site The Elec – and backed up by a tweet from notable leaker @UniverseIce.

That might seem unlikely, but Samsung itself has released an advert which shows a Note-like phone with no visible camera. You can see it in this video at the 55-second mark.

And that's not the only time it has shown this device. The company also posted an image on its site showing a mystery phone with the same design. You can see it below, it's the center phone, and again, there's no visible front-facing camera, which could mean this is built into the screen.

There are of course other options – it could use a pop-up camera, and in the case of the image below it could be in the obscured top left corner (though that's not an option in the video above).

Or, perhaps most likely, this could just be a generic design, rather than one that shows a real phone. Indeed, reports elsewhere have suggested the in-screen camera tech isn't ready, so we wouldn't count on it.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

If Samsung does stick with a punch-hole for the Galaxy Note 20 then the company might at least make the most of it though, as five Samsung patents have detailed a status indicator that would either encircle or sit beside a camera cut-out, and could display things like download progress without turning the screen on.

Finally, we've seen a Samsung foldable phone patent that seems like the Note 20 – except it's a foldable phone. While this could suggest Samsung's new stylus device folds, it seems more likely that the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2, which could come out alongside the Note 20s, will have a stylus too.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 camera

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Plus camera specs have leaked more than the 'base' device's. Apparently it'll have a 108MP main, 12MP ultra-wide and 13MP periscope snapper, joined with a laser focus system that replaces the Time-of-Flight sensor Samsung's top-end phones normally have.

A leak suggests it won't have the same 100x digital zoom capability as the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, so presumably it won't have the 10x optical zoom either. This backs up what the Galaxy Note 20 Plus camera leak claimed, positing a 50x digital zoom as the Note 20 Plus' capability.

Having said that, a source claims it (or at least the Note 20 Plus) will have a periscope lens, like the S20 Ultra. That sort of lens design allows for a high level of zoom, so while it might not hit 100x digital zoom, you could still be able to get in close.

Patents meanwhile suggest the Note 20 might pack a spectrometer – a component that analyzes objects to discover its chemical composition. While it wouldn’t be the first phone to pack the device after the Changhong H2, as pointed out by LetsGoDigital, the Note 20 would be a phone with a much wider release.

Curiously, those are the only camera or sensor leaks we've heard so far, so we don't really know what resolution or lenses the snappers on the phone could have, or if there are any post-processing tricks that will change the way you take photos. Expect more on this front soon, though.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 specs, features and battery

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 will allegedly come with the same Snapdragon 865 chipset that debuted in the Galaxy S20 line – which makes sense, as they're packed with the Snapdragon X55 modem to enable 5G connectivity. 

Saying that, one leaker thinks the phone will come with a Snapdragon 865 Plus processor instead, based on a leaked benchmark test for the device which puts its scores as lower than the iPhone 12's. Having said that, we've elsewhere heard that there won't be a Snapdragon 865 Plus this year.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite

Some regions though could get an upgraded chipset in the form of the Exynos 992. Samsung typically uses its own Exynos processors in most regions outside the US, and it's rumored that an Exynos 992 could be used instead, offering a slight upgraded on both the Exynos 990, used in the Galaxy S20 outside the US, and on the Snapdragon 865.

There might only be 128GB storage in the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, at least in its smallest variant, and there wasn't a device with this amount in the previous range. That suggests there could be a more budget-focused handset in the range, perhaps a phone that's 'Lite' in all but name (or even 'Lite' in name too!).

One source claims that the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 could have a battery of around 4,000mAh – up from 3,500mAh in the Galaxy Note 10. That new size would put it in line with the Samsung Galaxy S20, and would likely mean that the Galaxy Note 20 Plus would also get a bigger battery.

The same source – in a later report – said the Galaxy Note 20 Plus could have a 4,500mAh power pack, up from the 4,300mAh in the Note 10 Plus but the same size as the S20 Plus.

However, the most recent battery leak puts the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 at 4,300mAh, so we're not sure what to expect from the standard model.

Elsewhere, we've seen what's believed to be the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Plus listed on an official Chinese certification database. As well as pointing to the phone's existence, this reveals support for 25W fast charging and 5G.

Should I wait for the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 or buy a discounted Samsung Galaxy Note 10 now?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 release date is still months away, if the August 2020 launch window stays constant, so you should probably consider the discounted Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10 Plus if you need a new stylus phone in the next days, weeks or even months.

In an ordinary year, this is a long time to wait anyway – like, say, if you broke your phone and need a replacement ASAP – but it’s possible Samsung's launch date might be pushed back due to the coronavirus. We don't know if the phone is far enough along in production that it will avoid these delays, but we'll report it first here if we find out.

In any case, if you need a new top-tier Samsung phone now (and have ruled out the Galaxy S20 range), you’re looking at the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 or the larger and higher-spec Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus. Here are the best prices in your region:

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Samsung Galaxy Note 20: what we want to see

Since we haven't heard many rumors about the Note 20, we'll speculate as to what we want to see – improvements on last year's model and innovations we think would set the upcoming phone apart.

1. More capabilities in the S Pen

The S Pen has been the real selling point for the Note series – a stylus tucked neatly in the phone for those who hold a torch for Palm Pilot-style productivity. But aside from a couple of new capabilities introduced over the last couple years – a button that operates as a camera shutter, a few half-baked gestures – the S Pen remains primarily a writing implement.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

Samsung Galaxy Note 10

Instead, we’d love to see the S Pen evolve into more of a proxy for the phone. If they can introduce one button, why not a couple more? It would be very handy to keep the phone in your pocket or perched for video and use the stylus to fiddle with volume and media navigation. Better yet, it would be great if the S Pen was used as a more universal remote across Samsung’s device family – maybe substituting a four-way joystick for the click-top so users can navigate. All we really know is the S Pen is not living up to its potential.

2. ‘Budget flagship’ version

We’re big fans of the Samsung Galaxy S10e and the standard iPhone 11 for their value as budget flagships of their respective lines, and we’d love to see a more affordable version of the Note family. This isn’t a crazy idea – there already seems to be a Note 10 Lite in production, if this leak to is to be believed.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

Samsung Galaxy Note 10

But if a Lite version of the last Note isn’t in the cards, getting one in for the next version would be a great opportunity not just to get the S Pen in more hands, but to play around with the Note design in general. Previous phones in the line are sleek yet wide phablets, but why not take a page out of the Google Pixel 4’s book and give the Lite/budget flagship version a funky look?

3. Better cameras, specs, etc

Like every year, we’re hoping the Note 20 gets improvements on its predecessor – most importantly in the cameras. And since they usually get similar if not identical lens suites as in that year’s Samsung Galaxy S-series, we can hope that the developments coming in the Galaxy S11 get ported to the Note 20.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

So the rumor of a 108MP camera headed to the S20 Plus would be great to look forward to in the Note 20 – and in the same report, a 5,000mAh battery. Both are good improvements, and we’d love to see battery life extend to breach two full days, especially with the screen-intensive S Pen functionality. 

One thing we pretty much know for sure: the Note 20 will get the same Snapdragon 865 chipset headed to all top-tier Android phones in 2020, which we recently got our hands on – and found it outperformed Apple’s A13 chipset that’s in the iPhone 11 line.

4. Seamless display

While the punch-hole is certainly a less obstructive upgrade from the notch, there are still compromises: we’d love to see a screen without any break whatsoever. That probably means an under-display window for the front-facing lens, which is something a leak actually suggests might happen. 

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

Samsung Galaxy Note 10

The Note 20 might not end up being the first phone with this development, but given its status as the sleeker design-oriented flagship in Samsung’s lineup, we would like to see that big phablet display go seamless.

5. Cheaper 5G

The Galaxy Note 10 5G cost far more than its 4G counterparts with only minor spec and camera upgrades, putting connectivity to the next-gen networks out of the hands of most folks. It would be great to see this cost shrink, full stop. 

2020 probably won’t be the year that every flagship phone comes 5G-capable as a standard, but it’s going to be a lot harder to access if every 5G phone costs half again as much as its standard version. Given the Note line traditionally comes out toward the end of the year, though, Samsung could get ahead of the curve by trimming the price for a 5G Note 20 – and further differentiate it from the upcoming Galaxy S20.

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Amazon has the UK’s cheapest Samsung Note 10 deal with £281 slashed off the price

Sure, Samsung Galaxy S20 deals are impressive, with 5G capabilities, top-notch screens and flagship cameras. But it won't come as a surprise to hear that Samsung flagship quality doesn't come cheap.

Luckily, now the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is rumoured to be just around the corner, we're starting to see the older Samsung Galaxy Note 10 shed its price, with Amazon slashing a large chunk off this week.

To be exact, Amazon is offering SIM-free Galaxy Note 10 deals at a discount of 32%, bringing the price down to just £587.79. That's a £281.21 saving from the device's RRP and the cheapest UK price for the Galaxy Note 10.

Realistically, that's the cheapest price you're going to get on this phone, beating out any Samsung Galaxy Note 10 deals. Simply invest in a cheap SIM only deal to finish off the package.

  • Want to see the competition? Check out our guide to the best iPhone deals

This SIM-free Samsung Galaxy Note 10 deal in full:

What's the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 like?

Under the hood of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, you will find 8GB RAM and a 3500mAh battery, making this a pretty powerful device. And the 'S' pen – a tool for productivity through your phone – is back, too and smarter than ever.

On the outside you'll notice a triple camera set-up. That gives you access to not just a  wide-angle camera and optical zoom but also 4K video, optical image stabilisation and 'bokeh' video abilites.

You can read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 10 review for more information

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