Samsung Galaxy Note 10/10+ hands-on review: twice as much Note for 2019


With the Galaxy Note 10, Samsung has launched its hot smartphone for late summer with much aplomb. We went hands-on with the new Galaxy Note 10 this week, and one thing is clear: Samsung doesn’t pull any punches this year, and the Note line is growing!

Samsung pitches the Galaxy Note 10 high

Let’s first look at the prices and the different variants of the Galaxy Note 10, because it’s more complicated than usual. Samsung offers the Galaxy Note in two versions: with and without “Plus” tag. Advance sale begins immediately, and you can expect your new Note to be delivered from 23 August.

The basic Galaxy Note 10 has 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, which is not expandable. It is offered as a dual SIM smartphone and costs $949. The Galaxy Note 10+ has 12 GB of RAM and costs $1,049 with 256 GB of storage and $1,199 with 512 GB. The Note 10+ is also a dual SIM smartphone, and the memory can also be expanded.

If you prefer a 5G modem instead of more storage, you can also buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G. The price ranges between $1,299 and $1,399.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is much bigger / © AndroidPIT

NOTE: You can see the new Galaxy Note 10 in action in the video below. Please consider that this was shot by our German team at an event in Berlin, and thus is in German. We decided to include the video anyway, so you can see the new Note 10 and Note Plus in action, as well as the other products Samsung launched as part of the Unboxed Event. We’ll be doing a full video review of the new phones in English just as soon as we can.

Finally we have options for size

A Galaxy Note has never been one thing: small and handy.
The new Note is no exception, at least in its Plus form. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus with its 6.8-inch display is anything but compact and also relatively wide – the aspect ratio of the screen is 19.5:9. The 5G version has a display of the same size. If you like it smaller, you can reach for the regular Galaxy Note 10, it’s much easier to handle at 6.3 inches. Samsung uses tempered glass at the front and back to protect the delicate interior. As usual, the S-Pen is located in the lower right corner of the smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is protected against dust and water in accordance with IP68.

The new Galaxy Note also conveys an impression of safety in the first test outside of certification. The smartphone has a flawless finish and, like its predecessor, looks extremely robust. At just under 8 millimeters, the Galaxy Note 10 is neither particularly thick nor thin; the weight of the Note 10 Plus is almost 200 grams (compared with 168 grams for the smaller Note 10), It is clearly noticeable in the hand.

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The triple camera sits on the back / © AndroidPIT

Headphone jack fans will be disappointed. The 3.5mm socket is now part of Galaxy Note history. Anything that does not work wirelessly is connected via USB-C. The Bixby button on the left-hand side of the smartphone has disappeared, it has been connected to the power button in the so-called Slide Key. It sits on the left below the volume rocker. The front camera looks through a small hole in the middle of the display. Samsung calls this its Infinity-O-Display.

Samsung always delivers with its displays

Samsung displays are super AMOLED displays, at least on the flagships, and this is also the case with the Galaxy Note 10 – luckily! The screen of the new Note is a feast for the eyes, which is not surprising due to the UHD+ resolution of 3,040 x 1,440 pixels (2,280 x 1,080 pixels for the smaller Note 10). Rather, it is the brutal contrasts, the brilliant colors and the impressive dynamics make the Galaxy Note 10 easy to read at any time of day. Whether you’re reading, surfing the web, playing games or watching videos,
this display is pure first class.
You’ll either have to get used to the hole for the front camera or hide it with the help of the software.

A real premier feature of the Note is in the lower part of the screen, where the fingerprint sensor is located. With the Galaxy S10, it still seemed to us to be quite slow and not always reliable. Our first test of the Galaxy Note 10 provides hope for improvement, the unlocking works faster, but this has to be confirmed in practice when we do our full review.

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The display of the Galaxy Note 10+ is a feast for the eyes / © AndroidPIT

The S-Pen becomes a magic wand

Again Samsung went big on the S-Pen. The pen, which has been the unique selling point of the Galaxy Note since the early days, remains the same when it comes to hardware, but has become a few millimeters shorter. There are new functions for this. With the new S-Pen Air Actions, you can wave the S-Pen like
a magic wand
in the air to trigger actions with gestures. For now, this is mainly done in the camera app, but the interface is open to all app developers. The S-Pen also serves as a remote control for the camera shutter release and as a remote control for presentations. You can use the pen – provided you have the appropriate software – to sign legally compliant documents. Samsung now also manages to convert your handwritten into digital text.

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The S Pen has got new functions. / © AndroidPIT

One UI is still great

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is shipped to customers with
Android 9 Pie and the current One UI
. There is no timetable for the update to Android Q yet, but the next big Android version will surely come. One UI is a system which is turning Android around comparatively strongly and which requires corresponding resources for this. Over the years Samsung software has changed a lot, everything has become much leaner, more mature and less complicated. You can adjust the optics with the help of themes according to your wishes. The pen functions of the Galaxy Note 10 are not on the other Galaxy smartphones, otherwise, the One UI here is the same as on the Galaxy S10 and S10+.

Samsung’s new chip runs the show inside

heart of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is the new Exynos 9825,
which is supposed to provide 20 percent more computing power and 45 percent more graphics power than the Exynos 9820 in the Galaxy S10 – at least in Europe. In other markets, such as the US, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 is used as the processor. It’s a bit more powerful than its Samsung counterpart, especially when it comes to graphics, but both are among the fastest smartphone processors on the market. The Galaxy Note 10, therefore, ran smoothly and fast in our first test, but looks a bit more comfortable than the OnePlus 7 Pro, for example. What the performance of the smartphone looks like in benchmarks tests has to be seen when we have the Galaxy Note 10 in the editorial department. But one thing is for sure, in terms of performance with the Galaxy Note 10, you won’t have any big problems in two or three years, even with 8 or 12GB of RAM. The internal storage starts at 256 GB in the Galaxy Note 10+ and a 512 GB option is also available.

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The headphone jack is so passé. / © AndroidPIT

Galaxy Note 10+ camera relies on proven technology

The camera of the Galaxy Note 10 corresponds as far as possible to that of the
Samsung Galaxy S10.
This is good news overall, as the Samsung camera was able to convince in most situations during our reivew. So we are dealing with a triple camera with ultra-wide-angle, a normal focal length and a dual zoom lens. The Galaxy Note 10+ comes with a TOF camera for depth detection. The triple camera looks like this:

  • 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, 123 degrees, f/2.2
  • 12-megapixel normal focal length, f/1.5 and f/2.4, OIS, 4K video at 60 fps, HDR10+
  • 12-megapixel telephoto, OIS, f/2.1, 2 x Zoom
  • TOF (only for Galaxy Note 10+)

In addition, there is a front camera with 10 megapixels, aperture f/2.2, autofocus and live focus. Video enthusiasts will enjoy the Super Steady mode and the so-called Zoom-In Mic. This turns the Galaxy Note 10+ into a directional microphone so that you can hear what is shown on the video. New are the live focus functions in the video, but in our first test of the Galaxy Note 10, it still produced some errors. It may well be better with the final firmware.

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Only the Galaxy Note 10+ has an additional TOF camera / © AndroidPIT

Differences in battery and charging speeds

The Galaxy Note 10 is designed as a workhorse, so it
needs a strong battery
. In the small Note 10 it has a capacity of 3,500 mAh, in the Galaxy Note 10+ it is 4,300 mAh. Good values, the actual endurance will have to be seen in our full reviews of the new Notes. The two new Galaxy smartphones have differences in terms of charging speed. The Galaxy Note 10+ can charge at up to 45 watts, the small one only 25 watts. The Galaxy Note 10+ charges wirelessly with up to 20 watts, the small model with a maximum of 12 watts.

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The small Galaxy Note has a much weaker battery / © AndroidPIT

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 technical specifications

Dimensions: 161.9 x 76.4 x 7.8 mm
Weight: 198 g
Screen size: 6.3 in
Front camera: 10 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels
Internal storage: 256 GB
Chipset: Samsung Exynos 9820
Number of cores: 2
Max. clock speed: 2.7 GHz
2.3 GHz
1.9 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC

Samsung offers the choice

By switching to two display sizes, Samsung is taking a step its customers will like, because not everyone needs such a huge smartphone. The small Note 10 should prove to be the more popular in the end – probably also because of the lower price. Both new Galaxy smartphones – with the 5G version we are strictly speaking three – have fine technology and many smart functions to offer. Samsung has once again upgraded the S-Pen in particular. All of this is reason enough to look forward to our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note and Note 10+.

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