Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Review | The Best From Samsung?
When Samsung launches new flagship phones like Samsung Galaxy S10 Series or the Note 10 series, we expect something great from Samsung as they provide us some of the best flagship phones. And as we expected, the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ are one of the best flagship phones that we have had in last year. Just recently, they also launched a new phone in Note 10 series i.e. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 lite-on unbelievable price. But we are not here to talk about that, we are here to review one of the best flagship phones from Samsung in 2019. So let’s get started with our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series.
The Galaxy Note10 arrives in the same (okay, smaller, but still) black box with a glossy life-size S Pen stamped on top, true to the color of the actual stylus you'll find inside - different paint jobs get a different colored S Pen.
Inside the box, we get some paperwork along with the 25-watt fast charger, pair of nice AKG-branded earbuds with a USB-C connector and Galaxy Note 10.
Design & Build Quality
Talking about the design of the phone, for me, it has one of the best designs in a smartphone. The phone just looks awesome and feels great on the hand as well. As was the case with previous generations, the Note10 is notably more squarish than the S-series phone it shares a year of release with. Another key difference between the S phones and the Notes this year is the selfie camera location. The build quality is not notch and the in-hand feeling of this phone is great. It is quite big and is suitable for two-hand usage. The curved Gorilla Glass 6 on front and back looks great and this phone is also IP68 certified for water and dust resistant.
Talking about the screen of the phones, the phone comes with a 6.3 inch Dynamic AMOLED Panel with FHD+ screen and HDR10+ support with 401ppi. The Note10's panel gets the Dynamic AMOLED moniker to hint at its HDR10+ video capabilities. As we know, Samsung’s Flagship phones have some of the best screens in the market and the same goes for Note 10+. The screen looks quite bright with good colors and dark blacks on the screen.
The Galaxy Note10 packs a 3,500mAh battery, just barely bigger than the Galaxy S10's 3,400mAh cell. Talking about the charging of the phone, a 25W charger comes in the box which can charge the phone from 0 to 57% in 30 minutes and took around 1 hour 20 minutes for full 100% charge. The battery performance of the phone is also quite good. For me, it lasted easily for a day with heavy usage also as I like to spend my time by playing games and surfing videos on YouTube.
The Galaxy Note10 has a stereo speaker setup in which there's a primary driver firing downwards, and the earpiece serves as the second channel. The sound from this phone is quite loud and clear and gets the job done.
The Galaxy Note10 is available in two different hardware configurations depending on the region. Some markets get the Snapdragon 855 SoC, but in our neck of the woods, it's the version with Samsung's in-house Exynos 9825 chipset. The Note10 is only available with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of UFS3.0 storage - if for whatever reason you want 12GB of RAM, you'd need to look at the Note10+, which can also be had with 512GB of onboard memory.
Talking about the performance and geekbench score, just check out the image below. The phone has a good score in both single-core and multi-core and competing against phones like iPhone XS, Samsung Galaxy S10, OnePlus 7Pro, OnePlus 7T, P30 Pro etc. Predictably, the Galaxy Note10 delivers great performance, worthy of its top-tier status.
The Galaxy Note10 runs Android 9.0 Pie with Samsung's custom skin on top. The new UI focuses on the one-handed operation and aims to simplify the whole user experience although simplifying Samsung's feature-packed software is a really tough job. The one-handed use, however, is significantly improved with the One UI, especially in a tall aspect ratio like this one - swiping down in menus drops the UI elements to the bottom half of the display for easier reaching. The same goes for the notification shade - swiping twice will bring the quick toggles within thumb's reach.
Talking about the camera, there’s a 12MP dual-aperture primary lens, a 2X telephoto zoom, and a 16MP wide-angle lens. Also, an additional TOF sensor for AR and Depth sensing is available in the Note 10+, which is missing in the standard Note 10.
Not unexpectedly, the Galaxy Note10 takes great photos in daylight. Dynamic range is impressive in the default Auto HDR state with well-developed tonal extremes, but preserved contrast. The phone resolves lots of fine detail and there's hardly any noise to speak of - a signature Samsung clean look. The colors of the Galaxy's images are nicely vivid, though if you're more conservatively inclined, you could find them a little too much.
The Note10's telephoto camera is a revised version of the one found in the S10 with new optics and we are seeing improved contrast and better sharpness than the old unit. The ultra-wide-angle cam stays true to the general characteristics of the other two when it comes to color and dynamic range.
The Galaxy Note10's excellent performance instills continues into the night. Its main cam opens its aperture to f/1.5 from the usual f/2.4, letting in about 1.5 stops more light. Photos have good detail and well-controlled noise, while dynamic range is excellent as well. There's no loss in saturation either.
Selfies turn out great with excellent dynamic range, good detail, and nice skin tones. Speaking of selfie portraits, the Note10 does okay. A second sensor would have helped with depth detection.
If you are after a more affordable Galaxy, there's always the several-months-old S10+, which can even be had for less than the small Note. You'd be getting storage expansion (though not as much base internal storage, and a slower UFS2.1 one) and a headphone jack, plus a higher-res screen. Obviously there are no S Pens on Galaxy S phones.
The Galaxy Note10 is easy to recommend to someone looking for a compact high-end phone with a stylus - there simply isn't any other. And it's an amazing phone even if the S Pen doesn't do anything for you. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 boasts 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage and will now cost Rs. 111,399 in Nepal. If it’s too expensive for you then you can get the newly launched Galaxy Note 10 Lite for just 60K in Nepal.
- The most compact Galaxy Note ever.
- A bright OLED screen with a small punch hole and razor-thin bezels.
- Excellent battery life, fast charging.
- Great-sounding stereo loudspeakers.
- S-Pen with tons of unique features.
- Nice camera experience all-around, great image quality.
- High performance, generous 256GB of storage.
- The arbitrary feature cuts from the big model are at odds with the Note's all-out ethos.
- No 3.5mm audio jack.
- Controversial power button placement.
- The in-display fingerprint reader needs more optimization (mostly software-wise).
- Only 2x telephoto cam while competitors are already at 3x and even 5x.
- The night mode needs more work.
- The ultra-wide-angle camera lacks autofocus.
Samsung Galaxy Note10 Specifications
- Body: 151x71.8x7.9mm, 168g, curved Gorilla Glass 6 front and back, aluminum frame. IP68 rating.
- Screen: 6.3" Dynamic AMOLED, 1080x2280px resolution; 19:9 aspect ratio; 401ppi; HDR10+ support.
- Chipset (market dependent): Exynos 9825 (7nm) (in EMEA/LATAM): Octa-core (2x2.73 GHz Mongoose M4 & 2x2.4 GHz Cortex-A75 & 4x1.9 GHz Cortex-A55); Mali-G76 MP12. Snapdragon 855 (7nm): Octa-core CPU (1x2.8GHz & 3x2.4GHz Kryo Gold & 4x1.7GHz Kryo 485 Silver); Adreno 640 GPU.
- Memory: 8GB RAM, 256GB built-in UFS 3.0 storage, no microSD slot.
- OS: One UI based on Android 9.0 Pie.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 12MP, 1/2.55" sensor, f/1.5-2.4 aperture, 26mm equiv. focal length (77° FoV), dual pixel PDAF, OIS. Telephoto: 12MP, 1/3.6" sensor, f/2.1 aperture, 52mm equiv. focal length (45° FoV), PDAF, OIS. Ultra-wide: 16MP, f/2.2 aperture, 12mm equiv. focal length (123° FoV), fixed focus.
- Front camera: 10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF; 2160p@30fps video recording.
- Battery: 3,500mAh, 25W fast charging over Power Delivery 3.0 (25W charger supplied in the box).
- Misc: Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging 15W; Power bank/Reverse wireless charging 9W; S-Pen stylus; Ultra-sonic under-display fingerprint reader; NFC; FM radio (USA & Canada only); Stereo loudspeakers; Samsung DeX support (desktop experience).