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Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review: A class apart

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Gadgets Now
23rd August, 2019 22:40 IST
The market is flooded with identical looking Android smartphones with similar spec-sheets. All of them claim to offer the best value for money. And if you are someone who is looking for a ‘value-for-money’ deals hardcore specs-wise then you may even skip reading this. As there are lots of good and cheap Android phones in the market right now, you can simply pick anyone of them.

But if you are looking for luxury, experience and complete package in Android, what options do you really have? After all, not everyone may be willing to buy cheap ‘value for money’ phones only. This is where Samsung comes in the picture with its new Galaxy Note 10+.

The Galaxy Note 10+ is one device which offers everything that a smartphone can probably offer in terms of productivity. It’s a beauty of a phone that simply knows no restrictions. You get a useful stylus, capable cameras to shoot images and videos, huge and gorgeous display, generous battery, fast and able processor, seamless PC and MacBook connectivity, Knox that secures and separates work and personal data and finally, a well-built and good looking phone. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ will easily spoil you.

After using the new Galaxy Note 10+ for some time, here is our complete review.

WATCH VIDEO: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ first look



Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ variants and launch prices:

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 12GB RAM/ 256GB storage: Rs 79,999

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 12GB RAM/ 512GB storage: Rs 89,999

Both the variants supports microSD card of up to 1TB. However, there is a hybrid SIM/microSD card slot. You can either opt for two nano SIM cards or one SIM and one microSD card. The Galaxy Note 10+ will be available in Aura Glow, White and Black colours. Out of the box, you get a both side Type-C cable, 25W charging adapter and soft transparent case, Type-C earphones by AKG. The device already comes with a hole punch screen guard.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ Design

The new Note 10+ has a close resemblance to predecessor Note 9 but it is way more polished, lightweight and the new colour scheme makes it look like a completely new device. The screen-to-body ratio has increased. Samsung is offering Corning Gorilla glass protection on both sides. It’s sturdy device well-built device. The curved glass on both sides makes its easier to grip the big phone. Given the size of the phone, it feels lightweight as the weight is evenly distributed across the device. The made is of solid metal with structural integrity. This phone doesn’t show signs of bending even when out inside tight denim pockets while riding a bike.

Samsung has ditched the traditional fingerprint scanner and the fingerprint sensor is now underneath the display, The mechanism of the S-Pen stylus remains the same. Samsung has ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack in the new Note 10 series. This is totally unwelcome and Samsung could have easily continued with the 3.5mm headphone jack. But sadly, you will have to buy a dongle separately if you wish to use a 3.5mm headphone.


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Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ display

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ features a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O display--this means it’s punch hole display with a selfie camera in the centre of the top portion. The maximum resolution is 3040x1440 pixels at a pixel density of 498ppi. The display is HDR 10+ certified. To save battery, you can shift to the default setting of Full HD+ resolution. But to get the best experience while watching movies, you can bump the display resolution to Quad HD+.

It’s a gorgeous display. Even doing regular work like sending emails or browsing the internet appears so refreshing on the Note 10+. But the real quality pops out when you start watching shows on Netflix or other content. It’s a delight to watch videos on the new Galaxy Note 10+ While playing games, the display makes everything look clear and so much better. It’s a huge display with minimal bezels and this ensures an overall immersive experience.

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The colours are crisp with great contrast ratio and as far as the viewing angles are concerned, you can even watch something without any annoying colour tone changes even while keeping it flat on the table and watch the screen at almost 180 degrees. This is the best-in-class display for any smartphone. Period.

Of course, the Note 10+ misses out on a 90Hz display popularised by the OnePlus 7 Pro. But if don’t know or never seen a 90Hz screen yet then it would be hard to make you understand the real life differences. It’s a good-to-have thing but you will definitely not miss it in the new Note 10+.

S-pen features: Air action gestures, text conversion and more

The S-Pen stylus is a crucial part of the Note series. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ and Note 10 offers an improved S-Pen stylus. Along with the Bluetooth connectivity that was introduced last year, the new S-Pen now supports gestures. Dubbed as Air actions, you can use gestures to control the camera and even use it as clicker during presentation. But these features are something used occasionally. Having said the S-Pen stylus does come handy while clicking selfies.

Samsung has natively enabled handwriting recognition. This means whatever you scribble with the S-Pen can be converted into text format compatible with Microsoft Word. The good thing is that this handwriting recognition now supports different languages including Indian languages.

For example, if you write something in Hindi, you can use the feature to convert into text that is Microsoft Word compatible. This saves you the hassle of typing in Hindi. Samsung plans to add support for more India languages as well in the coming months.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ performance

This is the most powerful Samsung smartphone in 2019 and the first device to feature a 7nm processor. The Galaxy Note 10+ is powered by a 2.7GHz octa-core Exynos 9825 processor based on 7nm process. The device comes only with 12GB of RAM in 256GB and 512GB storage variants. The device runs Android 9.0 Pie-based OneUI and offers a smooth experience overall.

Now, talking about performance, this device is tuned perfectly to serve as a workhorse. You will not face any lags or performance glitches. Be it gaming, multitasking or even while using DeX, the Note 10+ is simply continues to deliver. Games run smooth and while it is more of a productivity device than a gaming phone, you will love playing on this. For us, this has become our go-to device for playing PUBG Mobile. There are no heating issues as such that mar the overall experience.

If you are looking for a power packed Android smartphone, then this is the best you can get and is power user’s delight. You will be surprised to see as to what this device can do. For example, we used the phone to play PUBG Mobile on it while editing a video using an Android app while it is connected to a MacBook Air via DeX. You can also open two instances of the same app on the Note 10+ and on PC or MacBook via DeX but the experience is a bit choppy.

The good news is that you can now just use a standard USB Type-C to use Dex on any laptop or MacBooks. You just need to download the DeX app. Also, the phone can also be connected to any screen by using a standard USB Type-C to HDMI cable cable to use Dex. Interestingly, Samsung has also partnered with Microsoft to enable Windows Live. With this feature, the screen of the Note 10 automatically gets mirrored on any Windows 10 PC. Users can access messaging, notifications and other features of the phone on the PC itself.

Talking about other software features, Samsung is changing the way you use Bixby. Samsung has dumped the much-debated Bixby button in the new Galaxy Note 10 series. This means Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ users will no longer have to deal with the Bixby button on the side. Interestingly, Samsung has now given the option to remap the power/wake button too. So, if you miss the Bixby button at all then you can use the power/wake button to call Bixby. Of course, you can still say “Hey, Bixby” to open it. Samsung has added another way to power off the device. There is an option in the notification panel itself to switch off the phone.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ camera

Samsung has tried it’s best to offer the most powerful cameras in smartphones. In some areas, it has excelled but not overall when compared to the Pixel 3 XL or iPhone XS. As far as the camera is concerned, the Galaxy Note 10+ comes with a 4-lens camera module with a 12MP 2PD A/F dual aperture- F1.5/F2.4 primary sensor with OIS along with a 16MP ultra-wide F2.2 sensor, 12MP F2.1 telephoto sensor with OIS and a VGA time of flight sensor.

The smartphone offers a range of camera features to create content. Apart from the regular features like live focus, Pro mode, super slo-mo and hyperlapse, Samsung is now offering Live Focus Video with three preset filters. The filters only work on faces while the plain live focus videos work on subjects as well. While bokeh in videos sounds exciting, it is not that effective in real life and Samsung needs to work it. There is too much of software into it and the output is somewhat not refined. So, you will have to be really patient with the Live Focus Video mode.

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Samsung has added another quirky feature which lets you zoom the audio while shooting a video. So, the moment you zoom on to a subject while recording a video, the device cancels surrounding noise and focuses on the audio from the subject. While this feature sounds useful, in real life, it is something you can’t rely on always. If the surrounding is noisy then it becomes hard to make out the difference. In a quiet room, the feature works well.

As far as videos are concerned, the Galaxy Note 10+ can shoot UHD video (3840x2160 pixels) at 60FPS in 16:9 aspect ratio. There is a quick video editor inside the gallery app itself to help you edit shots on-the-go. While there is no 3.5mm headphone jack, the Note 10+ thankfully supports external mics while recording videos. Of course, you will have to buy the 3.5mm to Type-C dongle.

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Samsung also tiptoed into 3D printing with the Note 10+. There is a separate 3D Scanner app, available in the Samsung Galaxy app store, that will help you to scan subject and make a 3D model. Samsung claims that these models can be used to get a print from a 3D printer. The real story is that the 3D scanner app is far from usable. And it is simply a gimmick for now. But the concept of using a smartphone camera to click 3D models does sounds cool.

Talking about the camera quality, the device will please you with its performance. The phone can click some top notch photos and videos. Samsung has included a Night mode as well in the Note 10+. While it gets the job done, it is not as good as the Pixel 3 or the Huawei P30 Pro. Having said that in lowlight, the camera quality is quite good and is something to be proud of. But if you want to convert night into day by using the phone camera, then the Note 10+ will not be able to please you.

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Now, coming to the front camera, the Note 10+ offers a 10MP 2PD F2.2 selfie camera. It clicks good selfie and you can even record UHD selfie videos. But the cool bit over here is that you can record the screen while using the front camera to record yourself as well. With this, you can use to do live commentary, live recording a PUBG Mobile session or while making an online tutorial video.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ Battery

The device is powered by a 4,300mAh battery with support for 45W fast charging. Samsung will provide 25W charger in the box while the 45W adapter needs to be purchased separately. The device easily offers one days worth of battery life on a single charge. There are different power modes to optimise battery to give you maximum juice but then these modes cuts down on performance. As far as the charging time is concerned, we used the 25W charger which managed to charge above 80% from zero within an hour. There is support for reverse charging through which you can charge another smartphone or accessory that supports Qi wireless charging. This sounds really cool but in reality it takes a lot of time to charge and it cannot replace a wireless charging adapter. This feature is not that useful and could be used only to charge wireless earphones like the Galaxy Buds or a smartwatch.

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Samsung DeX support for PC and MacBooks

With the launch of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series, users can now directly run Android apps on MacBooks and PCs by simply connecting their Galaxy Note 10 via DeX. The new updated DeX doesn’t require people to buy a separate dongle or cable. To use DeX with the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+, users simply need to download the DeX app on either MacOS or Windows 10. After installing the Samsung DeX, all that the user needs to do is simply connect the Note 10 or Note 10+ with the PC or MacBook via the USB Type-C cable.

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The new Samsung DeX support for MacOS will allow users to run Android app, access gallery, surf the internet and more on MacBooks as well as Windows 10 PCs. While Samsung DeX is there on other Samsung flagships as well, only the Galaxy Note 10+ and Note 10 offers these features now. For other devices, DeX can be access via HDMI cables only.

When the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10+ is connected to a MacBook, you can use the touchpad to navigate through Android apps and use them just like you would do on the phone. DeX makes a seamless transition and you can simply minimise the DeX tab on the Mac to continue working. Meanwhile, the Note 10 connects independently, you can use the phone to perform other tasks while you are working on a particular Android app on MacBook via DeX.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review verdict

As noted in our initial impressions, apart from the hardware features of the new Note 10+, there are new software features too along with an improved Dex. However, not all of these features may be useful as they are not something that will be used by most smartphone users everyday. Also, most of these features will automatically come to the older Note 9 or the current S10 series in the form of software updates. So, if you are already using the latest Note 9 then it is not convincing enough to upgrade within a span of year.

Having said that if you are looking a power packed Android smartphone with the luxury of having all the latest software features and the very best of hardware then the Galaxy Note 10+ is your best bet. As far as the pricing is concerned, the Galaxy Note 10+ somewhat manages to justify its price. It definitely sounds expensive but looking at the competition there are only two options-- the iPhone XS max (256GB) at Rs 1,21,900 or Huawei P30 Pro (8GB/256GB) at Rs 71,999. The Note 10+ does create a niche for itself but the phone is not meant for everyone. Consider the Note 10+ if you really need the stylus or DeX or if you are willing to use the device for any particular productivity feature. Else, there's always the Galaxy S10 series, if you want a Samsung flagship.

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