Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Review: The King of Note Phones

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Introduction

The Samsung Galaxy Note has always been called a do-everything device. Since the very first Galaxy Note back in 2011, Samsung has used this series to rethink what our smartphones can do, not to mention the full extent of what we can do with these things.

Every year companies have to come out with better versions of what they already have. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is an excellent example of how the Korean tech giant has already perfected the art of making the perfect phone.

Samsung has broken the mould with the Note Launch this year, unveiling two devices. The Note 10 is a small, affordable option, and the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is the company’s true flagship phablet for 2019.

With the Galaxy Note 10 Plus being the current flagship in the Samsung lineup, the company has offered the best hardware available. The phone has an additional Depthvision 3D sensor along with a triple camera setup on the back.

Price in India, Variants, Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus starts from INR 79,999 with INR 6,000 off if purchased using HDFC bank credit/debit card and an offer on galaxy buds at INR 4,999.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus comes in three colours – Aura Glow, Aura Black, and Aura White. And if we talk about variants in terms of storage – Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus comes in 256 GB and 512 GB avatar with standard RAM of 12GB.

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Box Contents

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus comes packed with a 25W charging dock, but this dock supports USB Power Delivery (USB-PD). The charger and the phone can coordinate well to find out how many volts and amps are utilised when charging.

25W charging provides a great balance between charging speed and long-term battery health. Alternatively, you can buy a 45W charger that fills the battery faster as the beast supports 45W charging. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus comes with a black USB-C cable, which is a first for Samsung Phone.

  • 25W USB-PD charging brick
  • Note 10 Plus
  • AKG headphones
  • S Pen
  • SIM card ejector tool
  • a claw-like tweezer tool for replacing S Pen stylus tips when they wear out
  • USB-C-to-USB adapter

Key Specifications

  • Display:6.8-inch QHD+ AMOLED, 3040 x 1440
  • CPU & GPU:Exynos 9825,12-core G76 MP12
  • RAM & Storage: 12GB RAM, 256/512 Storage
  • Rear Camera: 12mp dual-phase detection with optical stabilisation and variable aperture (f/1.5-2.4),16mp f/2.2 ultra-wide angle lens, 12mp f/2.1 telephoto lens, 0.3-megapixel DepthVision camera 
  • Selfie Camera: 10mp f/2.2
  • Battery: 4,300mAh
  • Security: In-display ultrasonic fingerprint reader

Design and Build Quality

The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is a pretty big phone – its 6.8-inch screen immersive display looks stunning to view. It is intended for two-handed use. Phone fits nicely in jean pockets, but not so in the case of small pockets or shorts. In the rear pockets – it’s likely to slip out while you sit. The Note 10 Plus is 7.9mm thin, which means it is thinner than the Note 9 last year. It’s still relatively easy to wrap one hand without a Note 10 case, but you need two hands to operate it properly.

It has an Infinity-O display with a cutout for the front camera at the top centre of the screen. The centre-aligned punch-hole front camera is not as distracting as you might think. So far, it’s easy to ignore, and this punch-hole is 26% smaller than the punch-hole we see in the Galaxy S10.
The outline of the front camera is lit when you take a timed selfie (similar to the S10 series, but it’s a first for note users). You need to know where to take a group selfie and where to find Samsung-phone-free friends.

Samsung has also removed the headphone jack, which allows the Galaxy Note 10 Plus to pack a larger battery. The good news is that Samsung packs AKG headphones into the box used by USB-C.

If you want your phone to shine, I suggest you opt for the Aura Glow colour of the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. The lustrous silver design changes colours based on how light hits the back of the phone. The only problem is that the Aura Glow model takes fingerprints quickly.

Display

Part of what makes the Galaxy Note 10 Plus so appealing is its large, beautiful 6.8-inch AMOLED display. It is the biggest screen on a Note phone. The display is curved to the left and the right, which appears to flow from the edges. There are practically no bezels on the sides. The top bezel is equally thin, and the chin is the thinnest I’ve ever seen on an Android phone. The bezels on a large display like this are almost nonexistent.

Samsung used the Infinity-O display on the Note 10 Plus. Unlike the S10 series, which saw a hole-punch cutout at the top corner of the screen, the hole in the Note 10 Plus is centred at the top. There is a selfie camera in the hole. It’s a big hole, but not as distracting as I thought.

The display on the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is bright and stunning. It comes with QHD+ (3040×1440) resolution and is HDR10+ certified. The colours look fantastic, and the blacks are deep. The colour processing is excellent, and the viewing angles are wide. Illumination can go up to 1200 nits.
Simply put, you shouldn’t bother reading under the screen’s maximum brightness, though it does reflect a lot. Videos are sharp and clear. The display content is warm, but you can always control it in the settings.

S-Pen

You can’t review a Galaxy Note device without talking about it’s S Pen. This year, Samsung has added some new features. None of them seem revolutionary, but you can’t blame Samsung as they at least tried to improvise.
The S Pen of the Galaxy Note 10 series has a gyroscope that allows it to perform air functions. You can make gestures such as swiping up and down and left and right to switch camera modes or a swirling motion to zoom in with the camera.
Other new features include AR Doodle and improved digital text conversion. AR Doodle enables you to draw people and objects in the virtual space. The S Pen is getting more and more capable.

Performance

As you might expect from the new Note, the Note 10 Plus is one of the fastest phones today. Sure, last year’s iPhone and a few more androids smidge faster, but it’s mostly about bragging rights this time around.
On the benchmarks, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus scores well. Note 10 Plus has a score of 369,029 compared to 360,414 we tested in the Galaxy S10 Plus.
Plus another perk specific to Note 10 Plus is that this version includes a microSD card slot for expandable storage if 256GB or 512GB internal storage configurations are not enough for you.

Software

Samsung’s has redesigned its software to make it look logical on such a high-end big sized device – everything is easy to get into its menu system.

The Clean One UI interface encompasses many navigation options. Everything on the device is nicely laid out. Sadly, this is not the case when Samsung extends software beyond the phone.

Samsung Dex offers a dock-free desktop view of the phone on a computer by plugging a USB cable between the Note 10 Plus and a PC or Mac. There’s now a new Link to Windows mode for receiving notifications and messages on the PCs.

Cameras

The Note 10 Plus has a 16MP ultra-wide + 12MP regular and a 12MP telephoto lens. The same camera is present on the Galaxy S10 Plus. But the Note 10 Plus has a fourth depth sensor lens that helps the phone do some good things. For example, this Time of Flight (TOF) 3D camera allows you to do many things, including shooting a live focus video with a colour point, showing the person in colour and the rest in grayscale.

The regular camera works well in low light. Ultra-wide also does, but it’s a bit slow at shutter speeds, and you need to have steady hands to make sure the pics are sharp.
The colour is excellent, and the HDR is much less dramatic. The standard camera is sharp.

The Galaxy Note 10 Plus comes with a “Depth Vision” camera, which is mainly used for making 3D models of objects. Samsung allows you to convert these models into posts and export them to software like Blender 3D. The small Galaxy Note 10 does not have a depth vision camera.
The front-facing camera on the Note 10 is excellent. The images are sharp and have the right colour. Dynamic range is also good. The Galaxy Note 10 series has new camera modes named “big circle,” “glitch”, and “colour point”. The Big Circle mimics a lot of the aperture in the background and completely obscures it with beautiful bokeh. The blur is variable.

Samsung says the Note 10 Plus now offers pro-grade video. For example, the phone provides live focus video effects, so you can blur the background or make the background black and white when the subject is in colour.
Once you press the small wavy hand icon at the top of the screen and start recording, the camera can reduce any camera shake. There is also a zoom-in mic feature that amplifies the audio in the frame. Samsung enhances it all with an optimised video editing app for the S Pen.

Battery Life

The Galaxy Note 9’s battery is the largest on the Galaxy phone at 4,000 mAh, but the Note 10 Plus comes preloaded with a 4,300 mAh battery, larger than the 4,100 mAh pack on the Galaxy S10 Plus.
Yet the battery is only suitable for a full day. Don’t expect the Note 10 Plus to offer anything more than 24-hour battery life. Samsung’s newest Note is 5-6 hours of screen time.
The Note 10 Plus comes with a 25-watt charger, but Samsung’s separately sold 45-watt charger is faster, but you won’t need it. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus gets 33% in just 15 minutes and 65% battery power in 30 minutes.

As we expect from a Samsung phone, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus supports wireless charging, but at the moment it supports up to 15 watts. You can also use reverse wireless charging on the Note 10 Plus, which means you can charge Galaxy Buds or other phones using the back of the Samsung handset.

Audio and Security

When it comes to audio, Samsung chose wireless for audio with a new note by removing the headphone jack. The reason is to create more space for a larger battery. Going wireless is not a wrong choice, but many fans are angry about the decision. The Note 10 Plus includes stereo speakers with Dolby Audio and also supports Bluetooth 5. The speakers are outstanding. If you want a phone to sound good even without a Bluetooth speaker, the Note 10 Plus is a great option.

Samsung also installed the same ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor we saw in the Galaxy S10 series on this device. It’s not newer than what we’ve seen before, but it seems to be more accurate. Where the fingerprint scanner in S10 read more misleading fingerprints than the correct ones, the Note 10 Plus has a higher success rate. This could be since the sensor moves higher in the display than the Samsung S10 Plus, making it easier to press. While this is not perfect, the readings have improved.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Huge, vibrant display
  • Lightning-fast performance
  • Very loud speakers
  • Luxurious design
  • Versatile camera setup
  • Handy S Pen stylus

 

Cons:

  • Supremely expensive
  • Big and slippery design
  • More glass gives a higher chance of breaking
  • No headphone jack

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus looks like the big-screen phone to beat. Although the price is pretty high, you get one of the best and most impressive displays ever in one phone, along with reliable performance and long battery life. Samsung has not yet reached Google and Huawei in terms of photography. However, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is still a potent camera phone with a convincing night mode and fascinating video effects. If you want an S Pen with your phone and don't want to spend too much, the 6.3-inch version Galaxy Note 10 should be satisfactory. It features a single processor and more of the same cameras (depth sensor minus at the rear) in a more compact design than the Note 10 Plus. If you want a massive screen with a better camera, of course, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is worth more because it offers more battery life and more RAM and microSD expansion.