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Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus review

We like our phones like we like our soup - chunky, and the Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus is the chunkiest, most eye-catching phone out there.

Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus review
(Image: © Samsung)

Our Verdict

If you’re looking for something bold, a smartphone that makes a statement then the Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus should have your attention thanks to its enormous 6.8-inch display and stylish S-pen.

For

  • Truly gorgeous display
  • Great battery life, especially with the power settings balanced
  • The S-Pen is intuitive and simple to use

Against

  • Bixby is still disappointing
  • Not the best low-light camera
  • No headphone jack for the old school crowd

The Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus is a showcase handset, so it’s understandable that it comes with a high price tag to reflect the build quality and technology. The Note10 Plus is for the big and bold, with a screen to match. The display is stunning, the cameras are great, and it’s a powerful creative machine. It’s not the fastest handset on the market, but it’s certainly one of the most stylish and best smartphones out there.

The major selling points of the S-Pen, and the step up in technology are well worth it if you're considering an upgrade to a large, creative handset, and it’s understandable why the Note10 Plus is one of the headline phones from Samsung, along with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. This handset currently has an MSRP of $1,099, though it can be found cheaper if you look online. You can also pick one up in from one of the best cell phone providers with a plan.

Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus review: Design and styling

  • Gorgeous all-glass design
  • It's huge

There’s no doubting the Note10 Plus is a lovely looking phone. Its all-glass build means while it looks gorgeous, it can feel a little slippery in your hands. We definitely recommend a good strong case here to minimize slipping and maximize protection. It goes without saying really, but the Note is a chunky boy – it can feel a little cumbersome in smaller hands.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is a massive handset, but that's a good thing

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is a massive handset, but that's a good thing. (Image credit: Samsung)

In a quest to minimize for style, the Note10 Plus has lost one of its buttons, though the Bixby dedicated button won’t be missed. You can now find Bixby on the power button. Keeping on trend, the Note10 Plus has also removed its headphone jack, though the included headphones can be connected via the USB-C port. Those craving extra space will still find a MicroSD slot fitted into the side of the phone, thankfully not spoiling the sleek styling.

Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus review: Battery

  • Long lasting battery
  • Wireless and fast-charging
Tech Specs

Average price:  $1099
Operating system: Android
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Storage: 256GB
5G ready? 5G version available
Headphone jack? No
Charging type: USB-C
Also consider... iPhone 11 Pro

There’s always a worry when adding in so much new tech, that the battery won’t cope with usage. That’s not really a concern here. Not only does the battery hold much more power, but even with heavy usage you'll still have battery left at bedtime. Even if you do find yourself chewing through the power, Samsung has implemented lots of great tweaks in its battery saver program to get the most life out of your new phone. That lovely screen is going to drain the battery more than anything else, so it’s worth having a play around with the settings to strike the right balance.

Another improvement is seen in the fast-charging capabilities of the Note10 Plus. Previous models only utilized 15 watts of power to charge a handset, this model uses 25 watts from the in-box charger. It takes roughly 70-75 minutes to fully charge the phone. There’s also wireless charging available and with many cafes and outlets offering charge points, it’s easier to keep your phone going.

Perhaps used less will be the power sharing mode. With this, you can charge your friend’s phone wirelessly from your own. However, you’ll need to have a lot of power left in order to donate it to them.

Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus review: Screen and audio 

  • Huge 6.8-inch QHD screen
  • Edgeless display

The screen on the Note10 Plus isn't just big - It’s positively massive. The 6.8 inch AMOLED QHD display is a thing of beauty. Utilizing the Samsung Infinity-O design, pretty much the entire phone is made of High Definition screen. It’s sharp, bright, and downright wonderful to use for everything from playing games, viewing photos or watching videos. The only downside to such a big screen is the occasional accidental touches on the edge of the display. 

Because the screen takes up so much of the handset, consideration should be shown to the front-facing camera which is embedded into the top of the display. It is, however, a pinprick really. Hardly noticeable after the first 15 minutes of use.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ / Note 10 Plus

(Image credit: Samsung)

Audio is never going to be amazing through the in-built speaker, but if you find yourself alone in a hotel room, the sound from a video or Spotify will easily fill the room and not sound too tinny or loaded on treble. Ultimately, if you’re buying a Note10 Plus you’re either using the boxed headphones, which are a great starter pair, or you’ll be on the lookout for a decent set of cans to compliment the phone.

Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus review: Camera

  • Four rear camera lens for different situations
  • Two front facing 'selfie' cameras

The cameras on the Note10 each offer something different. The phone features four separate lenses, which each capture great quality images in various situations. The brief version is that the handset can capture in normal shooting modes, as well as telephoto and the new fancy ultra-wide aspect. Depending on your view, the phone will use one of its lenses; a 12MP wide-angle lens, a 12MP telephoto lens for closer shots, and a 16MP ultra-wide lens, which offers a 123 degree view - perfect for those group pictures. The fourth, VGA depth lens, is where all the Live Focus happens.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ / Note 10 Plus

(Image credit: Samsung)

Each image is bright and bold, bursting with realistic colors though while the Note10 Plus performs well in low-light, it’s not the best on the market. Balancing this shortfall, the camera does feature the new Live Focus ability which gives depth of field to both static and moving images.

Two front-facing cameras – 10MP and 8MP – give clear images for video calls or cheeky selfies. The 8MP lens offers better depth and focusing, which is a step up from the S10, but unless you’re taking hundreds of selfies, you wouldn’t miss this addition.

Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus review: Software and assistant features 

  • Bixby sucks, but you can use Alexa or Google Assistant
  • Great interface

Samsung and Android are always a great combination, so if you’ve owned a Samsung before, you’ll find the same easy-to-use interface. Such a stylish phone deserves a swish UI and you’ll find everything is nice and clean and within reach of your thumb. The Note10 features the option of using it much like a desktop computer, though many apps don’t feature a great ‘desktop’ version. It feels like an awkward middle ground which isn’t really needed, especially when you can use your S-Pen directly on the screen.

The usual assistants are available – Bixby, Alexa and Google – though Bixby is still, well, Bixby. We found in our testing that Bixby rarely recognized our voices or translated our requests in the way we expected.

Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus review: Security

For security, Samsung has several options, the most impressive of which is the fingerprint sensor now built into the screen. This means no sensor next to the camera lens, like on older models. If you prefer, you could always take advantage of the face-unlock technology – though we found it a little unwieldy at times, especially in lower light.

Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus review: S-Pen

  • Included S-pen stylus is great
  • Gesture and remote control

Of course, if you’re coming to the Note10 Plus, you’ll likely want to take advantage of the S-Pen – the handy stylus which slots nicely into the phone itself. Smooth and easy to use, the S-Pen is great for taking notes in meetings, scribbling out a shopping list or even drawing on the go. Handwriting recognition is far improved here, meaning great translations to the apps of your choice.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ / Note 10 Plus

(Image credit: Samsung)

Away from drawing and writing, the S-Pen has lots of functionality, such as gesture interactions for zooming in and out of the screen and you can even use it as a remote control for taking photos at a distance.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Note S10 Plus?

Absolutely – with a caveat. If you’re a note taking, creative person who loves videos or the latest technology, then you will not be disappointed with the Note10 Plus. At all. The handset offers so much for the crowd it is designed for. Everything feels expanded and larger than life here, as it should with such a headline phone. However, if you aren’t any of those types of people, then it might be best to stick with the S10 or S10 Plus. You are paying for that S-Pen and boost in screen size, which many won't take advantage of.