The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has many notable features, from S Pen upgrades and a 120Hz display to a 50x zoom camera. But the most appealing feature to me is the DeX mode, which gets a big update with this widescreen phone.
For the first time, DeX runs completely wirelessly on a Samsung phone, which delivers a desktop-like experience to the TV, allowing you to run multiple applications simultaneously on the big screen. You can also stream movies, videos or even games to your TV, though the latter proved to be tricky. Here’s how DeX wireless mode is 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 screen and press the DeX key. From there, the phone will start searching for nearby TVs or streaming devices that support the Miracast standard. I got the DeX wireless mode to work on a 55-inch TCL Roku TV, an Amazon Amazon Fire TV and a Roku Streaming Stick Plus, but I spent most of my time using the TV.
After connecting to my Roku TV, I saw the Samsung DeX logo splash on the screen and then a desktop environment appeared. There are on-screen app icons for your files, Gallery, Google Apps, and Play Store, but you can also add other desktop apps.
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 a TV, you can swipe from the top of the screen and activate the virtual keyboard. I just ran my finger across the phone screen to move the cursor. The movement was a bit slower than I would have liked, but I had no problem selecting icons or opening apps.
I started with the Google Photos app, where I could view the images I shot with the Note 20 Ultra camera on the big screen. You can also enter full screen mode in apps, but it was required to shake a setting on the phone. Annoyingly, in some cases I even had to restart apps so that they would go full screen. Still, it was good to be able to scroll through my gallery and show my kids the photos I took on TV.
I have also tried running several other programs, including Twitter and Netflix. You can run several applications at the same time on the desktop, so it really feels like you are multitasking. And this is something you can not do with AirPlay on iPhone. It was also nice to stream Netflix from my phone to my TV, and the performance remained pretty steady as I watched an episode of Umbrella Academy.
The game begins!
Curious to see if DeX mode could handle games on a 55-inch TV, I paired a PS4 controller over Bluetooth on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Then I threw in a few games to see how well DeX could handle them.
I started with Fortnite, and my 12-year-old took checks to see how well the title held up in its regular PS4 sessions. Overall, the action remained fairly quiet on screen, but we saw pixelation here and there. Moreover, the PS4 controller was not as responsive instantly with the Note 20 Ultra as it is with the keyboard. However, I was impressed that the experiment worked.
Playing Asphalt 9 was a different story. With a much faster move, the game stuttered several times during our race, which made it difficult to stay on track. And the graphs also looked smooth sometimes.
The software on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is not final, so I’m not ready to give the final judgment on how well DeX wireless mode works yet. But it is a big step forward to be able to stream applications to a large screen TV without the dock or dongle, as well as enjoy a desktop environment that allows you to multitask. I would just like to see smoother cursor movement and a more consistent game.