Now that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is officially on sale, and we’ve had a chance to thoroughly check it out, here comes the next big question: Should you actually buy one?
For some people that can be a difficult question, because while the Galaxy Note 10+ is easily the best Galaxy Note yet and one of the most unique phones on the market, there are some things about it that could be instant deal breakers for a lot of people.
Unlike almost every other high-end Galaxy phone, the Note 10+ doesn’t have a headphone jack, which means you’ll have to rely on Samsung’s included USB-C earbuds, buy a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle, or make the switch to Bluetooth headphones.
Another potential knock against the Note 10+ is simply its size. While the Note 10+ has practically the same physical dimensions as last year’s Galaxy Note 9 (and is actually a tiny bit lighter), the phone’s screen size has increased from 6.4-inches to 6.8-inches.
This means that depending on the size of your hands or how you hold the phone, being able to reach the notification bar at the top of the phone and the Android nav buttons (or gesture controls) at the bottom of the phone can be awkward. If you’re thinking about buying a Note 10+, you pretty much need to be a fan of really big phones.
The third biggest obstacle regarding the Note 10+ is its price, because with a retail price starting at $1,100, alongside the iPhone XS Max, the Note 10+ is the most expensive mainstream smartphone on the market. In general, it’s hard to recommend that anyone buy a new premium phone every year, despite the growing number of monthly payment plans and upgrade schemes that might tempt you to do the opposite.
In fact, recent data from Strategy Analytics shows that people are holding onto their phones longer than ever, with replacement times for U.S. smartphone owners growing to 33 months between devices. So unless your phone feels like it’s on its last legs, don’t feel pressured into buying a new phone. And with a number of new phones from Apple, Google, and others expected to arrive later this fall, the prudent move is to sit tight for another couple months before making a decision.
OK, now that we’ve covered all the major barriers, let’s get into the Note 10+’s biggest selling points. First is the Note 10+’s screen, which is jaw-droppingly good. It’s bright, it’s colorful, and now sitting at 6.8 inches, there’s even more of it to enjoy. It’s the kind of screen that makes terrible displays found in the back of airplane seats seem downright comedic.
The Note 10's performance is also top-notch, boasting a Snapdragon 855 chip plus a whopping 12GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage as standard. Samsung’s addition of a 16-MP ultra-wide camera and time-of-flight sensor to the Note 10+ is also important because alongside the phone’s primary camera and 2x telephoto cam, the Note 10+ basically has the right lens for almost any situation.
Meanwhile, the people with the most to gain are business users, as Samsung’s improved DeX mode means you can transform the Note 10+ into a portable desktop using an external monitor, TV, or just a spare laptop. Also, being able to convert handwritten notes made with the S-Pen into full MS Word docs or PDFs could be a massive time saver for anyone who spends a lot of time in meetings.
Finally, thanks to a 4,300 mAh battery, the Note 10+ has some of the best battery life of any phone we’ve ever tested. It lasted 15 hours and 5 minutes when set to its default 2280 x 1080 resolution, or 13:25 at its full 3040 x 1440 resolution. And all this doesn’t even factor the many small improvements Samsung made including better stereo speakers and a new mic on the back for better audio recording, on top of handy features like reverse wireless charging. Heck, Samsung even got rid of the stupid Bixby button, sort of.
For those in the Android camp, one of the main things that might stop someone from buying the Note 10+ right now, is Google’s Night Sight mode, as it gives the Pixel 3 a noticeable advantage in low-light photography. And with Google already having shown a pic of the Pixel 4 with dual-rear cams, there’s a good chance Google will maintain a slight lead over Samsung in pure image quality.
But if you want one of the most powerful, feature-packed, and arguably best-looking phone on the market, the Galaxy Note 10+ has to be at the top of your list. Just try to make sure you find a deal or trade-in. And while you’re mulling over your choices, in the meantime, check out our full Galaxy Note 10+ review here.