Samsung has operated two flagship series in parallel for many years. The smartphones of the Samsung Galaxy S series are powerful and relatively compact, while the Galaxy Note series was originally intended for buyers who need a multitasking device primarily for work. The S-Pen was and is the defining feature of the Galaxy Note series compared to the Galaxy S models. Samsung recently launched the latest generation of Galaxy Note devices, the Galaxy Note 10 and the Galaxy Note 10+. These devices have a powerful processor, an Infinity-O display and improved S Pen functionality. Is Samsung's largest smartphone the best there is? We put the Galaxy Note 10+ to the test to find out.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ design
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ has a new design and has a new Infinity-O display. This is Samsung's name for a panel with a hole for a front-facing camera. The idea is similar to the Galaxy S10 series, but while these models had their camera holes in one corner, the Galaxy Note 10+ is exactly in the top center of the display. It didn't distract us and we got used to its presence within a few hours.
What you'll notice next on the Galaxy Note 10+ is the huge display that curves on the sides. It also has thin bezels on the top and bottom, giving you an almost all-display look. The back of the phone is also made of glass that is curved on the sides. With this design, the phone is very easy to hold. It has a metal frame between these glass panes and is quite thin on the sides. The overall design of the phone is a little edgy, in line with older Galaxy Note devices.
The right side of the device is fully exposed and all buttons are on the left side. This feels a bit strange at first, as the Galaxy Note 9 (review) as well as the Galaxy S10 series and almost every other modern smartphone have at least one power button on the right side. The Bixby button on the Galaxy Note 10+ is still on the left, but is also used as an on / off switch. A short tap puts the phone in standby mode, while a long press calls Bixby.
We had trained ourselves not to press the Bixby button on previous Samsung devices, and we had to learn something about that. You can change the behavior of the button in the software to the traditional setting (long press to show the power off options). Samsung also offers a software key that allows you to quickly turn off the Galaxy Note 10+.
Samsung has attached microphones and a hybrid dual SIM compartment on the top. In the lower area of the Galaxy Note 10+ are the primary microphone, the USB Type-C connector, the speaker grille and the S Pen silo. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ has a quad camera setup on the back, of which three sensors are housed in a single module and the fourth sensor is next to it with an LED flash.
Yes, the Galaxy Note 10+ does not have a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Samsung had mocked Apple in the past for removing the 3.5mm headphone jack, but recently removed all of these ads from its website at the time of the Galaxy Note 10 launch. Samsung continues to ship AKG headphones in the box, which now have a USB Type-C connector. They sound very good so you don't have to buy a new headset.
You can buy the Galaxy Note 10+ in one of three colors in India: Aura Glow, Aura Black and Aura White. We had the Aura Glow version for review, which caused mixed opinions in our office. It looks like a high-gloss lacquer and divides the light into green, orange and red when it bounces off the back. However, it is a fingerprint magnet and stains very easily.
Samsung ships a transparent case in the box, so you don't have to look for one. The charger supplied with the Galaxy Note 10+ has a nominal power of 25 W – although the phone supports fast charging of up to 45 W – and has a USB Type-C port. You will also receive a charging cable with USB Type-C ports on both ends. The Galaxy Note 10+ and the S Pen both have IP68 protection for dust and water resistance.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ specifications and software
The Galaxy Note 10+ is currently the high-end smartphone in the Samsung stall, and of course the company says it's the best Note device ever. Samsung sells this phone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus processor in some parts of the world, while in India it runs on the Exynos 9825. This is an upgrade over the Exynos 9820 used for the Galaxy S10 series. The Exynos 9825 is an octa-core processor based on a 7 nm process. It has two custom cores that are clocked at 2.7 GHz, two Cortex-A75 cores that are clocked at 2.4 GHz, and four Cortex-A55 cores that are clocked at 1.9 GHz.
The Galaxy Note 10+ has 12 GB of RAM, yes, 12 GB, and you can choose between 256 GB and 512 GB of internal storage. We had the 256 GB variant for testing and when we set it up for the first time there was over 220 GB of free space. Unlike the Galaxy Note 10, the storage on the Galaxy Note 10+ is expandable, and you can add up to 1 TB more storage space with a microSD card. This phone has a hybrid dual SIM tray, but we're not going to complain since you initially have at least 256 GB of storage.
Both SIM slots support both 4G and VoLTE. There is Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi 6, NFC and support for four satellite navigation systems. Samsung has equipped the Galaxy Note 10+ with a 4,300 mAh battery. This is an upgrade over the predecessor's 4,000 mAh battery, the Galaxy Note 9. In addition to the 45 W fast charge, it also supports fast wireless 2.0 charging and wireless reverse charging, which Samsung calls Wireless PowerShare. This comes in handy when you need to charge smaller devices like the Samsung Galaxy Buds.
Samsung has selected a giant 6.8-inch Super AMOLED display with a QHD + resolution for this device. The screen resolution is switchable and is set to Full HD + by default. However, you can reduce them up to HD +. This Super AMOLED panel is also HDR10 + certified. There are two display modes to choose from: Lively and Natural. Vivid mode increases the contrast and lets colors appear on the display. In vivid mode, you get a slider that you can use to adjust the white balance and color levels.
Samsung has paired this display with stereo speakers. The earphone also acts as a second speaker. It's not as loud as the bottom one, but both together give a good stereo effect. The Galaxy Note 10+ also supports Dolby Atmos, which can be activated by quickly switching in the notification shade. You can choose between different audio profiles or set them to automatic. We had it set to auto and it made itself felt during audio / video playback.
Just like the Samsung Galaxy S10, the Galaxy Note 10+ has a built-in ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. The smartphone is unlocked quickly and the display does not have to be switched on to work. We found it well positioned and rarely encountered any problems with its use. There is also facial recognition if you want.
The Galaxy Note 10+ comes with Android Pie and the latest version of One UI. Our review unit ran the security patch for September. The interface is polished and suitable for one-handed use. It has an app drawer. Swiping straight from the first homescreen will take you to Bixby Home. You get some apps from Samsung, Google and Microsoft that are preinstalled on this smartphone, as well as Facebook and Netflix. We noticed that Samsung's My Galaxy app continues to forward spam notifications to us, forcing us to disable notifications for the app.
The Game Launcher from Samsung combines all installed games. You can choose between "Energy saving", "Balanced" and "Performance" for all games, or you can set a level for each game individually. By default, the smartphone is set to performance. Game tools are available in the navigation bar while playing. You can choose to minimize call notifications, hide notifications from other apps, and block Bixby and the Edge panel from playing.
Other game-related software features of the Galaxy Note 10+ include Dolby Atmos for games, automatic screen lock, and a pop-up window where you can add shortcuts for up to four apps that you may want to access while playing.
Android's digital wellbeing feature is also available for the Galaxy Note 10+. This way you can monitor how you spend your time on your smartphone. By default, a user interface has the conventional navigation layout with three buttons. However, you can switch to swipe-based gesture navigation. There is also a dual messenger feature that allows you to run two instances of supported apps. Another feature called Edge Panels has been recognized on multiple Galaxy smartphones and allows access to multiple app shortcuts from any screen.
Samsung worked with Microsoft to add a feature called Link to Windows. In this way, you can connect the Galaxy Note 10+ to a Windows PC to access text messages, notifications and current photos, among other things. To do this, you need to log in to the same Microsoft account both on the device and in the Your Phone app on the PC. You can then access the phone wirelessly. You can also keep the phone connected via cellular data via the link to the Windows app.
Samsung's Dex function now works on a Windows PC or Mac by simply connecting the Galaxy Note 10+ to it with a USB cable. You must download the Samsung Dex app on the Windows / Mac computer to use this function. We tested it with a Lenovo Legion Y740 (review) laptop and after connecting it had a virtual window showing the content of the phone along with compatible apps. We could run these apps and drag and drop files from the laptop to the Galaxy Note 10+. However, there didn't seem to be a way to copy files from the Galaxy Note 10+ to the laptop. Although Dex no longer needs dedicated hardware, we may not have been able to find use cases where we wanted to do this.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ S pen
The S Pen, which differentiates the Galaxy Note 10 from all other Samsung smartphones, has received some of its own updates. The S Pen is thin compared to some other pens we've seen. It is paired with the Galaxy Note 10+ via Bluetooth and automatically charged when it is in the silo.
You can still take notes quickly by pulling the S Pen out of the silo when the screen is off to take notes. When you pull out the S Pen, Air Command starts, listing all the different actions you can do with it. With Smart Select, you can select content on the screen that you want to share directly. Screen Write takes a screenshot and lets you write on the image before you share it. AR Doodle turns on the cameras and lets you scribble on everything you see through the viewfinder. With PenUp you can sketch with the S pen. The Galaxy Note 10 devices can now use optical character recognition to recognize and transcribe the notes you write down. This makes your handwritten text searchable.
With this generation, Samsung has added more air actions to the Galaxy S Pen, giving it more functionality than the S Pen that came with the Galaxy Note 9. You can still use the button on the S Pen as a trigger for the camera app, but now with gestures You switch between the primary and selfie cameras, change camera modes, zoom in and out.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ performance and battery life
In our experience, the Galaxy Note 10+ performed exceptionally well. We never really had to wait for something to load, and even heavy apps could be loaded quickly. With 12 GB of RAM on board, we were able to easily perform several tasks, even if several apps were running in the background. We started over 45 apps on the device and still had around 5.9 GB of RAM free.
The Galaxy Note 10+'s large display offers good viewing angles and is bright enough to be read outdoors. The display supports HDR10 + and we streamed a few HDR videos over YouTube. The speakers are loud and the stereo effect enhances the experience of viewing content on the Galaxy Note 10+.
We ran our standard benchmarks for the Galaxy Note 10+ and we managed to get good results in some of them. In AntuTu, the Galaxy Note 10+ operated with Exynos 9825 achieved 342,744 points and was thus behind the Redmi K20 Pro (review) and the OnePlus 7 Pro (review), which achieved 368,332 and 367,740 in the same test. In PCMark Work 2.0, the smartphone achieved 9,137 points. In Geekbench, the Galaxy Note 10+ achieved 4,506 and 10,431 points in the single-core and multi-core tests.
These numbers suggest that the Galaxy Note 10+ is more powerful than the Galaxy S10 + (test), but the phone is only slightly behind Snapdragon 855-powered phones such as the Redmi K20 Pro (test), OnePlus 7 Pro (test) and even the Nubia Redmagic 3 (review).
The Galaxy Note 10+ achieved 5,007 in 3DMark Slingshot Extreme OpenGL and 53,394 in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited. In the GFXBench T-Rex and Car Chase benchmarks, the phone reached 60 fps and 40 fps, respectively, similar to the Samsung Galaxy S10 +.
We played PUBG Mobile on the smartphone and the default setting was "High" with graphics on HD and frame rate on High. We raised the graphics to HDR and the frame rate to Ultra, and the phone showed no signs of stress. We played the game at these settings for 20 minutes and it felt a little warm. The Galaxy Note 10+ saw a 6 percent battery drop during this period, which is acceptable. The hole for the camera was not a problem during the playback of PUBG Mobile as it did not stand in the way of the controls.
Samsung has increased the battery capacity of the Galaxy Note 10+, and with 4300 mAh, the device delivers a good battery life. In our HD video loop test, the Galaxy Note 10+ ran for 17 hours and 9 minutes. With our use, which consisted of playing PUBG Mobile, navigating with Google Maps for 50 minutes, an active WhatsApp account and some benchmarks, we were able to end our day with almost 40 percent in the tank. We always set the smartphone to the standard resolution of Full HD +, but you can lower it to HD + if you want to get even more out of the battery.
Charging is super fast with the included 25 W charger, which can be used to fully charge the Galaxy Note 10+ in just over an hour. We found that the included charger could charge the phone 67 percent in 30 minutes and 98 percent in an hour.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ cameras
Samsung has opted for a quad camera setup for the Galaxy Note 10+. The primary rear-view camera has a 12-megapixel sensor with a variable aperture of 1: 1.5 to 1: 2.4, Super Speed Dual Pixel AutoFocus and optical image stabilization (OIS). Next up is a 16 megapixel sensor with an ultra wide angle lens, an aperture of 1: 2.2 and a field of view of 123 degrees. The third camera has a 12 megapixel sensor with a telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom. The depth vision camera can scan objects in 3D. The hole in the display houses a 10-megapixel selfie camera with dual-pixel autofocus.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ camera samples. Tap here to view a full size image or other camera examples
In our in-depth camera review of the Galaxy Note 10+, you can read a lot more about the new camera hardware and features and see a variety of sample pictures taken with this phone. In conclusion, we found that the camera performance of the Galaxy Note 10+ is impressive in different lighting conditions. However, Samsung's AI scene optimization program was inconsistent when taking close-up pictures.
The low-light performance was good, and the Galaxy Note 10+ can produce bright pictures with its special night mode. Beautification is activated by default on the selfie camera and razor-sharp selfies are created in daylight. However, performance deteriorates when the light is not cheap. Video recording is best at 4K 60fps and 4K 30fps for the primary and selfie cameras, respectively.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ camera review
The Galaxy Note 10+ is currently the best smartphone coming out of the Samsung stall in India, and it's the company's new flagship. The design of this smartphone is somewhat box-shaped, but offers an impressive display, versatile cameras and many software improvements. Yes, you will notice the hole at the top of the display, but you can get used to it.
Samsung has added new features in the form of air actions to the S Pen that work in certain supported apps. While it is helpful to use the S-Pen as a remote trigger for the camera, the other gestures are a little conspicuous. The Galaxy Note 10+ also delivers good battery life and the included quick charger is a blessing.
Price at Rs. 79,999 for 12 GB RAM, 256 GB storage version and Rs. 89,999 for the 12 GB RAM, 512 GB storage variant, the Galaxy Note 10+ could seem too expensive. However, considering the performance, Samsung's software and hardware package isn't overly expensive. If you don't mind spending so much money, the Galaxy Note 10+ is one of the best devices you can buy for money.
However, if you are not really interested in the S-pen and want something clearer, the Galaxy S10 + (test) and the Galaxy S10 (test) offer roughly the same experience (without S-pen) for Rs. 73,900 and Rs. 61,900 what makes them suitable alternatives.