The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ Is A Sexy Binch Who Likes To Get Dirty

samsung galaxy note 10 first look reviewImage: Tegan Jones/Gizmodo Australia

Earlier this month Samsung finally unveiled its much-leaked Note 10 range.

For the first time ever we have three versions of the Note - the 10, 10+ and 10+ 5G.

We have gotten the chance to play with the non-5G 10+ over the past few days and these are our first impressions.

Every Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plan In Australia

After months of leaks and rumours the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 has finally graced us with its official presence earlier this month. If you're excited to get this hefty lad into your grabby hands on a plan, Aussie telcos are here to help. And you only have two more days to grab the pre-order bonuses. Here are all of the Note 10, Note+ and Note 10+ 5G plans available in Australia.

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Just the Specs, Please

Note 10 Note 10+ Note 10+ 5G
Dimensions 71.8 x 151.0 x 7.9mm, Weight: 168g 77.2 x 162.3 x 7.9mm, Weight: 196g 77.2 x 162.3 x 7.9mm, Weight: 198g
CPU Exynos 9825 Octa-core processor Exynos 9825 Octa-core processor Exynos 9825 Octa-core processor
Memory 8GB RAM, 256GB storage 12GB RAM, 256GB storage 12GB, 512GB storage
Display 6.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display, 2280x1080 pixels, 401 ppi density 6.8-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display, 3040×1440 pixels, 498 ppi density 6.8-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display, 3040×1440 pixels, 498 ppi density
Operating System Android 9.0 (Pie) Android 9.0 (Pie) Android 9.0 (Pie)
Cameras Triple Rear Camera: 16MP F2.2 (Ultra-Wide) + 12MP 2PD AF F1.5/F2.4 OIS (Wide) + 12MP (telephoto). Front: 10MP 2PD AF F2.2 Quad Rear Camera: 16MP F2.2 (Ultra-Wide) + 12MP 2PD AF F1.5/F2.4 OIS (Wide) + 12MP (telephoto), DepthVision Camera. Front: 10MP 2PD AF F2.2 Quad Rear Camera: 16MP F2.2 (Ultra-Wide) + 12MP 2PD AF F1.5/F2.4 OIS (Wide) + 12MP (telephoto), DepthVision Camera. Front: 10MP 2PD AF F2.2
Network Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, LTE, Bluetooth 5, Satnav, NFC, USB 3 (Type C) Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, LTE, Bluetooth 5, Satnav, NFC, USB 3 (Type C) Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, 5G, Bluetooth 5, Satnav (GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO), NFC, USB 3 (Type C), ANT+
Sensors Accelerometer, Barometer, Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB light sensor (BLE S Pen: 6-axis Sensor including Gyro Sensor and Acceleration Sensor) Accelerometer, Barometer, Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB light sensor (BLE S Pen: 6-axis Sensor including Gyro Sensor and Acceleration Sensor) Accelerometer, Barometer, Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB light sensor (BLE S Pen: 6-axis Sensor including Gyro Sensor and Acceleration Sensor)
Battery 3,500mAH battery, fast-charging, wireless charging, wireless PowerShare 4,300mAH battery, fast-charging, wireless charging, wireless PowerShare 4,300mAH battery, fast-charging, wireless charging, wireless PowerShare

What's Good About It?

Camera

It's very similar to the S10+ 5G with its triple rear camera setup - 12MP telephoto lens, 12MP wide-angle lens, 16MP ultra-wide lens and VGA 3D Depth Vision Camera.

At the front it has a single 10MP selfie cam built into the Infinity-0 display.

I haven't gotten to put the camera through its proper paces yet, but so far I'm pleasantly surprised.

When it comes to your basic point-and-click shots in well-lit environments, the Note 10+ does great.

And this is by no means a sledge - while it does have a myriad of options, especially when you dive into the Pro mode, your average punter is generally looking for a phone that looks great with minimal effort and editing - and it absolutely provides that service.

The Live Focus on both the rear and front facing cameras are also great - making for great selfies and portrait-based shots.

It's fun playing around with the different background effects and the sliding black and white scale

The bokeh is genuinely impressive. While I still think the Huawei P30 Pro has the best camera setup of the year (so far), the Note 10+ does an admirable job.

While I want to spend some more time with Night Mode before making a definitive judgement, the quality isn't mind blowing so far. It absolutely makes a difference - you can actually see the subject when you shoot it in Night Mode (not so much when its set to default mode) but the quality isn't great.

The rear cameras do a better job than the front-facing 10MP lens, but still aren't as as good as the witchcraft that the Huawei P30 Pro wields, or even the Pixel 3.

A quick night time selfie and a flower pic. The more light the better - this camera definitely can't entirely see in the dark


Hand Writing-To-Text Conversion

I didn't have high expectations for functionality. It's a difficult thing to nail and to be honest, my handwriting is utter trash.

One of my primary school teachers tried to correct how I held my pencil by whacking a giant rubber grip on it, but they had to give up. It's never gotten any better.

Miraculously, the Note 10 has done a good job at deciphering my alien-language scribble thus far.

The only issue I have come across is the inability to convert an entire note simultaneously - it can only do one digital page at a time. When I tried to drag the cursor down to convert more it refused.

This was disappointing, because this function would be a game changer. I'd love to not lug a laptop or tablet to meetings, briefings or anything that requires quite a bit of note taking.

I really hope that a software update can fix this because have to individually convert each page turns something that should have been a time saver into a time sink.


It's Real Pretty

It's great to see more phone manufacturers move away from boring black phones.

The Aura Glow is hot and doesn't fail to catch people's eyes out in the real world.

It brings a personalised touch which I quite like. Samsung even made the Aura Black variant interesting with a splash of rainbow and I'm here for it.


Display

Much like the S10 series before it the Note sports a gorgeous Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display that is a delight to stare at all day. Because if you're going to be low key addicted to your phone, it might as well be nice to look at.

At 6.8-inches with 3040×1440 pixels and 498 ppi density it's an extremely aesthetically pleasing daily driver that is also perfect for watching the likes of Netflix and Stan on.

But even if you don't opt for the Big Daddy version, you get the same display quality on the 6.3-inch model, which was a smart play by Samsung. Not everyone wants a phone they need two hands to wield comfortably.

While I'm enjoying the big boy version, seeing it next to the regular Note 10 made for a stark contrast. The smaller version is still plenty big, but allows for a little more variety which I'm always a fan of.


What's Not So Good?

Battery Life

With a 4,300mAH battery and the promise of two days of life, my hopes were high for the Note 10+.

Sadly it hasn't been so good in practice.

During a regular work day involving emails, browsing, social media and an Uber trip the battery hit 25% at 6:30pm and dropped to 10% by 8:30pm.

I didn't listen to any music or use Maps.

This might not be so bad if I was going straight home - but what about after work drinks or dinner? I would never leave the office with only 25% battery because I'm just paranoid like that, but this is still disappointing. The massive drop across two hours from regular browsing and social media use was particularly eyebrow-raising.

I had worse results while hiking over the weekend - with the battery hitting 25% at 4:30pm. But to be fair it was taking a beating due to utilising Google Maps for an hour during the drive, and it was consistently searching for a 4G signal due to the remote location.

Two day battery life is all well and good, but not if you literally need to have it sitting idly on a table.

Of course, yhere are ways to increase the battery life. You can turn location services off, connect to Wi-Fi where possible and diligently close unused apps.

However, cheaper phones such as the Huawei P30 Pro and the Oppo Reno 5G get far better results with smaller batteries. It's not just the size that matters but how you use it.

Samsung clearly still needs to do some more work when it comes to battery management in order to catch up to how consumers use their phones in 2019.

On the plus side, the quick charge capability of the Note 10 means you can juice up fast before heading out for the night. But it's worth remembering that you won't get a quick charger in the box - they're going to be sold separately at a later date.


Smudgey

While the colour options for the Note+ plus are lovely, there is one small issues - the device also smudges immediately.

So your option is to either have a dirty looking phone or throw a case on it, which hides the stunning colour palette. While clear cases are a thing, they're rarely any good.


Should You Buy It?

Like I said earlier - this is just a first look at some of the features that have stood out so far. I'm looking forward to diving into more (especially the camera and new S-Pen features) for the full review over the coming weeks.

But as an FYI the Note 10 starts at $1,499, with the Note 10+ coming in at $1,699. The 5G model is about the same price as the S10+ 5G at$1,999.

You can also look at all of the telco plans right here.

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