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Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review: Coasting to victory

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
(Image: © Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

With the Galaxy S series being so utterly dominant in the high-end Android phone market, it takes a lot of pressure off of the Galaxy Note. Just about anyone's smartphone needs can be addressed by the Galaxy S10 or S10+; they're the "do everything" phones, available in two sizes at two palatable price points with otherwise identical features and capabilities.

So what can the Galaxy Note 10+ bring to the table when the Galaxy S10+ is still excellent and has only gotten more appealing with price cuts six months after its launch? Naturally, you have the S Pen, a larger screen, even better specs, and a few new productivity features to lean on.

But is that going to be enough to justify its price jump from the Galaxy S10+? After all, the Note is supposed to be the power-user phone of choice. It's for the most discerning of smartphone buyers, the biggest Samsung fans and the stylus faithful. Here's how it all comes together to justify an $1100 price tag.

The Good

  • Incredible display
  • Hardware looks and feels expensive
  • Outstanding performance
  • Great battery life and fast charging
  • Consistent camera performance
  • Best stylus experience on any phone

The Bad

  • Low-light camera quality is weak
  • Software requires lots of tweaking
  • No headphone jack

Galaxy Note 10+ Price & release date

Galaxy Note 10+

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ was officially launched on August 7, 2019, with a retail price of $1,100. For its time, the Note 10+ was one of the most powerful and capable smartphones you could buy. It's now 2020, and while the Note 10+ isn't the latest Note in Samsung's lineup (that title goes to the Note 20 Ultra), it's still a fantastic purchase. Its specs and features hold up really well, and while it lacks 5G connectivity, you can still use it just fine on any major carrier in the United States.

If you're looking to purchase the Galaxy Note 10+ for yourself, there are a few shopping tips you should know — the first of which is that you shouldn't pay full price for the phone. Samsung is known to offer regular discounts for its devices, especially if they've been available for a few months. With Amazon Prime Day 2020 and Black Friday quickly approaching, it's more than likely the phone will go on sale during those savings events.

It's also worth keeping an eye on what Samsung's offering on its online storefront. As of right now, you can get a $250 instant credit when trading in your old device.

Galaxy Note 10+ Hardware, design, and display

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Samsung's hardware design and quality is worthy of applause, but it already was on the Galaxy S10, Note 9, S9 ... well, ever since the Galaxy S6, really. But whether you've held every Samsung phone ever made or this is somehow your first time picking one up, the Note 10+ exudes quality.

The Note 10+ just exudes quality in every possible way.

There's just enough metal (which is an aluminum alloy, not stainless steel) to give you that feeling of solidity between the panes of curved glass. The fit-and-finish is superb, and the 196 gram weight is nicely distributed; albeit heavy compared to the average high-end phone. And while having the power button on the left side now feels awkward at first, its dramatically lower placement, coupled with the removal of a dedicated Bixby button, is a big improvement in overall usability.

That's not to say that the Note 10+ will be easily usable for everyone; it's still quite massive no matter where the buttons are. For the most part you can get around its size, but certain actions like typing with one hand, reaching across the screen for a slide-in drawer and going to the top of the screen for buttons are chores. When you get a Note 10+, you're resigning yourself to have to wait and use two hands for many things — but in return you get a huge screen to look at all the time. Add in its slippery back and smooth edges, and it can instill doubt as to whether you can keep the Note 10+ securely in your hand at all times. (A thin case helped my usage a ton.)

With the metal and glass taken to their logical — and most efficient — conclusion of a rectangular slab, there isn't much Samsung could add in terms of flair. That is, unless you buy the Aura Glow color, which I have in for review. This reflective, shimmering, color-changing exterior is brilliant and completely unique. It looks like a different color from every angle and in every kind of light, which is just downright fun. You'll turn heads.

Complete Galaxy Note 10+ specs

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

The fact that Samsung continues to lead in display technology should come as no surprise. The Dynamic AMOLED panel, in all its 6.8-inch glory, is once again setting the bar. It's bright, clear, visible in direct sunlight, has great viewing angles and is just as colorful or neutral as you want depending on which display setting you choose.

The fact that Samsung is continuing to lead in display technology should come as no surprise.

The only thing I'm really missing here is the buttery smoothness of the 90Hz display on the OnePlus 7 Pro, but considering that's nowhere near an industry-standard feature I can forgive Samsung for not having it. Especially when every other aspect of the display is excellent.

Samsung didn't stop at the display panel itself: you'll find dramatically smaller bezels and a less-intrusive camera cutout too. The bezels are so tiny at this point that when you pair them with the curved display edges the hardware really does just disappear in your hand and let you focus purely on the screen. Even the small cutout for the front-facing camera fades away thanks to its unobtrusive size and central placement — a huge improvement over the Galaxy S10+.

The tiny bezels are a welcomed change; the trade-off of an odd-sounding top speaker is not.

In order to make that tiny top bezel work, the top speaker had to go deeper inside the phone, which leads to a notable change in the way it sounds. There is a tiny slit at the top of the glass to let the sound out, but it doesn't seem to do much for direction — instead, the sound seems to just bounce around the top half of the phone and come out everywhere. It's great for phone calls because you don't have to position the phone on your ear any specific way, but creates an odd vibration in the phone when listening to anything at higher volumes. It's also not a balanced sound with the single bottom speaker, which is noticeable when holding the phone in landscape.

The Note 10+ follows in the footsteps of the S10 with the same ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, saving from further hardware design complexity. This is the one piece of the hardware equation that goes past "personal preference" to "objectively not good," because this sensor has not aged well in the last six months. It's too slow to recognize or reject a fingerprint, which makes you hesitate every single time you unlock the phone. Pair that with a relatively small recognition area and an always-on display that doesn't show the sensor area prominently, and this is a negative mark on an otherwise exceptional piece of hardware.

RIP, headphone jack

And I suppose I can't close out the hardware segment without mentioning the headphone jack. After years of holding it up as a core tenet, Samsung has finally decided it was time to let it go. You can argue all day whether this should be a standard feature on phones, but only you know whether it's a dealbreaker for your purchase decision.

The headphone jack is gone, and I'm long done complaining about it.

Samsung (somewhat) eases the transition by including USB-C headphones in the box, which unsurprisingly are the same as the 3.5 mm AKG buds from previous phones and sound just as good. A USB-C to 3.5 mm adapter would've been a nice addition, but Samsung charges you $15(!) for one of those.

I've been using phones without a headphone jack for a long time now and it doesn't really bother me, so I was on my merry way using the Note 10+ with Bluetooth headphones just like I do my Pixel 3 XL. Ultimately, your choice now is to either buy a Note 10+ and keep the S Pen but lose the headphone jack, or buy a Galaxy S10+ and get the opposite. The headphone jack is gone, and I'm long done complaining about it.

Galaxy Note 10+ Photo and video

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

I made it clear from the start that Samsung's insistence on keeping the same cameras — a 12MP main, 16MP ultra-wide and 12MP telephoto — from the Galaxy S10 was prone to be a shortcoming of the phone. It's not that the S10's cameras are bad — they're actually very good — but that they're already not the best in every respect today, and when there's clear room for improvement Samsung didn't make any.

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Galaxy Note 10+ camera sample

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Galaxy Note 10+ camera sample

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Galaxy Note 10+ camera sample

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Galaxy Note 10+ camera sample

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Galaxy Note 10+ camera sample

Daylight photos are excellent from all three cameras, and each is incredibly consistent.

I can't levy a single complaint at the daylight photo quality, which is frankly superb and stands up to any other phone. Photos are crisp with great detail, filled with color, and exhibit strong dynamic range. Samsung still tends to over-saturate and over-expose a little, but I'd happily take erring on that side of things than the opposite. Photography nerds can apply tweaks and edits to get it just right, but the way Samsung does things is best for the average person who wants to share the photo straight out of camera.

The main camera is obviously the best of the three, but in good lighting the ultra-wide camera is fantastic and the telephoto strikes a fine balance between providing you with a unique perspective and losing a little quality. I would prefer if the telephoto was a more aggressive 3X zoom considering a digital 2X zoom on the main sensor is comparable in quality, but that's a small complaint.

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Galaxy Note 10+ camera sample

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Galaxy Note 10+ camera sample

All of my disappointment with the Note 10+'s cameras lies in low-light quality, which frankly hasn't kept up.

All of my disappointment with the Note 10+'s cameras lies in low-light quality, as has been the case with Samsung's cameras for years. As soon as the light goes down, you can rule out the wide-angle and telephoto cameras; though that's par for the course for most phones. What's problematic is that the main camera starts to fall apart sooner than I'd like with mixed or low light.

Frustratingly, the photos are bad in different ways depending on the low-light scenario. Sometimes you get a too-high ISO with lots of grain, other times a too-slow shutter with hand motion blur, and sometimes it's over-sharpened chroma noise; or you get some combination of the three. In any case, the excellent shot-to-shot confidence the camera gives you in good lighting is erased in low light scenes — it usually takes a couple tries, and in many cases I'm still not satisfied with what I get.

Now and then you can get lucky with Night Mode, which takes an excruciatingly long time to capture and sometimes produces a photo with more balanced colors and less noise. But most of the time all Night Mode can offer up is a brighter, but still subpar, shot. It's no competition for the Pixel's Night Sight in any way.

Low-light quality is passable, but that isn't good enough when Google and Huawei are doing substantially better.

The low-light quality is passable, but passable isn't good enough for an $1100 phone that exists in a world where Google and Huawei (and heck, even Sony) are doing great with nighttime photography. For cameras that are so good in so many ways, and didn't need any changes in daylight capture, it's disappointing to not see any noticeable low-light improvements.

On the other side, the front-facing camera is great, with good colors and auto focus to make sure your selfies are always sharp. I sure wish Samsung would've gone with a little wider field-of-view lens, because when you shoot front-facing video the crop gets a little too tight; this probably won't be a vlogger's go-to smartphone unless they want to use a short selfie stick.

See more

Samsung did make changes in the video department, continuing the pitch of the Note 10 as being for video creators. There's enhanced video stabilization, Live Focus (bokeh) effects in video, and audio recording that tracks with the focus of your framing.

The new video stabilization is a substantial improvement, and it all happens automatically.

The new video stabilization is spectacular, now rivaling Google's excellent stabilization. Whether you're just walking down the street, in a car on a bumpy road or whatever, the Note 10+ will smooth out the video incredibly well. And it does so without introducing blurriness or a "jelly" effect, which is impressive in its own right. The microphone focus happens just as seamlessly, giving you better directed audio just like you'd expect.

The Live Focus effects are roughly as hit-or-miss as they are with photos, though small issues with edge detection are easier to ignore with a moving subject. They provide a little something that can spice up your videos, but you'll probably be more likely to just take nice clean (and steady) video without the effects unless you have a specific shot in mind.

Galaxy Note 10+ Software, features and battery life

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

The Note 10+ may be running One UI 1.5, ostensibly an update from the S10's software, but the changes come in the form of the handful of new Note features rather than any dramatic movements in the interface or user experience. This is still the familiar One UI everyone on a Galaxy S8 and newer has been using.

Source: Android Central

The software takes a considerable amount of work to get just right, but once you're done you'll be happy.

The inclusion of more Microsoft apps and services isn't intrusive whatsoever, as you can choose which apps to install during the initial setup process — or uninstall the ones you don't want later on. Samsung's insistence on having all of its own apps alongside the Google and Microsoft (if you install them) apps is more of an annoyance. I hope that the self-realization of shifting away from its own services to Microsoft's can also kickstart a re-evaluation of its overall app strategy going forward. The launcher lets you hide the apps you can't disable or uninstall, which is a good route to go if you're annoyed by the clutter.

And that's the name of the game for making Samsung's software work well: configure, disable and tweak. There are fewer features to be found, and fewer enabled by default, but there's still a lot to wade through on first startup. It can be overwhelming, and it takes several days to get everything set up just how you like it, which is a poor user experience. But once you go through the trouble, you can make the Note 10+ look and act exactly how you want.

The Note 10+ offers amazing performance no matter what you need to get done; it just won't quit.

Once I have everything set up to my liking, Samsung's software works just fine. I actually like the default launcher, I don't feel the need to apply any sort of theme to change the styling, and I'm used to the way it works at this point. I realize I don't use every feature that's available, but that's not really the intent — you should be able to find and use just what you want and leave the rest disabled.

No matter what you do, you're going to find amazing performance on the Note 10+. That shouldn't come as any surprise with a Snapdragon 855 and staggering 12GB of RAM, but I couldn't do a single thing that made the Note 10+ so much as hesitate — let alone stutter or actually have a problem. That's precisely what we all expect from this level of phone, but it's still worth noting. You're spending top dollar and getting top performance no matter what you throw at the Note 10+.

Battery life and charging

One of the benefits of having a huge phone is its correspondingly huge battery. 4300mAh is a whole lot to work with, and Samsung makes good on the Note's reputation for great battery life.

This is everything you want: incredible battery longevity and daily consistency.

I use my phone with as few power-saving measures as possible. I don't rely on Power Saving Mode, I use automatic brightness, I leave Always-on Display turned on, and I leave the whole host of apps and accounts syncing and pushing notifications. I stream a lot of podcasts and YouTube Music over Bluetooth, take a lot of photos, and keep up with plenty of email and social media updates. With a typical 16-17 hour day, I was heading to bed with about 20-25% battery remaining on a consistent basis. (These days usually have 3-5 hours of "screen on" time, for those who like that sort of stat.)

Samsung continues to have great battery life consistency, both throughout the day and from day to day. Nothing seems to dramatically drain the Note 10+'s battery, and I could always count on the same general percentage drop throughout each day no matter how I used it. Predictability in battery life is just as much of a feature as actual longevity in my book. The Note 10+ isn't going to be a two-day phone by any means, but in my entire review period I wasn't once worried about it dying prematurely.

We finally get charging speeds to match the Note's big battery.

The Note 10+ finally pairs that big battery with appropriate charging speeds, including a 25W charger in the box and support for 45W charging if you have the right adapter and cable. That 25W brick can get the phone from 0-100% in about 70 minutes, which is excellent for such a huge capacity. The 10-70% run, which is arguably more important, only takes roughly 30 minutes.

The Note 10+ won't take 45W from just any charger, unfortunately — you need both a USB-C power adapter that supports Programmable Power Supply (PPS) and an "e-marked" USB-C cable. Finding both is a struggle right now. But knowing the phone will take that charge using the in-box charger, Samsung's official 45W charger, and some other chargers (with more to come) is great now and going to get better over time.

Making use of the S Pen

I'll freely admit that I have never been a diehard S Pen fan. It could be that my handwriting is that bad. Or that I'm not much of an artist. Or that text input via typing or speech-to-text is simply much faster than writing with a stylus. Whatever the reason, the utility of the S Pen is mostly lost on me.

You can't deny the S Pen's capabilities — the only question is whether the features appeal to you.

But even still, I can't downplay the importance of the S Pen. Note users come to me regularly with a description of how the stylus fits into their workflow, and each and every one is valid. Taking quick notes on the lock screen throughout the day, signing and returning PDFs, and marking up documents for review are all great uses for the S Pen, and they may be the sorts of things you could see yourself doing on a regular basis. The S Pen has incredible accuracy and pressure sensitivity, is easy to write with, and has software support to back it up — you don't have to install anything to make full use of the S Pen for all of the aforementioned use-cases.

Whether you see value in the S Pen for these functions is purely a personal decision — not relying on them myself, I clearly won't be able to convince you — but it's undeniable that the technology is phenomenal and unique. You can't get this quality of stylus control on a phone anywhere else; so if those uses sound appealing, the Note 10+ is where it's at.

The chance you'll find something to use air actions for regularly is low.

The S Pen feature that's far more dubious is "air actions," which let you control apps from a distance with the S Pen. Building on what debuted with the Note 9, you can now hold the S Pen's button and make gestures — up, down, left, right and circular — to do even more. Just like before the functions are limited to just a few apps (basics like camera, gallery, internet, etc.), and just like before it's a neat novelty but not something I came to rely on.

There are specific use-cases like controlling the camera while it's propped up or in a tripod, or controlling the Gallery while the phone's facing another direction or plugged into a TV … but outside of that it's just not very compelling. Getting the gestures to work right takes a little time, but they're generally reliable once you do so — the bigger issue is there just aren't many interesting things you can do with them. My phone spends its time in my hand, and when it isn't in my hand I'm never going to be holding just the S Pen.

Making sense of DeX for PC

The DeX environment itself doesn't seem to have appreciably changed with the Note 10+, but Samsung has changed up the way it works so that you can now plug directly into a Windows or Mac computer and run the DeX desktop in a window. "DeX for PC," as it's called, makes way more sense than the original vision of plugging your phone into a dedicated dock with its own keyboard, monitor and mouse.

DeX for PC makes dramatically more sense than buying a dock just to use your phone like a computer.

Everyone has a PC or Mac and a USB-C cable handy to run DeX, whereas just about nobody was going to spend $100+ on a DeX dock and keep it connected to a standalone monitor and peripherals. I tested DeX for PC on my MacBook Pro, installing DeX and also Smart Switch (which is required for file transfers). Just plug in your phone, and it works! You get a window with the DeX desktop environment, which you can resize or run full-screen if you wish.

Source: Android Central

If you used DeX before and found use for running your phone's apps on a larger screen, you'll love this. If you haven't … you may be disappointed. Most apps don't resize or go into landscape mode, and generally don't translate well to a laptop-sized screen — something we've learned from a couple years using Android apps on Chromebooks. Browsers and productivity apps like email clients and word processors work well though, and if you're someone who has sensitive data locked up via an enterprise security system, this may be the easiest way to access and edit files on a larger screen.

The biggest feature that was appealing for me (and many others) was the ability to drag-and-drop files between the computer and DeX, but this only worked in one direction for me: from the computer to the phone. This could be a macOS limitation, or some odd incompatibility, but I went through all of the required steps and even uninstalled and reinstalled both DeX and Smart Switch to try to get it to work — but no dice. I hope it works better for Windows users, because the seamless transfer of files between the phone and computer could be the killer feature for people who want to seamlessly work between their phone and laptop.

Galaxy Note 10+ Bottom line

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

The historical goal of the Galaxy Note is, at least, twofold: to make a single device that represents a culmination of everything Samsung is capable of at a given point, and to continue to offer the industry's only high-end phone with a stylus. The latter is just a given — it's a Note, it has the S Pen, and nothing else comes anywhere close to competing with it.

Nowadays, "Note" just means "has an S Pen" — and that's really it.

The former is, for the first time now, in question. Samsung isn't so much failing to achieve as it is changing what the "Note" means. Nowadays, "Note" just means "has an S Pen" — and that's really it. With the removal of the headphone jack, generally iterative improvements or stagnant features, and the introduction of the smaller Note 10 that's out-classed in some ways by the S10+, the Galaxy Note no longer represents the biggest and best Samsung can do. It's simply a great phone — one that's great in all of the same ways Samsung's other phones are, but with an S Pen.

Is that a problem? Not really. Samsung's phones are excellent, and I've stood behind my decision to, on multiple occasions, list the latest Galaxy S as my favorite phone of the year and the one that I recommend to the most people. The Galaxy Note 10+ is excellent in all of the same ways. Giving people the choice to have a slightly larger (or smaller) phone with an S Pen and a few notched-up specs only expands Samsung's addressable market.

4 out of 5

The lens through which this represents a problem is from the point of view of the bigtime Note fans. Slowly but steadily, from the launch of the Note 5 onward, the Galaxy Note has become less special, less cutting-edge, less interesting and less groundbreaking compared to Samsung's other phones. Samsung can say all day and night that the Note is still the biggest and best phone made for its most passionate and serious users, but the product available on the shelf simply doesn't follow that ethos. The Galaxy Note 10+ is still fantastic, but it's an easy argument to say that Samsung isn't doing right by those diehard Note fans anymore. It's still winning, but it's coasting to victory rather than accellerating.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

The Note 10+ is undeniably better than the Galaxy S10+ in several ways. But its improvements are, for the most part, marginal. It's the best phone Samsung makes, but it may not be worthy of the price jump over the S10+.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

68 Comments
  • I almost shed a tear reading this review. This was a work of art. Thanks, Andrew!
  • You're too kind. Thank you!
  • Nobody is going to address the elephant in the room? That the S10e, S10, S10+, and Note 10, AND the Note 10+, are slow? Well no, not really, but they are slower than other phones.
  • Explain? slower than what phones, do you mean older Samsung phones like S9, Note 9 etc or what?
  • They are faster than the S9, but it's only a marginal increase. The OnePlus 7 Pro outperformed the S10 in real world speed tests, which isn't terribly surprising because of their focus on performance. The surprise came today when we did side by side comparisons with the HTC U12+ after it finally got it's update to Android Pie. The U12 is from last year, with last year's SOC (SD 845), and the Pie update increased the animation times which should have slowed it down a bit. The update was the whole reason we re-tested, and we found that the U12+ was still faster than the S10, despite the older hardware. It's really not all that outlandish though when you look at the core architecture, and HTC has a history of being one the higher performing devices each year (except for the SD810). There's other factors that should have put the 855 ahead of the 845, like a better GPU, but it's unexpected that Samsung could not optimize their devices to pull ahead of the older hardware. U12 Plus SD845 core speeds:
    4 cores at 2.8 GHz = 11.2
    4 cores at 1.7 GHz = 6.8
    Total = 18 S10 SD855 core speeds
    1 core at 2.84 GHz = 2.84
    3 cores at 2.41 GHz = 7.23
    4 cores at 1.78 GHz = 7.12
    Total = 17.19
  • Watch Youtube Kevin the tech ninja's video Note 10+ VS OnePlus 7 Pro - FASTEST Phones TESTED.
    Funny how you have to make things up.
  • Joe, the Note 10+ and the OnePlus 7 Pro are the fastest phones HE has tested. He has tested three phones. You're going to base your statement on a guy that has only done two speed tests in his life? Me? 20 years experience in mobile device testing and analysis for a company with eleven thousand employees.
  • "Nobody is going to address the elephant in the room? " lol make believe elephant lost all credibility adding cores lol
    4 cores at 2.8 GHz = 11.2
    4 cores at 1.7 GHz = 6.8
    Total = 18 S10 SD855 core speeds
    1 core at 2.84 GHz = 2.84
    3 cores at 2.41 GHz = 7.23
    4 cores at 1.78 GHz = 7.12
    Total = 17.19 you bring up the one plus 7 pro
    then discredits him for testing the one plus 7 pro I'm running the note 10 plus and it is very quick.
  • Not discrediting him for testing the 7 pro. The title of Kevin's video was used to indicate that the Note 10 and the 7 pro were the fastest phones in the world... kinda skipping over the fact that Kevin the Tech Ninja has only speed tested three phones in his life. Now, about the cores; you do know the concept of multithreading and parallel task processing, correct? Not being condescending; just checking where you're at. Let's just pull a known CPU out of the hat with equal cores. In theory, the four cores are supposed to be equivalent to one core that is four times faster. It never works out that way due to processing overhead, L cache hunting and so forth. In the real world, four cores does not equal four times the performance, but does get in the neighborhood with 3.194899817850638 times the performance. And yes, those are actual numbers for the old SD801 which had four cores of equal clock speed. So just adding the core values is an oversimplification, but it's not far off, and the intention was to avoid all the math complications which would confuse more than a few. If you want, I could sit down and give the CPU equivalency numbers, but it would have to be tomorrow because we have company over right now. And lastly, I agree that your Note 10 Plus is quick, and if I had to pick between the regular Note 10 and the Plus, I would have definitely picked the Plus.
  • Are you saying the U12 runs @18ghz? LMAO
    Why do you always compare ALL phones to the U12, with the U12 is always better at EVERYTHING?
    HTC is history, yet your still clinging on...
    Let go..... they're dead.. Higher clock speeds don't always mean FASTER performance. Look at the iPhone. There are more components that help with speed.
  • Nope. I'm saying the aggregate cycles of all eight cores is higher with the SD845, regardless of what phone it is running in. Are you contesting the individual core speeds? They are easy to find. And yes, you are absolutely correct in stating that higher clock speeds don't always mean faster performance. Got the XS Max on hand from earlier this year, and just purchased the XS to round things out a couple weeks ago. So, why the U12? Simple, it's their current flagship. You don't expect me to go back to older phones to compare with the current set of flagships, do you? Although technically, I could state that the M8 has better audio than the Note, and that would be an accurate statement. On top of that, the U12+ has receive more passionate hatred than just about anything out there, so to ME at least, it's amusing that it stands up so well in direct comparisons. I don't state the U12 is better in everything, and I'll save you the trouble: No wireless charging, no wireless reverse charging, no ultrawide angle camera, screen not as bright, among other things. However, let's be honest: Samsung is pretty much idolized here, with the Note series being placed on an unreachable pillar. If you don't believe me, look at all the "offended" responses to my post. So it's kinda funny when one of the discards of the smartphone world reaches up and slaps it a few times ;) All that aside, that fact is that the U12+ does top the Note 10 in several ways, and telling HTC to roll over and die does not make those go away. Samsung has no answer to HTC USonic. Even with AKG's help, they are not even in the same realm.
    No one thinks Samsung's face unlock is as good as HTC's 3D face mapping.
    The Note's in-screen fingerprint sensor is less reliable, and a cracked screen renders it nonfunctional.
    In the speed department, the Note 10 should absolutely OWN the U12. It doesn't. It's not a hardware issue... Samsung just need to work on their optimization.
  • That's not how clock speeds work friendo
  • The note 10+ is the fastest phone in the market , from the comparisons I've seen on YouTube , faster than xsmax
    Faster than 1+7
  • I've had the U12+ on my workbench with timers and slow motion video doing side by side speed tests. It's faster than it should be, and faster than most people expect. One of my son's owns the XS Max I used in testing, and needless to say, he was disappointed, lol.
  • I ... don't know what you're talking about? I don't think they're slow at all.
  • You're right Andrew, they're not "slow" per se, as is being sluggish, just not the fastest in the universe for every and all things. I admit I stated that to get reactions, and boy did it work! Still, you would not expect an old underdog to be as fast and actually do some things quicker, but it does... surprisingly.
  • You will always get anomalies and that's what's happened here. My U12+ is absolutely rubbish.
  • That elephant doesnt exist. Mine is zippy
  • Your summation could not have been more "Dead On".
    For the first time, after owning 7 different "Notes", I'm somewhat ambivalent about upgrading and I can't shed this felling of...loss.
  • Hopefully next year when Samsung upgrades the main sensor, we will see better low light photos.
  • I hope so! There needs to be a change of some sort.
  • I'm assuming we will see a comparative review of the Note 10? I'm curious if it's that big of a downgrade. The price difference won't break the bank, but I like the slightly smaller form factor.
  • Yup, I'll have a review of the smaller Note 10 coming up to assess where it stands at the smaller size and lower price.
  • I think the price is not that bad for the plus. Considering 256GB and 12GB of ram alone is outstanding. I think Samsung is doing well in not skyrocketing the price from the last few years. Imagine how much apple would charge for a phone with as much hardware as a Note. They charge ridiculous prices for absolutely nothing new every year.
  • It will be a third off the MSRP by Christmas.
  • You are talking to early adopters. We dont give a f about price
  • $300+ off by xmas? No chance.
  • I don't know I traded my Note 9 for the Note 10+ and payed only $530 for it plus galaxy buds and the fit watch so I am pretty happy
  • “Ultimately, your choice now is to either buy a Note 10+ and keep the S Pen but lose the headphone jack, or buy a Galaxy S10+ and get the opposite. The headphone jack is gone, and I'm long done complaining about it.”
    Lol. And that’s why you got to have a Note 10+ before everyone else. How about choice #3 - keep your Note 9 with a superior fingerprint sensor, headphone jack, 4000 mah battery, no hole-punched screen and better form factor for one hand. I’m getting tired of apple and vbloggers defining what type of flagship phone I’m supposed to settle for.
  • No one is "deciding" anything for you. Love it how people act like tech reviewers are holding a gun to their heads lol
  • Im very happy with my 5G Note10plus. I have a great case from spigen ( guilty-2cases(tough amor + liquid amor)) because ever since the note4 l have used cases and protection saves on screen replacement and helps ergonomics. I like using my phone for wav file testing and a HIDIZS Portable Headphone Amplifier Type C USB DAC was the 3rd thing I ordered that awaits my phone today. I use bike tooth headphones on the go and wired only when I need to. To be sure, I would be fine if Samsung had done away with the selfie camera and had a maglock charger.
  • I haven't seen the Note 10+ in person, so my opinion is based on this review and the 9 months I used my Note 9. In my opinion, this phone is way too expensive for what you get. I say that because I went from a Note 9 to a OnePlus 7 Pro. Yes, the Note 10 undoubtedly does some things better than the 7 Pro. However, I don't think what it does better is worth the $300 premium. The reason I went to OnePlus and away from a Verizon flavored Samsung is because of the software experience. Not only was the Verizon bloatware annoying, but you had all the Samsung apps which were not nearly as good as stock Google apps. And don't even get me started on Bixby and Samsung Pay. OnePlus's Oxygen OS is a much cleaner experience, very reminiscent of the stock Android experience I had on the Pixel 2 XL. I won't repeat all the accolades that almost every tech reviewer has listed, I will just say that I agree with them that the 7 Pro is the performance bargain of the year. Why Samsung didn't put a 90 Hz refresh rate on the Note 10 is just baffling to me.
  • The problem with the "value" argument is that it's subjective. You can get phones that do EVERYTHING, if not more, than that OP7Pro does for almost half the price. Is it fast? Yeah. But $300 worth of faster? 🤔
  • Glad you like the OnePlus 7 Pro. But I guess you didn't know those Verizon and Samsung apps can be removed, even without root. I bought a Verizon-branded Note 9 instead of an unlocked device because I want visual voicemail and Wi-Fi calling. I removed all the Verizon and Samsung bloatware using simple adb commands.
  • Don't forget the lackluster battery life on the 7 pro. That was enough for me to not even consider it.
  • The Note 10 plus is beutiful, especially when you hold it in your hands, no picture or video really shows you how beutiful it is.
    Still, I'm waiting for the Galaxy S11.
    New cams, hoping for a better fingerprint sensor. ( maybe Graphene batteries?)
  • Minimal upgrades. I'll be keeping my s10+. Besides same processer and the 865 right around the corner. I'm really not a pen user. 1100.00 bucks, nah!
  • The + is not a huge leap over the Note 9, but it is a beast. And the feel in the hand, even with a case on it...❤
  • The Note used to be a powerhouse. It had it all—top of the line specs, best cameras, all the hardware you needed—and now it just seems like just another Android phone but with an S-Pen. It’s sad because the Note line used to be my favorite line of Android phones. The Note 10+ is the first Note I haven’t preordered or purchased since the Note 2 and I’m not all that bummed about it. I don’t want the Note to be like the S-series but just with an S-Pen. I want them to be their own distinct devices. It’s a bummer that they used the same in-display FPS as they used on the S10s. The FPS worked only about half the time for me when I had the S10+. I’m glad I didn’t pick up the Note 10+. Bring on the Pixel 4 XL, I say!
  • I almost reserved a Note 10, but decided to keep my Note 9. The Note 10 has too many downgrades: No aux jack, no micro SD slot, smaller battery, inferior fingerprint reader. I briefly considered the Note 10+, but couldn't justify spending the extra money, even with a $600 trade in credit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with my Note 9. It does everything I need it to do, and the battery still lasts over a day.
  • I was in the same situation. I love my Note9 and went back and forth with whether to upgrade. The deciding factor was my Note9 is with Sprint and I have connectivity issues where it can take 12 hours to receive MMS. I'm trading the Note9 for $600, getting $150 in Samsung credit and $250 for switching to Verizon with an unlocked Note10+. Verizon is supposed to have better coverage where I live.
  • Nothing here worth $1100.00 period. I'll keep my OnePlus 6 with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage, notification LED, and even a headphone jack. I can buy two of these for the price of one Note 10. Sorry, the only thing the Note has that the 6 doesn't is a PEN.
  • There's also the Wireless PowerShare(handy for if you have a watch that you forget or don't have time to charge), Samsung DeX, and reduced blue light. Not to mention One UI is awesome. The S Pen is pretty nice though, I certainly wish more manufacturers would try competing directly with it. Though, I don't care about the LED indicator or headphone jack, so I understand if you don't care about any of these things. To each his own.
  • This phone is not the best of the best. Phones like the OnePlus 7T have 90 hz displays for hundreds of dollars less. That increase from the Note 10's 60hz and 90 hz is a HUGE, noticeable difference when you use it. Also, the bloatware is worse than ever on this Note - 3 email apps - Smasung, Gmail and Outlook, etc.
  • Outlook is only on the Microsoft Store version isn't it? Also, I think Google requires them to bundle Gmail on order to have the Play Store, but you're able to disable it.
  • Can't wait to get the Note 10+ in hand.
  • It's a nice overpriced Note phone, but far from the best. It does lacks the 90 or 120hz, the battery is just average, speakers are mediocre , no sd and no headphone jack(SD card on the Note+) while the s10 had both. I'll stay with mine awesome Mate 20 X, thank you next.
  • I have a question? The base model note is 950.00 plus tax. Doesn't anyone think this phone is grossly overpriced? No jack, no micros/d & a 1080p display & a smallish battery, huh? I can't believe Samsung is calling this a note phone? I always thought the note was suppose to be packed with features, this one is not. Outside of the charging & pen my s10plus is a better phone. I can't consider this phone to be a note. Plus I think this phone will be a bust!
  • You're referring to the Note 10. This review is of the Note 10+ ... The Note 10 review is in progress, I gather :-)
  • Don't need a review of the note 10 to agree that it's a waste of money. More money, less feature... pretty stupid...
  • Features are somewhat subjective. • I rarely use my Note9's headphone Jack.
    • I haven't used the micro SD card slot since getting it.
    • I often have display resolution set to 1080 or 720 as part maximizing my battery life, I never can justify the higher resolution knowing the minimal difference(to my eyes) will cost me battery.
    • I actually like the slightly smaller display, as l found the size of the Note9 to be my upper limit.
    • I love the reduced blue light of the Dynamic AMOLED screen.
    • I love the increase in battery life on the S Pen.
    • I love the Wireless PowerShare. To me personally, the Note10 would pretty much entirely be a big upgrade, and at a lower starting price than last year.
  • The battery on the Plus version is 4300mAh, so I'm sure it will be pretty good. My phone only has a 3500mAh battery, and it takes 18 hours to get it below 70% since the Pie update. 10:16 pm right now and it's at 67%. But if you already have the S10 Plus, I can see why you would not want to switch ;)
  • Not me. For me at least, it drops all the right things, while adding several worthwhile features, plus it's at a slightly lower starting price than the Note9. All in all, I think the Note10 is great. The only thing that makes a Note a Note to me is the S Pen.
  • When I set mine up today, there was a software update that included a fingerprint reader improvement. Honestly it's working better than the Note 9 sensor. Admittedly I haven't yet used it in direct sunlight, but it's better than I expected.
  • Sunlight shouldn't affect the Note10's fingerprint sensor much if at all, since it uses sound rather than light.
  • No reason to pay full price, so I don't understand the gripe about the price being $1100. If you paid full price, that's on you. I got $600 off for my Note 9, plus a $200 credit from Samsung. Total of $342 out the door. Regardless of carrier, you don't need to pay full price. Just a random thought.
  • It is actually a PRO that you can tweak the software so much.
  • No mention of the 3D scanning technology? I really would like to see a review of its capability, that feature could make this THE phone for 3D printer owners who don't want to drop a huge bundle of cash on a specialized laser scanner.
  • "Samsung's insistence on having all of its own apps alongside the Google and Microsoft (if you install them) apps is more of an annoyance. I hope that the self-realization of shifting away from its own services to Microsoft's can also kickstart a re-evaluation of its overall app strategy going forward." I definitely hope not, because I have found that in every single case I much, much prefer Samsung's own apps over Google's. They're just more pleasant for me. I hope they eventually let their users completely uninstall some Google apps like Chrome and Gmail, they're just bloatware to me.
  • "It can be overwhelming, and it takes several days to get everything set up just how you like it, which is a poor user experience."
    "But once you go through the trouble, you can make the Note 10+ look and act exactlyhow you want." Not for me it isn't, I honestly consider that a great user experience. I want to get everything just the way I want it. I certainly hope I'm not alone in that.
  • Yeah exactly! I thought Android was about tinkering... Tinker to your hearts content!
  • I'm glad I'm not alone. I really hope Samsung doesn't leave us behind because of odd reviews like this.
  • Great and very detailed written review. I'm switching from OP7 Pro just because I know Note10 cameras will give me consistent images, even if it won't top Pixel 2/3s or Huawei P30 Pros in these terms. Don't get me wrong, the camera hardware on OP7 Pro has more than enough advantages over the 4-year-old 12mpix sensors on Note10, but it is the software that OnePlus fails terribly. It's sad to leave the buttery 90Hz screen, the blazing fast Oxygen OS, the lightning quick optical fingerprint sensors and that amazing haptic machine, but I need my smartphone camera to be as consistent as the rest of the packages.
  • Let's be honest.... The Note ten is pretty.... But I stopped in at Bell Canada and held my Note 8 beside the Note 10+.....we are talking just minor fractions more screen space. The announced new tech standards and tech have not made it into the Note 10..... No WiFi 6 support, and the latest Bluetooth advancements were only announced recently. Samsung has faster RAM and storage read speeds arriving soon, along with a Nvidia graphics deal that will produce results in a year or two... A better camera is coming... In the future. Look, all mobile phone manufacturers release a new phone annually.... But is a new phone yearly necessary? Of course not! Annual updates is more marketing than progress or a rational choice! There is absolutely no good reason to upgrade my Note 8! Flagship are flagships because they age well! Oh, you say the Note 10 has a pretty colour? Well, lipstick on a pig is pretty too, but not worth $1500+🇨🇦 The Note 5 user who wrote earlier.... Well done, her/his upgrade made sense. Annual new phone releases is just a marketing tool started well over ten years ago, when annual upgrades actually presented significant change.
  • I don't know where you heard the Note10 doesn't support Wi-Fi 6, but it does. Also it's AMD not Nvidia that's on the horizon, and only for Exynos models to my understanding. There is also the reduced blue light from the new display and Wireless PowerShare, which do matter to me. I definitely don't see anything wrong with if you see those as gimmicky or useless though. To each his own.
  • "This is still the familiar One UI everyone on a Galaxy S8 and newer has been using." I have never used it and I never will. Nova Launcher Prime immediately goes on every phone I've had since the Note8.
  • Same here. Love Nova Luancher Prime.
  • "while having the power button on the left side now feels awkward at first" It isn't awkward for this left handed guy 😊.