The Galaxy Note 10 phones are big upgrades over the Note 8 in almost every aspect. Just a quick glance at the list of specs and features alone might tempt you to ditch your Note 8 for one of Samsung’s latest flagships, but that doesn’t mean you should do it. It really comes down to your wants and needs.
In this Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Note 10 showdown, we tell both sides of the story. We first give you the major reasons why you should upgrade to either the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 or Galaxy Note 10 Plus and then talk about a few reasons to keep your old Note 8. That way, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on your own.
Reason to upgrade: An improved S Pen
The S Pen is one of the main reasons why people buy a Note device. If you don’t care about Samsung’s stylus, you might as well get one of the latest Galaxy S phones. The S Pen that comes with the Note 10 and 10 Plus is way better than the one you get with the Note 8. It supports Bluetooth Low Energy and allows you to remotely control certain features of the phones. You can use it to take pictures, skip songs in apps like Spotify, and even change slides when giving a PowerPoint presentation.
These S Pen features made their debut with the Note 9, and more were added with the Note 10 series. Air Actions are one of them, which let you get things done by swiping the S Pen through the air — without touching the display. In the camera app, for example, you can change the camera mode by swiping left or right, switch between the front and back cameras by swiping up or down, and even zoom or our with a circular motion.
Another great new S Pen feature on the Note 10 is the ability to convert handwriting to digital text. You can then paste the text into an email or convert it into a Microsoft Word document.
Reason to upgrade: Better, more versatile cameras
Samsung has improved its camera tech since the Note 8, which sports two rear sensors. The Galaxy Note 10 phones both feature standard, wide, and telephoto lenses at the back, giving you plenty of versatility when taking pictures. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus comes with an additional VGA camera, which is specifically designed to detect depth.
The camera alone is a good enough reason to upgrade to the Note 10.
One of the cameras on the Note 10 phones can switch between two apertures — f/1.5 and f/2.4 — to capture better images at night. The camera setup also has a bunch of other cool features including Live-Focus Video for adding effects like live bokeh or color pop in real-time and AR Doodle that lets you draw on a subject and have it reflect in 3D space.
We haven’t properly tested out the cameras on the Note 10, but they offer a lot more than the ones of the Note 8 on paper and should produce better images. If you’re into photography, the cameras alone are a good enough reason to upgrade.
Reason to upgrade: More power, RAM, and base storage
The Galaxy Note 8 is no slouch, despite being two years old. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 835 (or Exynos 8895 chipset outside the U.S.) has 6GB of RAM, and comes with 64GB of base storage. However, the Note 10 phones have it resoundingly beat in all three areas.
The Note 10 and Note 10 Plus are powered by the Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9825, which are faster and more power-efficient than the chipsets in the Galaxy Note 8. The Note 10 also packs 8GB, while the Plus model has 12GB on board. This may be an overkill, but it does make the device future-proof.
There’s also more base storage at 256GB and it has UFS 3.0 storage, which offers higher speeds than the Note 8’s UFS 2.1 storage. All these things combined mean that you’ll be able to get things done faster on the Note 10 phones versus the Note 8. The difference isn’t night and day, but it’s noticeable.
Reason to upgrade: Bigger battery with faster charging
The Note 8 packs a 3,300mAh cell, which translates to average battery life. The Note 10, which sports the same screen size as the Note 8 at 6.3-inches, is an improvement in this area thanks to its larger 3,500mAh battery, a more power-efficient chipset, and a lower resolution display (Full HD+ vs QHD+). On paper, you should expect better battery life from the Note 10.
The Note 10 Plus takes things a step forward with a massive 4,300mAh battery, but it does have a larger screen at 6.8 inches. Regardless, we expect it to outlast the battery of the Note 8.
But it’s not just the battery life that matters. An important part is also how fast can you get the battery from 0 to 100%, which is where the Note 10 series has a major leg up on the Note 8. The Galaxy Note 10 supports 25-watt charging, while the Plus model supports 45-watt charging. The Note 8, on the other hand, offers slower charging at 15 watts.
Reason to upgrade: Bigger screen, same footprint
The Galaxy Note 10 is roughly the same size as the Note 8 but has a larger display — 6.8-inches vs 6.3-inches. The reason it sports a higher screen-to-body ratio is thanks to its punch-hole selfie camera and thinner bezels. If you do a lot of gaming, watch loads on videos, and are constantly surfing the web, a bigger screen is always better.
But in case you want something smaller, the Note 10 is the one for you. It’s not a small phone by any measure, but it is smaller than the Note 8 despite having the same screen size. It’s also 27g lighter. The screen-to-body ratio is more or less the same as the one of the Plus model.
Other reasons to upgrade
There are a few other reasons to upgrade from the Note 8 to the Note 10. The ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner is one of them, which is more modern and practical than the rear-mounted scanner of the Note 8 that’s weirdly placed next to the camera sensor. Then there are the stereo speakers tuned by AKG, which should provide better sound quality, and reverse wireless charging that lets you charge other compatible devices by placing them on the back of the Note 10.
Read next: Galaxy Note 10 Plus vs OnePlus 7 Pro
Next up is the design: the Note 10 looks a lot more modern and stylish than the Note 8, although this comes down to personal preference. And let’s not forget to mention the option of 5G connectivity (only for the Note 10 Plus in Western markets) and an improved Samsung Dex — learn more here.
Reasons to stick with the Galaxy Note 8
Despite being two years old and offering less power as well as features than the Note 10 phones, there are still a few reasons why you should stick with the Note 8. The first thing you have to figure out is exactly what you want from a phone. If the Note 8 still offers everything you need and you don’t care about the better cameras of the Note 10 and all its other extra bells and whistles, there’s no real reason to upgrade. Overall, the Note 8 is still a great phone.
Then there’s the headphone jack, which is still a deal-breaker for many. The Note 8 has it, while the Note 10 series does not. So if you aren’t ready to make the switch to wireless headphones and hate the idea of using a dongle to plug your wired headphones into the phone, you’re better off sticking with the Note 8.
Expandable storage is another thing to consider. The Note 8 supports it, as does the Note 10 Plus. However, you won’t find a microSD card slot on the regular Note 10 for some reason. But this shouldn’t be a big deal since the 256GB of storage the phone offers should be good enough for most users.
The last thing worth mentioning is the punch-hole display. Although I like it because it allows for a higher screen-to-body ratio, some people aren’t in love with it, since the camera hole can be intrusive when watching videos. Just like with a notch, you do get used to it, but if you don’t want to give it a chance, the Note 8 with its thicker bezels is the better choice for you.
Will you be upgrading to the Galaxy Note 10 series? Let us know in the comments.