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Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ – fantastic device is not for everyone

Review: The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is perhaps the best smartphone of the moment. The display is fantastic, the hardware is fast

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is the latest flagship from Samsung with a 6.8 “screen and features the signature S Pen with several new functions. Read the review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+.

Samsung releases two high-end series every year. Earlier this year, the Galaxy S series got the new Samsung Galaxy S10 and this time it’s the turn of the Galaxy Note 10. The signature S Pen is back again, bringing new features to the series. The Note 10 is marketed in two models . In addition to the regular Galaxy Note 10 , there is also the larger Galaxy Note 10+. In addition to a larger screen, the Plus model also has some other functions that we do not find on the regular version. In this review we look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ – specifications

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Screen 6.8-inch, 3,040 by 1,440 pixels
Digitizer Yes
Processor  Samsung Exynos 9825
RAM 12 GB
Storage memory 256 GB / 512 GB
SD Yes
HDMI No
USB Yes, usb-c
GPS Yes
3G / 4G Yes
Bluetooth Yes, 5.0
NFC Yes
Cameras 12, 12 and 16 megapixels at the back, 10 megapixels at the front
Battery 4,300 mAh Lithium Polymer

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ has a Cinematic Infinity-O display. In this case, the O stands for the hole in the display. Here you will find the front camera of ten megapixels. The Dynamic Amoled screen has a maximum resolution of 3,040 by 1,440 pixels and is certified for HDR10 +. On board we find the Samsung Exynos 9825 processor, no less than 12 GB RAM and 256 GB or 512 GB storage memory.

On the back we find four cameras, where the camera set-up is comparable to the Samsung Galaxy S10 that was released earlier this year. There is a main camera of twelve megapixels, a wide-angle lens of sixteen megapixels and a telephoto lens of sixteen megapixels. New is the fourth camera, which is missing on the regular Note 10, namely a time of flight camera. This brings new possibilities in the field of photos, videos and augmented reality. The battery has a capacity of 4,300 mAh. The characteristic S Pen is back again and supports, among other things, the so-called Air Actions, where you can control the smartphone remotely via gestures, and the option to convert written notes directly into a Word document.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ – design

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is beautiful to see. At the bottom you will find a small screen edge, but for the rest we have to deal with a front-filling display on the device. It is a curved display with sharply curved corners. The corners are sharper than the predecessors in the Note series and this new model is also slightly thinner than the Galaxy Note 9 . The device is equipped with Gorilla Glass 6at the front and the back. Still, the sharp angles and the thin design have a small downside. Even in combination with the very large screen, the device is not always comfortable in the hand. One-handed operation is therefore virtually impossible. You really need two hands or else you will have to use the S Pen. The physical buttons can be found this time on the left. Not only the volume buttons, but also the on / off button can be found on the left side of the housing.

The glass housing does have a major disadvantage, however. It is a decent fingerprint magnet and the glass is also quite smooth. A cover is therefore also recommended, but this is of course at the expense of the beautiful design. Fortunately, Samsung has already placed a screen protector on the display. You can choose from the colors Aura Black or Aura Glow. We have tested the latter device. At first it seems to be a shiny silver housing, but as soon as the light starts to play a role, the Aura Glow version shows all the colors of the rainbow.

Display

The display of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ scored very high in the DisplayMate test and it is not without reason that it is one of the best smartphone screens at the moment. There is therefore nothing to criticize on the display. The colors are fantastic, the brightness very good and the screen very sharp. There is therefore nothing to criticize about the experience with the display. The resolution of the 6.8 ″ screen can be set up to a maximum of 3,040 by 1,440 pixels. This equates to 498 pixels-per-inch. The curved Dynamic Amoled screen does pose a small problem and that is that you sometimes accidentally activate something on the screen along the sharply curved screen edges on the side. For entertainment, this is the best screen on a smartphone ever, thanks to the sound from both speakers, but more on that later.

Below the display we also find an Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner. Your fingerprint is registered in 3d. As a result, the fingerprint sensor also works when your fingers are wet or dirty, something that sometimes causes problems on other smartphones. It’s not the fastest under-screen fingerprint sensor, but it’ll do just fine. The display is interrupted by a hole in the display for the front camera. You will find this at the top in the middle. I personally did not bother watching a movie or series, but this will be different for everyone.

Connectivity

All the modern connectivity options you’d expect from a modern flagship are there. Wifi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, 3G and 4G and there is also a fingerprint sensor under the screen. Bad news, by the way, for lovers of the headphone jack, because Samsung has omitted the 3.5 mm headphone jack. The company has made productivity a top priority with the Note 10 series. We see this, for example, in Samsung Dex (for a desktop environment) and Link to Windows (bring your smartphone to a Windows 10 PC).

Speakers

Entertainment on a smartphone has never been my cup of tea. Why should I watch movies or series or play games on a small screen if I also have a large television at home? The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ allows me to slightly adjust my opinion. That’s not only because of the fantastic 6.8-inch display, but also because of the sound. Especially when you switch on Dolby Atmos, the double speakers (top and bottom) will provide you with more than enough sound. And if the quality of that sound is also fine, then Samsung has put a real entertainment monster on the market with the Galaxy Note 10+. It is great how Samsung has managed to make the sound appear to come from a much larger speaker. Instead, we are really dealing with two small stereo speakers in a smartphone here. The sound is rich in detail in all layers and there even seems to be something of a bass coming from the small speaker. The supplied earplugs from AKG are also of excellent quality.

Cameras

Three of the four cameras on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ are identical to those on the Samsung Galaxy S10. There is a primary sensor of twelve megapixels, a wide-angle lens of sixteen megapixels and a telephoto lens with two times optical zoom of twelve megapixels. In general, these cameras deliver good photos, especially in daylight. Photos have a lot of detail, have beautiful colors and look natural. In a dark environment, the quality quickly decreases, also in night mode. Noise is quickly visible, whereby the device is not able to properly compensate for the higher ISO value with software. Unlike the two front cameras of the Samsung Galaxy S10 + , the Note 10+ only has one front camera. This generally delivers excellent performance.

Samsung has introduced some new functions, thanks in part to the fourth time-of-flight camera. Unique in a smartphone, for example, is the addition of bokeh videos. With Live Focus you can not only take photos with a sharp foreground and a blurred background, but this is now also possible with video on the device. However, the results are variable, because the subject is not regularly cut out properly. So you will have to make such a video several times and then hope that the result is satisfactory. Drawing in augmented reality is also new. With the camera app you can draw live in 3d. Then you can walk around your creation. For example, you can draw mustaches or a beard on a face, after which it sticks, as it were, and you can walk around it. Nice to try,

For the rest, the 4k videos on the device are of excellent quality, with the device also surpassing the Huawei P30 Pro. In terms of photos, however, the Huawei P30 Pro remains clearly the winner.

Battery life

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ has a large battery of 4,300 mAh on board. This will certainly make it to the end of the day, but you will probably not make it for two days without charging. Fortunately, you can quickly recharge the device and wireless charging is also supported. You will receive a 25W charger as standard. This allows you to fully charge the device within an hour and a half. It is therefore remarkable that the device supports fast charging up to 45 Watt. However, you will have to purchase a 45W charger separately for about 50 euros. A remarkable choice from Samsung, especially because the device is already well priced.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ – software

Samsung and software are always a thing. By default you get Android 9.0 Pie on the device and Samsung also uses its own software shell OneUI. For the user, this means a whole series of Samsung apps. Nice for the Samsung enthusiast, but less fun for people who do not use it.

Still, it all works pretty well. Samsung has really taken a step forward with OneUI. Menus are generally very clear, with the menu for the settings in particular quickly making it clear where you can change a certain function. There is also an app drawer as standard. You can change a number of things, such as the order of the Android icons at the bottom of the screen, and there is a dark mode. There are functions to make one-handed operation a bit easier and in addition to the standard Android icons, you can also choose operation with gestures. The S Pen can also play a role in this, whereby various Samsung apps let you use the so-called Air Actions. Nice is also the built-in screen recorder to directly record images of what is on the screen.

I am slightly less satisfied with Bixby, Samsung’s smart assistant. Although a physical Bixby button is fortunately absent this time, you only have to swipe left from your home screen to be immediately overloaded with dozens of windows. It’s cluttered, unnecessary and actually we just want the Google Discover feed here instead of Bixby.

However, if you are used to OneUI and Samsung’s view on Android, then you are really good with the software on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. When you start the device for the first time, you can tick which apps may be pre-installed. Unfortunately, you cannot choose everything and you are always left with applications that you cannot remove. Despite the clear menus for the settings, OneUI sometimes keeps wanting just too much, bombarding the user with an abundance of windows. Slightly less busy and full would have been fine in our opinion. Knowing Samsung, Android Q will take a while, but during the test period, various updates appeared for the device. The latest security update of August is therefore available.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ – in use

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is big, very big. One-handed operation is therefore virtually impossible. However, if you take this fact into account and can live with it, Samsung has launched a fantastic device with the Galaxy Note 10+. The hardware is fast, the display is excellent, the speakers actually bring a full sound experience to the smartphone and the design of glass is a feast for the eyes. The software may drop a few stitches here and there, but once you have mastered OneUI, you can work with it well. The device may not be as comfortable in the hand as some other flagships, this is mainly due to the sharp angles, but it is nowhere really disturbing.

The renewed S Pen is a welcome addition to the device. The stylus fits well in the hand and this time it has a physical button. It takes some time to find out exactly where the button is now, but it all works reasonably well. In addition to the fact that you can quickly make notes on the screen with the S Pen, the Air Actions are the biggest innovation on the Note 10+. The new S Pen lets you control the device remotely by means of gestures. For example, you can remotely operate the camera app and, by pressing the button and making a gesture from bottom to top, open the selfie camera. Do you want to use a different camera function? Press the button and gesture from left to right to swipe through the menu. Do you want to zoom in with the camera? Press the button and make a circular motion with the S Pen in your hand.

By the way, you have to move fairly precisely and make straight lines, otherwise you will soon find yourself in the wrong menu. Would you like to do it once? Hell yes. Is it helpful? Opinions will be divided on this. You have to make fairly precise gestures, otherwise you will soon be adjusting all kinds of things that you did not intend to do at all. In particular, zooming in does not work fine, where incorrect gestures were regularly detected. The S Pen not only works within the camera app, but can also be used in other Samsung applications. Samsung has opened the doors to developers to also bring the Air Actions to third-party applications.

Another useful function of the S Pen is to convert written notes directly into text in, for example, a Word document. Do you have a meeting and are you taking notes? You can convert it directly to a text file. You do not have to worry that your handwriting is difficult to read, because even my gibberish was almost always well converted into a Word document. Again, the question is whether it is really useful, because you cannot put that many written texts on the display. And to make a separate text file of each note will only result in more work.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is basically one of the best smartphones of the moment. The device has a beautiful design and a fantastic screen. The hardware is fast and the new functions of the S Pen are an added value for the device. Still, this smartphone is not for everyone. The extensive possibilities of the S Pen, Samsung DeX and Link to Windows will not be used by everyone. I also caught myself regularly just leaving the S Pen in the case. Are you a business user? Then this might be the device for you. During meetings, presentations or during creative moods, the Note 10+ really offers added value. However, are you just looking for a good smartphone without these extra functions? The average consumer can therefore very well with the Samsung Galaxy S10 +off the feet. Even then you have a large display and fast hardware at your disposal. The camera set-up is also almost the same. However, the device is now considerably cheaper than the starting price of 1,099 euros for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+.

Performance

In terms of performance, we can be short about the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. Everything you let this device do will be done quickly and without delay. The Exynos 9825 processor is fast enough, the RAM of 12 GB is perhaps even a bit too much and the (expandable) storage memory of 256 GB or 512 GB will ensure that you have more than enough storage space available.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ – Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is perhaps the best smartphone of the moment. The display is fantastic, the hardware is fast and you won’t find a better smartphone in the field of entertainment. Yet this device is not for everyone. The various functions of the S Pen, Link to Windows, Samsung Dex, SmartThings and Bixby will not be used by every consumer. This smartphone is therefore particularly ideal for the business user who needs the creativity and flexibility of a smartphone. For the ordinary consumer, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ may offer too many functions that will not be used, so it would be a shame to spend more than a thousand euros on a smartphone. If you do make the choice for this device, we understand that very well.

Pros

  • Fantastic screen
  • Fast hardware
  • Redesigned S Pen
  • Excellent speakers
  • Glass housing

Negatives

  • OneUI is (sometimes) too busy
  • No 45W fast charger included
  • Not for everyone
  • Pricey device

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