After weeks of leaks and rumours, we finally get to see the next iteration of the Samsung Galaxy Note series; the Galaxy Note 10. Regardless of the rumours, finally getting my hands on the device at the unveiling event in Ghana gave me the answer to a question I asked last year; how was Samsung going to top the Note 9?
The release of this device, in a lot of ways, answers that question.
The Look and Feel
Since 2011, the Galaxy Note range has represented the very best that Samsung has to offer in the world of mobile telephony technology. With Note 10 and the Note 10 Plus extends that notion both on the outside and the inside of the device.
For the first time, ever, there are two Note devices. The Note 10 which retails at GHC 5,299 flaunts a 6.3-inch display while the Note 10 Plus which parades a 6.8-inch screen goes for GHC 6,199. What you get is a truly exquisite and premium feel in your hand. The device feels sturdy and well put together with very little to dislike. The volume controls and the ‘power’ button are on the left side of the phone while the right side is left as clean as a whistle. A few things to note here (pardon the pun); one press of the ‘power’ button puts the screen to sleep or wakes it up, press it twice and the camera turns on and with an extended press, one can activate the Bixby voice assistant. The weird thing here is that by default, the ‘power’ button does not offer options to shut down the phone. There is a button in the notification section which will help you do that. Weird.
There are four colours available on the Note 10plus which are the Aura White, Aura Black, Aura Blue, and Aura Glow. The Aura glow will be extremely popular in Ghana. You see so many colours when the light hits the body of the phone.
You cannot miss the punch-hole camera in front of the device which sits dead centre at the top section of the phone. This houses the 10-megapixel selfie camera. What this means is that the edge effect is extended a little further.
The big surprise (for those who do not follow the rumors): There is no headphone jack on any of the new devices. Samsung says this design decision is to allow bigger batteries and other features. The question remains, however: How come Samsung fun of rivals Apple some years ago about the same thing?
The Note 9 I have holds a 4,000mAh battery which easily got me through a day and more. The Note 10plus wields an impressive 4,300mAh which will clearly offer you more hours regardless of the use. The Note 10, disappointingly, holds a 3,500mAh battery. The power management tools in the Note 10, per the announcement at the unveiling event should however come in handy here. One wonder though, why did Samsung not maintain the 4000mAh from the Note 9?
There are three main cameras on the back of both devices. These are the 12-megapixel (wide angle), 16-megapixel (ultra-wide angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto). The Note 10Plus however, has an extra 3D depth or AR lens which gives the depth-sensing effect for blurred backgrounds. The AR lens also allows you to use the AR Doodle where you can annotate the things or people you are capturing. In video mode, when the people move, the drawing also moves. Really cool.
The image stabilization in the camera is something you must experience to appreciate. It works really well and will compete favourably with others already in the market. There is a night mode in the camera section. This, in some ways always been there, but it is nice that we finally get to see it out as an officially dedicated mode.
Video editors will be pleased to find out there are now native video editing tools built straight into the device. You can add music and other effects to you video packages right from the device.
A really neat feature in the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus is the zoom mic feature. With this, the sound in the frame where you are zooming into is amplified as you zoom further.
The S Pen
The most iconic feature of the device saw a massive upgrade in the Note 9 and Samsung has thrown in a few extras with the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus. You can now use gesture controls like waving you S pen in the air to interact with your device. One is able to flick up and down or also twirl the pen to access different camera actions and options. You can still use the S pen as a remote for taking pictures or as a clicker during a powerpoint presentation.
Handwritten notes in the Samsung notes app can now be turned into text and exported to many formats including Microsoft Word. You can even convert handwriting to text which can be indexed for easy retrieval.
The major things of note include
- You can now use the USB C provided for charging as a connector to enable Samsung’s DeX feature.
- The DeX feature is now accessible on a laptop. To be honest I struggled to work out why I will use DeX on a laptop.
- There is a micro SD card expansion slot on Note 10 plus but none on a Note 10.
- There is Wireless Powershare in both devices. This where the Note 10 or 10 Plus can charge other devices using the wireless charging technology.
- There is a fingerprint sensor built into the screen of the phone.
- There is a 5G version of Note 10 Plus.
Samsung has listened and made available devices that suit the times and seasons. The devices will compete favourably with the offerings from other device makers. The devices, at first glance and with initial interaction with it, are great.
I will always go with the ultimate device which is the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. It packs all the highest specs from the device maker and has all the bells and whistles in place. Though pricey, it serves my purposes just fine.