Samsung Galaxy Note10+ Smartphone Review

The Samsung Note10+ features some pretty cool camera features, including the ability to capture videos with bokeh backgrounds, but will it be as good in real life as it looks on paper?


|  Samsung Galaxy Note10+ in Camera Phones
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Samsung Galaxy Note10+
 

Quick Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Note10+ smartphone is well-made and packs specs you can't help but be impressed with. The screen is big and bright and the cameras produce great photos with accurate colours and good dynamic range. There are also loads of features packed into the camera app which make it fun to use. The scene optimiser is a really useful tool and the Live Focus mode really helps people 'pop' from the frame. Live Focus video is cool but there's room for improvement and selfies can suffer from clipping, too, but it's great to see OIS built into the main and telephoto lenses which also have decent aperture ranges, too.

The Samsung Galaxy Note10+ does share some similarities with the Samsung Galaxy S10 series but in a bigger body and with a few extra tricks so if your aim is to own the ultimate Samsung flagship and money isn't a problem, then the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ will be the smartphone for you.

+ Pros

  • All-screen display 
  • Great image quality  
  • Live focus video
  • Fun camera features 
  • Camera's intelligent scene detection
  • Optical Image Stabilisation (main/telephoto lenses)
  • Samsung S-Pen with Bluetooth
  • Excellent battery 

- Cons

  • Size/shape 
  • No headphone jack 
  • Price
  • Live focus video can be tricky to get right
  • Clipping when using Live focus photo option
  • Limited ISO range
  • White Balance uses Kelvin (not as easy to use)
  • Purple fringing can creep in 

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is Samsung's latest flagship smartphone which is one of three Notes in the new 10 range. The '+' is the biggest and shares the same camera specs as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G (which, as the name suggests, is 5G ready) and there's also the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 which doesn't feature the 3D depth camera found on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. 


As we've come to expect from flagship smartphones, there's some really cool technology built-in and a promising camera set-up with Live Focus video sounding particularly interesting but at almost £1000, is the premium smartphone worth the premium price? 

If you'd prefer to spend a little less cash on your next smartphone, the Galaxy S10/S10+ is worth a look which has similar specs but isn't quite as expensive at £799

Samsung Galaxy Note10+ Features

Samsung Galaxy Note10+

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note10+ updates the Samsung Galaxy Note9, which scored 4.5 stars in our review, and while there are new features, there are some similarities, too, so if you're upgrading from 9 to 10/10+, you should find it a pretty easy process. As mentioned, the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ also shares some similarities with the less expensive Samsung S10+ which we've listed in a comparison table below so you can quickly see the differences/similarities. 

Here's a quick overview of the main features, and specifications of each camera, including what's different, and what's new, in each model:

 

Samsung Galaxy Note10+ Samsung Galaxy Note9 Samsung Galaxy S10+
10MP front camera 8MP front camera 10MP front camera
f/2.2 max aperture on the front camera with AF f/1.7 max aperture on the front camera with AF f/1.9 max aperture on the front camera with AF
Ultra Wide-Angle, Wide-Angle (Standard), Telephoto, ToF on the rear camera Wide-angle (standard), telephoto on the rear camera  Ultra Wide-Angle, Wide-Angle (Standard), Telephoto on the rear camera 
Standard Lens: 12MP f/1.5-2.4 with OIS Standard Lens: 12MP, f1.5-2.4 with OIS Standard Lens: 12MP f/1.5-2.4 with OIS
Ultra-Wide Lens: 16MP, f/2.2 N/A Ultra-Wide Lens: 16MP f/2.2
Telephoto Lens: 12MP, f/2.1 with OIS Telephoto Lens: f/2.4 with OIS Telephoto Lens: 12MP, f/2.4 with OIS
ToF depth sensor, f/1.4  No depth sensor  No depth sensor 
2X optical zoom  2X optical zoom  2X optical zoom 
Max Aperture f/1.5 - f/2.4  Max Aperture f/1.5 - f/2.4  Max Aperture f/1.5 - f/2.4 
6.8in LCD Monitor 6.4in LCD Monitor 6.4in LCD Monitor
4K and FullHD video 4K and FullHD video 4K and FullHD video
Image Stabilisation  Image Stabilisation  Image Stabilisation 
Live Focus Video Modes N/A N/A
USB-C USB-C USB-C
4300mAh battery  4,000mAh battery 4100mAh battery
196g 201g 175g
162.3mm x 77.2mm x 7.9mm 76.4mm x 161.9mm x 8.8mm 157.6mm x 74.1mm x 7.8mm
£999.99 (correct at the time of writing) £629.00 (correct at the time of writing) £799.99 (correct at the time of writing)

 

On the back, you find a quad-camera setup, featuring a 16 megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide, 12-megapixel wide 2PD AF f/1.5-f/2.4 OIS, 12-megapixel telephoto f/2.1 OIS and a VGA 3D depth camera. On the front is a 10-megapixel 2PD AF f/2.2 selfie camera which has a night mode, a first for Samsung on the front camera, allowing you to capture good photos in dim or dark lighting.

If you capture a lot of video with your smartphone then the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ should grab your attention as there's a lot of premium video technology built-in which includes Live Focus video where you can add depth-of-field adjustments so you can blur backgrounds - pretty cool. There's also a 'Zoom-In Mic' option which amplifies the audio in frame and pushes background noise aside to help focus on the sounds that you want. 'Super steady' stabilises footage (not available on all video modes) and Samsung says they have improved this to keep shots smooth. 

The Samsung Galaxy Note10+ also features an in-phone video editing suite, which can be used with the S Pen for more precise selections. 

A first in the Samsung Galaxy Note series is the edge-to-edge display which features an almost bezel-less design and an Infinity-O Display where the selfie camera is cut out of the screen. 

Other standout features include the improved S Pen which is a stylus you can use with the smartphone, along with fast charging, wireless charging, 4300mAh battery and an in-screen fingerprint sensor. 

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide lens
  • 12 megapixel wide 2PD AF f/1.5-f/2.4 OIS lens
  • 12 megapixel telephoto f/2.1 OIS lens
  • VGA 3D depth camera
  • 10 megapixel 2PD AF f/2.2 selfie camera
  • Night mode on selfie camera
  • Optical Zoom at 2x, Digital Zoom up to 10x
  • Scene Optimiser 
  • Live Focus video
  • 4K 60fps, FullHD video
  • Video editing built-in
  • Pro Camera Mode
  • 12GB RAM
  • 256/512GB storage
  • 4300mAh battery
  • 6.8-inch QuadHD+ bezel-less edge-to-edge Cinematic Infinity-O Display
  • MicroSD (Up to 1TB) supported
  • IP69 rated for water resistance

 

Samsung Galaxy Note10+ Handling

Samsung Galaxy Note10+
 

The Samsung Galaxy Note10+ is a big smartphone (162.3mm x 77.2mm x 7.9mm) and it seems to look bigger than it is which is probably down to the rectangular design and sharp corners. In the hand, it does feel pretty big and you have to adjust quite a bit when using it one-handed. The corners aren't as round as they are on some other premium smartphones and do feel a little pointy when holding the device. The sides are rounded, though, making it easier/more comfortable to hold than straight edges. As you'd expect from a smartphone at this price-point, the front/back are constructed from glass while the frame is metal. Of course, this makes the device a fingerprint magnet so stick a case on it if this annoys you. A case will also give a little more protection should you drop the fragile device, too. Having said that, it doesn't slide off surfaces as some other smartphones do and it doesn't feel like it would easily slip out of the hand either. 

With a big smartphone, you get a big screen and on the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ it measures 6.8" (3040x1440) and is an Infinity-O Display which means the front camera is cut out of the screen rather than sitting as a notch. You'll also notice that the selfie camera is in the centre of the smartphone rather than off to the left which could help with selfie framing. 

The screen is impressive showing vivid colours, excellent sharpness and clarity. You can tell it's a premium smartphone as the screen quality is just that little bit better than mid-range smartphones can offer. The fact that it's edge-to-edge, too, makes viewing photos and watching videos a more enjoyable experience. 

On the bottom of the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ you find a USB-C port, speaker and a home for the S Pen which is a stylus you can use with the smartphone. It's also Bluetooth enabled so you can use the S-Pen as a shutter button when taking photos as well as for more precise photo/video editing. There's no headphone socket, though, so you'll either have to use a USB-C adapter or go wireless. 

 

Samsung Galaxy Note10+
 

On the left side, you find the power buttons and volume rocker which is a little weird as usually, they're either on the right or split between the two. If you're left-handed, you might prefer it but when we've become so used to a specific design, it is a little weird at first. 

Turn the smartphone over and you are greeted with a really cool looking design which reflects light beautifully (we have the Aura Glow version on test). If you prefer something not so 'in your face', then you can go for black, blue or white. On the back is also where you find the rear cameras tucked away into the top corner of the Samsung Galaxy Note10+. They also sit quite flush so the smartphone doesn't rock or become unstable when it's placed on a surface. 

The camera set-up is good with dual Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 0.5x-2x optical zoom, 10x digital zoom and tracking AF being built in. On the front is a 10MP f/2.2 selfie camera with autofocus (AF) and an 80-degree field of view. It's nice to see AF built into the front camera as this makes it much easier to capture a sharp self-portrait, and should also improve video quality. Live Focus (bokeh effects) and Live Focus Video (bokeh effects in the background of videos) are also accessible from the selfie camera. 

Here's a rundown of the rear cameras:

  • 16MP f/2/2 Ultra Wide Camera
  • 12MP f/1.5 - f/2.4 Wide-angle Camera with Dual Pixel AF and OIS
  • 12MP f/2.1 Telephoto Camera with PDAF and OIS
  • Depth Vision Camera 

AI features, which Samsung call 'Intelligent Features', include a scene optimiser which works really well, and is fast, recognising 30 scenes and optimising the camera settings for the best results. There's also a 'shot suggestion' function and a 'Flaw Detection' mode. Various camera functions/modes are available which include Food, Night, Panorama, Pro, Live focus, Photo, Video, Live focus video, Super Slow-mo, Slow Motion and Hyperlapse. 

 

Samsung Galaxy Note10+
 

All of the modes are easy to use and there is certainly plenty to keep you busy! It's great to see a Pro mode but, when compared with other smartphones, the ISO range is limited (to a maximum of ISO800) and the white balance can only be adjusted with the Kelvin scale, there are no presets. 

Video is a standout feature on the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ with features such as Zoom-In Mic for better sound and Live Focus mode giving you the opportunity to introduce bokeh into your footage. There's also a built-in video editor which is great to use with the Stylus for better control. 

Video resolutions are as follows:

  • 4K UHD video recording at 60fps (3840x2160)
  • 1080p FHD video recording at 60fps (1920x1080)
  • 720p HD video recording at 30fps (1280x720)
  • Super Slow-mo 720p video support at 960fps
  • Slow-motion 1080p video support at 240fps
  • Hyperlapse 1080p video support

A super steady mode is built in to keep footage smooth but it's only available when shooting FullHD, and Super Slow-mo only supports 720p HD resolution. HDR10+ recording is also available but it is currently in beta and only available on the rear camera. Other features include VDIS (Video Digital Image Stabilization), Digital zoom up to 10x, Tracking AF, Playback zoom, Video location tags and the ability to capture 9.1MP still photos while recording 4K UHD video.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ comes with 12GB RAM and either 256GB or 512GB of storage which is expandable with a MicroSD memory card. The smartphone is also IP69 rated for water resistance and features an in-display fingerprint sensor for security. 

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 4300mAh which is huge and beats the Samsung Galaxy S10+ with its 4000mAh battery. A glass back means wireless charging is supported and so is 'super-fast charging'. 

Antutu and Geekbench scores are as follows: Antutu - 354998 and Geekbech - 4541 single-core and 10735 multi-core. 


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