The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a ton of notable features, from the improved S Pen and 120Hz screen to the 50x Space Zoom camera. But the most interesting feature for me is the DeX mode, which is greatly enhanced with this large screen phone.
For the first time ever, DeX connects fully wirelessly on a Samsung phone, delivering a desktop-like experience on a TV, allowing you to run multiple apps simultaneously on the big screen. You can also stream movies, videos, or even games to your TV, albeit with the hassle then. This is the same wireless DeX mode found on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
To get started, all you have to do is swipe down from the top of the Note 20 Ultra’s screen and press the DeX button. From there, the phone starts searching for a nearby TV or streaming device that supports the Miracast standard. I have DeX wireless mode to work on a 55-inch TCL Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Roku Streaming Stick Plus, but spend most of my time using the TV.
After connecting to my Roku TV, I saw the Samsung DeX logo appear on the screen and then a desktop environment appeared. There are desktop app icons for your files, Gallery, Google Apps, and Play Store, but you can also add more apps to the desktop.
What can DeX Wireless Mode do on the Note 20 Ultra?
I started by turning the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra into a virtual mouse. Once connected to the TV, you can swipe down from the top of the screen and turn on the virtual touchpad. I just need to swipe my finger on the phone screen to move the cursor. The movement was a bit slower than I would have liked, but I had no problem selecting an icon or opening an app.
I started with the Google Photos app, where I could see the pictures I took with the Note 20 Ultra’s camera on the big screen. You can also go full screen on apps, but I’m required to adjust settings on my phone. Annoyingly, in some cases I also had to re-launch the apps so they were in full screen mode. Still, it’s nice to be able to scroll through my library and show my kids the pictures I’ve taken on TV.
I have also tried running a few other apps, including Twitter and Netflix. You can run several apps at the same time on your desktop, so you really feel like multitasking. And this is something you can’t do with AirPlay on iPhone. The streaming of Netflix from my phone to my TV was also great, and the performance was pretty steady when I watched an episode of Umbrella Academy.
The game continues!
Curious to know if DeX mode can handle gaming on a 55-inch TV, I paired the PS4 controller over Bluetooth with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Then I started a couple of games to see how well the DeX mode could handle them.
I started with Fortnite and my 12-year-old boy took control to see how well this title is organized during his regular PS4 sessions. Overall, the action is still quite smooth on the display, but we did see pixelation here and there. Also, the PS4 controller doesn’t respond immediately to the Note 20 Ultra like it does with the console. Still, I’m under the impression that the test worked.
Playing Asphalt 9 is another story. With much faster paced action, gameplay being repeated several times in our race, which makes it difficult to stay in the right direction. And the graphics sometimes look fuzzy.
The bottom line
The software on my Galaxy Note 20 Ultra isn’t the final software yet, so I’m not ready to make a final verdict on how well the wireless DeX mode works. But it’s a huge step forward to being able to stream apps to a big screen TV without a dock or protective device, and enjoy a desktop environment that lets you multitask. I just want to see smoother cursor movements and more stable gameplay.