Samsung announced its new Note10 phone, and if you’re wondering whether it’s time to upgrade—good question. Let’s take a look at what’s new and different about this phone, as compared to the Note 9, and at some of the features and cool things this phone will do.
Samsung Note10 & Samsung Note10+: What’s different?
There are actually quite a few new features and design changes on the new Note10.
Let’s begin with the screen:
For starters, there’s now two sizes to choose from. The 10 is smaller than the 9, but the 10+ is bigger, so you’ve got choice in how big your handset is now. The screen to body ratio is 90 % on the Note 10 while it was 84 % on the Note9. All the Note devices use a Super AMOLED display but the resolutions vary.
You’ll notice a lot less bezel on the new Note10. This is called the Infinity-O display and it’s similar to the Galaxy S10. The design also uses a hole punch camera opening in the top centre of the display.
Fingerprint scanning has been updated; neither of the new Note 10 devices has a physical fingerprint sensor like the Note 9. Instead there’s an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner hidden under the screen face instead of on the rear of the phone.
The new Note10 phones use Android v9.0 (Pie) while the Note 9 had Android v8.1 (Oreo).
Battery and charging on Samsung Note10 & Samsung Note10+
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 has a slightly smaller battery than the Note9; it’s a 3500mAh battery; the Note 10+ has a slightly bigger battery than the 9—it has 4300mAh. (The Note9 had a 4000 mAh battery)
The Note10s both offer wireless charging, and the Note 10 devices both offer Samsung’s new wireless Power Share feature that was seen on the S10. (Read about how Samsung Power Share works here.) The Note 10s also support faster wired charging rates than the older devices.
Battery life & Super Fast Charging
Samsung claims “all day battery life” in the new Note10. While I didn’t have a chance to wear it down sufficiently, I’ve read that you can get over 20 hours of power from it. For students, that’s perfect. No need to carry your charging cord or a power bank with you. You can take it on the bus, to class, work and surf all day and check your texts and Insta feed, and you’ve still got enough juice to head to the pub.
If you do need a charge, the phone has what Samsung calls ‘Super Fast Charging‘. In the box you get a 25W charger which enables your super fast charging, and that lets you go from zero to full in about 30 minutes. There’s also a wireless Qi charger upgrade from Samsung you can purchase that is called “super fast Wireless charging 2.0”. It makes your Galaxy S10 series phone wirelessly charge faster than the Galaxy S9 series, meaning you don’t
have to be tied down for long.
S Pen Features: Samsung Note10 & Samsung Note10+
One of the biggest features of the Note lineup is the intelligent S Pen. The pen is fairly similar to S Pens of editions past, but it did get a key feature and that’s gesture control or Air Control.
S Pen for note taking and editing photos and video
One of the key features of the Samsung Note10 is the Intelligent S Pen. Samsung’s onboard stylus is a true multitasking tool, letting you tap, select with precision and even write with ease. While not new, it does get more powers and it’s a nice addition to the phone overall.
The feeling of the S Pen on the screen is nice. It feels natural and comfortable, not like the metal-scraping-glass feeling of old styluses.
S Pen is a tiny remote control
The Intelligent S Pen is also a remote control which has both gyroscope and accelerometer sensors, and that provides moving coordinates to the phone. That lets you use it as almost a magic wand of sorts. Yes, this feature existed in the Note9, but it can be helpful.
Hold down the pen button to open the camera, then push the button on the side of the pen to trigger a photo.
You can also press the pen’s button to play or pause your media (this works pretty well), or double press to play the next track.
New on Samsung Note10 & Samsung Note10+: Using Air Control or gestures with S Pen
The S Pen also has gesture controls, called Air Control, and all S Pen gestures require you to hold down the pen’s button to activate them. While watching media, flick the pen up or down to increase or drop the volume, or skip by swiping the pen side to side in the air.
Once you know how to use the gestures, they work pretty well, though it’s a bit of a learning curve to get the button press and swipe to all work together. Often I was left waving my hand awkwardly in the air trying to get the volume to change.
The S Pen can translate words for you if you hover the pen over them, or it can also magnify areas of the screen by hovering.
The S Pen gestures will work with other apps too like PowerPoint (you can click through slideshows or presentations), or use Samsung’s Voice Recorder and the Pen will pause and resume recording for you.
One other handy feature, though it’s not new, is the ability to write quick notes on the screen, even if the phone’s screen is off. I absolutely love this feature and would use it all the time, to save post it notes from cluttering my life.
Handwriting to Text conversion
The Samsung Galaxy Note10 has a feature which converts your handwriting to text. It’s great for taking notes in class or on the go, then being able to read them (hello awful handwriting!) later, or share them without needing to translate your chicken scratches.
If you want to use the pen to write out a message and have it convert your scrawl to text, it’s simple. Open a new Message. Then tap the three dots along the top menu bar. Choose Handwriting, and it will open a window for your to write in. It’s case sensitive, meaning if you write in lower case, that’s what shows up. If you switch to capital letters, it can tell. This feature actually works really well at recognizing writing and only minor corrections might be needed, so if you flunked cursive in school don’t worry.
Camera: Samsung Note10 & Samsung Note10+
The camera is not far off the quality of the Galaxy S10 camera and it does do recording in 4K or Ultra HD too like the S10. If you want to see how to activate the 4K video, check out my how-to video here on the blog. New camera features include: 10 x Digital Zoom, 2 x Optical Zoom, Auto Flash, Face detection, and Touch to focus.
Portrait Video, aka Live Focus Video on Samsung Note10 & Samsung Note10+
But one of the key additions here is Portrait Video, officially called Live Focus Video. This effect lets you add what’s called bokeh, meaning you can blur the background on videos now too. It’s a great effect for you YouTubers, since it lets you crush out the dirty laundry in the back of the shot.
How to use Portrait video on Samsung Note10
To take a Live focus video, open the Camera app and swipe to Live focus video. You can adjust the blur as you like using the slider bar, shifting the look of the backdrop of the video as you shoot. The camera will keep telling you to ‘find a face’ and it seems to be less easy to manipulate the blur if there’s not a face in the shot.
There are also filters with Live focus or portrait video that let you put yourself in colour, and add a more monochrome black and white effect to the back; that’s called Colour Point.
One aside here, there’s also a feature called Zoom Audio, that zooms in on the sound as you’re taking a video too.
How to Use AR Doodle and AR Emoji
There are some new options with the camera that make photos and videos more fun and personalized, and in our Instagram and Snapchat world, these are bound to be popular.
AR Emoji is a feature that lets you add virtual digital stickers, emojis or other animated effects to your photo or video. When the camera recognizes a face or space, the doodles on the face will follow the face as it moves, and the doodles in the space will be fixed in the same place even if the camera moves.
To use it, launch the Camera app and tap Video or Photo on the shooting modes list. Then Tap
AR Emoji in the top right corner. Along the bottom is a list of available options.
The other feature Samsung has is AR Doodle. Remove the S Pen from it’s slot, then open the camera app. The camera will look for faces. When it detects one, you’ll see the small S Pen icon on the right edge of the screen. Tap on it and you’ll see AR Doodle is the bottom option. Tap on it and you can add drawings on your face, change colours, write messages and tonnes more. You can doodle first then record, or record up front and have the doodles get recorded as you do them.
3D scanning on Samsung Note10 & Samsung Note10+
Samsung touted the 3D scanning capabilities of the Note10, but they weren’t part of the phone at launch. While the app apparently showed up in the US store shortly after, it doesn’t appear to be ready for Canada yet.
When it comes, this feature should be super helpful for students in design, drafting, architecture and engineering programs.
No more headphone jack; wireless audio is the future
In the new Note10 phones, the audio jack is gone, perhaps hoping to encourage folks to purchase a pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds. You could also use a USB-C adapter too.
Aura Glow and Gorilla Glass
This phone just looks new and cool, so if you’re the type that likes to have the latest and greatest, this phone will be an attention getter with the multicolored, prismatic Aura Glow back. It would definitely be a shame to put a case on this, so it’s a good thing it’s got Gorilla Glass for better protection from accidental drops.
Screen Recording is now available for Samsung Note10 & Samsung Note10+
After years of folks asking for this feature, the new Note10 now offers native screen recording.
How to record and capture your Note10 screen
Instead of using a third-party app, record your screen on Galaxy phones with Screen recorder. With Note10/Note10+, you can record almost anything that’s displayed on your screen! You can even use the front camera to record yourself during the video.
To open the Quick Settings panel, swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers. Swipe left, and then tap Screen recorder. Once the countdown timer finishes, your phone will start recording whatever’s on the screen. Rejoice!
The Screen Recorder will not record phone, VOIP, or video calls. Additionally, some apps may block the Screen recorder feature due to copyright restrictions.
Overall Review Samsung Note10
Overall this phone has some fun new features that might make it a worth upgrade. The Samsung phones definitely have luscious screens tat are beautiful to look at, the phones are fast, and loaded with features. The S Pen in the Note lineup is a nice added feature too.
Should you upgrade to the 10 if you already have the 9? Probably no need unless you’ve got the cash and really want these additional features. Either way, the Note10 is a pretty cool phone and if you’re looking at a new Android smartphone you’ll no doubt like this one.