Every year Samsung launches a new entry in its ultra premium Note line. In 2019, however, Samsung reversed its formula and released Two devices of the Note line: the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 together with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus. The Plus variant is physically larger with more features, better specifications and a higher price.
A few days are left before the launch of the 2020 iteration of Samsung’s first telephone line. This made us think of how the Note 10 Plus has endured over the past year. This is exactly what will determine this long-term review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus!
We will talk about the highlights of the Note 10 Plus that have aged well in the past 12 months. We will also analyze and discuss the problems that could arise if they purchased this phone in 2020. Ultimately, we will answer the big question: would it still be a good choice to buy the Note 10 Plus today?
About this article: I used a Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus exclusively as a daily driver for a period of five days. I used the Aura Glow model with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage space. He was running One UI version 2.1, based on Android 10.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus review summary
It’s hard to believe that it was a year ago that we first reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus. Why not refresh your memory of what we said then by watching the video above or hitting the written review.
How does hardware 2019 compare to hardware 2020?
When it comes to raw specs, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus could still go head-to-head with any 2020 flagship. Of course, the Note 10 Plus doesn’t have the powerful Snapdragon 865 processor (nor the Snapdragon 855 Plus), but the Snapdragon 855. it is still a very capable chipset. In my five days on the phone, there hasn’t been a time when I felt that things were slow or late.
The 12 GB of RAM obviously helped us a little with this, as did UFS 3.0 storage. The point is that anyone who would like to hold a Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus because the processor is not an SD865 would simply be silly.
The Snapdragon 855 of the Note 10 Plus still flies.
Battery life was also exceptional during my time with the device. I don’t go out nearly as much as a year ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so I tested how the device would do if I just turned off Wi-Fi at home all day. Doing this was not a problem as I still had around 60% of the battery when I went to bed. Obviously, this doesn’t fully replicate a battery depletion day around New York City, but the 4,300 mAh battery didn’t disappoint me.
As a quick rundown, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus has some other important features that still shine today. It is in particular a minimum of 256 GB of internal memory, support for microSD cards, the possibility of charging at speeds of 45 W (with compatible adapter), wireless charging and IP68 classification.
The bottom line is that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is still a spec beast even a year later.
The Note 10 Plus is even more beautiful than it can be
In our original review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, we talked about how Samsung has clearly abandoned some features for advanced users in exchange for an extraordinary design. Let me tell you, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is still a stunner, especially the Aura Glow model I was using.
It’s so cute that I was left without a case for all five days. I even found myself putting the phone on my desk face down just because it seemed nice to have such a wonderful thing next to my keyboard.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus may be one of the most beautiful phones I’ve ever used.
The iconic squared aesthetic of the Note series design continues here, giving the Note 10 Plus a big, almost industrial touch in the hand. I have to admit that holding the phone in one hand for long periods of time was not as comfortable as using a curved edge phone. It wasn’t horrible, but it’s worth noting.
reported: The best Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus cases
One of the things that was a little surprising for me was figuring out how small the back of the rear camera is on the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. After using the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra for a while, I thought that the camera module too rear on Note 10 Plus was rather thick. However, this is not true as the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is almost flat with minimal swings. Of course, if you put a case in it, you might not notice it anyway, but I was surprised at how nice it was not to have something that protruded so far from behind. From what we’ve seen so far about the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, it’s likely not be the case.
Regardless, if you want your phone to be a fashion statement, there aren’t many that have been released in the past year that can compete with this in the appearance department.
The cameras do the job
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus has a better camera system than the Note 10 vanilla and has a lot more to offer than most Galaxy S10 series devices. However, it seems to me that the camera system is never a true lens in the Note series. Samsung usually pushes the productivity aspects, which makes sense.
reported: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus camera review: it should be better
That said, the Note 10 Plus’s camera system is great for nailing the basics. I compared it – unfairly enough – against the Galaxy S20 Ultra for this review. While the S20 Ultra produced better shots, the Note 10 Plus resisted the point where I would feel trusted as my daily shooter in 2020. Check out some sample images below.
Photography is very subjective and I am by no means a professional photographer. However, I think the Galaxy Note 10 Plus has an exceptional, reliable, fast and semi-accurate camera, but it doesn’t really excel in anything. It’s not a deduction, it’s just what you need: nothing more, nothing less.
It should be noted that since the launch of the Galaxy Note 10 series, Samsung has made some updates to the camera. For example, the Single Take feature that debuted with the Galaxy S20 series is now available on the Galaxy Note 10 series. Obviously, Samsung cannot send a software update to change the hardware, but there are constant improvements going on.
As a side note, I particularly appreciated the ability to use the S Pen to take photos and start / stop video recording. This was very useful when I shot my daily Instagram story for the Android authority account.
While objectively better cameras were present in the smartphone world, especially when it comes to shooting in low light conditions, I doubt that general users would be disappointed with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus. It still shines.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus puts you to work
Productivity has always been the main selling point for the Note series and Note 10 Plus is no exception. There are a lot of features here that I haven’t used for like the S Pen Air Gestures, which seemed tricky to me. But I still found a lot to love. I think Samsung thinks about it because it helps you find what makes the Note work for you.
For me, the best thing about the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus was its perfect integration with Windows 10. Using the Your Phone app on my desktop, I was able to work with the Note 10 Plus all day without having to lift it from the desk . I wiped out the notifications, replied to the messages and even opened some apps here and there using the mouse. It was really convenient and something that only high-end Samsung devices can use at the moment.
Note 10 Plus is (almost) powerful enough to be my main working machine when paired with the NexDock 2 laptop shell.
I also used the Dex features built into the Galaxy Note 10 Plus together with my NexDock 2. This gave me a laptop experience with the Note 10 Plus as the “brain” of the operation. Everything went very well and most of my daily work activities worked perfectly. There have been some complaints with this, such as the Asana Android app that doesn’t work nearly as well as the desktop browser app, but this isn’t an excavation on the Note 10 Plus or Dex.
I’m not sure I would ever fully download my Windows laptop and use Dex full time, but it’s starting to seem like it might be something I could realistically consider in the future. It’s not much different than using a Chromebook at this point.
Unfortunately, some things are missing from the Note 10 Plus
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus was one of the best and most powerful phones of 2019. But this is a long-term review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus for 2020 and things have changed a bit. There are some aspects of the 2020 flagships that we want now and the Galaxy Note 10 Plus simply doesn’t offer.
There are also a few things about the Note 10 Plus that I wish I had been different during my time with it. Also, there were some personal preferences that would have hesitated me to commit to a full-time Note 10 Plus.
Here’s where I feel that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus isn’t up to par:
- No display refresh rate 90Hz / 120Hz: The high refresh rate display was also a trend in 2019, but the Galaxy Note 10 series skipped it. The display isn’t quite as nice as recent flagships because of this, and it definitely makes Note 10 Plus a little behind the curve.
- No headphone jack: It has now been beaten in the ground. However, the Note 10 series is the first in the line to not have the 3.5mm port, so it’s worth repeating it here. Honestly, a user-oriented phone without a headphone jack still looks as bad today as it was a year ago.
- No 5G support: I’ll be honest, I have a phone with 5G functionality connected to the 5G service and I still don’t care about 5G. I simply don’t have anything in my life that needs 5G, so it becomes an afterthought. With that said, this will likely change in the next year or two, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus not having 5G support is a notable omission.
- Hardware buttons out of place: Samsung made the mistake of moving all the hardware buttons (the volume rocker and the side button) to the left side of the Note 10 Plus. I thought I would get used to this, but also on my last day with the phone, I still have tried to turn it off by hitting the empty right side. The news that we can expect the Note 20 series to return the buttons to their usual positions tells you everything you need to know about this change.
- Poor fingerprint sensor: Samsung’s ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is objectively worse than those based on light used on any other phone with an in-display sensor. It’s not horrible on the Note 10 Plus, but it’s not as good as the one on my OnePlus 7 Pro. This wasn’t a failure. It still worked well enough most of the time.
- A still swollen user interface: This is a personal preference, but a UI is too exaggerated for my taste. I appreciate the fact that I can do practically anything with a flagship Samsung phone with its unlimited options and settings changes. However, it seemed too much for most of the time and I craved the simplicity of the Oxygen operating system or the Pixel user interface multiple times during the week.
Galaxy Note 10 Plus vs Galaxy Note 20 series
To date, Samsung has not yet fully revealed the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 range. However, we have seen enough rumors now to know what to expect. How will the Note 20 compare to last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus?
So far, it appears that Samsung could double in many ways when it comes to the Note 20 family. It appears that with the new notes, the company will once again focus on design rather than productivity. It also appears that the specs and features will pass through the roof, particularly with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. As expected, prices are also expected to rise considerably.
reported: The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series: what you need to know
The real question is whether these updates and price increases will be worth it. While the Note 20 series is likely to be fully compatible with 5G phones, is that something you need? The Snapdragon 865 is objectively better than last year’s Snapdragon 855, but will you notice it in everyday use? Are the upgrades planned for the camera worth hundreds of dollars more than you will likely pay for a 20 note compared to an older note?
At the moment we don’t know the answers, but a “I must have” function on the Note 20 series has not yet been leaked. Samsung may have some surprises for us, but unless you’re obsessed with raw power and datasheets, there may not be too much to talk about.
Long-term review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: the verdict
When the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus launched, its $1,099 entry-level price was painful to read. While it certainly wasn’t the most expensive smartphone of 2019, it pushed the boundaries of what general users would comfortably pay.
However, the device’s features and design were of a high caliber, and Note devotees are used to spending big bucks on their phones. At the time, we felt comfortable recommending that people buy a Note 10 Plus as long as the overall value for cash wasn’t a chief concern.
Is the Note 10 Plus worth $1,100 in 2020? Nope, but that shouldn’t stop you from considering it.
Now, it’s easy to find a Galaxy Note 10 Plus for much less money. In the coming weeks and months, it’ll likely become even easier as Samsung will probably drop the pricing of this soon-to-be outdated model. That’ll up the value for cash ratio of the Note 10 Plus and make it a no-brainer.
Of course, the only caveats to buying a Note 10 Plus in 2020 will be the things the phone simply can’t do. For example, it won’t give you a high refresh rate display, 5G support, a headphone jack, or a bleeding-edge camera system. However, if you can look past these missing features and find it at a nice discount, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus would still make a terrific daily driver.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus The all-around choice
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus truly has it all: great specs, a huge screen, and a great triple camera setup. Plus, the included S-Pen stylus is perfect for mobile games that require precision tapping or swiping.