Samsung Galaxy Note10 Review
Samsung debuted the latest iterations of their flagship phablet lineup, the Galaxy Note series, last month. This year Samsung has birthed a couple of options to cater to the ever-growing variety of users. Or you know, to add some diversity in pricing options? Nonetheless, in this full review, we’re focusing on the standard Galaxy Note 10.
Design and Construction
The Galaxy Note 10 has a 6.3-inch display that curves towards the edges of the phone. Found at the top of the screen, dead in the center, we get a punch-hole for the 10MP front-facing camera. Right above it, we can see the earpiece which is hidden through a tiny gap in the ever so slightly present bezel.
One thing a lot of people hate about this iteration of the Note series is the absence of the headphone jack. They did include the AKG-tuned Type-C earphones, but they didn’t include a Type-C to 3.5mm jack adapter which is a bit disappointing. I guess Samsung wants you guys to buy those Galaxy Buds.
Situated on the left side are the volume rocker and power button, so yup, no more dedicated Bixby button here. And because of this, I do feel like the buttons are ergonomically placed better because, with previous Samsung devices, the button placement would appear higher than where my fingers naturally rest.
Up top, you can find the Dual SIM card tray. Unfortunately, it’s non-expandable, which I know will disappoint a lot of users. Also found here is some reflex port for the stereo speaker on top, which I found very interesting; and a mic for speakerphone.
At the bottom we have a USB Type C, the second stereo Speaker, a microphone for regular calls and this device wouldn’t be a Note device without the addition of the S-Pen of course, more on that later.
At the back, we got a Triple camera set-up and an LED Flash. Our Note 10 is in the Aura Glow color, and we love it. The rear is protected with Gorilla Glass 6. The way the glass-back panel curves into the sides of the phone like on the front, makes the overall device feel just premium.
Display and Multimedia
The Galaxy Note 10 sports a 6.3-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED panel with a resolution of 2280 x 1080 and a pixel density of 401 PPI. Just like the glass back, Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protects the display.
Consuming media on this device is excellent, despite the bump-down in the resolution usually found on Note devices. I don’t think it would affect the experience since most users would tend to bump-down the resolution to save on battery life. If it also helps in lowering the cost of the device, I don’t mind it at all.
Everything else is excellent like the near bezel-less design, vibrant and colorful display, deeper blacks, and a panel you’ll never have problems viewing under direct sunlight.
For audio, it does have stereo speakers, which I love. They can get very loud for a phone, the separation is there, as well as that nifty Dolby Atmos feature. You’ll also notice the screen vibrate as the speaker is hidden under the display.
For cameras, the Galaxy Note 10 sports a triple-camera setup that consists of a 12MP primary sensor F/1.5-2.4, 12MP telephoto F/2.1. 16MP ultrawide F/2.2. And residing in the punch-hole is a 10MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.2
In this iteration of the Note series, Samsung thought to bring portrait mode to a new level with Live Focus Video, which is essentially portrait mode but in video format. Unfortunately, it feels just like a gimmick as the edge detection isn’t perfect at all. I mean it’s never even been that perfect for photos, so I’m not surprised.
The images look spectacular, and they should be, it’s an expensive phone. We get the usual Samsung post-processing, giving us vibrant colors with a little more oomph in saturation, bump in sharpness, and high dynamic range. Having three focal lengths is always a treat; from the primary sensor to the ultrawide, you don’t get any more excuses not to take a photo.
But as optimal lighting disappears, smartphone camera flaws start to appear. Though honestly, the Note 10 can handle it. Dynamic Range is excellent, and with Samsung’s Night Mode significantly improved compared to the S10, low-light shots are easy.
Selfies also look stunning, with beautiful skin tones and just the right amount of sharpness, if you’re a selfie monster, the Note 10’s got you covered.
When it comes to videos, the Note10 can record up to 4K resolution at 60fps. It has accurate colors and sufficient details, but somehow grainy. Check out the sample below.
OS, UI, and Apps
For software, users will be greeted with Android 9 Pie, skinned with One UI on top. With this iteration of One UI, Samsung packs a lot of features that take advantage of the processor and the screen real estate on this device.
Fan-favorite features like multi-window support, pop-up view, picture-in-picture, and a whole lot more productivity features coupled with the S-Pen makes this phablet perfect for all your productivity needs. Speaking of the S-Pen, this iteration includes a gyro-sensor, allowing users to use air-gestures.
An example of this is controlling the volume by flicking the S-Pen up or down. You can also use it for zooming in or out with your camera by waving the pen in a circular motion. The pen can get very useful when copying text on a document, signing contracts, and of course, taking notes.
Performance and Benchmarks
For hardware, the Galaxy Note 10 in our local shores boast Samsung’s latest Exynos 9825 chipset coupled with a Mali-G76 MP12 GPU. This phablet beauty is only available with 8GB of RAM and either 256 or 512GB of internal storage. Again, it’s non-expandable, so better look somewhere else if you want to use a microSD card on this one. This device can handle graphics-intensive gaming with no problems, and multi-tasking is also quite snappy as well.
For those of you interested in our benchmark scores, having them flash on-screen now:
• AnTuTu – 334,1565
• 3DMark SSE – 4,841 (OpenGL ES 3.1), 4,101 (Vulkan)
• PCMark – 7,430 (Work 2.0)
• GeekBench – 1,942 (Single-Core), 8,931 (Multi-Core), 4,624 (OpenCL)
• AndroBench – 1,482.26 MB/s (Seq. Read), 589.79 MB/s (Seq. Write)
Moving over to security, for biometrics the Galaxy Note 10 offers fingerprint and facial recognition. For the face unlock, it’s convenient, and I see users combining this with the Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner for a higher success rate when unlocking. Speaking of that Ultrasonic in-display scanner, it’s the same one found on the S10 series and it about just as fast in my opinion.
Connectivity and Battery Life
Like the Note 10+, the Note 10 has dual nano-SIM card slots, Wi-Fi 6, LTE Cat.20, dual-frequency GNSS, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and USB 3.1 Type-C. Again, there’s no 3.5mm audio port.
For the battery, the Galaxy Note 10 packs a 3,500mAh battery with 25W fast charging support. And yes, the charging brick included in the box is already a 25W charger. Charging the device takes about an hour and a half, and the device also supports wireless and reverse wireless charging, which can come in pretty handy in some cases.
In the PC Mark battery test, our unit got us a score of 9 hours and 28 minutes. In our standard video loop test, we got a total of 13 hours and 8 minutes of playback, which is decent for this capacity.
Now for the price, for the Galaxy Note 10 comes in a standard 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage and it will set you back at PHP 53,990. That’s a PHP 7,000 difference from the base Note 10+. So what are you missing? Slightly smaller screen size and lower resolution, smaller RAM and battery capacity, no microSD card support, and no TOF 3D camera. Are you missing out a lot? Not really.
As mentioned earlier, the screen can still provide a great viewing experience. The 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is enough to handle most of our tasks and files, while the battery life is still decent. We often don’t need the 3D camera in most of our photography needs, so that’s fine as well. In other words, the Note 10 is every bit a flagship phone. If you don’t need the extra features, get this one instead of the Note 10+.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 specs:
6.3-inch FHD+ (2280 x 1080) Infinity Display (Dynamic AMOLED), 401ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 6
Samsung Exynos 9825 7nm 2.7GHz octa-core
Mali-G76 MP12 GPU
8GB LPDDR4X RAM
256GB UFS 3.0 storage
12MP F 1.5-F1.8-F2.4 +16MP F2.2 wide-angle + 12MP F2.1 Telephoto
OIS, Hyperlapse, Special Night, 4K 60fps video recording, Ultra Slow-Mo
10MP F2.2 front camera (Dual-Pixel Autofocus, 4K 30fps video recording)
Dual-SIM card slot (nano)
No expandable microSD card slot
WiFi 6 (2.4GHz + 5GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0, ANT+
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, Galileo
IP68 dust and water-resistant
Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner
S-Pen w/ IP68 water and dust resistance, 4096 pressure levels, gesture navigation, animated messaging, smart selection, translation function
AKG Stereo Speakers w/ Dolby Atmos
Samsung One UI (Android 9 Pie)
3,500mAh battery w/ 25W fast charging and 12W wireless charging
151 x 71.8 x 7.9 mm
What I liked:
• Beautiful design
• Great display
• Great performance
• Good cameras
• Powerful speakers
• Water and dust resistance
What I didn’t:
• No microSD card support
• Still pricey