Monday, 16 September 2019

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 / 10+ ★★★★★

Can phone screens get any bigger? Ask Samsung & they’ll bowl you over with ergonomic phablets that won't give your wrist tendonitis! The Note 10 & Note 10 Plus launched last week. Tall, beautiful, multi-lens phones with curves in all the right places.

The Note 10 comes with a beautiful  6.3” Infinity O screen, that makes the display look almost bezel-less. The size of the phone will change your mind if you’re thinking it is one of those gigantic phablets, like the Note 9 from last year, but guess what honey, Samsung has shrunk the Notes! They are now smaller than last year but with more screen space & super comfortable for one-hand use. Somewhere between the Pixel 3 & Pixel 3XL in terms of phone size. The default configuration is the latest Snapdragon or Exynos processor with 256GB memory & 8GB RAM, expandable to 512 GB/12GB.

Samsung does put in 2D face unlock feature, which isn’t as secure as Apple’s 3D one & there's the in-display fingerprint sensor but a bit slower than what you’d notice on a physical capacitive one, usually present on the back of the phones. You’ll have a hard choice choosing from the 4 colours Aura Glow (favourite & also a fingerprint magnet), Aura white, Aura black, and Aura Blue.

The main reason why I love the Note? The magic wand - S-Pen! It’s like a remote for your toy that keeps getting smarter every year. New features include Air Actions to change camera modes with a wave of your hand & drawing circles to zoom in or out. You can also convert handwriting to text, not seamless but it works. Air doodles while shooting video/clicking pictures & also a Bluetooth selfie remote control. It’s now open for Developers to play with so expect more useful stuff soon. 

The phone is the Best selfie camera (10MP) out there, even better than the Pixel 3. There are tons of effects to add before taking the shots and no other phone offers them at the moment, except the S10 series of course. The hole cutout for the camera at the top & in the centre is small and you hardly even notice it after a few mins of usage. It’s much better than the punch hole front cams on the S10.

With 3 lenses at the back, a wide (12MP), ultra-wide (16MP) and telephoto (12MP), there is nothing that can’t fit in your screen without moving all over the place. It can capture amazing portraits and like always over saturates most photos but they are better-looking photos for social media than let’s say the natural, unedited photos on the Pixel 3. Turn on the Night mode though, and the Note 10 is miles away from the AI magic of the Pixel. Video stabilization is great, 4k is now unlimited recording. Live focus video is only available on the Note 10+ but should be on the Note 10 in a few months with a software update. 

In terms of performance, feel free to have 30 different apps open + games at the same time in the background  & you won’t notice any lags. Android 9 with One UI is well optimised and my personal favourite after the Stock Android due to the customisation options. Bixby user assistant still doesn’t excite me & DEX still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of seamless transitioning from phone to PC.  

You miss the headphone jack, but there is a bundled type C to 3.5mm jack. There isn’t any expandable storage as well but I guess 256GB should work for most, otherwise, you’ll have the “clouds” to look up to. Go for the Note 10 if you’re looking to upgrade & if your phone is more than 2 years old. This phone is a beast!

Pritesh Khilnani

Galaxy Note 10 at CeX

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