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Samsung Galaxy Note 10: Let’s talk about headphone jacks

Another one bites the dust.

Published onAugust 7, 2019

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus charging port and s pen

We caught wind of Samsung ditching the headphone jack in favor of a dongle, and now it’s confirmed: neither the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 nor the Galaxy Note 10 Plus include the headphone jack.

To Samsung’s credit, a dongle is included with the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus smartphones. However, I and many others would rather see our dear 3.5mm port back rather than receive a floppy USB-C audio adapter. It looks similar to all other dongles but sports a more tapered design than the competition (e.g. Apple and Google). Regardless of who manufactures the dongle, the amount of joy it brings is the same: none.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus charging port and s pen
SoundGuys: USB-C audio is dead
AIAIAI Pipe 2.0 USB-C headphones cable plugged into LG G6 on black table.

This may work to Samsung’s benefit as more people will feel compelled to get the Samsung Galaxy Buds to couple with their Note 10 smartphones. While the headphone jack’s absence doesn’t degrade the Galaxy Buds’ performance, it’s frustrating to see the last of the big three smartphone manufacturers submit to Apple’s trendsetting.

It’s just a dongle. Stop getting worked up.

You’re right. On the surface, it is just a dongle. Carrying around another accessory isn’t the end of the world. Inconvenient, sure, but manageable. That said, think of when your partner randomly snaps at you about loading the dishwasher. Their aggravation likely focuses on a deep-seated issue, rather than your forgetfulness.

The problem isn't the dongle, it's how smartphone manufactures ignore what consumers want.

That’s exactly what’s happened with smartphone audio. It’s not about the dongle. It’s about smartphone manufactures not listening to consumers. Taken a step further, it’s about their transgressions which are in clear opposition to what users want.

It’s not just the headphone jack’s disappearance that’s upsetting Samsung fans, though. While the Note 10 Plus will offer expandable storage, the standard Galaxy Note 10 no longer includes microSD expansion. The specs this year are perplexing. Last year’s Galaxy Note 9, while a little heavier and thicker, included both a headphone jack and expandable storage. It also had a larger battery than the Galaxy Note 10 (4,000mAh vs. 3,500mAh).

Does this mean we’re experiencing a USB-C audio revival?

USB-C, headphone jack: Google Pixel 3 with USB-C headphones connected and Nintendo Switch controller in top left corner of image.
The Google Pixel 3 was the first of Google’s flagships to ditch the headphone jack.


Perhaps if we were seeing a horde of new USB-C headphone and audio products that would be the case. Instead, companies are throwing us dongles the way I throw my dog a bone: to satiate and distract her, allowing me to do as I please.

Samsung’s design choices do show how companies are making a concerted effort to drum up sales for their wireless audio products. While the Apple AirPods still reign as the most popular true-wireless earbuds, the Samsung Galaxy Buds may close the gap with the headphone jack’s omission.

No matter who’s king of the mobile audio hill, consumer preference goes unheard. Companies need to make money, and I’m not faulting them for that. It’s the blatant lack of attention to various fanbases that’s irritating. Until an influential smartphone manufacturer admits its follies and returns the headphone jack to its rightful place — in a phone, not a dongle — consumers lose out.

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