It’s time for Samsung’s brand new flagship smartphone – the Galaxy Note10+. This smartphone marks a departure of the traditional Note series of smartphones. With it, we have a lot of changes in our hands with the brand new Galaxy Note10 series of smartphones.
So let’s dive into our in-depth review of the Galaxy Note10+. Watch our video review right here to know what’s up.
Looking at the box itself – Samsung has once again redone the packaging design of their flagship smartphone. This brand new packaging design is even more compact than the Galaxy S10 series of smartphones, as shown in this unboxing video that we’ve done on the European set.
We specifically mentioned “European set” because for some reason, Samsung separates two different sets of accessories that come with the Galaxy Note10 series. For us Malaysians, we got the unit without two adapters as per mentioned here.
We still stand by what we have said in that post – the absence of those two adapters are not a big problem but the exclusion of a USB-C to 3.5mm audio jack dongle is the true hindrance that I face so far. We’ll talk about that later.
In summary, the Malaysian set of the Galaxy Note10+ gets these items:
- The Samsung Galaxy Note10+ itself (obviously)
- 3-pin 25W charger
- USB-C to USB-C cable (for the new charger)
- AKG earphones with USB-C
- Tweezer and replacement tips for the S Pen
Cost-saving or not, we Malaysians are already enjoying the Galaxy Note10 series with a much lower price tag compared to other countries – so no complaints there.
The brand new Samsung Galaxy Note10 series takes a bold redesign and departure from the previous designs. It’s a refreshing design, to say the least. Especially the back of the phone.
It is available in a few different color options but the one that we have for review here is in the brand new Aura Glow. Truth to be told, its beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I personally love the Aura Black a lot more – but I have seen creative use of this Aura Glow to create a beautiful textured, shimmering kaleidoscope effect.
Though, with such a shining, shimmering, splendid design – the Galaxy Note10+ is a fingerprint magnet and can easily be seen because of its shininess. Pretty much the same as any other colorful, shiny back smartphones that we’ve seen in the past.
The phone is also surprisingly humongous this time around and it is a bit too big, even for large hands like mine. Thankfully, Samsung One UI is here to help.
The curved sides of the phone make sure that you are able to grab it comfortably and does not bite into your palms or fingers.
Connectivity & Ports
While the Galaxy Note10+ was still in its rumor stages, a lot of people have been talking about the removal of the headphone jack. I personally believe that the headphone should still exist on smartphones these days and calling it “courage” as Apple did, is a complete hoax to sell you wireless earphones.
From what we discovered here, not only that the Galaxy Note10 series of smartphones do not have audio jack – it does not support any common USB-C to 3.5mm audio jack dongles as well. The one we have from UGREEN does not work. Why? Because of how the circuitry works, there is no audio passthrough from its USB-C port.
You’ll need to get a USB-C dongle with DAC integrated, and has 3.5mm audio jack. This is most certainly a pros and cons situation as getting a separate DAC means the audio quality that you hear is heavily dependent on the on that DAC itself – so the price really does vary from as low as RM30 to get the job done, or to thousands of ringgits into the audiophile territory.
To keep things simple, Samsung does have their own in-house USB-C to 3.5mm audio jack dongle with DAC built-in and is capable of outputting up to 24-bits at 192kHz. That’s HiRes audio right there. And probably will be available in Malaysia soon too – and it can be used on any smartphones, upgrading your audio quality for all wired headphones/earphones.
As for the other parts of the Galaxy Note10+, it retains the microSD card slot (the basic Note10 does not). Samsung also shook things around by moving the buttons’ functionality around.
The Bixby button is now the new power button, and this button is configuration to however you want. That means Samsung finally gave us users the ability to ignore Bixby entirely!
Since all the buttons are now on the left side, it is quite difficult to capture screenshots compared to before when the power and volume keys are on opposing sides. But, having the Edge Panel with Smart Capture option is an even better method anyway.
Another thing worth mentioning is that Samsung actually moved the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner up higher when compared to the Galaxy S10 series. This is a fantastic move by Samsung as it is much easier to reach with my thumbs now. 👍
Sporting the same display as the Galaxy S10 series of smartphones, it is using the company’s latest Dynamic AMOLED display panel. It is able to display HDR10+ content too.
Samsung has also employed a brand new selfie camera cutout design here. It is still using that Infinity-O notch that we saw in the S10 series, but instead of parking it at the corner, it’s at the center. It’s easily ignorable but personally, I prefer it to be at the corner.
The Galaxy Note10+ is the biggest Note yet as it is packed with a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen. Yes, that is just 0.2-inch shy from those phablets Samsung used to make a few years ago. In retrospect, look at how much the smartphone industry has changed over a couple of years.
Flagship smartphones these days are jam-packed with at least 3 usable cameras – and the Samsung Galaxy Note10 series of smartphones fulfills that criteria. This time around, there is another additional camera for the Galaxy Note10+ specifically – and that is the 3D TOF camera that Samsung is branding it as “DepthVision”.
Here is the list of cameras available on the Samsung Galaxy Note10+:
- Rear-facing cameras
- Ultrawide angle: 16MP f/2.2 fixed focus with 123° viewing angle, 0.5x optical zoom
- Main: 12MP f/1.5-2.4 with dual-pixel PDAF, OIS
- Telephoto: 12MP f/2.1 with PDAF, OIS, 2x optical zoom
- 10MP f/2.2 selfie camera with autofocus
Its camera setup is exactly the same on paper as the Galaxy S10 and S10+, with the addition of the new DepthVision camera. We first saw the 3D TOF cameras on the Samsung Galaxy A80, but this is the first time Samsung has given it an official name.
Anyway, onward with the photo quality. You can check out our full metadata of these pictures over at our Shutterfly album.
While the Galaxy Note10+ makes us think that its camera picture quality will look the same as the Galaxy S10 series, it is quite different, actually. Samsung has further tuned the software so that it is able to take even nicer pictures.
Once again, Samsung did a great job in retaining the color consistency and white balancing between all of its triple cameras at the rear, unlike its rival which turned yellow when using the telephoto camera.
Samsung is still maintaining the “point and shoot yet look fantastic” mantra with this generation of smartphone. They also did some optimization to the other more specific camera modes – specifically night mode. While I personally don’t like changing modes if I just want to capture a simple picture, night mode is somewhat of a necessity nowadays.
From here, we can see that the night mode on the Galaxy Note10+ has vastly improved over the past – but only for the main camera. For some reason, the noise level on both the telephoto and ultrawide angle cameras are rather high – but only noticeable when viewed at 100% zoom.
I honestly do love that ultrawide angle shot with night mode since it brings out the vivid colors. Intriguingly, I uploaded that picture to Facebook and no one commented about its noise level.
Just as a quick note here, the Super Steady video functionality is now enabled for the main camera as well, but is limited to 1080p 30fps videos only. Have a look at the video review which compared walking while taking a video with and without the Super Steady feature.
About that new DepthVision camera?
Alright, we have to talk about the DepthVision here too. So far, we’ve reviewed a total of 3 phones with 3D TOF camera – the OPPO R17 Pro from last year which has zero apps that make use of that 3D TOF camera, and the HONOR View20 which gamified the 3D TOF camera, and also the Galaxy A80.
It’s not simple to explain the DepthVision camera in words, so watch our review video to get a better understanding of what it does.
Software – Android 9.0 Pie with Samsung One UI
Honestly, still loving that One UI. The new S Pen with a gyroscope is somewhat useful, depending on your use case scenario. The new S Pen gyroscope works with the camera and gallery app to perform various gestures – which I think are great when combined with Samsung DeX.
Speaking of DeX, it is even more easily accessible this time around. If you need DeX, just plug in your cable, download and install the desktop app (available for both Mac and Windows) and it will run. Not the most convenient option here, but it works.
Other than that, all of the features that we love is still retained in the Samsung One UI here.
Performance & Gaming
Unlike any of the previous generations, the Galaxy Note10 series got a chipset upgrade from the Galaxy S series. The new Galaxy Note10 series now sports the Exynos 9825 chipset, which Samsung upgraded it from 8nm process to 7nm EUV process. Learn more about it here.
Other than a change in name, the ARM Cortex-A75 cores did get a slight boost in clock speed as well. Here are the specs of the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ that we got for review:
- 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with Infinity-O notch
- 1440p in resolution
- Samsung Exynos 9825 chipset
- 2x Samsung Exynos M4 @ 2730MHz
- 2x ARM Cortex-A75 @ 2400MHz
- 4x ARM Cortex-A55 @ 1950MHz
- 12GB LPDDR4X RAM
- 256GB UFS 3.0 storage
- 4,300mAh battery
- Android 9.0 Pie with Samsung One UI
Let’s first, start looking at the benchmarks between the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ with other smartphones in the market. All benchmarks here were done in 1440p resolution.
Just for the sake of being a completionist, I also reran all benchmarks at 1080p resolution just to compare if there is a change in benchmark scores. Surprisingly, it’s within the margin of error.
From all the benchmarks above, we realized that the new Exynos 9825 on the Galaxy Note10+ may have a boost in GPU performance. Or maybe it’s because the Galaxy Note10+ is using UFS 3.0 storage chips. Either way, it’s supremely fast. We included a comparison in our review video as well.
Alright, gaming with the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ is no doubt a great experience. The immersion is fantastic, just like the Galaxy S10 series. Like usual, we played some intensive games to test out the capability of the Galaxy Note10+.
We launched Honkai Impact 3 first – and everything is as expected. We cranked up everything to the highest graphical settings and the game ran without a hitch – minus the minor frame skipping when using God Kiana’s ultimate skill. At this point in time, all the phones we’ve tested had the same issue.
Asphalt 9 ran great at the highest graphical settings. The Galaxy Note10+ didn’t even break a sweat.
As for PUBG Mobile, I noticed is that PUBG Mobile can now be running in HDR graphical settings at “ultra” frame rates or at Smooth graphical settings with “extreme” frame rates. Obviously, the Galaxy Note10+ ran it without any frame skips as well.
Battery & Charger
It’s no surprise that the Galaxy Note10+ is now having the largest battery ever found on a Note. Its 4,300mAh battery can easily last you through a day – but that’s oversimplified. We first tested the battery life against other smartphones in our standard test – and it scored around 11.62 hours while in 1440p resolution. Not bad.
Then, we redid the test in 1080p resolution. That increased the life span of a single charge by 2.25 hours. That’s a really significant difference!
Alright, the brand new Samsung Galaxy Note10+ comes with two new charging speeds – 25W and also 45W. With every purchase of the Galaxy Note10 series of smartphone, you get the 25W charger included in the box itself.
From what we found out, Samsung is using USB PD 3.0 standards for both the new 25W and 45W fast charging.
Surprisingly, both the Innergie 60C (review) and also the j5create JCPD385 (review) does not support USB PD 3.0 but instead dropped to the 15W charging speed instead. We’ll revisit this when we have a USB PD 3.0 charger at hand.
In summary, here are the time taken to reach the specific battery percentage while charging up with different chargers.
|Battery level||Charging time (minutes)|
|Samsung 25W charger (new)||Samsung 15W charger (old)||Standard 5V 2A charger|
Wrapping up the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ review
Let’s bring it all together first. Throughout our review period, we realized that Samsung made a lot of tiny intricate changes. This is not just the latest Galaxy S series that has the S Pen, but they improved and provide better user experience overall. The best examples are the replacement of the Bixby button with the power button, and also the higher position for the under-display fingerprint scanner.
Looking at the specs and watching the grand launching presentation didn’t do justice for the Samsung Galaxy Note10+. Hence, that is why our review is extensively focused on the changes and overall user experience.
The Samsung Galaxy Note10+ is still a solid smartphone for the year 2019, but the removal of the headphone is truly unfortunate.