Galaxy Note 10+ vs. Galaxy S10+: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ and S10+
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ and S10+ (Image credit: Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

It's the biggest and best phone Samsung has ever made. Note fans will love the S Pen just like before, and the rest of the phone leverages everything Samsung does well: display, hardware, specs and software features.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Biggest and best

Bigger screen
S Pen stylus
Larger battery
Faster charging
Tougher to use in one hand
Costs more for same core features

Samsung Galaxy S10+

Samsung Galaxy S10+

If you don't need the S Pen, you're going to find exceptional value in the Galaxy S10+. It can do everything the Note 10+ can (minus the S Pen), with a slightly smaller screen, for hundreds of dollars less.

Samsung Galaxy S10+

The standard

Easier to use in one hand
Less expensive for same core features
Headphone jack
Smaller screen
More noticeable screen cutout

Now that the Galaxy S10+ has been out for over a year, it's received some big updates and some bigger discounts. So while the Note 10+ is the newer phone of the two, is it the right phone for you to buy? We have the details you need.

Before you read on, read about the Galaxy S20

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

This article was originally published in 2019. Since then, the Galaxy S10 series was replaced by the Galaxy S20 series, which brings several improvements, particularly in performance, battery life, and especially with the cameras.

If you aren't concerned with having the latest and greatest features, the Galaxy S10+ is still a really good phone to consider. However, if you're able to spend more, you may want to look at the Galaxy S20+ to get the more modern device.

What's the difference between the Note 10+ and S10+?

With just a handful of months separating the S10+ and Note 10+, it shouldn't come as any surprise that the phones are incredibly similar. They're based on the same core platform, with the same processor, screen technology and resolution, cameras, fingerprint sensor, radios, water resistance, and build quality. They're both distinctly "Samsung" phones in hardware, software, and daily use, even though some of the specifics and nuances have changed.

The phones are functionally very similar, but the Note 10+ goes all out in size and capabilities.

The Note 10+, being a bit newer, has small upgrades here and there. You get more base RAM and storage, and faster 45W wired and 15W wireless charging. And its display technically hits higher peak performance numbers than the S10+.

The rest of the differences come in the physical size of the phones. The Note 10+ gets the spec sheet benefit of a larger display and larger battery, but that cuts both ways: the Note 10+ is also noticeably taller, wider, thicker, and heavier than the Galaxy S10+. Whether this is an issue (or benefit) for you comes down to personal preference, but know that there is a notable jump in overall size when you move up to the Note 10+

And yes, there's one line item that may be a deal-breaker for you: the Note 10+ doesn't have a headphone jack. The S10+ is one of the few high-end phones left with the audio port.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Galaxy Note 10+Galaxy S10+
Operating SystemAndroid 10One UI 2Android 10eOne UI 2
Display6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED3040x1440, HDR10+6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED3040x1440, 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 Camera 110MP, f/2.2, 80° FoVauto focus10MP, f/2.2, 80° FoVauto focus
Front Camera 2n/a8MP, f/2.2auto 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
AudioUSB-C3.5 mm headphone
Battery4300mAh45W wired15W wireless4100mAh15W wired12W wireless
Water ResistanceIP68IP68
Dimensions162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm196 g157.6 x 74.1 x 7.4mm175 g

The most significant difference from a functional standpoint is the S Pen. Utilizing the Note 10+'s stylus can be a game-changer if you're committed to integrating it into your daily use. You can draw, doodle, annotate, and use handwriting-to-text recognition for notes and documents. Using the S Pen at a distance, you can trigger functions in apps with a press of the button or with dedicated gestures.

Whether that's appealing as a feature is highly dependent on how you use your phone every day, but it's something that the Galaxy S10+ can't replicate.

Should you buy the Note 10+ or S10+?

The Note 10+ is great for S Pen fans, but otherwise, you should strongly consider the S10+.

There's one question to ask here: do you need an S Pen, or are you okay without one? That's going to make up your mind right from the top. If you're already a Note fan, there's no substitute for just getting the latest and greatest Note — and when you get the Note 10+, you'll be incredibly happy with everything that it offers. At that point, you probably won't care that it's so expensive either.

But if you're drawn to the Note 10+ for its size and capabilities, regardless of whether it has the stylus, then you should strongly consider the Galaxy S10+ instead. It's functionally the same as the Note 10+ — you just have a slightly smaller screen and correspondingly smaller battery. But in return, you get a headphone jack — and you'll pay at least a hundred dollars less for the phone. That makes the Galaxy S10+ an incredible value for anyone who doesn't rely on the S Pen.

Andrew Martonik

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