Samsung Just Launched the Galaxy Note 10, the high-end smartphone that should be the culmination of the 2019 line-up. We took a close look at it, and we can share our first impressions and analysis of the line-up and the technological implications on how it affects your user experience.
The Note 10 series features three models: The Note 10, Note 10+ and Note 10+ 5G.
The Galaxy Note 10’s industrial design is incredibly beautiful, featuring a much thinner body (7.9mm) than the Galaxy Note 9 (8.8mm). If you pair this with the new extra-large 6.8” display of the Galaxy Note 10+, with even smaller bezels and a tiny camera cutout, it is perhaps the best looking high-end smartphone yet. You can tell us in a comment, but we find it to be a head-turner.
However, the disappearance of the 3.5mm audio connector might disappoint many Galaxy Note fans, while others won’t mind since they have switched to Bluetooth headphones. It’s not clear if there will be any impact on the overall sales, but recent history has shown us that it is not a make or break item.
Like the S10 series, the Galaxy Note 10 gets a serious performance boost over the Note 9 thanks to its Snapdragon 855 processor (which we have reviewed in detail for its features and performance), along with better 4G LTE capabilities (CAT20, 2Gbps) that serves as a very impressive broadband baseline which is supplemented by the top-of-the-line Galaxy Note 10+ 5G
This new hardware platform is more power-efficient than Note 9, but Samsung has also included a wired 45W fast-charging option, which should be much faster than anything the company has done before. Keep in mind that the fastest charging phones today peak around 40W. That said, the 45W charger is not provided by default, something that competitors do sometimes provide.
A specific Galaxy Note 10+ 5G smartphone model is exclusively available for US users at Verizon. After the exclusivity period of undetermined length, the 5G model should find its way to other carriers “by the end of the year.” We know that AT&T is working with Samsung, and we expect to see T-Mobile join as well, using their 600 MHz spectrum.
The Galaxy Note 10 Pen experience is a central piece of technology, so Samsung made visible changes to the Pen’s physical design, including the integration of a motion sensor which allows “Air actions” which are somewhat programmable gestures that can trigger actions in specific apps. At launch, it is mainly Samsung apps that are supported, but there’s a developer kit so that 3rd party apps can join the fun as well.
A “Handwriting To Text” functionality has also been added to convert handwritten words to Text in near real-time, which is nice to make documents more legible when it works.
Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ Specs Highlights
|Product||Galaxy Note 10 (2019), Price: 949 USD||Galaxy Note 10+ (2019), Price: 1099 USD|
|Display||6.3″ 2280×1080 AMOLED , HDR10+||6.8″ 3040×1440 AMOLED , HDR10+|
|Battery||3600 mAh, Wireless Charging, Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0||4300 mAh, Wireless Charging, Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0|
|Design||IP68, 168g (5.9oz), 151×71.8×7.9 mm (5.94 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches)||IP68, 196g (6.9oz), 77.2×162.5×7.9 mm (3.04 x 6.40 x 0.31 inches)|
Software: Seamless Note 10 to Computer Interactions
On the software front, Samsung is making the Galaxy Note 10 series communicate better with PCs, thanks to Dex for PC, and Link to Windows. While Dex is a stand-alone user interface, Dex for PC lets the Galaxy Note interact better with PC or Mac computers, allows quick-sharing and mobile app usage from the computer.
Link To Windows is about getting your messages notifications and being able to reply directly from the PC, thus avoiding having to pick up and unlock the phone often.
Both features have the potential to generate substantial productivity gain, especially for those who use mobile-only, secure messaging, which would otherwise require to pick-up and unlock the phone very often.
Three models: Note 10, Note 10+ and Note 10+ 5G
For the first time, Samsung is expanding the Galaxy Note line of product into three models, from the previously unique one. This idea was introduced with the Galaxy S10e and S10 5G and allowed Samsung to increase the footprint of the Galaxy S series across more market segments, effectively from $650 to well beyond $1000. Unfortunately, this does not make the Note 10 series much cheaper when compared to Galaxy Note 9
The base Galaxy Note 10 starts at ~$949, which is $50 less than the base Galaxy Note 9 model at launch. However, the Note 10 battery capacity is ~10% lower (3600 mAh vs. 4000 mAh) than Note 9, and the screen’s surface area is ~4% smaller.
The Galaxy Note 10+ costs $1099, and is the one that’s genuinely better than the Galaxy Note 9 in every single way, including the additional 10% of screen surface area and extra ~8% battery capacity, at 4300 mAh (vs. 4000 mAh).
Finally, the 5G version of the Galaxy Note 10+ starts at $1299.99 and can reach the highest broadband speeds, where 5G coverage is available. Only with Verizon, at launch time.
High-End Camera Hardware and Features, Derived from Galaxy S10+
Samsung’s high-end cameras are some of the best, and the Galaxy Note 9 was once the best low-light camera in the industry. The Galaxy Note 10 has a triple rear camera, while the Note 10+ had a quadruple-camera setup for extra Bokeh (depth of field) precision and for 3D-scanning, a fun feature that lets you create 3D objects after a few seconds of scanning.
It is even possible to animate 3D characters by matching their motion to a live person’s motion filmed by the camera.
While our full camera review will come when we get the retail units, we expect photographic performance to be almost identical to the Galaxy S10 / S10+ smartphones (read our Galaxy S10+ camera review), which currently holds the #2 position, just behind the Huawei P30 Pro, in our Camera IQ benchmark.
That said, the Note 10 gets capabilities such as Live Focus Video (video with Bokeh) and “Zoom-In Mic,” a unique feature that focuses the audio recording on a specific area when you zoom. It seems to work by using algorithms to emulate the use of a shotgun microphone, which is designed to capture sound from a narrow direction.
Samsung has also added a fun built-in video editor that makes it easy to add effects and drawings to short video clips, like Instagram stories. Finally, a long-exposure “Night Mode” is now available for the selfie camera, and that can dramatically improve the image quality in low-light if you’re willing to pause for a few seconds.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Note 10+ and Note 10+ 5G are among the most powerful and most desirable high-end handsets on the market. We’re excited that Samsung has upgraded to a 45W fast charging to counter what was perhaps the most potent reasons to buy a competing Android phone from Huawei/Honor, OnePlus or Oppo. We’re looking forward to putting it to the test.
The Galaxy Note 10 takes all the technology from the Galaxy S10 and packs it into a very sexy chassis with best-in-class display quality (HDR 10+ certified) and the best smartphone Pen experience in the world.
“ULTIMATE PRODUCTIVITY PHONE”
When it comes to sketching/writing on the phone, Samsung remains a lonely leader as there isn’t anything that even comes close to competing with the Galaxy Note 10 (or, Note 9 and even Note 8 if you want to go back that far).
The Galaxy Note was always designed as an ultimate productivity phone, and it seems to nail it once again: the large display, note-taking, slide presentations features are now paired with the ability to seamlessly work with/from Windows or Mac computer.
Keep an eye out for our feel review of this new smartphone. So far, the short time we spent with it is hinting that things are looking very good.