Although the design builds off last year’s Galaxy Note 9, I was impressed with the way the Note 10 and 10 Plus looked and felt. Leave it to Samsung to make a pretty phone, and one with eye-catching colors (I mean the Aura Glow and Aura Blue, of course).
The hole-punch selfie camera moves to the center of the Note 10’s screen, a big improvement over the Galaxy S10 phones, where the lens is all the way to the right.
Samsung has also shifted the button configuration. The. Or rather, it’s become one with the power/lock button on the left spine, below the volume keys. Press once to lock and unlock the screen, press twice to launch the camera (or any app, you can program this in the settings) and press and hold to trigger Bixby Voice.
The Note 10 phones use the same in-screen fingerprint reader we saw in the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus.
The phones and S Pen felt good in my hand during my short time with the phones, and although the Note 10 Plus is massive, I never thought during my briefing that it was too unwieldy. We’ll see if that’s still true after spending more time testing it.
There are more similarities than differences between these two phones, but Samsung wanted to make sure that the larger Note 10 Plus has the edge on features. We compare the specs at the end, but here are the main distinctions that make the Note 10 Plus a little extra premium.
- Screen size: 6.3-inch versus 6.8-inch
- Device size and weight: The Note 10 Plus is significantly larger and heavier
- AR camera: The Note 10 Plus adds a fourth camera, for AR video and drawing
- Battery capacity: 3,500 mAh versus 4,300 mAh
- Storage: 256GB for Note 10, 256 or 512GB for Plus
- RAM: 8GB versus 12GB
- microSD card slot: Not on the Note 10, but it is on the Note 10 Plus
No microSD card slot on the Note 10
Samsung alsofor the Note 10 only. The Plus will still accept whatever card you throw at it.
Again, the reason for the change seems to be a space-saving mission that also helps keep the smaller Note 10 lighter and thinner. That said, it seems likely that Samsung also wanted to give the Note 10 Plus one more way to be different.
Note 10 Plus cameras do night mode, portrait video, AR doodling
The Note 10 and Note 10 Plus cameras don’t vary much from the Galaxy S10 Plus and S10 5G phones that Samsung released earlier this year.
On both phones you get:
- 12-megapixel dual-aperture lens
- 16-megapixel wide-angle lens
- 12-megapixel telephoto lens
- 10-megapixel front-facing camera
As on the Galaxy S10 phones, you’ll be able to switch among the rear lenses. Notably, Samsung removed the second front-facing camera from the Note 10 phones, citing better software for taking portrait selfies.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus adds a fourth 3D depth-sensing camera on the back, which you can use to take portrait video that blur the background, and draw on top of photos and video with a.
I’ve been less than impressed with portrait video on the Galaxy S10 5G, which also has a 3D camera on the back. When people move, the video has a tendency to blur hair, legs, hands and other appendages around the edges. Samsung says it’s been improving the quality of portrait video, and my test videos were certainly better on the Note 10 Plus. I’m looking forward to trying that out more.
AR Doodle is the other main use for this fourth camera. With the stylus, you can draw all over a photo or video of a person or thing, annotating with words, arrows, starry sunglasses, capes, you name it. If you shoot video of a person, AR Doodle will track their movements, so the bowler hat you just drew on your friend moves along with them. That’s a fun bonus.
Another nice thing about AR Doodle is that you can save the file as a JPEG or movie file and share it on any major platform, not only with other Note 10 users.