- 1. Introduction & Specs
- 2. Design & Build
- 3. Display & Audio
- 4. Software
- 5. Camera & SPen
- 6. Performance, Battery Life, Miscellaneous
- 7. Conclusion & Pricing
Conclusion & Pricing
After using the phone for roughly two weeks, my conclusion boils down to this. As always, the Galaxy Note is the pinnacle of what Samsung has to offer, with only two notable omissions: the headphone jack and a high refresh rate display. Whether or not you should purchase this phone comes down to whether or not those two omissions are deal-breakers for you, how much you like the design and display, and how much you want the SPen and its accompanying software features. I’m going to bet that the omissions are not deal-breakers for the vast majority of people, and that the design and aesthetics of the phone alone is enough to win people over, even those still unconvinced about the utility of the SPen.
Ironically, my main issue with the Note lies in the very essence of what makes the Note great – it’s got every single feature conceivable, which inevitably means that there will be a lot of confusion and messiness in the software (like in the settings and camera apps as mentioned earlier). This review is already almost 3000 words long, and I am sure that Samsung will be quick to point out to me that I still haven’t gone over all the features of the phone – like Edge lighting or AR doodle or live focus video – to which I would reply that it is virtually impossible to review every single feature of this phone. The Note10+ is the most Samsung Samsung phone, which means that you either love and appreciate the richness of features that Samsung has crammed into the Note, or are daunted or even put off by it.
If you are willing to sit down with the phone for several hours to crawl through the maze of settings available, you will likely find pleasant surprises, and eventually you’d be able to set up the phone just the way you want it. Alternatively, if you find it all too overwhelming, you could choose to ignore the wealth of software features and settings available; but you wouldn’t get the most out of your money spent, and this defeats the whole point of buying a Note in the first place.
Clearly the latter option is unideal, and Samsung has much to gain in ensuring that potential consumers are not daunted by its software. OneUI was a step in the right direction, but Samsung still needs to do more to clean up its software, namely remove redundant or unused features, and tidy up menus to make them more accessible and user-friendly. For instance, there are currently 3 separate email apps installed on the phone out of the box – Samsung Mail, Gmail, and Microsoft Outlook; just Gmail will suffice. As of now, OneUI looks clean on the surface, but feels to me somewhat like the UX equivalent of sweeping things under the carpet.
Just tidy up the software a little more, keep up the regular software updates, and the Note will be near-perfect.
This year, Samsung has opted to release two versions of the Note: the Note10+ and the Note10. The latter is a smaller version of the former, and correspondingly has a lower resolution and smaller screen, less RAM (8GB vs 12GB), no microSD expansion, and smaller battery (3500mAh vs 4300mAh), for S$200 less on the base model. I’d say that the additional S$200 is worth it.
If you are considering the Note10+, you might also be considering the Galaxy S10 or S10+, which go for cheaper while delivering much of the same specs. It all boils down to which design you like more, and how much you value the SPen.
Of course, if the SPen is not a must-have for you, and all you want is a large flagship phone, there are several other options available, some of which may even be cheaper. The OnePlus 7 Pro, for instance, has a large display of the same resolution, no notch, and a high refresh rate, but has a worse camera than the Note, non-expandable storage, and a smaller battery.
If you are OS-agnostic, you might want to consider Apple’s brand new iPhone 11 Pro Max as well. The iPhone boasts a 6.5″ XDR AMOLED display and has superior cameras in both stills and video; but it is also almost S$500(!) more for the same storage configuration, and has literally a third of the RAM. Samsung’s asking price of S$1,598 for the Note suddenly seems like a pretty good deal in comparison.
You can purchase the 256GB/12GB RAM variant of the Note10+ direct from Samsung at S$1,598, or the 512GB/12GB RAM variant for S$1,898, in Aura Glow, Aura White, or Aura Black. As always, be on the lookout for telco deals, trade-in specials, and remember that you can use ShopBack to get cashback on Lazada purchases.