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Galaxy Note 10: exclusive hands-on review

willp789

willp789

4 minute read

On the 7th August, Samsung has announced not one, but two new smartphones, the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+. This year, Samsung has made a number of nice overall improvements on last year’s Note 9, in addition to an upgraded S Pen.

Overview

The first obvious difference over last year is the slimmed-down bezels. In fact, the top bezel has completely disappeared thanks to the 10MP hole-punch front camera. The earpiece grill is also gone, but don’t worry, you can still enjoy crystal-clear phone calls. Furthermore, the Note 10 has dual stereo speakers tuned by AKG, perfect for watching videos and movies.

Note 10 front camera

Unfortunately, the Note 10 loses the headphone jack and the microSD slot that we had become accustomed to seeing on Samsung Galaxy devices. The base model of the Note 10 comes with 256 GB storage, but if you really need microSD expansion, you’ll need to get the bigger Note 10+. When I asked about this, I was told that there simply wasn’t space in this year’s model.

In the case of the Note 10+, we have a bigger battery (4300 mAh compared to 4000 mAh in the Note 9) and it’s almost a millimetre thinner, all while packing a massive 6.8” screen in the space of last year’s 6.4” screen.

The Note 10 is the smaller sibling to the Note 10+, given its 6.3” screen and smaller 3500 mAh battery. It’s comparable in size to the iPhone XR, if that helps you imagine. I’m glad to see that Samsung is offering a smaller Note, while keeping all of the awesome S Pen features.

Note 10 bottom ports (no headphone jack)

Tech Specs

Moving on to the technical specifications, the Note 10 impresses once again. The Note 10 features Samsung’s latest Exynos 9825 processor, which is Samsung’s first smartphone processor manufactured at a 7 nm process. Needless to say, this is a very high-performance processor and it’ll chew through everyday tasks with ease.

Samsung’s latest processor is backed up by a minimum of 256 GB storage and 8 GB RAM on the Note 10, or you can get 12 GB RAM with microSD expansion if you opt for the larger Note 10+.

Note 10 front

Both the Note 10 and Note 10+ have impressive 1440x3040 (FHD+) Dynamic AMOLED displays, which is perfect for media consumption and the OLED technology allows for always-on displays, just like we’ve seen on other Samsung Galaxy models.

Regarding the cameras, we have the same triple rear cameras as we found on the Galaxy S10, which is great because I really like those cameras. In addition to dual aperture and super slow-mo, the Note 10 and Note 10+ feature live focus video which allows you to achieve an artistic bokeh effect while recording high-quality video. It’s worth noting that the Note 10+ has a dedicated 3D depth lens for this feature, which is an advantage over the smaller Note 10.

Note 10 rear cameras

I’ll let the specs speak for themselves, I hope you’ll agree that they’re pretty impressive. Some specs are shared across both models, so we’ve grouped the differences and similarities to make it super clear.

Note 10 and Note 10+

  • 6.3” / 6.8” 1440x3040 Dynamic AMOLED display
  • 10MP hole-punch front camera
  • AKG tuned stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos 3D sound
  • Exynos 9825 processor (new 7 nm manufacturing process)
  • PowerShare and wireless charging 2.0
  • Ultrasonic under-screen fingerprint scanner
  • IP68 dust and water resistance
  • 4G with LTE-A Cat. 20

Note 10

  • Triple rear cameras: 12MP wide + 12MP zoom + 16MP ultra wide
  • 8 GB RAM with 256 GB storage (no microSD expansion)
  • 3500 mAh battery with 25W super fast charging
  • 151 x 71.8 x 7.9 mm, 168g

Note 10+

  • Quad rear cameras: 12MP wide + 12MP zoom + 16MP ultra wide + 3D depth lens
  • 12 GB RAM with 256 GB storage, expandable via microSD up to 1 TB
  • 4300 mAh battery with 45W super fast charging
  • 162.3 x 77.1 x 7.9 mm, 198g

New S Pen features

The standout feature of the Note 10, of course, is the S Pen. This year, the S Pen has seen some pretty significant upgrades. For starters, the S Pen will now give you 11 hours of usage on 6 minutes of charge (the S Pen charges while inside the Note 10).

Note 10 S Pen

The S Pen has new air actions thanks to some new sensors which Samsung impressively squeezed inside. As well as pressing the button, you can now wave the S Pen to perform actions, and this all works up to 40 metres away from the smartphone - handy for controlling the camera remotely!

Check out my video below where I explore some of the new air actions:

Pricing and availability

Once they become available, you’ll be able to buy the Note 10 and Note 10+ unlocked from giffgaff, where you can buy the handsets outright or spread the cost over several months. The confirmed pricing is as follows:

  • Note 10 4G 256 GB - £869
  • Note 10+ 4G 256 GB - £999

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Written by willp789

willp789
Will is a tech fanatic who likes coffee and music.