Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (Plus)
Front Camera: 10MP
Rear Camera: 12MP + 16MP + 12MP + 0.3MP
RAM : 12GB
Storage: 128 GB / 256 GB
Display: 6.80-inch (1440×3040)
Battery : 4300mAh
OS: Android 9 Pie
Processor: Samsung Exynos 9825
The Galaxy Note 10+ will be too expensive for some people. It’ll be too big for others. Some will balk at its lack of a headphone jack and a few might really want a dual selfie cam. For those people, there’s the Galaxy S10+, which is an excellent alternative that checks off all of the above boxes without sacrificing too much of what the Note 10+ brings.
But if the four drawbacks I list above aren’t an issue, the Galaxy Note 10+ should quickly become your favorite phone of all time. No matter what handset you’re upgrading from, the Note 10+ will be an improvement, likely a significant one. It’s not just the speed or the display .
The closest yet to an small-screen design
The first thing you’ll notice about the Note+ is what it doesn’t have. Namely, bezels. Samsung has somehow trimmed the area above and below the display beyond even what the Galaxy S phones brought earlier this year, giving the Note 10+ a real full-screen feel. They bezels are so skinny, I didn’t even mind the extra millimeter of space on the bottom.
Without the Note 9’s bezel, which held the front camera, receiver/speaker, and various sensors, Samsung has gotten creative with the 10+. Like the S10, there’s a hole in the screen for the camera, but the centered circle is way easier on the eyes than the S10’s right-corner design. It’s still too low to center itself in the status bar, but most of the time, I barely noticed the camera on the Note 10+ .
The back of the Note 10+ repositions the camera array in the left corner—a first for the Note line—and introduces a new Aura Glow color that turns the back of your phone into a mirror prism. It’s a cool look when the light hits it just right, but it’ll pick up more fingerprints than a glass door in an elementary school after a Popsicle party.
Along with the camera, the left side of the phone is also where you’ll find the devices’s two lone buttons: the volume rocker and the power button.
Big screen pushes the limits
With little else to distract your gaze on the front of the phone, the screen gets all of the attention, and it’s absolutely up to the task. In no uncertain terms, the Note 10+’s 3,040 x 1440 display is the best I’ve ever laid eyes on, with impressive brightness, remarkable color accuracy, and impeccable uniformity. The only thing it’s missing is a higher refresh rate like the One Plus 7 Pro, but even at the standard 60Hz, its still impressive.
One massive improvement over the S10+ is the fingerprint sensor. It’s still an ultrasonic sensor, unlike the optical sensor in the One Plus 7 Pro and Galaxy A50, but it’s loads more reliable here. The constant rescans that I had to do on the S10 weren’t an issue on the Note 10+, and I was able to unlock the phone as mindlessly as I did with a physical scanner. For this we can thank the placement of the sensor, which is a good deal higher than it is on the S10 and in a more natural spot. But Samsung has also given the sensor a serious speed boost, so you no longer have to hold your finger on it for more than a split-second. After several generations of Galaxy flagship phone fingerprint sensors that were less than good, the Note 10+ finally nails it.
The Note 10+’s size presents some issues though. Don’t get me wrong, the Note 10+ isn’t alone in its immensity.
The Note 10+ uses the same Snapdragon 855 processor as the Galaxy S10, which is to say it’s basically the fastest phone you can buy. The newer 855+ processor might beat it in some tests, but the 12GB of RAM and super-speedy and spacious 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage puts the Note 10+ ahead of its 855 peers. Apps launched incredibly fast and didn’t need to reload nearly as often, and the recent apps screen was populated with nearly 50 screens. And the vapor chamber cooling system that seemed like a gimmick on paper actually did keep the phone noticeably cooler than other 855 handsets.
Even before Android 10 arrives, One UI on the Note 10+ is one of the most pleasurable Android skins I’ve used, rivaling even the Pixel phones for out-of-the-box smoothness. Controls are smart, gestures are intuitive, and it feels like an elegant, modern operating system built for the hardware that runs it. If you’re upgrading from a Note 5 or a Galaxy S7 that’s still on Touchwiz, the difference will be visually striking and probably a bit jarring particularly if you turn on the ultra-black Night Mode, but you wont need to use it for very long to see just how much of an upgrade it is.
More S Pen – New Way to Do Things
Samsung has once again added some new tricks to the Note 10’s signature feature, the S Pen, but the implementation is just as half-baked as last year. Samsung built Bluetooth into its mini stylus with the launch of the Note 9 so it doubled as a remote, but it never built out functionality beyond rudimentary camera controls and music playback.
On the Note 10, the stylus can act as a sort of magic wand, so Instead of simply clicking to advance a track, you can wave your hand to change the camera mode or raise the volume from a distance. Does it work? For the most part, yes, though some of the gestures are tricky. Is it useful? Not really. Since the S Pen is generally docked inside the Note, it takes more planning to use Air Actions than the other S Pen features. I suppose there could be a situation where you prop up your S Pen to take a group photo and use the S Pen as a shutter, but it’s certainly not a feature you’re going to use every day.
Far more useful is the optical character recognition built into Samsung Notes.
Extra cameras yield similar results
•Camera 2: 12MP Wide, f/1.5-f/2.4
•Camera 4: DepthVision
The fourth camera is the same time-of-flight lens Samsung introduced on the Galaxy S10+ 5G, and it’s responsible for sharper live focus images and videos as well as AR applications. The bundled Measure app works as well, but so do the ones on the Pixel and iPhone, without a 3D camera. The S Pen-powered AR Doodle is way more unique and fun, using the camera to track drawings you make on faces, but I don’t know how often people will use it. There’s also a 3D scanner built in that I had no luck with, but with patience, people have been able to generate usable images.
The 3D camera will mostly be used for portraits, and it’s there where the S10+ excels. Live focus images were excellent, with crisp edges and recognition of the tiniest details, but the differences between the Note 10+ and the S10+ or even the Note 9 are marginal. You’ll need to zoom in on the image above to see the fine details that the Note 10+ picked up.
As far as the other three cameras go, you’ll certainly take great pics with the Note 10+, but they’re no better or worse than the other Galaxy phones Samsung sells.
Ready To buy a Galaxy Note 10+?
There probably isn’t anything I wrote in this review that’s going to sway you to buy or not buy a Galaxy Note 10+. With an $1,100 price tag and top-of-the-line everything, it’s geared toward the Android user who wants the best, and boy, does it deliver.
And really, there’s no reason to wait. The Note 11+ will have a better camera and maybe a few display and design tweaks, but there isn’t too much Samsung can do to make it all that much better than the Note 10+.
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Should you buy Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ in 2020?
The Galaxy Note 10+ has dropped in price and it still has the killer looks and extensive feature set to make you consider it, even against newer phones in 2020.
- Stunning display
- Excellent cameras
- Very good battery life
- Bundled charger is really fast
- Camera Scene Optimiser needs tweaks
- Size and weight could be issues for some users
Specification: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (Plus)