Ever since it’s introduction back in 2011, I’ve always been a fan of Samsung’s Galaxy Note series of phones. And while there have been some issues in the past (like the Galaxy Note 7), the Note 10+ builds upon the S10 series and past Samsung devices to make an even better phone with a few shortcomings.

Editor’s Note: Even though I tested the Galaxy Note10+ model, it is virtually identical to the standard Note10 apart from screen size, battery and storage.

Design & Hardware

Galaxy Note10 (Aura Glow)

Samsung is known for nailing the hardware aspect of their phones (apart from the Galaxy Fold) and the Note10+ doesn’t disappoint. The phone is made from a combination of metal and glass, which gives it a premium look and feel.

Galaxy S10+ (left) and Galaxy Note10+ (right)

The back of the Note10+ has a mirrored finish (depending on colour) and looks reminiscent of recent Huawei flagships like the P30 Pro from earlier this year.

The Note10+ has a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display which looks great with its 3040 x 1440 resolution. There is a sort-of notched display on the Note10+ which Samsung calls the Infinity-O display, and I actually prefer this over other notched displays like the Pixel 3 XL.

Just like other flagship smartphones, the Note10+ has an in-display fingerprint sensor but it uses ultrasonic technology which Samsung says is faster but I found it to be just as fast as optical in-display fingerprint readers. There were occasions where the in-screen fingerprint reader didn’t work.

Powering the Note10+ is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor with 12GB of RAM. For storage, the Note10+ comes with 256GB or 512GB of storage plus a microSD card slot (up to 1TB). The extra RAM caused no issues when using the device and was fairly quick for the most part.

Just like year’s past, the Note10+ has an updated version of the S Pen but it’s a lot like the one found in the Note9. The S Pen can convert handwriting to digital text in the Samsung Notes app and you can use Air Action and gestures to control different functions.

The battery in the Note10+ is 4,300 mAh which was able to easily last all day, I was down to about 40-50% battery life at the end of the day. The device also features Super Fast Charing which allows for up to 45W charging speeds (with a compatible charger sold separately) using USB-C to get you all-day battery in just 30 minutes.

There is also reverse wireless charging that lets you charge your Galaxy Buds or Galaxy Watch Active 2 on the go.

The smaller Note10 is very similar to the Plus variant but with a few differences. The Note10 has a 6.3-inch FHD display, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage (no microSD), no Super Fast 45W Charging support and a 3,500 mAh battery.

Canadian pricing is as follows:

  • Galaxy Note10 – 256GB – $1,259 CAD
  • Galaxy Note10+ – 256GB – $1,459 CAD
  • Galaxy Note10+ – 512GB – $1,599 CAD (only available in Aura Black and a Samsung Store Exclusive)

The Note10 and Note10+ come in Aura Glow (the colour I tested), Aura Black and Aura White.

The Samsung Galaxy Note10 series is available from the company’s website and retailers and carriers across Canada.

Software

The Note10+ is running Android 9 Pie out of the box with Samsung’s One UI on top. The look and feel of the interface have changed slightly with bigger icons and a new dark mode.

There are also tweaks such as a horizontal layout for the multi-tasking screen and built-in features such as Digital Wellbeing and more.

If you’ve used Samsung phones in recent years with the Samsung Experience on top, then the new One UI won’t be that jarring to use.

Since this is a Note device, the Note10+ comes with support of off-screen memos and handwriting support and other features that use the S Pen.

Samsung is trying to make its One UI to look more like stock Android or at least Google’s version of Android on Pixel phones. And so far it’s working and it makes the UI easier to use.

Camera

The camera has been a strong point of Samsung phones and the ones on the Note10+ are no different. The Note10+ has a triple-camera setup with one 12MP Telephoto, one 12MP Wide-angle and one 16MP Ultra Wide-angle. There is also a VGA DepthVision camera for Depth of Field.

Having all three cameras on the back of the Note10+ made taking photos with the device more fun to use. The telephoto and ultra-wide lens make it so, you can capture cool shots.

The front camera includes a 10MP standard lens that can be used for Face Unlock on the Note10+.

The camera app is easy to use but for some reason, Samsung does this weird thing that the mode labels stay in the vertical orientations, even when you rotate the phone horizontally.

There are a couple of modes on the Note10+ including:

  • Instagram
  • Food
  • Night
  • Panorama
  • Pro
  • Live Focus
  • Photo
  • Video
  • Live Focus Video
  • Super Slow-mo
  • Slow Motion

I only found myself using the Photo, Video and Night modes. While the Night mode did work well, it found it much slower than other ones such as the Pixel’s Night Sight or OnePlus’ Nightscape.

Photos that were taken on the Note10+ look great with lots of detail and pops of colours. Videos also look great thanks to OIS built-in. You can shoot up to 4K video at 60 fps but for some reason when you select it, video stabilization is not available but HDR is available.

The new Live Focus Video mode was introduced on the Note10+ and allows you to capture video with a bokeh effect by blurring the background.

Video stabilization on the Note10+ only seems to be available on the 4K, 1080p HD 60fps and 1080p HD video resolutions.

Final Thoughts

Galaxy S10+ (front) and Galaxy Note10+ (back)

The Galaxy Note10+ is an excellent device that builds upon past devices with a great camera, smooth performance and fun to use S Pen.

Pros

  • Great display that would benefit from a high-refresh-rate
  • The hole-punch selfie camera is better than a proper notch
  • Super long battery life (i.e more than a day)
  • Great camera that rivals Pixel phones
  • S Pen works great
  • Large storage options with microSD card slot

Cons

  • More expensive than previous models
  • Combining the Bixby and power button was an odd choice
  • S Pen gestures don’t work all the time
  • The in-display fingerprint sensor doesn’t work reliably

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