Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Comment: With Pen Rules How To

Galaxy Note has always been something individual. It was the family phones that Samsung really used to push new technologies - not only the built-in S stylus, but with curved screens, large displays and cameras.

As for later years. Now the gap between the existing flagship Galaxy S series and Note series has narrowed. Of course, there's more that stick controls with a note, adding a different and distinctive layer of functionality, but fundamentally the two are far more similar than they are at different points in time.

We lived with the Galaxy Note 10+ - a "plus" meaning it will bring a larger vapor launcher, with a few extras for the smaller model, to see how it fares. Is the note still as groundbreaking as it used to be, or does with increased competition put its still undivided big-phone reign in question?

Design & Screen

  • 6.8" AMOLED display, 3040 x 1440 pixels (448ppi), HDR 10+ support
  • Measures: 162.3 x 77,2 x 7.9mm / Weight: 196g
  • Under screen ultrasonic fingerprint scanner
  • Glow aura color option (as pictured)
  • IP68 waterproof design

Samsung hasn't been particularly aggressive with leatherette in recent years. Color change with the Galaxy Note 9 pen - the blue and yellow vapor was about as edgy as it got. But, as you can see in our photos, by 2019 this position has changed a lot with the 10+ mark.

Here the aura glow model plays a leading role; into some shimmering cacophony of colors, as if you'd taken rainbow bubble reflections and pressed them into the surface of the material. Which may seem like high praise or high criticism, depending on your point of view. To each his own, but we didn't use the look where it's trim. It lacks the elegance of, say, the Huawei P30 PRO, and we doubt that this note is ready to stand the test of time particularly well. If you don't want to be boring, as we'd rather be in this particular case - ie black or white instead of finishing.

At least the rear trim left to flourish without much interruption, for the Note 10 series is far less busy in its rear than last year. The Note 9. Thanks to the now under-screen fingerprint scanner for login and the camera position aligned to the top corner, everything looks a lot neater and tidy than the dog's dinner that the Note 9's rear-facing was. This is about the time that Samsung really got for such an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, which we found to work well throughout our week of use.

The Galaxy Note 10+ is forged from glass and metal, with IP68 water and dust protection, so it's a pretty tough nut to crack. Well, ignoring the fact that it's heavy on glass, so a lost drop would be devastating - just as it would be for so many flagship phones. That glass screen cover is slightly curved, albeit less so than on the S10 series, which is designed for side-swipe application software components (which opens a customizable shortcut list of application shortcuts).

This time round the screen comes with more than the -thought Infinity-o name marketing - that "o", probably pointing to the center punch-hole of the camera. We can mock the name, but we certainly don't mock the implementation: there's very little bezel here at all, which makes for a screen-dominant display, while the camera hole punch is far less distracting than the larger arrangement seen on the S10+ or C10 5y. The Notes 10+ looks better by a lot with some headroom, its 6.8-inch display delivers some very strong pitches indeed.

Around the body, you'll find volume rocker and power/Bixby buttons that align with the left side (when facing), which is rather odd for an Android phone - as most competitors have the power button to the right. Use it for a couple of days and it's not an issue, however. There's no 3.5mm headphone jack here, but it's in line with the flagship shape and the focus on wireless connectivity is now educated enough to provide a smoother experience than previous Note devices.

In terms of size, the Note 10+ is like the dangling symbol at the end of its name, a fairly large phone. How you find it will be a personal preference. At 77,2mm wide, it's about the same width as the iPhone and XS Max, making it acceptable for those who like thick tubes. For us, though, we think it's a little too broad, making one-handed use difficult when trying to close some windows, especially if apps edge-to-edge activate by accident - although Samsung's optimizations for one interface mean that one-handed use options are there to save you.

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Let's talk with a pen

  • One-piece pen design, retracts into the notes body
  • Inductive-body charging, 10 hours battery
  • Multiple recording/note modes
  • 6-axis sensor, gesture control

A stylus with a pen is what determines attention. It has always been. Take the pen and that's more or less the Galaxy S. So it's great to see that difference will remain - whether you never use it, use it quite a bit, or use it like your life depended on it.

Like the Note 9 Note 10+'s pen connects using Bluetooth Low Energy. It's tucked into the phone's body, released by pressing on a barely protruding tip that springs it out a bit so you can pull it out and away, which activates the pen without having to bother doing anything else. There really isn't any battery charging seen as inductively charging inside the phone's body, providing up to 10 hours of use. How is it organized-free?

The S Pen provides many features. On a resume, you can:

  • Create note (handwritten page, handwriting to text conversion)
  • Smart select (grab a piece of watch on the screen and put it in other windows/some apps)
  • Recording screen (take a screenshot in order to comment on it)
  • Send video messages / AR drawings (draw on the video and move these with the theme)
  • Translate (hover over text, use Google to translate in web pages/some apps)

Let's start with experience. Pen has a new option when it comes to converting handwriting to text. It will automatically recognize what you have written and give you various options for exporting Samsung notes, including moving them straight to a PDF or Word document. Samsung is positioning the Note 10+ as a productivity device with deeper support for Microsoft services, and it's also offering DEX to an external monitor, so being able to save your scribbles as legible Word documents is great. Apart from this, you can also pinch-zoom into sheet music, or change the style of your writing afterwards - giving you more flexibility.

Moving away from writing, the pen still offers all of those keyboard shortcuts and features it did before, but there's now expanding the range of control options offered too. Previously, these covered play and pause, presentations and photos, but now it offers aerial gestures - holding down the physical button and moving the S knob is a bit like Harry Potter and his wand. This will mean that you can do things like zoom remotely with clockwise circular motions with the handle, or swipe to different camera modes.

That's all well and good, but being able to more fully explore these gestures we honestly find them a little, well, strange. That's not to say they don't work the way they do, but there's no physical contact with the screen, the whole thing just feels a bit fussy. Fun, sure, but as an extra-on an extra, that's really not a core feature with the pen. It's Samsung doing what it can do, a little ostentatious style, not a must-have feature that people are dying to do.

Hardware & Batteries

  • Qualcomm or Exynos hardware, depending on region
  • 12GB RAM, 256GB + microSD expansion
  • 4,300 mAh battery with 45W charging
  • And options 5g 4g

Hardware setup Note 10+ will be familiar to Samsung fans. Some regions will receive top hardware manufacturer Qualcomm, while others will receive the Korean-grown Exynos processor chipset. Our understanding is that Europe will get Exynos and there will be an option for 5G on the Note 10+ only – but this may be different in other regions.

There's a generous 12GB of RAM and capacious storage options starting at 256GB, as well as microSD support - the last of which is something less than 10 don't offer. That's a lot of storage potential.

We lived with a 10+ mark for the entire week and it didn't let us down one bit. But then we did not expect anything less. Pay four digits on a phone and it should be mind-bendingly good, really, right?

Everything that is RAM, that is a hardcore processor, and usually nimble software for smooth, fast and smooth operation. Whether multitasking, or escaping gaming sessions on South Park: Phone Destroyer и PUBG Mobileeverything works like clockwork. Samsung has drastically changed its game mode with a bit of expertise, bringing in AI to detect what's needed and when to make sure the performance is right for the game you're playing, along with a bunch of toggles to turn notifications on/off, auto-brightness, and etc. To keep things cool, there's a special vapor chamber built into the middle of the phone, as well as an improved screen-recording feature.

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However, it is not a perfect performer. One of the biggest problems we had was with regard to connectivity. With personal using three 4G and a SIM - which works consistently in several other devices - we sometimes got the worst signal quality and mobile download rates we've seen in a long time. For example: Quarter price phones have proven to be better in this regard. We reflashed, we pulled out the SIM card, but nothing changed. Don't get in the way when on Wi-Fi at home or locally, but surprisingly poor when roaming in, say, central London.

Also, note 10+'s 4,300 mAh battery isn't all that long lasting either. We may have become too accustomed to the Huawei P30 Pro's larger battery capacity, but even after using phones with less processing power and similar battery capacity, the Note didn't quite run a mile. Of course, this will get you through the day, but with the same use for other devices we got worried about the precipitous drop in life - when 14 hours of use, you find yourself in the red, this is not ideal, it's just a shame.

So the performance is great. But the battery life is less than the competition. And 4G connectivity was poor in our experience. Which are enough, um, notable cons on a flagship phone like this one.


  • Primary: 12 MP, dual aperture (f/1.5 + f/2.4), OI
  • Ultra-wide: 16MP, f/2.2 aperture
  • Tele: 12MP, F/2.1 aperture, OI
  • DepthVision sensor

The Notes 10+s camera setup is basically the same as that of the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, with three main lenses and a fourth in depth sensing. However, as we said above, it looks a heck of a lot better than the outgoing Note 9 thanks to its vertical design. Although it now looks like a Huawei phone.

While Samsung has been pretty consistent with its camera offering over the past few years, the Note 10+ ends up falling into the same category: it's pretty good, but it's not the A grade, well, it's not often that outstanding in many ways.

Footage from the reasonably main camera is impressive, but not to the same degree of edginess as you'll find elsewhere. Considering how hard it is for Chinese companies to run this one - from Huawei P30 Pro to Oppo Reno 10x zoom - the Korean champion hasn't been able to muster quite enough to reign.

That said, adding cameras provides a more versatile use case. Ultra-wide provides a much wider field of view. The 2x zoom, however, doesn't deliver on the quality of the other two competitors mentioned above - so Samsung really needs to push here to keep it in the mix.

As a rear camera, in general, the results and potential are good and autofocus in Pro mode is pretty decent, I must say - but it would be better if I found it from the competition.

The same can be said for the night mode. The PDA's advanced shutter mode, which collects images for a sharp, well-lit shot, works well. But it doesn't have the same intelligence as Google's Night Sight, which can practically turn night into day, or extract data like the Huawei P30 Pro's SuperSensing sensor.

Interestingly, Samsung has only put one camera on the front of the Note 10+ - and has done so in less than previous iterations. This is the right decision. After all, the megalith that front camera in the S10 5G was just unaesthetic.

We've mentioned the various pen s features so far, too, and there's support in the camera app. One of the things that is offered in the S10-5G is 'video focus', which is basically like portrait mode for video, blurring the background in real time. It's here on note 10+ too, but it not only erases, there's also some strange anaglyph style distortion-style stuff you can apply. It's a little hilarious, but makes a fair point that once you've got the scene's full details, you can basically do what you want with the background.

And these handle antics stance the Note 10+ as a phone for creators, we can't help but feel that a slightly better camera performance would be key to attract creative audiences. As it is, it's a phone made, but it's no longer the best imaging device you can buy - something else might qualify.

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