It's been almost eight years since Samsung launched the first Galaxy Note. A phone with a 5.29-inch display may appear compact by today's standards, but the original Galaxy Note was ridiculed as unpleasant – even unnecessary – and many called its pen a relic from the past. The chances of winning were stacked against the original grade, but it can be said with certainty that Samsung was at least ahead in terms of the size of the curve. “Phablets” – as originally called large-screen smartphones like the Note – have become standard in recent years.
The S Pen lives on when it doesn't thrive, and last year Samsung doubled both of the features that made the original Galaxy Note stand out by introducing the largest Note device to date and adding Bluetooth and some new features to the S Pen. This development will continue this year with not one, but two models – the Galaxy Note 10+ and the Galaxy Note 10 – as well as Air Actions, which aim to make the S Pen more useful for a wider audience.
According to Samsung, the introduction of two sizes is a first for the Note series. Therefore, we either want to forget about the Galaxy Note Edge, which was introduced together with the Galaxy Note 4, or the physical differences between the two siblings from 2014 are considered inadequate as "different sizes". In any case, everyone wants to like the Galaxy Note 10 duo.
The Galaxy Note 10 has a 6.3-inch display in the most compact Galaxy Note device by volume. Weighing only 168 g, it is also the lightest (together) and in the short time we spent with Samsung's latest cell phones, we were only able to determine how light and relatively compact it felt.
The larger Galaxy Note 10+ is twice the size of the "bigger is better". It offers a 6.8-inch display in a case that is only slightly larger and wider than that of last year's Galaxy Note 9. However, it is almost 1 mm thinner and 5 g heavy. The model is lighter than last year, which means that it doesn't feel uncomfortable, although it's obviously a stretch to reach all corners of the screen with one hand.
Samsung has managed to squeeze larger screens without significantly enlarging these phones by reducing the top and bottom frames compared to the Galaxy Note 9. The classic selfie camera setup is gone and you get a modern "punch" display with the selfie camera in the middle. There is no visible fingerprint scanner on the front or back, as Samsung has chosen an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor in the display.
The edge-to-edge displays on these two phones are great for watching videos and consuming other types of media. The Dynamic AMOLED panels with HDR10 + support appear to be less saturated than some of the panels we've seen on other Samsung devices, and those who prefer accurate colors over eye-catching contrasts should be more satisfied.
One thing that annoyed us during the time we spent on the devices was Samsung's decision to move the power switch to the left where the Bixby button was – now gone -. Most smartphones – including Samsung phones – have the on / off switch on the right, which you need to get used to.
After years in which the headphone jack was supported loudly, Samsung says goodbye to the innovations. This will certainly bother those who still hang on their traditional headphones, but with improvements in wireless audio standards, this step is both unsurprising and not an event for most consumers.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and the Galaxy Note 10+ are available in the colors Aura Glow, Aura White and Aura Black, all of which look like safe picks. The Galaxy Note 10 will also be available in red and pink, while the Galaxy Note 10+ will also be available in blue.
In terms of technical specifications, the Galaxy Note 10 duo offers everything you would expect from flagships from 2019. In the Galaxy Note 10+, the first-class SoC is supported by 12 GB RAM with 256 GB or 512 GB internal storage. You can also add up to 1 TB of additional storage space with a microSD card.
Oddly enough, the Galaxy Note 10 lacks the microSD card slot, and in the only configuration with 256 GB of storage, “only” 8 GB of RAM are available.
The Galaxy Note 10 has a triple camera setting on the back – a 12 megapixel 1: 2.1 sensor in combination with a telephoto lens; a wide-angle lens with a 1: 1.4 f / 2.4 sensor with 12 megapixels; and a 16 megapixel 1: 2.2 ultra wide camera. The larger Galaxy Note 10+ has the same three cameras, but also includes a DepthVision VGA camera that allows you to create 3D scans of objects. Both phones have identical front cameras with a 10 megapixel 1: 2.2 sensor.
Samsung promises numerous improvements to the camera, for example with the zoom-in microphone, which allows you to improve the sound of certain subjects in a video with a simple tap. We look forward to testing these and other new features as part of our review process and reserve the right to judge until then.
Finally, as previously mentioned, Samsung is promoting new features in the S Pen. Air actions allow you to trigger actions in selected apps by performing gestures while holding the button on the S Pen. For example, if you swipe up or down by hand in the camera app, the cameras are switched while you can zoom in on a subject in a clockwise circular motion.
Whether air actions can turn from a cool party trick into a really useful one in the long run can definitely be determined by third-party developers. Samsung has announced an SDK that developers can use to integrate Air Actions into their own apps.
One feature that is definitely useful is the improved conversion of handwritten notes to text that can be easily exported to a variety of apps.
On Gadgets 360 you will find detailed reviews on Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+.
Announcement: Samsung sponsored the flights and the correspondent's hotel for the launch of Note 10 in New York.