Samsung has enjoyed immense success with its Galaxy Note-line until the point it launched and recalled the Galaxy Note 7. Since then, the South Korean tech giant has worked tirelessly to make sure the Galaxy Note-line lives on and it has done so with sheer elegance and commitment. The results are showing.
The launch of Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ proves just how far the company has come and with it, the company aims to reclaim its dominance. Going by what we've seen at the launch event, Samsung might be finally onto hitting a home-run with its Galaxy Note 10 series. Personally, the Galaxy Note 10, Samsung's first smaller version of Galaxy Note, is an absolute delight. But the Galaxy Note 10+ is the true justification to the Galaxy Note line.
We've had our chance to spend some time with the Galaxy Note 10+ (Aura Glow) and here are our initial thoughts.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ has everything a perfectly-designed smartphone should have. The 6.8-inch display gives ample screen real estate for a lot of tasks, including gaming, entertainment and productivity. Even though the ease of single-hand use is out of the picture, it is by design. But the Galaxy Note 10+ doesn't compromise on the handiness aspect for your day-to-day tasks.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ gets a Gorilla Glass 6 on both sides, making it durable and visually appealing. The glass sandwich design is the norm for flagship smartphones and the Galaxy Note 10+ doesn't live short of any expectations there. What I loved the most is just how light the handset is despite being so big and, well, having glass design.
The curved display and the back along with flat top and bottom are designed to perfection. It is sleek, light and very "Note" - just like anyone would love. The beloved S-Pen securely sits inside its cubicle on the right bottom, right next to the speaker and USB Type-C port. I might have already unlatched the S-Pen from its secure place while placing the phone in my pocket, but you won't make that mistake more often as you get comfortable with the phone.
The punch-hole camera, what Samsung calls an Infinity-O display, is begging for your attention, but I would settle for this than the pop-up camera any day. The power and volume controls are on the left side of the device, which is something I'm still getting used to as most phones have either controls or at least the power/lock button on the right.
The rear design in its glowing glory looks fabulous. Those who don't like the bling, the Aura Glow balances the reflection well and doesn't give too much of a gradient texture. Of course, it is a fingerprint magnet and equally slippery, Samsung offers a useful silicon case I would recommend everyone to use. The cameras, all four of them, are located on the top left corner and Samsung's branding is at the centre and almost invisible in the mirror finish.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is clearly the best-looking Note, but also has one of the best smartphone designs in 2019 (hopefully 2020, too).
There's no doubt about the Dynamic AMOLED display is best in its class. The Galaxy Note 10+ has a bright display giving rich and true tone colours and using it under bright sunlight shouldn't be a problem at all. I still wish there was a higher refresh rate of at least 90GHz considering it is a flagship device and phones like OnePlus 7 Pro have spoiled us with it. But that's an improvement for another year, it appears.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ joins the quad-camera bandwagon by offering a 16MP 123-degree ultra-wide camera with 12MP wide-angle lens and a 12MP telephoto lens. There's an additional ToF sensor, which Samsung is calling a DepthVision Camera. But the Galaxy Note 10+'s camera is so much more than just a combination of high-end sensors.
Samsung is banking heavily on its users to take advantage of unique features like AR Doodle, Auto Doodle, Big Bokeh, and series of Pro-grade video recording techniques. We've had the chance to take the Galaxy Note 10+ camera for a quick spin and found it to be on point in most cases.
The camera shoots excellent wide-angle photos, focusing on macro subjects is done with absolute ease, the nifty video recording features are not just gimmicks. The colours produced are natural and rich in outdoor lighting. There's a Night mode that does a good job, but we've seen better results from Google and Huawei.
I loved the zoom-in mic feature, which picks up the audio of the subject you are zooming in to. This is something unique and fresh - soon to become a new standard for flagship phones. Video recording has far been ignored by OEMs, but Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ changes that.
Check out a few samples we shot with the Galaxy Note 10+, but also stay tuned for a detailed camera review based on varied samples soon.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is a flagship and delivers justifiable performance. In the short time that I've been using the phone, I did not experience anything worth criticizing. Every task is handled with ease, but we'll be diving deeper into the performance bit in our upcoming review. We have little doubt the Exynos 9825 with 12GB RAM is going to let us down in any way. I also loved the fact that there's a hybrid microSD card slot in the Galaxy Note 10+, sadly not in the Note 10.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+'s ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner works flawlessly. Not once, the device failed to recognise my stored fingerprint and it unlocked in a flash. The fingerprint unlocking animation, however, appears even after the device has been unlocked and in the home-screen - just like a thunder and lightning effect.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+'s size allows for a bigger battery and in this case a 4,300mAh unit. There's a 25W fast charging adapter in the box even though the device supports 45W charging. Samsung is selling the 45W adapter separately. What a bummer! But in my opinion, it will be worth spending the extra bucks for those super-fast charging speeds.
Samsung continues to use its OneUI based on Android Pie, which is pretty straight forward and intuitive. There are a lot of apps you won't use, but I wouldn't worry about them given the ample storage - 256GB in the base model and 512GB in the high-end variant. Plus, there's microSD card support up to 1TB.
I'm particularly interested in Samsung DeX feature, which now also supports laptops (both Windows and Mac). Additionally, Samsung's partnership with Microsoft for the Galaxy Note 10-series brings Your Phone app, which lets PC users mirror their phone on the bigger screen and do things like view photos and respond to messages.
S-Pen… or should we call it S-Wand
S-Pen is nothing like the Elder Wand or even Harry Potter's wand, but it certainly has some neat tricks up the sleeve. The S-Pen is Samsung's signature feature in the Galaxy Note-series and it just keeps getting better with each model. The Galaxy Note 10+'s S-Pen is sleeker and packs more power.
Samsung's new S-Pen comes with six-axis motion that will let you control your Galaxy Note 10+ with some cool gestures. Paired with Bluetooth LE, the S-Pen can last 11 hours on a single charge. But my favourite feature in the S-Pen is switching to different modes in the camera without actually touch the phone. It makes you look like a wizard if you're a fan of such fictions.
The S-Pen can also be used to control volume while playing videos on the phone, which works best on a lazy Sunday evening. The functions work seamlessly, even though the live demo at the launch event today might have gone side-ways, briefly.
I will be trying out all the new features in the Galaxy Note 10+ to see how well they work on a day-to-day basis before reporting them in my full review. So stay tuned.