With the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus finally in hand, we can unbox it, offer details on what's included, and tell you how the phone is performing.
We're on our way to a full Note 10 Plus review, but need more time to test things like battery and camera life. This means that we will be making 24-hour and 72-hour lineups of our results, updating you on our feels to the phone in real time.
On the last day, we have to check, note 10 plus size and build quality (it's big but feels thinner than other note phones), ran several performance tests, and take a few photo samples using the front and back cameras, including some low-light shots.
Samsung has built an impressive phone - but none for an incredibly high price at a time when there are several other options out there, including several Samsung phones like the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus. Is this S stylus worth the extra money?
Here are our first results after unboxing the Note 10 Plus.
note 10 plus unboxing
We have note 10 plus in the reflective aura glow finish, meaning it takes on the colors of the surrounding world, more often exhibiting a cool rainbow effect. This is different from the cool teal and lavender purple on past phones, note that it has a matte finish.
Cellophane Note 10 plus: Upon opening the Note 10 Plus window, the first thing we noticed is the phone sits there protected in plastic on the front and back. Yes, you can brush both sides without fear, unlike the troubled Galaxy bosom, in which the plastic film on the screen is essential to its functionality. Not the case here.
S handle: The aura glow version of the Note 10 Plus comes with an S Pen in deep blue, one that is smaller and thinner than previous pens. And yet its functionality has improved with more tech inside: a gyroscope and an accelerometer that have been added to provide movement controls - this is in addition to the Bluetooth LE we saw in the Note 9.
USB with charger: Our favorite part of the Note 10 Plus unboxing saw a pretty new 25W USB-C charger cable, offering fast charging speeds out of the box. You may not know this, but the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G came with the same 25W charger.
But note plus 10 will be a significantly more popular phone, so this will be the first time for many fans who are accustomed to the old Samsung USB and charger box and slower 15W charger speeds. There is a USB-C to USB-C cable included in this box too.
Other tools: There is a SIM card ejector tool, a USB-to-USB-C adapter cable, and a claw-like tweezer tool to replace the stylus S tips when they wear out.
What is not here: regular headphones. That's because the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus doesn't have a 3,5mm headphone jack, relying instead on a USB-C port for charging and the included USB-C headphones for personalized audio.
Samsung is one of the latest handset manufacturers to ax the standard headphone port on a flagship phone. Bonus: USB-C headphones are AKG headphones, so they are at least good quality unless you opt for wireless headphones.
Also not here: 3,5mm head-to-USB-C adapter for using regular headphones. They are inexpensive on Amazon if you need one.
Big, but thin, and the hole has shrunken
The Notes 10 Plus is a huge phone – with its 6.8-inch screen, I have a longing for the innovation of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. It is designed for very large hands, while the Note 6.3's 10-inch screen is large-for-normal-sized hands.
The phone can fit in jean pockets well, but summer shorts with small pockets or almost all back pockets? It just begs to slide out when I sit down. We have what will happen to us with big glass phones like this before. It's only more.
What helps is the fact that the Note 10 Plus is a slim 7.9mm, which is thinner than last year's Note 9 by almost a full millimeter. It's still easy enough to wrap in one hand without the Note 10 case, but you'll need two hands to operate it properly.
I ran into several ear-splitting fake touches when tightly gripping this massive machine, often encroaching on the sides of the curved screen. But it's not as bad as when I first started playing with Notes (starting with the Note 3) when they had super sensitive displays compared to the iPhone.
The center-aligned bump-hole front camera isn't as scary as you might think. So far, it's easy enough to ignore and is 26% smaller than the Galaxy S10's hole punch.
The cutest of the benefits: the front camera outline lights up when you take a selfie (like the S10 series doesn't, but this will be a first for users to note). It's incredibly handy when you're taking a shared selfie and non-Samsung-phone-owning friends want to know where to look.
note 10 plus performance
It's the fastest Samsung we've tested, and we have 10 note that pack Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 chipset and 12GB of RAM. It doesn't have the fancy Snapdragon 855 plus chip that's popped up in a few phones in recent weeks, but it's no slouch.
With a multi-core Geekbench score of 10,849, this is one of the fastest Android smartphones we've ever tested. But it is not most fast phone. That title still belongs to the iPhone and xs will soon be replaced by the likely much faster iPhone 11.
What's important is that these numbers are a raw benchmark to tell that the Note 10 is fast enough to run the top 3D games for years to come, as well as act as a connection device to Windows 10 and a pen for PC programs in Dex mode. At the end of the day, tit-for-tat numbers don't matter nearly as much as some like to claim. This phone is incredibly fast.
First note 10 camera samples
We are still using the camera in various situations, and in the next update to the full Note 10 review will include many photo samples and comparisons with Google Pixel 3, iPhone XS Max and Huawei P30 Pro.
But here's a taste of what we're seeing so far.
Actual photos show bright and vibrant colors, more saturated than the often dull, but color-accurate images from the current generation of the iPhone. It's great, as we've seen on the S10 Plus.
The big Note 10 upgrades the camera in its video capabilities, so we'll test the video stabilization in a side-by-side comparison. Is it really better? Can it compete with GoPro in EIS camera stabilization? What we're testing on Sunday for the 72-hour update.
We need the sun to set and rise several times before we get to make full use of the cameras in various scenarios.
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Ongoing tests for a complete review
We have a lot more to say about the note 10 plus and we should. This is Samsung's most advanced and most expensive non-folding smartphone. But we can't come to a conclusion with star-customers simply not. One-day comments are not our business.
We'll be testing the Note 10's battery life both in the lab and in the real world (so far it's excellent) and next to snap photos from the camera in good light, medium light and low light. There are four cameras on the back (if you turn on the direct focus sensors) and one built into the display on the front.
Obviously, unboxing the Note 10 was only the first step. We've got a few stomp tests before final review to score on this handset and find out where it goes on our best phones list.
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