Cut back to 2011, the iPhone stood 3.5-inches (the display) tall and large screen devices were not a thing. It’s why the first Galaxy Note device sparked love or loathe reactions with some tech experts writing it off as too massive. That’s changed and how. Six-inch screens are the new normal. Its also pushed Samsung to redefine the Note experience beyond just size. The S-Pen is arguably the Note’s most distinctive feature and one that the Note’s faithful tribe continue to swear by, even at a time when the stylus has long disappeared from rival devices.
Earlier this week, at its stunning restored British-era Opera House on Bangalore’s Brigade Street which the company has converted into the largest Samsung Experience store in the world, the South Korean giant launched its most ambitious phones of the year: the Note 10 with a 6.3-inch display, and Note 10+ with a 6.8 inch screen. It’s the taller Note10+ that we put under the spotlight and the one that most Note users are likely to gravitate towards. We checked out the Aura Glow version that creates brilliant reflective patterns as light bounces on its shiny surface. Samsung has always aimed to stretch the Note display without make it too unwieldy. The Note 10+ represents a big win for Samsung on this front. It’s marginally lighter and thinner than last year’s Note 9.
Samsung joins a growing list of brands who’ve decided that their flagship devices don’t need a 3.5mm headphone jack. You can choose between the cool AKG headphones in the box or go wireless. We’re sad to see this headphone slot get the boot. The stunning 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display (1440 x 3040 pixels 19:9 aspect ratio) that packs a whopping 498 Pixels per inch is one of our favourite things about the device. Displays like this are the reason why tabs are becoming a hard sell as more and more users lean on their smartphones for Content Consumption and Netflix Marathons. Samsung stretches the screen: body ratio to 91%. It manages this with a tinier cut-out for the selfie shooter. It’s also better placed (in the centre, unlike the S10) to create a perfect viewing experience.
The Note 10+ gets just one lens for its front-facing cam, Samsung had opted for a dual selfie cam for the S10+. Image quality on the selfie cam and on the rear cam are both terrific. The rear cam set up includes triple lenses and a depth vision camera. Video quality is another big jump, we noticed that Samsung’s new, video improved stabilisation feature makes a perceptible difference, especially with moving subjects.
The S-Pen, Samsung’s proprietary stylus has always found favour with creative professionals and has helped the Note acquire a cult following. This year’s S-Pen adds more tricks to its repertoire. Gesture controls – you can use the S-Pen to control multiple functions on the camera, is one big improvement and then there’s also improved battery life (when the S-Pen is unholstered). But our favourite new feature is how your scribbles can now transform into text on a Microsoft Word document.
The Note devices have always been a showcase for Samsung’s hardware prowess. The Note 10+ is powered by an Exynos 9825 processor that combines with 12GB of RAM. There are two internal storage options – we tested the 256GB version, there’s also a 512GB variant. Both these have room for an external SD card (up to 1 TB). The Note 10+ blazed through our tests, it notched an impressive 353440 on our AnTuTu benchmark test.
Battery life is another big plus. The 4300 mAh battery powers up quickly and should comfortably last a whole day for most users even with extensive camera usage and video consumption. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is a fantastic all-round device with an immersive display and heavy-duty hardware. It’s not just the best Samsung Galaxy Note device we’ve laid our hands-on, it’s one of the best smartphones out there.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ costs Rs 79,999 onwards (The Note starts at Rs 69,999)