The Galaxy S10 came out back in February, and it's still one of the best phones you can buy, particularly if you enjoy smaller phones and don't mind losing out on the longer battery life of the S10+. But the newly unveiled Galaxy Note 10 brings a sleek new design to the table with much tighter bezels and, of course, an updated S Pen — though the new design comes at the cost of the removal of the headphone jack and microSD slot.
Galaxy S10 vs. Galaxy Note 10: The specs
|Galaxy S10||Galaxy Note 10|
|Operating System||Android 9 Pie||Android 9 Pie|
|Display||6.1 inches, 19:9 aspect ratio, 3040x1440 (550 ppi), Dynamic AMOLED||6.3 inches, 19:9 aspect ratio, 2280x1080 (401 ppi), Dynamic AMOLED|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 7nm, octa-core||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 7nm, octa-core|
|Graphics||Adreno 640||Adreno 640|
|Memory||8GB RAM||8GB RAM|
|Rear Camera||12MP, ƒ/1.5-2.4, 26mm (wide) +
12MP, ƒ/2.4, 52mm (telephoto) +
16MP, ƒ/2.2, 12mm (ultrawide)
|12MP, ƒ/1.5-2.4, 27mm (wide) +
12MP, ƒ/2.1, 52mm (telephoto) +
16MP, ƒ/2.2, 12mm (ultrawide)
|Front Camera||10MP, ƒ/1.9, 26mm||10MP, ƒ/2.2, 26mm|
|Security||Optical in-display fingerprint sensor||Optical in-display fingerprint sensor|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.0||Wi-Fi 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Audio||Dual speakers, headphone jack||Dual speakers|
|Battery||3400mAh, 15W fast charging||3500mAh, 25W fast charging|
|Dimensions||149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm||151 x 71.8 x 7.9mm|
|Colors||Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Blue, Flamingo Pink||Aura White, Aura Black, Aura Glow, Aura Blue|
Minor improvements, significant price hikes
The Galaxy S10 is still a phenomenal phone, but if you've been keeping up with recent tech news, you've likely caught a glance or two at Samsung's new hotness, the Galaxy Note 10. This is the first year the company has split its Note line into two differently sized models with the Note 10 and Note 10+, and the former perfectly blends a compact, pocketable design with a massive screen and, of course, support for the S Pen that makes the Note a Note in the first place.
The Galaxy Note 10 has tighter bezels, faster charging, and new video-centric software.
The Galaxy Note 10 has tighter bezels than any other Samsung phone before it, allowing it to nearly match the Galaxy S10 in size. It feels like the first Note made specifically for people who like the series' features but don't want a huge phone. It's also the first Note with a triple camera array to match the S10, with nearly identical wide, ultrawide, and telephoto sensors.
But you've probably also seen that the Note 10 isn't without its compromises. To achieve that new, smaller design, Samsung had to make a number of sacrifices, including the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack and microSD slot — we never expected to see this happen on a Galaxy Note device first, but, well, here we are.
By contrast, despite a slightly smaller footprint, the Galaxy S10 features wired audio and expandable storage, along with a more rounded design. It otherwise feels extremely similar — the phone only came out six months ago, after all. It runs the same build of Android 9 Pie with the same Samsung One UI software, though the Note 10 runs a slightly tweaked One UI 1.5 versus the S10's One UI 1.0.
On paper, there's not a lot that stands out between devices. Both phones are evenly matched in processors with the same Snapdragon 855 and 8GB of RAM, but the Note 10 has an advantage in storage with double the baseline capacity as the S10 at 256GB. Both phones share similarly large batteries as well, though the Note 10 has a considerable advantage with its 25W fast charging, and even wirelessly charges at 15W — the same rate that the S10 charges over a USB-C cable.
Of course, the Note 10 also benefits from a newly improved S Pen, which now allows you to use air gestures to control features like the camera (though admittedly, during our initial testing these gestures didn't work terribly well). The remote features from last year's Note 9 carry over as well, allowing you to control the camera and music playback using the side button on the S Pen.
The Galaxy S10 is almost evenly matched at a much lower price.
There are some other software improvements on the Note 10, such as a more powerful DeX 2.0 that works within a virtual machine on Mac and Windows computers, along with video-centric features like built-in video editing software and the ability to focus audio in a particular direction as you zoom in, but it's easy to assume those software improvements will eventually make their way to the Galaxy S10.
If you can't tell by now, the S10 and Note 10 are extremely similar phones, and there aren't many major reasons to spend the extra money on the Note 10. The hardware design is sleeker, but the specs, software, and cameras are all nearly identical — though this may be good news for S10 owners who didn't want their phone to feel outdated so quickly.
If you're torn between the two, you should seriously consider how much you value the S Pen, or maybe how much you'll take advantage of the faster wired and wireless charging on the Note 10. Most people are probably better off saving a few hundred dollars and grabbing the Galaxy S10 — though if you act fast, Samsung is offering aggressive trade-in offers for the Note 10, including up to $600 for older devices along with $100 in instant credit towards accessories. With that kind of deal available, the Note 10 is a no-brainer — at least, so long as you can live without a headphone jack or microSD card.
The more practical buy for most people.
The S10 is still one of the best phones money can buy, with nearly the same spec list as the newer Note 10 and a much lower price. It'll likely receive the same software features as the Note 10 with future updates, and still features expandable storage and wired audio.
Superphone with a stylus
You'll need to really love the S Pen.
If you can live without a headphone jack or microSD card, the Note 10 brings a sleek new design, updated software, and faster charging. It's still the only phone with an S Pen, but otherwise feels nearly identical to the S10.
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