The Samsung Galaxy Note series has always been about big screen devices that come with a now more useful stylus or as Samsung call it, the S-Pen.
I’ve been a Galaxy Note user since I bought my first Galaxy Note 2 in 2013. Since then, I’ve had the Note 5, and Note 8, and I can honestly say I am a note fan.
Though the Note line enjoyed some infamy due to the Note 7 debacle a couple of years back – when some of them started catching fire – the company has kept the brand going, and last year’s Note 9 was a positive turn around for the Galaxy Note line, and the company too.
So I was intrigued by the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, which looked interesting by specs, camera and processor to my current Note 8 which is fine, but has started to become a little bit slow and tired. I wanted to try out the Note 10+ to see what had changed and how it compares to my Note 8 on a daily basis.
Cue the Design
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is a very well designed device, and taking it out of the box for me was a joy.
The Note 10+ feel quite slim, still big in the hand. When compared to my Note 8, it doesn’t feel any bigger and certainly doesn’t feel any heavier in the hand. It sits quite comfortably in one hand which is a good start. Although I would note that the phone can potentially easily slip out of your hands grip and it would be worth investing in a phone cover immediately to prevent any possibly slippage – especially if you have sweaty or wet hands.
The Note 10+ is made from an all glass housing with an aluminium metal frame around it and It is something from a design perspective with Samsung’s flagship devices I have become accustomed to.
The front of the Note 10+ is basically dominated by the 6.8-inch dynamic AMOLED display which is quite bright and very sharp. It also has a 10MP wide angled selfie camera which is basically housed in a smaller hole cut out at the top middle of the display which I like compared to say the Galaxy S10 which has a much larger oblong shaped hole for the camera and sensors.
The left hand side of the Note 10+ actually no longer houses the Volume Rocker and Standby/Power button, which have this time around moved to the left hand side of the device. There is also no longer a dedicated Bixby button.
The top of the Galaxy Note 10+ houses the two microphones along with the SIM card tray while the bottom of the Note 10+ houses the bottom speaker, the S Pen and the USB-C charger.
Sadly for those who may still want a 3.5mm audio jack – you’re sadly out of luck I’m afraid. Samsung has followed other rivals and removed it altogether. Say what you want about the removal of the audio jack, but I don’t mind it, given I find Bluetooth wireless headphones much easier to use and sync with the Note 10+, especially if I am wheeling or using my walking crutches out and about.
That said, you can still connect wired headphones/earphones to the Note 10+ via the USB-C adaptor or the USB-C headphones which are included in the box.
The rear of the Note 10+ there are 4, yes 4 cameras available on the Note 10+ variant. The main cameras are housed in a camera bump or hump housing which provides 2 x 12MP and x1 16MP cameras which are housed in a slight camera bump on the right hand side of the device, with the single LED flashlight and sensors just to the left of camera housing. The last camera lens is technically just outside the camera housing below the single LED flashlight and just above the rear sensor. I will explain more of the camera’s in the camera section.
What’s under the hood
The Galaxy Note 10+ is basically almost like a powerful laptop/tablet in your hand, with the device being powered by Exynos 9825 with an Octa-core (2×2.73 GHz Mongoose M4 & 2×2.4 GHz Cortex-A75 & 4×1.9 GHz Cortex-A55 CPU) that really powers the device quite well.
All this processing power pretty much backs up the benchmark test with the Note 10+ was able to handle going between apps and service with ease and no delays or stuttering or shutting down of apps which normally or might be required.
Powering all this is a 4,300 mAh battery lithium iron battery which can also wireless charge other Samsung devices, like my partner Galaxy S 10 and the Samsung Galaxy wireless earbuds through the PowerShare feature which must be enabled in the quick settings.
Be warned, though, if you’re using PowerShare on the road to charge up a mate’s phone, you can’t create power out of nothing – as you charge their phone, yours will drop – so you’ll run out of power eventually. It’s handy in some cases, though!
Also, battery life has always been an issue for Samsung devices given what powerhouses they are, and unfortunately the Note 10+ isn’t much different – I would normally have to charge the Note 10+ during the day. If I didn’t use it heavily, I would have had about 10-20% by about 4-5pm.
There is also Bluetooth version 5 which worked easily with my Bluetooth earphones.
Wi-Fi wise, the Note 10+ comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot all available.
Big Cinematic Display
What can I say about the massive 6.8-inch dynamic AMOLED display which is just simply stunning. The display is very much edge to edge and the colours and brightness to even the clarity for me is just simply stunning.
Now whilst the 6.8-inch AMOLED display might sound big for a device, the smaller body Samsung have kept to the Note 10+ makes its seem big but not overly big. And the 10MP camera hole punch which is directly in the middle top of the display isn’t actually all that distracting. Yes it first it can seem like a hindrance but really it isn’t and actually works.
However, there is one small issue I have with the display and that comes down to the way you hold the device, as it can cause false touch readings to the display and can easily become frustrating at times when your holding the device by the sides. If your watching videos then I would strongly suggest holding the device with both hands at the top and bottom only.
This eliminates the false readings when watching videos but for holding it vertically, then the only way I found the eliminate the false touch by standing still (so not walking or running) and holding the bottom with your thumb, with you index finger up along the side and your middle finger essentially holding the ban I of the device. Its not great but again eliminates these false reading. Although a possible phone cover could help assist with this issue.
Also, the on-screen fingerprint scanner is a nice touch, but very sensitive and I did find at times that it didn’t always work. Also, it’s worth noting that even applying pressure to the screen for the on-screen fingerprint scanner to work did make me very conscious on how much pressure I would apply to possibly stop the device from falling out of my hand or damaging the AMOLED display with any possible cracks.
This can be all averted by possibly using the face recognition settings which, as we all know, can be bypassed with photos of you when utilised by anyone else. Alternatively you can also use a pattern or pin but these are also not as secure as the biometric security like your fingerprint but its user defined at the end of the day.
Lights, Camera, Action!
As stated earlier on in the review, the Note 10+ comes with 4 cameras at the rear. There are two 12MP rear cameras with the third being a 16MP camera and another VGA camera outside the camera housing and I have to say, pictures taken with this combination turn out quite good – in fact better than the dual cameras I have on my Note 8 currently.
Pictures taken during the day do turn out as expected if you have or use the Galaxy S10/S10+ with enough details and vibrancy. The dedicated night mode also allow enough light, but there isn’t the aggressive smoothing like the Pixel 3 has available and there is a bit more noise and grain present in the pictures – but its a close compromise should you be on the lookout for near Pixel camera.
Features available with the rear camera include, Instagram, Food, Night, Panorama, Pro, Live Focus, Video, Hyperlapse, Live Focus Video, Super Slow-Mo and Slow Motion, alongside normal Photo mode.
The 10MP front facing selfie camera, which can also take a wide group selfie pictures is also quite impressive. Those selfies look amazing with much more detail and clarity to those pictures. There are features which can make your selfies just that extra bit special which include, Bokeh effects, Live focus video, Hyperlapse.
There is also night and Instagram features available for the selfie camera. All these features do bring that extra element of wow and surprise but personally, I don’t think it needs this many features and modes.
Working the DeX out
DeX, which is Samsung kind of weird work app, enables you to plug your Galaxy Note10 into any Windows device (as long as its a Windows 7 up to 10 device) or iOS Apple device, and enables you to use the DeX software to use the device like a portable laptop.
The good thing, is that if you have used DeX previously, you needed a seperate dock which was an extra cost with some previous
You are required to download Samsung’s DeX software from Samsung directly and this can be done when you connect the two USB-C cord to your windows laptop to the Note 10+ and just follow the prompts to install it.
When I did connect the Note 10+ to my Surface Go tablet/laptop, connection was pretty much instantaneous and worked quite well. Its basically like having an extra third party software/hardware but works well.
My only issues with DeX is – what would you use it for?
I get it if you don’t have the required apps or services on your PC or Mac, but given that realistically, this isn’t going to be used by the masses. Maybe certain business people which yes, the Note 10+ is essentially aimed for but it is a very niche use.
Pen your way around
Like all other Note devices, the Note 10+ comes with – obviously – the S Pen, which I absolutely love using on my current Note 8 (tend to use the S- for just about everything).
This time, however, instead of just focusing solely on the experience with the S-Pen, Samsung have made more technical improvements to enhance the S-Pens capabilities but also the overall user experience.
The S-Pen has had some battery improvements to provide a longer battery life but also introduced a new pinch-zoom function to the pen. Samsung have also added a new “Air Action” shortcuts, which for example, when activated, allows you to control certain apps like the camera, videos or gallery apps, by simply moving the S-Pen in various directions. However, these actions are only available to Samsung made apps, but the company have stated they will be opening this feature to third party developers but no time frame specified for this occur but when this does, will make the S-Pen on the Note 10+ more attractive and useful.
You can also take a group shot photo by simply pressing the side button of the S-Pen when your away from your device. Also being able to take notes without pressing or having the device screen on when you activate the S-Pen out of its holding is also a great feature.
It’s One Software
The Galaxy Note 10+ does utilise Android 9.0 with its OneUI basically running on top and whilst OneUI is a heck of a lot better than Samsung predecessor TouchWiz, it operates much better and seemed in sync with everything you might use on the Note 10+.
The redesigned OneUI is easy to navigate and use with apps clearly laid out and within easy reach.
Yes Bixby is also still around and can help find apps, albeit when it recognises commands. Personally, I haven’t been a real fan of Bixby and find it frustrating to use and navigate around. Bixby to me is something Samsung should seriously consider dumping altogether on its devices and just running with the Google Assistant which is far more superior in functionality and in mind.
Should I consider buying one?
Having used the Galaxy Note 10+ for a month now and I can easily say that the Note 10+ is worth considering if your after an absolutely cracking camera, amazing display and just the look and feel of a great.
Furthermore, I do like how Samsung do tend to put a lot of features, services and apps into their devices and this is the case with the Note 10+.
Personally, would I consider recommend it to friends and family, heck even you as the reader, yes I would. There is a lot to like in the Note 10+. Personally though I do feel that the expense can make the device outside for many and that is a little bit sad.
With also the Google Pixel 4 coming up, I would like to see how it stacks up the Note 10+ which is where this device competes in.
There is also some compromising to be made, with the camera not quite Pixel standard and battery life being, well typical Samsung in mind.
If you’re interested in purchasing the Galaxy Note 10+, you can check it out through all Australia’s main carriers, and in retail too:
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