Samsung today announced the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus, splitting the Note 10 into two distinct models. Display size is the most obvious difference between the two devices, but there are a few other differentiators.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is the hero model, sporting a higher resolution display and a few extra bells and whistles. The Note 10 feels a bit like the Galaxy S10e, making a few compromises in order to keep the price tag down.
After Samsung’s experiment with multiple S10 variants, it’s not surprising to see the Note 10 now comes in two flavors. But which option best suits you? Here’s everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: Possibly the most beautiful Note yet
Over the last few years, Samsung’s design philosophy has centered around subtle refinement, and this continues with the Note 10 and the Note 10 Plus.
The new Note 10 and Note 10 Plus inherit the S10’s Infinity-O display but with a slight improvement — the small camera hole is now in the top-center of the device. The smaller punch hole helps the Note 10 achieve the smallest bezels ever seen on a Samsung device, though it did make a small sacrifice in the process. While the Galaxy Note 9 had an 8MP camera with an f/1.7 aperture, its successor switches to a 10MP camera with a less impressive f/2.2. It’s hard to say whether or not this change will noticeably affect the quality of selfies.
Samsung brings its A-game when it comes to design, resulting in the most beautiful Note yet.
The Galaxy Note 10’s glass and aluminum sandwich have been tweaked a little as well. The glass now wraps around the device even more, resulting in a reduced aluminum frame. This change arguably makes it look even more elegant, but it also could make the device a bit harder to hold.
Samsung’s last major decision change has to do with the infamous Bixby button. Samsung moved the power button to the left side of the device, taking up the spot originally occupied by Samsung’s digital assistant. While there’s no longer a dedicated Bixby button, the power button now doubles as a way to launch Samsung’s digital assistant.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: The camera gets a few new tricks
Samsung has been a leader in the mobile camera space for years but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. As we’re seeing with most 2019 flagships, Samsung’s latest flagship ditches the dual-camera approach from the Note 9 in favor of more sensors.
The Note 10 Plus features an ultra-wide 16MP shooter with an f/2.2 aperture and field-of-view of 123 degrees, a wide-angle 12MP shooter with a variable aperture of f/1.5 to f/2.4 and optical image stabilization, and a 12MP telephoto shooter with an aperture of f/2.1 and optical image stabilization. It also adds new depth camera which utilizes VGA with an aperture of f/1.4 and a field-of-view of 80 degrees.
Samsung continues to put much of its focus into mastering the mobile camera.
The design of the Samsung camera array has also changed, with the cameras positioned vertically on the left side of the phone’s rear. Samsung has also separated extra sensors like flash and the depth camera, positioning them to the right of the main cameras. It even added a few new sensors to make handheld video smoother, such as a Super-Steady feature that uses a gyroscope with an updated refresh rate.
The hardware isn’t the only change to the Note’s camera, as Samsung has also introduced a few new software features, all geared towards improving the video experience. Zoom-In Mic lets you select a focus point in a video to make it louder as you zoom in and live-focus video adds effects like live bokeh or color pop. There’s also an AR Doodle feature that lets you draw on a subject and have it reflect in 3D space. Lastly, Samsung now offers a built-in video editor that makes it easy to cut together clips right from your phone.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: The power user device you’re used to
The Samsung Galaxy Note has a reputation for being the device of choice for power users, packing the latest and greatest specs and leaving out very little. In 2019 the Note 10 Plus takes on this role, with the Note 10 taking a backseat as the “cheaper” model.
The Note 10 Plus is powered by Snapdragon 855 SoC (or the Samsung Exynos 9825 in select markets), which might not be quite as impressive as the Snapdragon 855 Plus, but it still a beast of a chipset. It has a whopping 12GB of RAM, which might be overkill but should ensure the phone is as future proof as possible. Complementing this processing power is a beautiful 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a resolution of 3,040 x 1,440 and HDR10+ certification.
The Note 10 Plus is one of the first phones on the market to feature UFS 3.0 storage, which offers extremely high data transfer speeds that should help with tremendously app load times. To date, the only other devices with this storage tech are the OnePlus 7 series and the Asus ROG Phone 2. There are two storage configurations, with your choice of 256GB or 512GB. If you need even more space, there’s a microSD card slot built in.
The Note 10 Plus is clearly built with the power user in mind, except for one omission.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus has a 4,300mAh battery which isn’t massive but is comparable to past Note models. There’s also fast charging support, though Samsung only includes a 25-watt charger in the box. If you want to charge your phone even faster you’ll have to buy the optional 45-watt charger. Aside from traditional fast charging, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus supports wireless fast charging at 15 watts (versus the 12-watt charging you’ll find on the standard Note 10).
Another 2019 staple is the inclusion of an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor under the display. Despite saving room and looking cool, under display fingerprint scanners typically aren’t as reliable as traditional readers. We’ll be taking a closer look at to see if Samsung has made any improvements on this in our full review.
Samsung’s power-user features continue with the S-Pen. The Note 10’s stylus ditches the two-tone design of the Note 9 stylus in favor of a single piece of plastic. It also adds several new features including Air Actions, a feature found in the Galaxy Tab S6. This lets you zoom the camera or even swipe through your gallery with the S-Pen. Samsung also lets you zoom in and edit handwriting, convert it to text, or even send it straight to Microsoft Word.
The last major power user feature is an improved Samsung Dex mode. While Dex probably isn’t a must-have feature for anyone, Samsung has refined it a lot over the years, though this latest implementation is by far the best. Samsung’s Dex feature has always required a direct connection to a monitor to work. While that’s still an option, you can now connect to any PC or monitor with a standard USB cable. Dex will then appear as a separate window on your Windows desktop, letting you easily manage files and run apps from your phone on your laptop or desktop computer.
Outside of Dex, Microsoft and Samsung worked together to introduce a “Link to Windows” feature that lets you wirelessly receive texts, notifications, and photos directly on your computer.
The Note 10 Plus is certainly a power user’s dream, but there is one glaring omission. The Note 10 Plus has removed the headphone jack. It was a long time coming and while it’s far from a dealbreaker for many of us, we know it’s a feature that some aren’t going to be happy to see go.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10: The S10e of the Note world
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is powered by the same Snapdragon 855, or Samsung Exynos 9825 as its bigger brother, though it features slightly less RAM at 8GB. If the Note 10 Plus is trying to be the kitchen sink option then the Note 10 would best be described as the lower-cost alternative, and that makes for a few interesting compromises.
The 6.3-inch display is not only slightly smaller than the Note 9 before it, it also ditches Quad HD+ in favor if Full HD+ (1080p). The battery is also quite a bit smaller than the Notes of the past, sporting just 3,500mAh. It’s likely that the 1080p display will result in battery life that’s not much different than your typical Note device, but it still seems pretty small compared to what we’re used to.
The Note 10 does offer the same 256GB of high-speed UFS 3.0 memory, though without a 512GB option. There’s also no microSD or headphone jack.
The rest of the features are largely the same as the Plus. This includes the same great camera, though it is missing the VGA sensor found on the Note 10 Plus.
Note 10 and Note 10 Plus will both offer 5G variants in select regions
5G is still in its infancy but it’s quickly becoming a hot topic. In order to keep up with the trend, Samsung will offer 5G variants of the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus. The former will only launch in South Korea while the latter is coming to the U.S. Initially, the Note 10 Plus 5G will only be offered through Verizon but this is expected to be a limited time exclusive, and so it’s very likely the phone will make its way to other carriers as well.
The Note 10 5G is expected to be identical to the LTE model. Samsung hasn’t said much about the Note Plus 5G but it is possible it will have a few extra tricks up its sleeve, similar to the Galaxy S10 5G.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and 10 Plus price and availability
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus will start at $949 and $1,099 respectively. Both models will be offered in your choice of Aura Glow, Aura White, Aura Black, and Aura Blue. Unfortunately, we don’t have pricing details for the 512GB Note 10 Plus or any of the 5G variants just yet.
You’ll be able to pre-order the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus starting tomorrow, August 8. The Note 10 series will officially go on sale starting August 23, 2019. It’s unclear if the 5G model will arrive at the same time or slightly after, though we’ll be sure to update this post as we learn more.
That’s everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10 Plus. Check out the rest of our Note 10 content via the slider below and be sure to let us know your thoughts on the series in the comments!