Samsung has been religiously launching two flagships every year. In 2019, however, Samsung has, for the first time, launched two Note models – the Galaxy Note 10 and the Galaxy Note 10+. And since the S-Pen has been one of the defining features of Note devices, let’s begin with it. The new S-Pen comes with two added features – gyroscope and accelerometer. You can now wave the Note 10+ stylus in the air to perform Air Actions and convert handwriting to text.
Additionally, the Galaxy Note 10+ features slim bezels, a large 6.8-inch display, a punch-hole camera, and a redesigned camera module at the back.
This year, Samsung has brought significant changes to the phone. First, the South Korean giant has launched two models of the phone, namely, the Galaxy Note 10 and the Galaxy Note 10+. While the Galaxy Note 10 is a vanilla device – a standard Note smartphone – the ‘plus’ variant has a few more features that give it an edge over the already premium Galaxy Note 10. The primary changes are in terms of display size, battery size, and rear cameras.
The punch-hole camera sits right at the top-centre of the screen of the Galaxy Note 10+, which makes its design stand out from the rest. The Note 10+ sports a 6.8-inch display, which is the largest display in a Note device ever. It’s a quad HD+ dynamic AMOLED display that delivers a resolution of 3040 x 1440 pixels and 19:9 aspect ratio. Additionally, it is an HDR+ certified device.
The phone has an aluminium chassis and is wrapped inside Gorilla Glass 6. There are only two buttons, which are on the left side. There is a regular volume rocker, below which sits a multipurpose button. One press turns the screen off/on, and a long press wakes up Bixby virtual assistant. You can also customise it to activate the Power off menu. A double-tap can also be used to quick launch the camera, launch Bixby (if you decide to remap the Bixby button to power off your device) or an app.
Samsung has abandoned its usual horizontal rear camera setup and adopted a vertical camera module, which sits at the top left edge of the panel. The rear fingerprint sensor is gone too, and the phone now ships with an in-display ultrasonic sensor.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is powered by the Exynos 9825 chipset, which is manufactured by 7nm fabrication process. It has an octa-core CPU with two Mongoose M4 core clocked at 2.73 GHz, two Cortex-A75 cores clocked at 2.4 GHz, and four Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 1.9 GHz. The GPU used is the Mali-G76 MP12.
In real-world usage, the Galaxy Note 10+ works fine. Being a power user, who does most of his work through a smartphone, I haven’t found anything to complain about in the device. Apart from performing day-to-day tasks, we also tested the phone for games, such as Asphalt 9 and PUBG Mobile.
Asphalt 9 ran like a breeze – we never had any problems. Graphics was phenomenal, especially while totalling other cars, and the display added to the whole experience of car chasing. The large display of the device was really helpful with PUBG Mobile, for it offers more screen area, which significantly improves the gameplay, especially while attacking your opponents, in comparison to phones with relatively smaller displays.
Given the time in which we live – a time marked by a general trend of somewhat crude, and sometimes facile, display of our lives through images – it’s no surprise that camera has become one of the most vital aspects of a smartphone. Coming back to the topic at hand, we could not think of a better phone than the Google Pixel 3 to compare the Note 10+’s camera. Of course, the Pixel doesn’t have an ultra-wide and telephoto lens, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ gets extra marks for having those additional sensors.
As far as the phone’s hardware is concerned, the quad-camera setup includes a 12MP primary sensor, which is coupled with a 27mm wide lens with a variable aperture of f/1.5-2.4 and dual pixel PDAF, as well as OIS. The second is a 12MP sensor with f/2.1 52mm telephoto lens, which is capable of 2x optical zoom. The third is a 16MP sensor with f/2.2, 12mm ultra-wide lens, and the fourth is Time of Flight (TOF) 3D VGA camera. The Note 10+ can record up to 2160p videos at 30/60fps. At the front, there is a single 10MP sensor with f/2.2, 26mm wide lens.
All the photos that you see here have been shot with default settings, and, as you can see, the photos captured by the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ wear a bright layer, which kind of kills the contrast. The vehicles are well light but the image from Samsung is a lilttle too bright in some areas. The second photo is clicked from Pixel 2 XL. In this images, the shadows of vehicles are more prominent, and it is nearer to the actual shooting condition.
The Night Sight feature of the Pixel 3 laid the foundation of the illuminating photos clicked in low-light conditions. Samsung has a dedicated Night Mode that allows for brighter photos. The first set of images are from Pixel 3 and the second set of image is from Galaxy Note 10+.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Google Pixel 3
The Galaxy Note 10+ produces sharper images than the Pixel 3, which produces a washed out image. You can see the leaves on grass, and the spikes on the gate in the background are clearer in the image clicked by the Note 10+. The blue car and scooter are better seen in the images. In comparison, the Pixel 3 gives an image with more contrast but loses out on sharpness.
That said, options like Live Focus offers decent performance both in terms of stills and videos. A stand-out feature that we liked in the camera app is ‘Instagram’. Using this feature, a user can directly post an image on the linked Instagram account.
Below is an example of two images from the selfie camera: One on the left is without any post processing. You can see the skin texture, clarity in the beard and dark shades under the eyes. The one on the right is a bit softened, the skin texture is diminished and the beard also loses sharpness.
The S-Pen that comes with the Galaxy Note 10+ has added functionality called ‘Air Actions’. In simple terms, you can now control your camera actions with the S-Pen. A single press takes a picture or starts to record a video, and a double press or a swipe up/down switches between the front and rear cameras. You can swipe left or right to switch between different modes.
One particular gesture that initially attracted our attention, but later we decided against it, is moving the pen in a circular motion, which can be moved clockwise or counter-clockwise to zoom in or out on an image. It sounds interesting, doesn’t it? However, it’s not without the rub! Zooming in or out is can be very tedious because every circular movement takes you a single step ahead, which means that if you want to zoom in on an image 10 times, you’ll have to perform ten clockwise circular motion, which is very time-consuming. I would rather do it manually by rotating the slider in the app than spending time in zooming in or out with an S-Pen.
Moreover, after initially playing around with the stylus, we got a little bored, which, then, led us to wonder if it really has any practical use at all. Well, maybe, but we’re not so sure. It’s not that we don’t appreciate this ultra-modern accessory from Samsung, which both unique and industry-first, but in the real world, we don’t think that it will be of much use.
The Galaxy Note 10+ houses a 4,300mAh battery with 45W fast charging support. The phone also supports 15W fast Qi/PMA wireless charging, along with 9W reverse wireless charging called Powershare. While doing every-day tasks, we were able to squeeze out a day’s run-time, with 20 per cent of charge still remaining.
At Rs 79,999, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is a device that offers everything that you expect or need from your smartphone. Barring the camera performance, the device ticks every box. With one of the best displays in the industry right now, it’s well suited for content consumption and mobile gaming.