Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy Note 10 smartphone is set to be released on August 23, and will be the first of the Note series to include a 5G model. While the Note 10 is anticipated to be largely more iterative in comparison to the refreshed Galaxy Fold, Samsung is facing a challenge, as more users are holding on to their smartphones for longer periods of time.
The 5G-capable model of the Note 10+ commands a significant premium, and with widespread 5G mobile network deployment still at least a year away in most markets, convincing users to upgrade right now will require meaningful differences over what is presently available.
Here are four features that business users would need to purchase a Galaxy Note 10.
1. Consistent 5G experience
As a first-generation 5G smartphone, the 5G-enabled Note 10+ will have a lot to prove to consumers and business users alike—first impressions can be make-or-break, and perceptions of initial rollouts of 5G mobile networks have ranged from wow to frustration, according to CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt.
Certainly, the lion’s share of the burden for ensuring a consistent 5G experience is on mobile network operators, though Samsung does share some responsibility for it. Early tests of phones with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem demonstrated a dramatically reduced battery life. Potential energy consumption improvements in the Snapdragon X55 are intended to improve performance, though this will only be available with the AT&T and T-Mobile versions of the Galaxy S10+, with the Verizon model receiving the first-generation X50 modem. Rumors point to the X55 shipping with the Galaxy S11.
Likewise, issues with heat dissipation have plagued the Galaxy S10 5G, with tests on T-Mobile in New York and Verizon in Chicago—in temperatures at or above 90 degrees—prompted the phones to drop down to 4G to cool off. Use of mmWave frequencies requires higher power to receive and transmit signals, which in turn uses more power, generating waste heat. This can be detrimental to battery life day to day, as well as overall longevity of the battery.
2. Less expensive pricing
Pricing for the Galaxy Note 10 in Europe was leaked by Roland Quandt at WinFuture.de, with anticipated pricing set at €999 (about $1,114 USD) for the standard Note 10, and €1149 (about $1,282 USD) for the larger Note 10+. Historically, Samsung’s pricing between Europe and the US is identical—that is, it does not convert, only the currency symbol is changed—making it likely that the Note 10 retails in the US for $999, much like the Galaxy Note 9 did.
Happily, Samsung announced comparatively lower US pricing of $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.
SEE: Samsung Bixby 2.0: An insider’s guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
For better or worse, this puts the Galaxy Note 10 at the same price point as the iPhone XS. Runaway inflation of phone prices has been an issue for several years, though considering value-adds such as larger Flash storage and the stylus—the marquee feature of the Note lineup—Samsung’s pricing is competitive with Apple’s.
Accessory bundles or other value-adds could make the Note 10 more attractive to business users, though the prospect of paying $1,000 for a non-5G phone as widespread 5G deployments are around the corner may be unappealing to some.
3. A user interface that is not visually distressing
Samsung’s relatively newly introduced One UI—the successor to Experience, which was the successor to TouchWiz—is an improvement over the company’s previous Android interfaces, though given the janky visual quality and system performance of TouchWiz, Samsung had nowhere to go but up.
4. Headphone jacks and microSD card slots
One of the key differentiators of Android smartphones is their versatility and expandability. While Google’s Nexus and Pixel avoided expandable storage for years, only recent models have abandoned the 3.5mm headphone jack—making Samsung’s offerings more attractive.
The Note 10 is anticipated to remove the microSD card slot, while all models are anticipated to lack a 3.5mm headphone jack. The loss of microSD may not be a substantial problem, as the Note 10 features up to 512GB max storage from the factory, though the loss of a headphone jack may deter some users from upgrading.