Samsung Galaxy Note 10: A cheat sheet

TechRepublic's cheat sheet to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Note 10+, and Note 10+ 5G cover the differences between the three models and why the mobile devices matter for business.

To 5G or not to 5G? Galaxy Note 10 delivers 'extremely capable upgrade' for business users Samsung just announced its Galaxy Note series update with the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus. Expected internal updates were made, along with improvements to the S Pen capability and camera functionality.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 is the highly anticipated successor to the Galaxy Note 9 series, planned for release on August 23. While it is the first of the Note series to introduce a 5G-capable model, availability of 5G is limited in the US. Likewise, the 5G-capable Note 10+ will launch first on Verizon in the US, with support for other carriers coming later. Similarly, only the Note 10+ will support 5G in the US, with Samsung leaving the door open for a 5G-capable version of the smaller Note 10 for international markets. 

TechRepublic's cheat sheet to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 will receive updates as more information becomes available.

SEE: All of TechRepublic's cheat sheets and smart person's guides

What is the Galaxy Note 10?

Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+ represent the ninth generation of the stylus-bundling Galaxy Note line of phablets (no Galaxy Note 6 was produced). For the first time in the Galaxy Note series, Samsung is producing two different screen sizes for the already famously large phone, for a total of three Galaxy Note models. While the Galaxy Note 10 drops the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the microSD card slot is limited to the larger Note 10+, it retains the signature S Pen stylus.

The Galaxy Note 10 retains the same 6.3" screen as the Note 9, packed into a slightly smaller frame. The display is a dynamic AMOLED display, with a 2280x1080 (401 ppi) resolution, and includes 8 GB RAM and 256 GB internal storage, with a 3,500 mAh battery.

SEE: More Samsung Galaxy coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

The Galaxy Note 10+ packs in a massive 6.8" screen. Like the Note 10, it uses a dynamic AMOLED display, with a 3040x1440 (498 ppi) resolution, and includes 12 GB RAM, and either 256 GB or 512 GB internal storage, expandable using a microSD slot, with a 4,300 mAh battery.

A 5G-capable version of the Galaxy Note 10+ will launch first on Verizon Wireless, using Qualcomm's first-generation X50 modem. The Galaxy Note 10+ 5G supports 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) connections, in both sub-6 GHz (FR1) and mmWave (FR2) frequencies. 

Here's how the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+ differ.

Galaxy Note 10

Galaxy Note 10 +

Display

6.3-inch FHD+
Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display,
2280x1080 (401ppi)
HDR10+ Certified

6.8-inch Quad HD+
Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display
3040×1440 (498ppi)
HDR10+ Certified

Camera

Rear: Triple Camera

  • Ultra Wide: 16MP F2.2 (123°)
  • Wide-angle: 12MP 2PD AF F1.5/F2.4 OIS (77°)
  • Telephoto: 12MP F2.1 OIS (45°)
Front: 10MP 2PD AF F2.2 (80°)

Rear: Quad Camera

  • Ultra Wide: 16MP F2.2 (123°)
  • Wide-angle: 12MP 2PD AF F1.5/F2.4 OIS (77°)
  • Telephoto: 12MP F2.1 OIS (45°)
  • DepthVision Camera: VGA
Front: 10MP 2PD AF F2.2 (80°)

Body

71.8 x 151.0 x 7.9mm, 168g
(BLE S Pen: 5.8 × 4.35 × 105.08mm, 3.04g)

77.2 x 162.3 x 7.9mm, 196g (196g for 10+ 5G)
(BLE S Pen: 5.8 × 4.35 × 105.08 3.04g)

CPU

7nm 64-bit Octa-core processor (Max. 2.8 GHz + 2.4 GHz + 1.7 GHz)

Memory

8GB RAM with 256GB internal storage

12GB RAM with 256GB or 512GB internal storage

Battery

3,500 mAh (typical)

4,300 mAh(typical)

Differences in mobile network deployments are influencing availability. Comparatively power-hungry mmWave network deployments by Verizon and AT&T require larger batteries. According to CNET, "In South Korea and other markets—possibly Europe—there will be an option for 5G in the smaller Galaxy Note 10. But only the Plus version will come with 5G in the US."

Likewise, CNET reports that the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G for AT&T and T-Mobile will use the second-generation Qualcomm X55 modem. The newer modem is anticipated to address power consumption and heat dissipation issues, though those models "will only be able to access their sub-6Ghz networks, not their millimeter wave service." Sub-6 GHz frequencies will not be able to deliver the headline-making speeds, though will deliver more consistent coverage.

The displays on both are HDR10+ certified, and both feature a trio of rear cameras: A 16MP ultra-wide lens, 12MP wide-angle lens, and 12MP telephoto lens, as well as a 10MP selfie camera. The Note 10+ includes a VGA "DepthVision" camera. Likewise, both are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 on models sold in the US, with models in Samsung's domestic South Korea market—and potentially other markets—using the internally-developed Samsung Exynos 9825

For networking, both support Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0, and have a 4x4 MIMO antenna supporting "up to 7AA, LAA, and LTE Cat. 20" for up to 2.0 Gbps download and 150 Mbps upload.

All models of the Galaxy Note 10 will launch with Android 9.0 (Pie).

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Why does the Galaxy Note 10 matter?

Considering the difficulties Samsung faced the delayed launch of the Galaxy Fold earlier this year, as well as previous difficulties with the Galaxy Note lineup, the Galaxy Note 10 is an important product launch for Samsung to demonstrate their bona fides in designing and shipping a phone that works reliably.

Likewise, Samsung is one of the first smartphone manufacturers to introduce 5G smartphones, making the 5G-capable variant of the Galaxy Note 10+ an important factor for users looking to upgrade, as 5G mobile networks are deployed more widely. That said, while 5G deployments in the US are still relatively nascent, users are also likely to be more reluctant to spend over $1000 on an LTE-only smartphone. Given the pricing of $949 for the Note 10 and $1099 for the Note 10+, carrier sales or value-add bundles are likely necessary to convince consumers to open their wallets.

While Samsung's position as the largest smartphone manufacturer is (theoretically) under threat from increased competition from other Android manufacturers including Huawei, as well as from Apple's iPhone, Huawei's political troubles and forecasts of the first 5G iPhone slipping to 2020 give the South Korean giant room to move. 

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Who does the Galaxy Note 10 affect?

The Galaxy Note 10 is a particularly compelling option for business professionals, considering Samsung's partnership with Microsoft, given the preload bundle of Office apps, and the ability to export handwritten notes in the Samsung Notes app to Microsoft Word, among other applications.

Likewise, Samsung's DeX desktop app allows for extensive Windows integration, bringing the ability to drag and drop files between devices, as well as view notifications, send and receive messages, and view photos.

Charging capabilities are also varied on the Note 10, with a 45W charger capable of delivering a full charge after 77 minutes. Samsung also touts it as being capable to last throughout the day after 30 minutes of charging. Wireless PowerShare also allows users to "wirelessly recharge Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Buds, or another Qi-enabled device" using the Note 10.

New to the Galaxy Note 10 series is Air Gestures, a feature that "[allows] you to control certain aspects of the device using gestures with the S Pen," according to Samsung. In a hands-on using a presentation demo app, ZDNet's Larry Dignan noted that "I couldn't quite get the Air Gesture feature to work consistently. It wasn't clear whether I should point the S Pen at the camera or flick it on the side to pan a camera, advance a gallery or go to a new slide... I found myself reciting press, swipe and let go to get anywhere."

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When will the Galaxy Note 10 be released?

Pre-orders for the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+ begin on August 8, 2019. A $150 Samsung credit is offered to buyers who pre-order the Galaxy Note 10+, with a $100 credit for buyers of the smaller Galaxy Note 10. 

The Galaxy Note 10 and 10+ will be available on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and Xfinity Mobile, online and in stores, with the release date scheduled for August 23, 2019. It will also be sold at Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart.

The Galaxy Note 10+ 5G is a time-limited exclusive through Verizon Wireless, launching on August 23, 2019. It will be available on AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile at a later, unspecified date.

SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (TechRepublic Premium)

In the US, the Aura Blue variant of the Galaxy Note 10+ is found "exclusively at Best Buy and Samsung.com," and is available in carrier and unlocked versions.

Pricing starts at $949.99 for Galaxy Note 10, and $1099.99 for Galaxy Note 10+, for both carrier and unlocked versions. The Galaxy Note 10+ 5G on Verizon will start at $1,300. Pricing for the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G is unconfirmed, at launch.

According to Samsung, eligible customers in the US "can get up to 6 months of unlimited music with Spotify Premium on your Galaxy Note."

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What are good alternatives to the Galaxy Note 10 and 10+?

Considering that Google—not Samsung—controls Android, Google's own Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are compelling choices for professionals. TechRepublic's Macy Bayern notes in a point-to-point comparison that the nearly year-old Pixel 3 may enjoy "a possible longer lifespan for its devices and consistent security updates." Bayern also notes that "The Pixel 3's camera is impressive, but not necessarily top priority for business professionals, who would probably get more mileage out of Samsung's DeX and Windows linking capabilities."

Likewise, ZDNet's Jason Cipriani notes that the Pixel 3 is completely outclassed for onboard storage, as the Pixel 3 tops out at 128 GB, while the Note 10 starts at 256 GB. Likewise, Cipriani notes that "iPhone XS Max is the heaviest of the four devices, outweighing the smaller Note 10 by exactly 40g. It's even heavier than the Note 10 Plus, despite being smaller." ZDNet's Matthew Miller—who used the Note 9 as a daily driver for the past year—is planning to trade up to the Note 10+. CNET's Jessica Dolcourt maintains that the Note 9 is still compelling, particularly if it receives price cuts. 

CNET's Lynn La also notes that the OnePlus 7 Pro is cheaper, and earned CNET's Editors' Choice award in June. Given the relatively wallet-busting price tag of Samsung's new Note duo, the OnePlus is definitely worth consideration.

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Image: Samsung

By James Sanders

James Sanders is a staff technology writer for TechRepublic. He covers future technology, including quantum computing, AI/ML, and 5G, as well as cloud, security, open source, mobility, and the impact of globalization on the industry, with a focus on ...