Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ has been one of the most anticipated flagships this year and it finally set the pumped adrenaline into its fans' veins to rush to nearby stores after the official launch in India last week. This year's Galaxy Note 10 was special as it marked the first time Samsung brought a smaller Note for its fans and in all fairness, it looked like a sound move.
After briefly checking out the Galaxy Note 10, the first-ever smaller Note felt great. But the Galaxy Note 10+ was the showstopper and for all the valid reasons. We've been using the Galaxy Note 10+ for little over a week and it has compelled us into its world of new possibilities. But the question remains, is it worth spending Rs 80,000 over?
Let's find out.
Design & Display
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is an undisputed champion in these parameters.
Samsung Galaxy Note-series has maintained a certain persona when it comes to elegant design. The Galaxy Note 10+ is way ahead of its predecessors when it comes to perfecting the "Note" design. The massive screen real-estate, flamboyant rear design and perfection in every detail, Samsung has the best-looking Note in the form of Galaxy Note 10+.
We received the Aura Glow variant of the Galaxy Note 10+ and the shiny, mirror-like finish on the back gives a unique gradient texture every time. If the Aura Glow is too loud for some, there are Aura Black and Aura White for that elegant look.
The curved sides on both sides of the phone give a solid grip, despite being quite a large phone. The S-Pen is securely stored on the right bottom corner, alongside the speaker and USB Type-C port. My only disappointment with the overall design was the positioning of the power button on the left. The reason behind it is unknown to me, but it surely challenged my muscle memory during the entire time I used the phone.
The selfie camera is punched inside the display and with dark wallpaper, it is practically invisible. I loved the overall form-factor of the Galaxy Note 10+, but the missing headphone jack left a void that couldn't be filled. Luckily, there are AKG earphones in the box that are quite premium and fulfil that void, but if you have a 3.5mm headphones then you're out of luck or you need to purchase a converter.
The best part about the Galaxy Note 10+ is its display - the beautiful 6.8-inch QHD display, punching out the brightest and truest colours you can get on any mobile device. The curved edges and the lack of any bezels all around gives an infinite feel, uninterrupted and perfect. I didn't quite miss the 90Hz refresh rate that I was so impressed with the OnePlus 7 Pro unless of course, I focused on it.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ upholds the legacy of Galaxy Note-line.
Samsung Galaxy Note-series has always been popular for its long-lasting battery. It is only in recent times that smartphone makers started packing large batteries in the phones, but Samsung has been doing it for a while now. This is also a very sensitive topic for Samsung if we had to recall the billion-dollar-recall of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones. But that's a distant memory now.
In the Galaxy Note 10+, the battery is still the mightiest armour Samsung could use against rivals. With heavy use, the Note 10+ lasted a full day and with moderate use, it would go up to almost two days. The inclusion of a 25W fast charger is welcome, but those who want to charge up the phone faster can always buy 45W adapter for an extra cost. For me, the adaptor that came with the device did the trick.
At one point in time, the Galaxy Note 10+ lasted a day and a half with extensive use, which includes binge-watching shows on Netflix (it's that time of the year), playing PUBG Mobile, social media and communications, calls and exploring different features of the phone with 4G on at all times. But I had to charge the device once for 30 minutes to make it last that long, which is not at all a bad deal if you're always so busy with your phone.
In order to fully charge the phone, the 25W charger took an hour and a half, which is expected. For most people, the charging speed won't be a painful process, in fact, it is a delight to see that percentage rise within seconds.
I used the phone at Full HD+ resolution throughout the review, but users can get it down to 720p for extended battery life or opt for 2K resolution to catch even those minute details on the best display there is.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ has an excellent camera with fun features like AR Doodle that you will end up using more often than you'd imagine.
Samsung justifies the flagship title by significantly improving the camera on the Galaxy Note 10+ as compared to its predecessors. There is a hoard of features that are fun and useful in many aspects. The integration of Bixby Vision, AR Emoji, AR Doodle and more cannot go unnoticed, but if you're here for the straight-up shots from the camera roll to see how this beast performs, here's a look at some shots in the slideshow below:
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ might have the best camera setup in its line, but it is still not revolutionary. There are certain areas where it excels beyond imagination, for instance, the portrait is on point and the shots in daylight will surprise you. The Live Focus mode is quite on point with accurate edge detection and post-effects to change the bokeh level and effect.
There's a dedicated night mode, which comes in quite handy, but don't expect same results as you'd get from a Pixel 3 XL or Huawei P30 Pro. I loved how well the wide-angle camera is put to use in the Galaxy Note 10+, which could very well be a benchmark for flagships.
Selfies are decent, but they tend to lose detail in low-light areas. If you're looking for the best photos, Pixel 4 and Huawei Mate 30 phones are just around the corner and we'd suggest you wait. Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ wins on areas like AR, S-Pen gesture support in the camera, and video. Features like zoom-in audio, integrated editor for videos, vertical panorama option are more useful than one can imagine.
The big improvement in the camera might be reserved for next year's Galaxy S11, but for now, the Galaxy Note 10+ isn't disappointing. But I'm afraid, it won't be among the best camera phones come 2020.
It's like any other flagship - performance at its best.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ delivers optimum performance, glitch-free and lag-free. It comes with no surprise as the phone packs 12GB RAM to support Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9825 depending on the market. From running games like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile to running multiple apps in the background and streaming shows, the Galaxy Note 10+ handled itself with grace.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ has an in-display fingerprint scanner and a face unlock feature as security options. I found the face unlock to work a tad slower than other phones and it would refuse to recognise in low-light areas. The fingerprint scanner was accurate all the time, but I could notice the delay in unlocking the device and taking to the home screen, even if it was less than a second.
Browsing the internet on Wi-Fi and 4G SIM (Jio) was seamless and fast. The device has a good Wi-Fi range and it can pick up signals easily for a better connection. The touch response was accurate and didn't feel like a lag in terms of how it responded to touch. The smooth experience was consistent with the Galaxy Note 10+.
Side Note, for some reason, my Galaxy Note 10+ stopped recognising Reliance Jio SIM card after a week. The first time it happened, I was able to switch the SIM card slot and it worked fine, but later it completely stopped working. This happened only after I would take the phone off flight mode. I tried all the settings, changed APN settings, but found no luck. I ended up using Vodafone 4G in the last few days of my review and I haven't had a similar issue. It's also worth pointing out the Jio SIM is functional and works just fine on the P30 Pro. This has me wondering, but I will keep you posted on what caused this, and if this is an isolated issue.
Software & UI
Samsung's refined OneUI played an important role in the smooth experience with the Galaxy Note 10+. Samsung has smartly designed the UI to ensure single-hand use is not hindered. For instance, the menus can be pulled right till the bottom half of the screen, both in settings and notifications, in order to easily reach the desired option. This is something not seen in any other phone and I wish other OEMs think of such customisations as smartphones go bigger and bigger.
The level of customisations Samsung offers with OneUI can be exhausting. It took days for me to fully explore the different settings and options in the phone and I still feel there is more to discover. That's not a bad thing, as it is up to an individual to see what all the device can do.
The menus are kept simple and easy to understand. You'll easily find the right options without having to keep digging deeper, an area where Huawei's EMUI still needs to improve. So kudos to Samsung on this one.
This is where the magic happens.
Samsung Galaxy Note-line's signature S-Pen has always had a special appeal. With the Galaxy Note 10+, it is no longer a digital pen that can be used to scribble on notes. With options like converting handwriting to digital text, controlling the camera with S-Pen gestures, taking quick notes without having to unlock the phone, and using the S-Pen to control media, Samsung has finally turned its stylus into a magic wand. I'm usually not the one to use S-Pen or even stylus for that matter, but the Galaxy Note 10+ changed me. I was so compelled by the capabilities of the S-Pen, I would naturally take out the S-Pen to take notes in meetings.
The pen is indeed mightier.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is a complete phone with everything consumers will ever need from a flagship and more. With an excellent design, lasting battery, optimum performance and a feature-rich camera, Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ makes a winning argument. For the price, starting at Rs 79,999, it is certainly packing worth. If you're a Samsung fan waiting for a Galaxy Note upgrade, this is your chance. For those who don't mind waiting and writing a hefty cheque, hold your horses until Google, Apple and Huawei have played their cards.