I’m just back from getting my hands on Samsung’s new Galaxy Note phones.
That’s right, this time there are two.
There’s the Note 10 and the Note 10 Plus.
This is really interesting because Samsung’s Note 10 is basically the lighter version of the device and the Note 10 Plus is the one that has all of the whistles and bells.
These phones are really beautiful, they were great to hold.
There are some design differences that I think not everybody’s gonna like.
Overall though they are packed with features, so let’s break them down.
Let’s start with design.
The Note 10 is smaller, it’s almost like the Note 10 light.
It’s got a 6.3 inch display.
It’s very light and thin too.
The note 10 Plus has larger screen 6.8 inches.
Holding them side by side you definitely do see a difference.
So if you’re a person who likes as much screen as you can get, then the plus is gonna be the version for you.
This is the one that Samsung is making sort of its premier version of both of the phones.
The color choices this year are kind of interesting and different.
The plus actually has four colors and the note 10 has three.
So each one you get aura white, aura black, aura glow, which is kind of iridescent and on the 10 plus.
You could get aura blue which is really striking, it’s really a deep blue color.
But that is going to be exclusive to Best Buy and to Samsung.com for the US only.
First thing you are gonna notice right away is that there is a cyclonic camera right in the middle.
On the S10 phones it was all the way off to the right and people made fun of it, made all of these great wall papers To kind of make it look like an eyeball.
Now this infinity O displays in the centre.
So it’s circular, like it’s cut out of the screen.
And this helps preserve all of the screen space.
In fact, the phone is very edge to edge.
There was a rumour that the Note 10 wasn’t gonna have any buttons.
There are buttons But there’s a different configuration than what you’ve noticed before.
Previously, the power lock button was on the right side of the phone.
Now it does on the left edge right underneath the volume rocker.
So if you’re keeping score, that’s where the big [UNKNOWN] button used to be.
That doesn’t mean that [UNKNOWN] is gone, but It does mean that big speech Samsung’s voice assistant is now integrated into that power lock button.
So for example, if you press it once the phone turns off or on, if you press it two times, it will launch the camera app and if you press and hold, well that will launch Bixby voice.
Now we have to talk about something that’s missing.
And for some of you, this could be a deal breaker or at least make you very upset.
There is no headphone jack.
That is taken out of both devices.
In fact, on the smaller Note 10, there’s also not a micro SD card set.
External storage is only available for the Note 10 Plus..
Samsung says that removing the headphone jack creates a lot of space for battery and helps keep the phones thinner and lighter too.
There’s still gonna be a pair of headphones that comes in the box but if you love your own wired headphones that you picked out yourself, you’re going to have to embrace dongle life.
I do wanna talk about the camera.
Is on the back.
Mentioned the one on the front, that’s ten megapixels.
Now on the back, you again have either three or four.
On the Galaxy Note ten you’ve got three cameras.
These are the exact same cameras that you have on the Galaxy S 10 plus.
So that is a 12 megapixel dual aperture main camera, a 16 megapixel wide angle lens and a 12 megapixel telephoto lens.
Now, the fourth camera that you get on the Note Plus is the same one that you have on the Galaxy S10 5G.
This is an AR lens.
You are gonna be able to do a couple new things with it.
So On the SN 5G you could use it for live video which is basically like that blurred portrait effect.
But in video form so if somebody is talking and moving around, it will kind of make them pop as the center previously on the S 10.
This wasn’t very good when people moved when we tested it out.
There were a lot of blurry edges and hopefully this is getting better.
Samsung said says this is a feature that it’s fine-tuning.
But we won’t really know for sure until we get our test device.
Another use for AR is something new and it does use the S pen and that’s the signature feature in every galaxy note phone.
The digital stylus can be used to do something called AR doodle.
So you can either use this in photo or in video that allows you to sort of annotate the person or thing that you’re looking at.
So for example, if I’m taking a video of somebody, and I want to draw on some sparkly sunglasses or a hat or give them a cape, then I can do that in this picture and then share it with other people.
The neat thing about using AR Doodle in video with a person is that if they move, then what you’ve drawn will sort of track them.
So the sunglasses will go with them if they dodge and duck and twirl around.
If you’re taking video of an inanimate object, that won’t happen.
There don’t seem to be too many major changes to the camera software.
But I did notice that night mode is now part of the native camera app.
Samsung didn’t go into detail about what that means if it’s a true standalone mode, like something you see in the pixel three or the Huawei P 30 Pro, but I suspect that it’s kind of the night mode that they had before that they’re breaking out just to say that they could.
Again something that we are just going to have to test when we get our review unit.
Another cool camera features I have to call out one of them is now native video editing.
So if you take a video of somebody you can now use the s pen stylus and scrub through easily and add a soundtrack to it.
And create this whole little package on the phone.
That’s not something you could really do before.
Let’s turn our focus to the S Pen stylist because this is what makes the note the note so it still has its holster at the bottom and still clicks in and out really nicely.
Samsung says that it changed the design so the edges are smoother The first version of the note had pretty smooth edges, and the pen just rolled right off the table, I don’t really think that’s gonna happened here, it did feel fairly comfortable to hold, there’s still one button that you press on the side, and it’s still bluetooth connected, and in fact Samsung is adding a few more features with the Note 10s, the biggest one is gesture control, let’s say that you’ve got the Note 10 on a tripod, you’re taking a group picture.
You can flip up to switch from the rear camera to the front facing camera.
You can flick to the sides to change through the modes.
You can either do this motion, clockwise or counterclockwise that will basically zoom in or zoom out.
So that’s a way to switch lenses say you wanna go from the main camera lens to the telephoto lens I don’t know how often you’re gonna use this feature.
I certainly don’t think you’d use it if you’re up close.
But maybe if you’re playing music, you can flip through the tracks.
If you’re in the gallery, and you’re having kind of like a presentation mode, then you can also use the S pen to advance Handwriting is another area that Samsung highlighted.
You can already handwrite and convert into text, but thanks to a new partnership with Microsoft you can actually convert that text a couple different ways into a Word document.
That’s pretty neat.
Why would you wanna handwrite?
Sometimes you just do.
Sometimes your fingers are tired of tapping and it’s easier to just pick up a pen and jot down an idea.
When I tried it, it worked really well, and I was definitely not using my best penmanship skills.
Speaking of Microsoft, there’s a new feature that sounds kinda cool called Link So windows, it’s basically a handoff between the note 10 and your windows 10 machine.
So basically you can mirror your screen, you can see notifications, photos and also text messages.
Or if you’d rather just use a monitor or a laptop and have your phone power the show, DeX is no longer a dock and you no longer have to have a crazy cable.
You can use the cable that comes into your box.
To just link the two.
On the Note 10 you have a 3500 milliamp battery.
And on the note 10 plus you have 4300.
Of course you are going to have wireless charging.
In fact it gets a little bit faster.
Storage option is a little bit confusing.
The Note 10 only comes in one configuration at 256 gigabytes of onboard storage with eight gigabytes of RAM.
The 10 Plus, you have two options, 256 or 512 gigabytes or storage, and either way, you get 12 gigabytes of RAM.
They both use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip set.
This is gonna be the most modern.
Also wifi six is on board, and, you might get 5G.
Samsung is going to be selling a 5G version of the Note 10 plus in the US, it will roll out exclusively with Verizon before moving to other carriers later on.
The Note 10 starts at 949 and the 10 Plus starts at 1,099.
Pre orders begin August 8th, and the phones go on sale on August 23rd.
So let’s bring everything all together.
First of all, we have two Notes.
Why is Samsung doing this?
Isn’t one Note enough?
Well, Samsung says that the Note 10 is like an entry level Note for people who want that big screen maybe at a slightly cheaper price.
And maybe they don’t need every single feature.
The Note 10 Plus is going to play the role that traditionally players, which is being that phone for power users that has every single thing that Samsung made that year.
It represents the best Best of the best.
This year of course, things are a little bit different because we also have the Galaxy Fold which had some screen issues, but that’s really a splashy phone that people really paid attention to.
You also have the Galaxy S10 5G.
But that phone is actually more expensive than what the 4G Notes will be.
We think that the 5G Note will probably be around the same price.
Then you have all of the Galaxy S10 phones.
Phones from the E all the way up to the Plus.
These are a lot of phones.
This is a little bit confusing, and I think there’s a chance that the Note 10 could get lost in the shuffle, especially because when you take a step back, really what is the killer feature?
The cameras are basically the same functionally as the Galaxy S10 phone.
And well there are little improvements to the S Pen stylus, I think it’s really there for people who already love it, I don’t think it’s gonna bring in anybody new.
I also wonder if Samsung has done enough to catch up to Google, Huawei and other device makers that have done so much with the camera, really amazing things with zoom and with low light photography.
The answer is unfortunately, we just don’t know.
This could be the Goldilocks phone that you want to use every day and I am looking forward to testing it out.
I’m just back from getting my hands on Samsung’s new Galaxy Note phones.