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Samsung Galaxy Note10+ Review - 3 months with the Most Well-rounded Android Phone yet!

Xtreme
Samsung Galaxy Note10+ was impressive at launch, but how did it age after three months? Let's find out!
Samsung Galaxy Note10+ and S-Pen
Samsung Galaxy Note10+ and S-Pen

Back in August, Samsung said that the Galaxy Note10+ pushes the boundaries of what a smartphone can do beyond the bleeding edge hardware with the help of powerful software and intimate collaboration. Does it deliver?

To recall, in front of the phone is a large 6.8-inch 3D curved Dynamic AMOLED display with a resolution of 3040 x 1440 and with Gorilla Glass 6 Protection. On the top middle part of the display is a 10MP f/2.2 OIS front-facing camera with a punch hole. At the back is a quad-rear camera set-up of a 12MP f/1.5-2.4 dual aperture wide camera, 16MP f/2.2 123-degree ultra-wide camera, 12MP f/2.1 telephoto camera with OIS, and a VGA DepthVision camera.

Inside is a 2.7GHz Exynos 9825 octa-core processor, and the Mali-G76 MP12, with 12GB LPDDR4X RAM and up to 512GB of UFS 3.0 internal storage. It is powered by a 4300mAh battery with support for up to 45W Adaptive Fast Charging via USB Type-C.

Under the hood is Android 9.0 Pie-based OneUI with support for the following: WiFi 6, 4G LTE Cat 20, Bluetooth 5.0, OTG, In-display fingerprint scanner, IP68 water and dust resistance, UHQ 32-bit DSD Audio, S-Pen and Face Unlock.
Let's take a deeper look at Samsung's latest and greatest!

Multimedia Experience

Dynamic AMOLED Display
Dynamic AMOLED Display

In front of the Galaxy Note10+ is a massive 6.8-inch 3D curved Gorilla Glass 6 protected Dynamic AMOLED screen with 3040 x 1440 resolution at 495 PPI. It displays ridiculously bright and super sharp images with vibrant color that has made Samsung the best in terms of display technology. It has 10 points of multi-touch that registers and responds to our taps and gestures accurately and quickly.

It is one of the brightest and most color accurate displays we've ever tried. It even got multiple awards from DisplayMate that you can read here. On the top middle part of the display is the small round cutout for the front-facing camera. Like notches, it catches your attention at first but eventually, it grows on you and you begin to not mind it.

The Note10+ has a main downward-firing speaker at the bottom and has a secondary speaker at the earpiece above the display. This gives the Note10+ a stereo audio experience. The speakers produce sound with high volume, good clarity, separation and power at 80-percent. As you go to higher volumes, distortion is introduced. The secondary speaker above the display is smaller which results in a lesser sound experience when compared to the S10+. The Note10+ at higher volumes has more pronounced distortion than the S10+.

There is no 3.5mm headphone jack and there is no USB Type-C to 3.5mm jack dongle included. You get the standard Samsung AKG tuned earphones that connect via USB Type-C. The sound quality of the included AKG earphones is decent with focus on base and okay volume. 

For the microphone, we've never had callers who complained that they had a hard time hearing our voice during voice or video calls.

Cameras

Samsung Galaxy Note10+ Quad-rear cameras
Samsung Galaxy Note10+ Quad-rear cameras

At the back of the Note10+ is a quad-camera set-up of a 12MP f/1.5-2.4 dual-aperture main camera, 16MP f/2.2 123-degree ultra-wide-angle camera, 12MP f/2.1 2x telephoto camera and a VGA DepthVision camera that is supplemented by a dual-tone LED flash.

Note10+'s camera app has several modes: Photo, Video, Pro, Night, Instagram, Live Focus, Love Focus Video, Hyperlapse, Slow Motion, Super Slo-Mo, Panorama and Food.
Note10+ rear camera UI
Note10+ rear camera UI


Photo, Night, Instagram and Video modes have access to the main camera, ultra-wide camera and the telephoto camera. Live Focus Mode, on the other hand, has access to the main camera and the telephoto camera.

Pro mode allows for controls for Manual Focus, ISO (50-800), Aperture (f/1.5-2.4), Shutter Speed (10 seconds to 1/24000th of a second), EV (+-2), and White Balance.

Scene Optimizer, Shot Suggestion, QR scanning, and HDR rich tone are available.

Update: Android 10 based One UI 2.0 update brought major visual and feature changes to the camera app. It is now easier to get around the camera app and the Pro Mode now has a wider ISO range of 50 to 3200 and a longer shutter speed of 30 seconds to 1/24000th of a second.

Rear Camera Samples

Rear camera daylight 1x
Rear camera daylight 1x
Rear Camera 2x
Rear Camera 2x
Rear Camera ultra-wide
Rear Camera ultra-wide

In daylight, all of the rear cameras deliver consistently sharp and vibrant images with good contrast. The ultra-wide image though has a slightly different white balance than the main and telephoto camera. We hope Samsung is able to maintain consistency in a future firmware update.
Main camera close-up
Main camera close-up
telephoto camera close-up
telephoto camera close-up
Ultra-wide close-up
Ultra-wide close-up

In terms of macro or close up performance, the ultra-wide camera has a hard time focusing at close distances but surprisingly, the main camera and the ultra-wide camera can focus objects near the camera sensors.
main camera indoor
main camera indoor 
2x camera indoor
2x camera indoor
Ultra-wide camera indoor
Ultra-wide camera indoor
Like the daylight images, the Samsung Galaxy Note10+'s rear cameras are able to deliver consistently sharp, vibrant and contrasty images. In this situation, the white balance is consistent across all images.
main camera low light
main camera low light 
telephoto camera
telephoto camera 
ultra-wide camera low light
ultra-wide camera low light


In low light, the main camera and the telephoto camera were able to control noise and overexposed areas while maintaining sharpness and color accuracy. The ultra-wide camera performed respectfully by maintaining color accuracy and controlling noise levels. It does, however, have noticeably less sharpness compared to the main and telephoto camera.
Main camera night mode
Main camera night mode
telephoto camera night mode
telephoto camera night mode 
ultra-wide camera night mode
ultra-wide camera night mode


As long as the subject is not moving, the night mode across all three cameras significantly addresses the concerns in low light. Images are sharp, vibrant and contrasty. Noise levels are dramatically less and the overexposed areas are rendered in a pleasing manner.

In front is the 10MP f/2.2 front-facing camera with Dual Pixel Autofocus and OIS. Front-facing camera modes include Photo, Video, Night, Instagram, Live Focus, Live Focus Video, and Hyperlapse.

Only Photo and Live Focus mode have access to the Face Beautification feature and the full width of the sensor while the rest only have a tighter field of view. Face Beautification has 4 types: Smoothening, Toning, Jaw Line and Eyes. All four have 7 levels of beautification.

In Selfie Video is where you have access to the AR doodle feature where you can doodle real-time when a face is detected. It is a cool feature that demonstrates the power of the Note10+ but after trying it once or twice, it got old pretty quick.

Selfie Camera Samples

Front-facing camera daylight
Front-facing camera daylight
Note10+'s Front-facing camera produces images with super sharp images with vibrant color, wide dynamic range and good contrast in daylight.
Front facing camera indoor
Front-facing camera indoor
In poorly lit indoors, the selfies produced start to lose sharpness because of noise reduction and the colors can be inaccurate.
Selfie camera lowlight
Selfie camera lowlight
In this low light shot, the Note10+ was able to produce a sharp image with accurate colors and good contrast. The noise level and overexposed areas are also well controlled. Compared to the indoor shot, it is clear that depending on the lighting conditions, the Note10+ can produce very good images and can struggle in certain situations.

Round bokeh mode
Round bokeh mode
Monochrome bokeh mode
Monochrome bokeh mode
 Even without the DepthVision camera in the front-facing camera, the Note10+ was able to produce soft bokeh with good edge detection. The edge detection only struggled with individual hair strands.
Front facing camera night mode
Front facing camera night mode with face beauty level 3

The Note10+ is one of the first phones to introduce Night mode on the front-facing camera. Like the rear camera's night mode, when the subject is staying still the images produced are super sharp with vibrant color, strong contrast and great dynamic range. 

Face Beautification level three has just enough skin smoothening and thinning that doesn't look artificial. Higher levels are obviously fabricated.

For Video, the Note10+ can shoot Video with the main, ultra-wide and telephoto cameras at up to 4K UHD at 60fps, 4k UHD at 30fps with OIS, 1080p FHD at 60fps, 1080p FHD with OIS at 30fps, 720P HD with the option of to record with HEVC High efficient video, HDR10+ (labs). For video of the front-facing camera, it can shoot up to 4K at 30fps with OIS.

HDR (rich tone) and Super Steady mode return from the S10+. Super Steady mode locks the resolution at 1080p with only the ultra-wide camera and the main camera.


A new feature is the Zoom-in Mic which matches the audio zoom to the visual zoom while recording video. The audio quality is okay and it is great to have than not have but we recommend using an external microphone if you want the best audio recording quality.


To supplement the Video capturing capability of the Note10+, Samsung also added a built-in video editor app that has a ton of basic features that newcomers can enjoy. Advanced amateurs or professionals may have to look elsewhere for more robust video editing features.


Video footage from both the rear and front-facing cameras are beautiful with great sharpness and vibrant color. Both cameras have OIS and Dual Pixel autofocus which allows for smooth and snappy autofocus transitions with minimal camera shake. This makes the Note10+ one of the better options for rear and front-facing camera video recording.

Performance

 AnTuTu 8.0.3 and GeekBench 5.0.3 scores
AnTuTu 8.0.3 and GeekBench 5.0.3 scores


Inside the Philippine variant is a 2.7GHz 64-bit Exynos 9825 octa-core processor with NPU, Mali-G76 MP12 GPU, 12GB LPDRR4X RAM, up to 512GB of UFS 3.0 SSD storage that is powered by a 4300mAh battery that fast charges through USB Type-C up to 45W.
Slingshot and PCMark Work 2.0
Slingshot and PCMark Work 2.0

These specs were able to produce 433,669 points in AnTuTu 8.0, 803 single-core/2226 multi-core in GeekBench 5.0, 4,920 OpenGL/4893 Vulkan in Slingshot, and 8993 in PCMark Work 2.0 benchmark.

For Gaming, Samsung has integrated a new Vapor Chamber cooling system on the Note10+ which when compared to the S10+, the Note10+ maintained cooler temperatures consistently even after an extended playing session. This resulted in more consistent frame rates in games even at the highest setting.

Note10+ connects wirelessly via WiFi, 4G LTE and Bluetooth 5 and connects wired through the USB Type-C. The USB port supports OTG while the wireless connection via WiFi, 4G LTE and Bluetooth 5 are fast, stable and consistent as you would expect from a flagship phone.

It has OTG and most of the sensors that any modern phone is expected to have. It does not have an IR blaster nor does it have 3.5mm headphone jack.

Both Face Unlock and In-display fingerprint scanner set-up process are fast and straight forward. The Face Unlock quickly detects my face and unlocks the phone as soon as the display is active. It is also able to detect my face even if I take off my glasses. It does struggle when you are trying Face Unlock in a dim environment. The display brightens up to be able to compensate for this.

We do miss the IR Iris scanner but the Face Unlock and the In-Display fingerprint scanner is faster and more consistent.
PCMark Battery test and daily usage
PCMark Battery test and daily usage


The onboard 4,300mAh battery was able to endure a full 10 hours and 3 minutes in PCMark's battery benchmark. The Note10+ was also able to consistently last for 6 to 7 hours of on-screen time with constant LTE, and Wi-Fi connections.

Note10+ comes with a 20W Adaptive Fast Charger included in the box. It was able to consistently charge the battery from 10 percent to 100 percent in under 80 minutes.
OneUI
OneUI


It is running on the latest Android 9.0 Pie-based OneUI with Android 10 Beta available in select countries. We've reviewed OneUI before here and it has received some minor changes but generally, we love it. As we said in our review, it is the best skin Samsung has offered so far with its focus on its ease of use and lightweight operation.
Note10+ connected to DEX on an Apple Macbook Pro
Note10+ connected to DEX on an Apple Macbook Pro

One stand-out feature is the now more complex and more practical DEX. You can now connect the Note10+ to your Windows PC or macOS computer. All you need to do is to download the DEX software for your computer's OS and install it and whenever you plug your Note10+, DEX will start up and will allow you to seamless run your phone on your computer. You can also seamlessly transfer files to and from your phone to your computer and vice versa. You can also run the apps installed on your phone on DEX on your Computer. In the screenshot above, we were running apps like Spotify, File Manager and the Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare game app.

Overall, our only complaint with Note10+'s software experience is that it has three sets of apps. Google Apps, Samsung Apps and Microsoft Apps. This can be confusing for people who are not as tech-savvy.

The S-Pen is still the star of the show and it builds on the already great S-Pen of the Note9 with a constant Bluetooth connection but the new features that allow you to control the phone with gestures are nice to have but in our case, we only tried it once and we never tried it again. We did however used the S-Pen as a remote shutter release when taking photos by ourselves from a distance.

Pros - Most well-rounded phone in 2019, Best 60Hz display yet, Premium build materials, beautiful design, 12GB RAM/256 to 512GB storage, Versatile cameras,  Night mode in Selfie camera, Close-up shots are possible with main and telephoto cameras, Great component cooling results to great sustained performance, Day-long battery life, new DEX has better compatibility and productivity applications
ConsNo headphone jack, Fingerprint magnet, slippery, 60Hz display, No 10x optical zoom, Speakers are great but downgrade from S10 series, 45W charger doesn't come included in the box


Samsung Galaxy Note10+ Specs

Display: 6.8-inch 3D curved Gorilla Glass 6 protected Dynamic AMOLED screen w/ QHD+ 3040 x 1440 resolution at 495 PPI
CPU: 2.7GHz 64-bit Exynos 9825 octa-core processor w/ NPU
GPU: Mali-G76 MP12
RAM: 12GB
ROM: 256GB/512GB expandable via microSD card up to 1TB
Back Camera: 12MP (f/1.5/f/2.4) w/ Dual Pixel, OIS + 16MP f/2.2 123-degree ultra-wide-angle lens + 12MP f/2.1 telephoto lens w/ OIS, AF + VGA DepthVision, and dual-tone LED flash
Selfie Camera: 10MP f/2.2 w/ Dual Pixel and OIS
Battery: 4,300mAh w/ 45W fast charging, 20W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging
OS: Android 9.0 Pie w/ One UI
Connectivity: WiFi 6, 4G LTE Cat 20, Bluetooth 5.0, OTG, NFC, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic, pressure, heart rate
Others: Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, face unlock, IP68 water and dust resistance, USB-C, UHQ 32-bit/DSD audio support, AKG stereo speakers, S Pen, Colors: aura glow, black, aura white
Dimensions: 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 196 g
Price: PHP 60,990 (256GB), PHP 72,990 (512GB)

Verdict

Samsung Galaxy Note10+ succeeds in living up to the legacy of the Note series with powerful hardware, long-lasting battery, and strong camera performance. 

What makes the Note10+ great is that it is not necessarily the number 1 in individual categories but the Note10+ is able to be great with all categories which makes the Note10+ one of the most well-rounded smartphones released in 2019 with most of our cons being nitpicks.

We highly recommend the Note10+ if you are looking for the most well rounded Android phone yet.

Build/Design - 4.25
Multimedia Experience - 4.25
Cameras - 4.25
Performance 4.25
Average - 4.25/5

What do you guys think? Do you agree with us?
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