When I picked up the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, it felt like I used to be holding essentially the most highly effective and delightful cellphone on the planet. A 6.3-inch show, near-bezel-less design, triple-camera array, and supercharged S Pen are all crammed into an impossibly compact design. And then I picked up the Note 10+.
For the primary time within the Note’s storied historical past, there are two sizes to select from, and the distinction between the 2 fashions couldn’t be clearer. While Samsung has arrange the Galaxy S10 and S10+ smartphones to be principally bigger and smaller variations of the identical system, the Note 10+ is a transparent improve from the Note 10—a lot in order that many followers probably gained’t even take into account the smaller, lower-end mannequin.
First, let’s evaluation the specs, which actually don’t inform the entire story…
Galaxy Note 10
- Dimensions: 71.8 x 151 x 7.9mm
- Display: 6.3-inch AMOLED FHD 2280 x 1080
- Processor: Snapdragon 855
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 256GB
- Camera: 12MP telephoto Camera, f/2.1, OIS + 12MP wide-angle, twin f/1.5-f/2.4, OIS + 16MP Ultra huge (123 levels), f/2.1
- Battery: 3,500mAh
Galaxy Note 10+
- Dimensions: 77.2 x 162.3 x 7.9mm
- Display: 6.8-inch AMOLED QHD 3040 x 1440
- Processor: Snapdragon 855
- RAM: 12GB
- Storage: 256GB/512GB
- Camera: 12MP telephoto Camera, f/2.1, OIS + 12MP wide-angle, twin f/1.5-f/2.4, OIS + 16MP Ultra huge (123 levels), f/2.1 + DepthVision
- Battery: 4,300mAh
While the 6.8-inch show may make the Note 10+ look like a monster on paper, it’s not practically so huge in individual. In reality, its body is roughly the identical dimension because the 6.4-inch Note 9’s (76.4 x 161.9 x 8.8mm). That’s as a result of Samsung has significantly trimmed down the bezels on the Note 10 collection, a lot in order that the non-plus model feels downright puny. It’s not simply smaller than the Note 9 and the Note 8 both. Millimeter for millimeter, it’s essentially the most compact Note because the Note 2, and its show is definitely a tenth of an inch smaller than the Note 9’s.
That makes the Note 10 really feel much less like the most recent within the lineage of premium phablets and extra like a Galaxy S cellphone that occurs to have a stylus. That’s not a criticism, nor does the Note 10 feels low-cost and even inferior. It simply doesn’t really feel like a Note. In reality, Samsung made its motivations clear throughout my briefing: This is the Note for individuals who’ve at all times wished a Note, however have been delay by its dimension. It’s actually spectacular that Samsung was capable of pack such a large-screened and high-performing system into such a small bundle, however I don’t suppose long-time Note followers will respect the dip in display dimension, even whether it is only a tenth of an inch.
Other tweaks—just like the comparatively low-res HD display and the shortage of an MicroSD card slot, each nonstarters for Note die-hards—solely drive house that notion additional. For the primary time, Samsung has made a Note that Note followers in all probability will not need.
The Note 10+, however, is each inch a phablet. Its display is the largest I’ve utilized in a Samsung cellphone (or in any cellphone for that matter), and it consists of the high-end options which can be lacking from the smaller Note 10, primarily a Quad HD 1440p show. The distinction between the 2 shows is apparent at even a primary look. Even after a short while with it, I’ve no qualms about declaring the Note 10+’s show as one of the best to ever grace a smartphone.
Like on the S10, the Note 10+’s dynamic AMOLED show is a stunner. The Note 10’s design enhances it much more, with barely any bezels and a extra symmetrical digital camera cutout. It’s the closest I’ve gotten to holding a floating pane of touchscreen glass in my hand. That mentioned, the Note 10 continues to be very a lot a Note, all the way down to its trademark tight corners, flat edges, and shell colours, which in fact consists of the same old white, black, and blue. There’s additionally a brand new “Aura Glow” iridescent choice that adjustments shade based mostly on how the sunshine strikes it.
Less and extra
Samsung used the phrase “purposeful” a number of instances throughout my briefing, and its deliberate design course of is obvious in two apparent methods: the elimination of each the Bixby button and the headphone jack.
Samsung has lastly succumbed to iPhone-led peer strain, dumping the legacy port from one among its flagship telephones. That’s in all probability not going to sit down too nicely with Note followers, and it’s undoubtedly stunning that Samsung selected this cellphone because the sacrificial lamb and never the Galaxy S.
Samsung mentioned the headphone jack was eliminated to make the system extra compact, and at 7.9mm, there’s no denying its thinness. But it’s truly a tenth of a millimeter thicker than the S10, so clearly there simply wasn’t room for 2 holes on the Note 10 anymore. And Samsung wasn’t about to sacrifice the Note 10’s id—the S Pen—for a legacy audio jack. To compensate, Samsung is offering a pair of AKG USB-C earbuds within the field, however in the event you’re planning on utilizing a pair of wired headphones, it’s BYOD (carry your individual dongle).
The lack of the Bixby button in all probability gained’t be lamented by Note followers, however it’s no much less of a stunning determination. As with Bixby itself, the devoted button on Galaxy telephones has been round because the S8, however with the Note 10, Samsung has dumped it in favor of a customizable energy button. Curiously, it’s in the identical spot because the Bixby button, under the quantity rocker on the left edge, leaving the precise facet utterly easy. It’s an odd sensation that may take some severe getting used to, however it wouldn’t be a Samsung flagship with out not less than one head-scratching design determination.
Gestures with a wand
The S Pen slot stays in its common spot within the backside proper nook, and like prior Note updates, the S Pen brings some new tips to the get together. The stylus itself has gotten one thing of a revamp, with a brand new unibody shell and a barely extra ergonomic design. It’s the identical dimension as earlier than and simply as skinny, however holding it able to make use of the button undoubtedly feels extra pure.
Samsung has leveraged the Bluetooth chip that was launched with final 12 months’s Note to pump up the Note 10’s distant powers. In addition to launching apps and pausing music, you may as well wave the Note 10’s S Pen to do issues like change the digital camera mode and zoom. It labored nicely sufficient once I tried it, however the meant use instances appear awfully restricted. Plus, the entire mechanism is more likely to be overshadowed by what’s coming within the Pixel 4 and its Soli-powered radars.
Far extra helpful is the Note’s new handwriting conversion algorithm. Converting your S Notes into usable textual content is hardly a brand new idea for the Note, however Samsung is making a a lot greater deal out of it this time round, celebrating a machine-learning algorithm that has been fed a whole bunch of 1000’s of handwriting samples. As you scribble, your Note will routinely start deciphering what you write in additional than 60 languages, so that you’ll be capable to search your notes even in the event you don’t convert them to be used in one other app. In the demo I used to be proven, the Note simply and immediately transformed a sloppy word to a usable Word file with all punctuation and spacing intact.
Bells and whistles
The rear digital camera on the Note 10 and Note 10+ are the identical as those on the S10 and S10 5G, respectively, so that you’ll get a fourth depth-sensing lens on the larger mannequin for crisp portraits. The S10’s Live Focus Video and Super Steady mode make an look, in addition to an improved on-device video editor, however for essentially the most half, the digital camera can be a suitable, however hardly groundbreaking enchancment over the Note 9.
Other advertising and marketing bells and whistles embody the “slimmest vapor chamber” cooling mechanism, 45W quick charging, and AR Doodle, all of which could have little to no impact on the overwhelming majority of Note 10 customers’ day-to-day experiences. Because the Note 10 is a 2019 flagship cellphone, there will even be a 5G model of the Plus mannequin, which can be unique to Verizon for a restricted time.
The Note 10 and Note 10+ can be out there for pre-order starting Friday for $950 and $1,100, respectively. They will hit cabinets on August 23.