The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 displayed on mobile phone hidden in jeans pocket. Picture: 123RF/Piotr Swat
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 displayed on mobile phone hidden in jeans pocket. Picture: 123RF/Piotr Swat

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Cool factor 5/5
Usability 4/5
Value for money 3/5

Samsung has positioned its new Note phablets as a combination of a computer, a gaming console, a movie-tech camera and an intelligent stylus — all in one. And to take the devices’ appeal even wider, it has released two versions of the Galaxy Note 10 for the first time.

The 6.3-inch Note 10 and the 6.8-inch Note 10+ went on sale last week (the devices differ in price by R4,000). The Note 10 sports a lower-resolution screen, is smaller, has less battery capacity and RAM, no expandable storage and a triple-lens rear camera.

The FM tested the premium Note 10+ in an "aura glow" shade, which is striking, as it reflects a spectrum of colours. The 7.9mm-thin yet huge 6.8-inch device has an Infinity-O display. In comparison, its rival, the iPhone Xs Max, is 6.5-inches.

The device is superfast — we’re talking 12GB of RAM in your pocket. It has new business features with the S-Pen, include the capacity to scribble handwritten notes that convert to text in Word or PDF, and Air Actions, which support gestures like swiping, switching camera modes and zooming, and, in future, to control slides.

The Note 10+ has a "Link to Windows" feature that allows you to pair a device with Windows 10 for easy messaging, notifications and photo sharing.

A standout feature is the polished Samsung DeX (desktop experience) platform that links to a PC or a MacBook via a USB cable.

PC and phone apps work side by side with drag-and-drop between the two; and the phone has an ability to do what one normally cannot do outside of Instagram: post content to the social network directly from a Mac or PC.

The four rear cameras are 16MP ultra-wide, 12MP wide-angle, 12MP telephoto and a "DepthVision" lens; with a 10MP front camera. The cameras are good, but won’t stack up against the performance of those on the Huawei P30 Pro.

Features include audio zoom, 4K videos and built-in editing; but both AR Doodle — which adds effects to a scene — and Live Focus Video — which adds depth-of-field adjustments — are novelties that could wear off quickly. Still, taking pictures with a black and white background or with blurred effects were fun.

The Note 10+ can stream games from a PC, and Samsung’s Game Launcher now supports Discord, a wildly popular gaming chat app.

Samsung has removed the headphone jack from the Note 10, but includes USB-C AKG headphones in the box, so you’ll have to choose between listening to music and charging the device.

The phablet has a 4300mAh battery (and supports quick charge), which takes you well into the night with heavy use.

For the power user, the Note 10+ is the variant to go with if you’re due for an upgrade, but it is expensive at R23,000.

You may want to wait until September 10, to see what Apple will unveil on its next-gen iPhone.

Samsung S10. Picture: 123RF/Leonard Zhukovsky
Samsung S10. Picture: 123RF/Leonard Zhukovsky
Samsung S10. Picture: 123RF/Leonard Zhukovsky
Samsung S10. Picture: 123RF/Leonard Zhukovsky
Samsung S10. Picture: 123RF/Leonard Zhukovsky
Samsung S10. Picture: 123RF/Leonard Zhukovsky