Would it be possible to make the world’s best smartphones like the iPhone and Samsung Note series better?
Unless there is an addition of a whole new technology, we have to accept that these devices are already at the pinnacle of what a portable personal computer can achieve. Still, every year the companies have to come out with better versions of what they already had. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is a good example of how the Korean tech giant has perfected the art of perfecting an already perfect phone.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ specifications: 6.8-inch Quad HD+ (3040×1440) Dyanamic AMOLED display|Exynos 9825 processor| 12GB RAM + 256GB or 512GB storage|microSD support|S Pen|Quad cameras| 10MP front camera|Dual SIM|4300mAh battery|Android 9.0 Pie
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ price in India: Rs 79,999 onward
We should all look at the Note series phones through a different prism, more so now than before. In 2019, this is an unparalleled phone. It is undoubtedly the best of what Android and Samsung can achieve, but then it has something which no other phone has now — a stylus called the S Pen. So the Note series phones will always be an S-Pen length ahead of the competition.
Weaponisation of the S-Pen
Samsung seems to acknowledge this fact and with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, the actual innovation has gone into the S-Pen. While there have been attempts over the years to make this more than a stylus, this time Samsung has clearly scribbled the role of this thin stick of technology. The S-Pen’s new Bluetooth capabilities make it more of a remote than before.
The addition of Air Gestures now lets you control some parts of the phone with gestures. For instance, by drawing a virtual circle with the S-Pen the camera will start zooming in. There is more. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ comes with a new AR Doodle that lets you draw on a live video, which is just fun and nothing more. But I am not sure Samsung should be targeting the fun doodling kids with this top of the line phone. And yes, you can use the S-Pen has a camera remote and get some decent selfies which otherwise would be a stretch for your hand.
The core note-taking features haven’t changed much. But from Note 9 to 10, I think the S-Pen tip has become a tad softer and the response a bit faster.
The style quotient
I don’t usually delve much on the styling of a phone. But the new Aura series of colours that Samsung has launched with the Note 10 could be one reason a lot of people buy this phone. I remember once it was gold colours note that became very popular in India. This phone has similar potential with its almost-metallic base colour that reflects other colours. In fact, the name is so apt, this phone has an aura, not a colour.
However, the overall design hasn’t changed much. And if you keep the Note 10+ next to the Note 9, there is hardly anything to differentiate the two. But on the rear, you can see that the fingerprint scanner is missing with the new edition.
The fingerprint scanner now rests inside the stunning 6.8-inch dynamic AMOLED screen. That tech can be embedded in such a good screen without impacting its perforce is an achievement in itself.
Though a large 6.8-inch screen, the note 10+ offers a very handy grip for someone with my palm size. But there will be those who struggle, especially to use the phone with one hand and they should look for the smaller Note 10 option. But one thing bugged me a bit. When you grip the phone, you can feel the edges compress a bit. It is almost as if I was using the HTC U Ultra phone which could be squeezed. Some awkward grips also trigger the edge screen to open some apps.
Why talk of performance
It is silly to talk about the performance of a Samsung Note 10+. The Galaxy Note series has always been known for being workhorses that can do anything any other Android phone can achieve. The Note 10+ is no different. In India, as is the tradition now, the phone will come with an Exynos quad-core processor with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage which should be more than enough for all kinds of uses and use cases. In the week I used the phone, there was not even a stutter or freeze. Even with playing graphics-heavy games and using the camera to shoot videos and time lapses, the phone held its cool.
If you need numbers to convince you about performance then, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ ranks in the top. But maybe the Exynos processor is affecting the rankings a bit for the Indian model. The only time I felt the phone heat up was during the benchmarks tests and that is pretty normal.
One large battery
The larger battery was one of the reasons people picked up the Note series when it was launched initially. With the Note 10+, Samsung has packed a 4300 mAh battery. Now a battery like that should be able to give about 36 hours of performance anyway. So does the Note 10+. The big difference here is that this phone has one of the brightest and more vibrant screens and with regular use, you will need to recharge the phone only every second day.
Quad camera delight
The Note 10+ comes with a 16MP ultra-wide + 12MP regular and 12MP telephoto lens set up. This is exactly the same camera as you have on the Galaxy S10+. But there is a fourth depth sensor lens on the Note 10+, that helps the phone do some cool stuff. For instance, this Time of Flight (TOF) 3D camera lets you do a lot of things, which includes shooting live focus video with colour point, showing only a person in colour and the rest in greyscale.
The regular camera performs well in low light. So does the ultra-wide, which however is a bit slow with shutter speed and you need to have steady hands to ensure the pics are sharp. However, the telephoto lens was not that impressive for me as it came out with some very artificial-looking photos. But the perspective offered by the ultra-wide lens is something that can sell this phone. Samsung has made the front camera 10MP now, but I am still not that happy with the camera which seems to have issues clicking indoors.
The Note 10+ is also a stunning video camera with OIS built-in. This also offers one of the best microphones in a smartphone camera, which can improve the quality of sounds using the software. This is a camera with a lot of potential and you will be seeing a software update that tries to exploit more out of this rig.
Should you buy the Galaxy Note 10+
For me, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is most productive and trustworthy Android phones you can buy at the moment. It is also the closest Android has got to a business phone. At Rs 79,999, this phone is pricey, but you are also buying into the peace of mind and stability a Samsung phone offers you. This is not a phone that will be the slave of constant software updates, but a device that is complete when you take it out of the box.
But there aren’t a lot of new features on this phone is compared with either Note 9 or the S10+, but then this is a better phone because it has been fine-tuned to the last detail to offer an experience that is good at all levels. This is a good upgrade for those on older note devices, or those planning to move to a better Android device.