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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus review: Expensive, but full of surprises

Consider the Galaxy Note 10 Plus for its versatile triple-camera set-up on the back, big battery with fast-charge support, AMOLED screen, and IP68 rating for carefree handling

Khalid Anzar  |  New Delhi 

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

South Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung’s premium Galaxy Note-series smartphones have mostly been known for their productivity features. However, the recently launched Galaxy Note 10 Plus makes headway in other directions, too; and it is touted as an all-in-one mobile device designed to deliver experience like a computer, gaming console and a pro-grade video camera. The phone seems to come close to being the most comprehensive smartphone of today’s time. But does it stand true to the company’s claim of being an all-in-one mobile device? Let’s find out:

Design

Like previous Galaxy Note-series smartphones, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus has a rectangular design with pointed corners that might not appeal to perfectionists for its awkward ergonomics. For a smartphone with a massive 6.8-inch screen, the phone size is economical and it does not feel heavy or bulky. Rather, it has a sleek side profile which makes it comfortable to hold and operate.

Speaking of the phone’s profile, it lacks a dedicated power button and the right side of the chassis is left vacant which causes unnecessary inconvenience, considering that we are accustomed to using the power button to lock/unlock the device. The phone’s back, painted in a new ‘Aura Glow’ colour profile, looks mesmerising. But it is too bright and reflects sharply in direct sunlight, so it is not easy for the user and people around to ignore the reflections.

Display

The Galaxy Note 10 Plus has the same display that powers the Galaxy S10-series, albeit of a bigger size and with a top-centre aligned punch-hole for the front camera. Named dynamic AMOLED, the screen supports the HDR10+ technology, but the new display technology does not add much to the Galaxy Note 10 Plus’s display competency for lack of compatible content. Moreover, the display operates at a conventional refresh rate of 60Hz, which does not look appealing when compared to displays with enhanced refresh rate, such as the one in the OnePlus 7 Pro (review).

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Nonetheless, the screen is vivid and has a good contrast ratio. It is one of the brightest panels, resulting in excellent sunlight legibility — it requires to have an adaptive screen (auto) set to be enabled. The screen also houses an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor sitting below the display on the lower side. For the in-display fingerprint technology, the sensor is fast and accurate. It unlocks the phone almost instantly and recognises your fingerprint no matter how you put your finger on the sensor.

Camera

The Galaxy Note 10 Plus boasts a triple-camera set-up on the back, along with a time-of-flight (ToF) sensor that makes it a versatile camera module in the premium segment. Though the phone’s camera sensors are identical to the Galaxy S10 Plus, there has been some minor changes to configurations and software algorithms resulting in improved imaging, especially photography.

The phone’s video recording capability has also been enhanced by adding two more features to an already comprehensive suite taken directly from the Galaxy S10 Plus. These features include ‘Live Focus Video’, which uses ToF sensor to create enhanced bokeh effect in videos, and Zoom-in mic, which utilises phone’s in-built omnidirectional microphones to record the sound of far-off subjects. For example, if you need to record a musical gig without the noise around, you could zoom in on the subject and all the microphones would come into play. The microphones would eliminate the noise around and focus on the sound coming directly from the subject.

As for the performance, the camera supports artificial intelligence-based automatic scene recognition (Scene Optimiser), making it easy to point and shoot without changing the settings to find a perfect match for objects in the frame. The scene optimiser is enabled by default and it recognises most of the scenes, including food, pets, home ambience, party, sky, etc. It also supports the night mode, which comes handy while taking long-exposure shots in low light.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Coming to the front camera, it is as good as the rear, and also supports the night mode and some other features which were limited to the back module in the Galaxy S10 Plus. The front camera also supports HDR, which enables it to comfortably capture objects in front of bright lights. Both the front and rear cameras support a dedicated Instagram mode, which allows instant multimedia sharing as a story or feed on the platform right from the camera interface.

Performance

The Galaxy Note 10 Plus stands true to the company’s claim of being a mobile device that delivers the experience of a computer. There is nothing that a smartphone should do but this device cannot. Additionally, you can turn it into a computing device by connecting it to a big screen using the HDMI cable. Once connected, the phone transforms the connected screen into a full-fledged computing device with multiple windows, multitasking, keyboard and pointer device support for a desktop-like experience.

The phone’s built-in digital stylus (SPen) has also been improved from previous iterations. It supports air actions which makes it easy to operate the phone remotely. Additionally, the SPen in the Galaxy Note 10 Plus also supports several air gestures in camera and media apps which makes it easy to switch among different modes and play/pause songs.

Powering the phone is a 4,300 mAh battery, which keeps it going for a day easily. It supports 45W fast charging, but comes bundled with a 25W charger, which replenishes the battery from zero to 100 per cent in less than two hours — that is satisfactory. The phone also supports fast wireless charging and there is a provision for reverse wireless charging, too. Reverse wireless charging allows the phone to charge other devices with its wireless charging capability.

Verdict

If you are looking for a smartphone with stylus support, you might like to consider the Galaxy Note 10. At Rs 79,999 for the base model with 256GB internal storage, it is the only smartphone that comes with an SPen, a Bluetooth-enabled digital stylus capable of more than basic scribbling. Besides, it also offers a wholesome experience, thanks to top-notch hardware. Consider this phone also for its versatile triple-camera set-up on the back, big battery with a fast-charge support, mesmerising AMOLED screen, and water and dust protection (IP68) rating for carefree handling.

First Published: Fri, September 20 2019. 18:00 IST
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