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First, it was metal and glass, then it was the curve and now the hole in the screen. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (Check on Amazon.com) features some minor changes in the front and back, but it’s still the S Pen that makes this the best phablet around.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ – Design
Samsung manages to preserve the spirit of the Note without giving up on evolving the design according to mainstream trends. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ maintains the curves on the sides and the S Pen.
The metallic edge is very thin on the sides, almost “sharp”. But it is not uncomfortable in the hand and although this is a big smartphone (6.8-inch screen) it doesn’t feel as big as the Huawei Mate 20 X (Check on Amazon.com) or the OnePlus 7 Pro (Check on Amazon.com).
The upper and lower edges form a right angle with the sides, in the style of some Xperia phones. In this way, it manages to differentiate itself from other premium smartphones such as the Huawei P30 Pro (Check on Amazon.com), the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro (Check on Amazon.com), the Galaxy S10 (Check on Amazon.com) and the Galaxy Note 9 (Check on Amazon.com).
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So, this phablet is thin and compact, it even manages to be more compact than the LG V50 ThinQ 5G (6.4-inch screen) and even the OnePlus 7 Pro (6.67-inch screen).
The quality materials that Samsung used give a premium feeling of robustness. Of course, it will still attract fingerprints and smudges like a magnet, and it is rather slippery, thus a case might be a good idea.
There is no Bixby button (finally) and the three remaining keys (volume and power) are situated on the left side (I would prefer them on the right).
It is still a heavy device, but it sports a 4,300mAh battery.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ – Display
One of the differences between the two Notes is the size and resolution of the screen. The Plus version features a 6.8-inch display with a resolution of 3,040×1,440 pixels (498 PPI) while the standard version is equipped with a 6.3-inch screen with a resolution of 2,280×1,080 pixels. However, both feature the new Infinity O screen with the hole for the selfie camera in the upper center.
This is a Dynamic AMOLED panel that comes preconfigured with somewhat colder tones and slightly supersaturated colors that most users seem to like. Of course, you can adjust color temperature and white hue according to your liking.
We chose the Natural mode and maxed out the resolution. The maximum brightness is sufficiently high to make the screen visible outdoors and although the automatic brightness adjustment is mostly spot-on, it reacts a little slow when we move from a brighter to a darker environment.
The feature that makes all the difference here is the Infinity O design, with the use of a small hole-punch selfie camera which is much more discreet than in other designs.
Last but not least, the screen also supports HDR10+, similar to the Galaxy S10.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ – Performance
Samsung’s real strength is in its components and semiconductors. Perhaps that is why the manufacturer insists on using two processors: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 for the USA and China markets, and the Exynos 9825 for Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America regions.
Those who love benchmarks will know that the Exynos lags behind the Qualcomm at the performance level, although in practice there is no difference between them.
The Plus version is also equipped with 12GB of RAM, the most we can find in Android phones, although in practice the difference between 8 or 10GB is almost imperceptible.
As you would expect this is enough raw power to do almost anything from split-screen multitasking to heavy mobile gaming.
The only drawback is that the device gets hot after a while. You will notice that the rear begins to warm up while taking photos or gaming, or even after a few minutes of watching videos.
The Galaxy Note 10+ uses Samsung’s One UI in all its splendor. The navigation is quite intuitive via menus and sections. You can also customize the size and distribution of the icons as well as the pages.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ – S Pen
Last year the S Pen made a big leap forward by adding wireless functions that make the Note stand out from the competition. The remote control functions are now more and more specialized, making the Note 10’s S Pen somewhat more complete in its use.
The new Air gestures are quite nice but you will need some practice before being able to use them effectively. What we found most useful is its function as a camera shutter and multimedia control.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ – Biometrics
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ offers two options, fingerprint unlock and face recognition. The fingerprint scanner is placed under the display and it uses ultrasonic technology, thus differentiating itself from the others.
Face recognition, on the other hand, offers nothing special moving away from more advanced and secure options such as Apple’s Face ID. Anyhow, it works quite well and it failed to recognize us only in dark environments, or with our sunglasses on.
The ultrasonic fingerprint reader is even better. It is quite fast and precise (and more secure), and a solid alternative when face recognition fails.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ – Cameras
One of the few differences between the Note 10 (Check on Amazon.com) and the 10+ is in the photographic compartment. This is what the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ sports in terms of cameras:
- Ultra wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, 123-degree field, and a 16-megapixel sensor
- Wide-angle lens with dual aperture f/1.5-2.4, 77 degrees, OIS and a 12-megapixel sensor
- A telephoto lens with f/2.1 aperture, OIS, 45 degrees and 12-megapixel sensor (2x optical zoom)
- VGA depth sensor with f/1.4 aperture and 72 degrees
- 10 megapixels sensor with f/2.2 aperture and 80 degrees
Thus, the Note 10+ model integrates four rear cameras (one more than the standard). It is a configuration very similar to that of the S10+, very versatile and rather satisfactory in most situations. This device feels much more comfortable in macro shots and it usually produces a good dynamic range and a slight over-saturation that doesn’t ruin the end result.
It captures a lot of detail in abundant light, but as soon as the light decreases the sharpness of the photos goes down with it.
The HDR is not very aggressive and works great in automatic mode.
The 2x zoom helps get more details when shooting distant elements.
The ultra-wide-angle is the most interesting one since it has a truly wide field of view and the automatic lens correction for distortions makes the photos look natural.
In Portrait mode, the bokeh effect is great as always. The cropping has improved slightly but remains quite aggressive. The phone is able to distinguish the main object from the background but the blurring effect is very flat and artificial.
The Night mode allows for more exposed photos and is very useful in darker scenes or when there is hardly any light. The price to pay is more noise and fog, especially in well-lit scenes.
Here the results can vary greatly. With abundant light, the fidelity reaches its peak in terms of colorimetry, detail, and exposure, but the sharpness goes away as soon as we go indoors or the light begins to fade.
The HDR maintains its softness and is well balanced.
Portrait mode captures good detail but the cropping is too aggressive and usually very artificial. The degree of bokeh effect can be adjusted both before taking the photo and afterwards.
Night mode selfies seem somewhat exaggerated. It is a good alternative if you don’t like using the flash (it uses the screen’s light), but the end result is more artificial and less defined.
Video quality is more than acceptable, especially if you activate the stabilization. There is some oversaturation by default and color fidelity is slightly lost, but the sharpness is preserved especially in 4K resolution.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ – Autonomy
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ uses a 4,300mAh battery with an average autonomy between 18 and 24 hours, with around 7 hours of screen time.
What helps compensate is the fast charger, which allows you to get a full charge from 0 to 100% (with the phone off) in 1 hour and 16 minutes. With about 30 minutes of charging you will arrive at 50%, which is also very good.
The stereo sound is of good quality, with a good dynamic range and loud volume without ending up penalizing the quality.
There is no 3.5mm headphone jack but the supplied AKG in-ear headphones use a USB-C connection.
The reason for the existence of the Note has varied over the years and perhaps so has its purpose. Having a big screen isn’t reason enough!
This is why the Note has been evolving other identifying features, such as the S Pen or the DeX. And they are the real difference between the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (Check on Amazon.com) and the S10+ (Check on Amazon.com).
Its other highlight is the audio which provides added value to a screen that is perhaps the best one on a mobile device.