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SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 10 REVIEW

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 range of phablets from Samsung represented the brand’s most premium non-folding phones from 2019. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus are the first handsets in the Note line to feature an all-screen display. Its edge-to-edge display technology is still called Infinity-O, but here the cut-out for the front-facing camera is aligned in the center at the top of the phone’s screen, rather than pushed to the top right. 

DESIGN & DISPLAY

The Note 10 fits much more comfortably in the hand than the Galaxy Note 9 or Galaxy Note 10 Plus, but it’s still a difficult phone to hold for those with smaller hands.

The Note 10 isn’t just smaller than the Note 9, it’s also lighter and thinner. It measures 72 x 151 x 7.9mm, and at 168g it’s one of the lighter flagship Samsung phones.

The biggest design change compared to other Samsung phones is the introduction of a full-screen display with a punch-hole cut-out for the front-facing camera at the top-center of the screen.

The Note 10 has a 6.3-inch AMOLED display with a Full HD resolution, coming in at 2280 x 1080 pixels, with 401 pixels per inch. It includes HDR10+ technology, and considering that Samsung hasn’t opted for a QHD display here we’re impressed with how the display looks.

We hardly noticed the lack of a QHD display in general use, but if you’re used to a phone with a higher resolution than Full HD you may be able to spot the slightly lower resolution on this handset.

We found the display to be bright and easy to read, but often we found ourselves using the display on a high brightness rather than using automatic brightness.

And the camera cut-out is lot less intrusive than the notches you get on other popular phones

As on the S10 and S10 Plus, Samsung has embedded the fingerprint scanner under the screen here, and it’s slightly higher than under-display scanners on some other Android phones.

This feels like a more comfortable place to put it, as your thumb naturally falls on this area when you’re using the Note 10. We found ourselves immediately unlocking the phone without a second thought, and it proved to be fast and accurate.

On the bottom edge of the Galaxy Note 10 you’ll find the USB-C connector in the center, with a speaker and the S-Pen slot sitting to the right of it. The top edge of the phone is uninterrupted apart from the SIM tray.

The left-hand edge of the phone is home to the volume rocker, and the power button is below this. Samsung has opted to kill the Bixby button that has appeared on a lot of recent Samsung flagships – to activate that feature you now just hold down the power button for a few seconds, which is a far more efficient solution.

The frame of the phone is a premium metal, while the back is made of glass. Your color options are Aura Glow (a combination of blue and white), Aura Black and Aura Pink depending upon different markets.

The Aura Glow variant is the color of which changes depending on the light you’re using the phone under. The phone is also IP68 water and dust resistant, so you’ll be able to get this phone wet without worrying about it breaking.

CAMERA:

It’s using the same combination of a 16MP ultra-wide lens, a 12MP regular lens and a 12MP telephoto lens as of Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus.

These combine to deliver a fantastic photography experience, and the camera is particularly good in its automatic mode.

This isn’t the very best phone camera you’ll find at the moment, but it offers a solid enough experience that is likely to be better than your current smartphone if it’s a couple of years old.

The image stabilization technology has been improved, and there’s a new feature called Live Focus Video, which enables you to capture ‘bokeh’ background blur effects of the kind we’re used to seeing in portrait-mode stills.

You can make a subject pop out from their background in other ways too, for example by keeping your subject in color while making the backdrop black and white – again this is an effect we’ve seen for stills, but it’s a new idea for video.

Another camera feature is called AR Doodle. This enables you to write over the top of moving images. It works in a similar way to filters on Instagram or Snapchat with their augmented reality tech, but this is instead designed so you can create your own images using the S-Pen.

The front camera is in the center of the display, and it’s a 10MP sensor. We found this to work well for selfie shots and it gave a satisfactory picture for you to upload to your social media.

CAMERA SAMPLES:

BATTERY LIFE:

Samsung has opted to put a 3,500mAh battery inside the Note 10, and while it’s not the most stunning battery life we’ve experienced from a smartphone it’s sufficient to last you through a day of normal usage.

We did find on a few heavier days of usage that the phone would be running low at around 8PM and we’d need to put it on charge. 

Luckily, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 comes with some impressive fast charging, allowing us to plug it in for a period of about 15 minutes and gaining enough to make it through to the end of the day.

Our struggle to get a full day of life was often because we were using the phone on full brightness in order to see the display better, but if you’re using the Note 10 on automatic brightness you’re much more likely to experience a full day of use.

Wireless charging is on hand, and you’ll also be able to use Samsung’s Wireless PowerShare feature to charge compatible devices like headphones, smartwatches or other phones from your Note 10.

PROS:

  • Easier to hold than previous Notes
  • Beautiful design
  • Great video recording

CONS:

  • Only a Full HD display
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Lost the 3.5mm headphone jack

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