Galaxy Note 10+ vs. Galaxy Note 10: Which should you buy?

Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+
Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

The Note 10+ is the true flagship of the Samsung line. It has the biggest display, highest specs, and every capability you could ask for. Just be ready to open up your wallet and expand the reach of your hand.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Go big

Samsung's biggest and best display
microSD expansion slot
Longer battery life
Faster charging
Too big for many hands
Considerably more expensive

Samsung Galaxy Note 10

Samsung Galaxy Note 10

The Note 10 brings the S Pen experience down to a phone that's smaller than the Galaxy S20+. That's an appealing proposition if you value both aspects, but it comes with trade-offs.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10

Compact option

Smaller than Galaxy S20+
$150 less than Note 10+
Full S Pen in compact phone
Smaller battery
No microSD expansion
Lower resolution display

What's the difference between the Note 10+ and Note 10?

A whole lot is shared between the two Note 10 variants, but there are distinct differences between them that will make each appealing to a different group of people.

There are just a few technical differences between the phones, but ones you should be aware of.

Let's address the technical differences first. The Note 10 has a smaller screen, of course, but the screen is also lower resolution: 1080p rather than 1440p. The smaller phone also has less RAM — 8GB rather than 12GB — and while it has the same 256GB base storage, it doesn't have the option to bump up to 512GB like the Note 10+. And speaking of storage, you can't expand the Note 10 with a microSD card like you can the Note 10+.

The Note 10's battery shrinks to 3500mAh to fit its compact size, which is 800mAh smaller than the Note 10+. Recharge speeds from the in-box charger are at 25W for both, but the Note 10+ has the option to charge up even faster if you bring your own power adapter that puts out at least 45W.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Galaxy Note 10+Galaxy Note 10
Operating SystemAndroid 9 PieOne UI 1.5Android 9 PieOne UI 1.5
Display6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED3040x1440, HDR10+6.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED2280x1080, HDR10+
ProcessorSnapdragon 855Snapdragon 855
Rear Camera 112MP, f/1.5-2.4, OIS, 77° FoV12MP, f/1.5-2.4, OIS, 77° FoV
Rear Camera 216MP, f/2.2, 123° FoV16MP, f/2.2, 123° FoV
Rear Camera 312MP, f/2.1, OIS, 45° FoV12MP, f/2.1, OIS, 45° FoV
Rear Camera 4VGA DepthVisionf/1.4, 72° FoVn/a
Front Camera10MP, f/2.2, 80° FoVauto focus10MP, f/2.2, 80° FoVauto focus
SecurityUltrasonic in-display fingerprint sensorUltrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11ac, 4x4 MIMO 7CA LTE Cat.20, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi 802.11ac, 4x4 MIMO 7CA LTE Cat.20, Bluetooth 5.0
Battery4300mAh45W wired15W wireless3500mAh25W wired12W wireless
Water ResistanceIP68IP68
Dimensions162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm196 g151 x 71.8 x 7.9 mm168 g

Functionally, not a whole lot differs between the phones. The Note 10 is, of course, easier to hold and use in one hand, and you get a little less screen real estate to work with, but everything it can do is the same as the Note 10+. The S Pen is identical, with the same supporting software. Even though the screen is lower resolution, you'd be hard-pressed to notice — the Dynamic AMOLED panel on both phones is fantastic.

The Note 10+ will offer you longer battery life, perhaps an extra hour or so depending on your use, but even the smaller Note 10 has an adequate battery to get you through the day. The Note 10+ also has a fourth supporting camera on the back dedicated to depth sensing, but it isn't a critical part of the camera experience — you'll be happy with the Note 10's photos and video regardless.

Is the Note 10+ or Note 10 right for you?

The Note 10+ is the one to get if you're an S Pen fan; the Note 10 doesn't provide as much value.

Anyone who has a Note today, or has used and enjoyed one in the past, should be immediately drawn to the Note 10+. It's the true continuation of the Note line, with the biggest screen, highest specs, and most capabilities. Yes it's expensive, but if you're someone who wants the biggest and best phone, and wants to use the S Pen to its fullest, there's no substitute for going all the way to the top end with the Galaxy Note 10+. You just have to also be willing to pay top dollar for it, though that's always been the case for Notes.

If you're considering the Galaxy Note 10 instead because of its more compact size or lower price, then the question of whether you need the S Pen becomes even more critical. The S Pen is the only thing that differentiates the Note 10 from the Galaxy S20 and S20+, which have their own benefits being a generation newer in specs and features. If you can't handle the size of the Note 10+ but need an S Pen, go for it — otherwise, make a choice between the Note 10+ and Galaxy S20+.

Andrew Martonik

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