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Samsung’s performance powerhouse is put to the test. How does it fare?
For almost a decade, the Note has been the undisputed king in Samsung’s portfolio. It was the phone for power users packing in the kind of specs that would have been unimaginable in any other Samsung phone. But times are changing now. The Note’s dominance is being challenged by none other than Samsung’s own brethren. The S10 5G for instance boasts of a screen that is only 0.1 inches smaller than that of the Note’s. Can the Note still outdo its peers? We find out in a comprehensive review.
Make no mistake. The Note 10 is still a beast when it comes to outright performance. It gets this year’s flagship Samsung Exynos 9825 or Snapdragon 855 with an enormous 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Add to that the SD card slot for those of us who want even more storage.
The premium nature of the phone comes to the fore the moment you see it in person for the first time. The Aura Glow finish that our review unit came with is certainly the biggest smartphone flex of the year. Unlike the outlandish photos you might have seen online, in person it looks more like a shimmery silver. Regardless, it is simply stunning. Smartphone build is something Samsung has done exceedingly well over the years and they have put immense effort into the Note 10+ and it shows. There is no give anywhere on the phone and the squared-off rounded edges make the otherwise large phone easy to grip. Another thing that makes it easy to use is the clever weight distribution that mask its 196g weight when you are holding it.
The screen quite simply has to be among the best on any smartphone. Period. The 6.8-in QHD+ AMOLED with 498ppi reproduces colours brilliantly and with a brightness of 1200nits, is wonderful even in bright sunlight. The almost bezel-less nature of the display aided by the notch positioned centrally at the top make it a treat to watch videos on the device. Add to that the stereo speakers (by AKG with Dolby Atmos) and you have a device that is simply great for media consumption.
The addition of UFS 3.0 makes the Note 10+ snappier than most other flagships ensuring that the in-built storage is significantly fast. Battery life on the Note 10+ is several notches above much of its competition and it easily lasted much more than a full day between charges. The Note 10+ also gets wireless charging and powershare. But most importantly it gets a 25W adapter in the box that charges the phone to 80 per cent in roughly 40 minutes. A 45W adapter that supports Power Delivery 3.0 with PPS is also available on the Samsung website that promises to trim charging times even further.
The S-Pen, like it has been for several iterations now, is intuitive to use and extremely accurate when it comes to drawing or using annotations in documents. The added functionality, although fairly limited without new apps that support the S Pen, is the reason to buy the Note 10+. The S Pen gets much better handwriting recognition this year and the addition of new gestures. The note-taking ability of the S-Pen will certainly prove to be a useful addition for many.
The Note 10+ gets a triple rear camera system with a new depth sensor which helps with portrait mode shots and other depth effects. The main 12-megapixel lens is accompanied by a 12-megapixel telephoto camera and a 16-megapixel ultrawide angle camera making a troika that is one of the best in the business. Together they allow lossless zoom from 0.5 to 2x onwards to a 10x hybrid zoom.
The Note 10+’s cameras capture a great amount of detail with very good exposure and colour reproduction. It can also capture video with 4K at 60fps, and can now do live focus effects in real time. Samsung’s new AR Doodle allows you to draw on your or someone else’s face in real-time too with the S-Pen.
The selfie camera too performed well. However, Samsung’s colour science did make skin textures look smoother than they really are – a feature most selfie addicts seem to love.
In conclusion, the Note 10+ is deservedly one of the most important phones of the year. As more and more phones grow in size and are endowed with flagship-worthy specs, it becomes even more difficult for Samsung to differentiate the Note from the rest of the field. However, like every time in the past, the Note has delivered and consumers, I am sure, would be glad for it.