Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ First Impressions

Posted on September 5, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 9 Comments

My Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ arrived today, and I’m up and running. I can already see that I made the right choice in upgrading from the smaller Note 10: The bigger display size really makes a difference.

So does fully configuring the phone: With the original, smaller Note 10, I knew almost immediately that I wasn’t going to keep it, so I didn’t really bother to customize it in any meaningful way, nor did I install most of the apps I typically use. This time around, however, I did both. And while there is much customization to come—and more app installs, I’m sure—it already feels more like my own device.

Key to this customization, of course, is configuring the Note 10+ as my primary handset on Google Fi. That proved non-problematic: I just inserted the Google Fi SIM into the Note 10+, rebooted, and installed the Google Fi app and activated my account. No issues at all.

The only real issue I’ll encounter, short-term, is that the case didn’t arrive with the phone. This will apparently come next week, but I’m hoping it will be sooner than that. I may just try and buy a duplicate case locally and then return the one Samsung sends. We’ll see.

After getting all my most frequently used apps installed and configured, I gave the Samsung Dex app for Windows another try. As you may recall, I found the performance of this app to be too slow for regular use with the original Note 10. And you never know: Maybe some combination of software improvements since then and the additional RAM in this new phone (12 GB vs. 8 GB) would make a difference.

And … maybe it did. Dex is still a bit laggy, and I certainly wouldn’t want to use Microsoft Word in this environment to write a full article. But it did work, and it was even somewhat usable in small doses. This makes me want to try a direct connection with Dex again as well, and I will do so.

As for the phone itself, as noted previously, I ordered an unlocked 256 GB configuration in Aura Blue because my first choice, Aura Glow, was unavailable at the time. (Not that it matters, since it will be covered in a case as soon as possible anyway.) Like its predecessor, it’s a bit hard to capture the device’s color with a camera, but it’s a very deep blue, almost purple color. The bundled S-Pen is very much purple and is, I think, a different color from the version that came with my previous Note 10.

Also unlike the original Note 10, the Note 10+ supports microSD storage expansion, up to an additional 1 TB. I will never need this functionality, but you can add a microSD card in the same pull-out drawer that houses the SIM card.

The Note 10+ also supports fast-charging up to an incredible 45-watts, but the fast charger it comes with is just 25-watts and is, I think, the same unit that comes with its smaller sibling. I doubt I’ll need the faster charger, which costs $50, but I’ll keep an eye on battery life and charging time and consider it. Whatever happens, I’m pretty sure the Note 10+ has the largest battery I’ve ever used in a phone, at 4300 mAh; by comparison, the Huawei P30 Pro provides a 4200 mAh battery and the unit in the OnePlus 7 Pro is 4200 mAh.

(Also in the box is a pair of earbud wired headphones and a USB-C-to-USB-A adapter. But no USB-C-to-headphone adapter.)

Aside from just using the handset normally, I’m going to spend time exploring the Samsung apps and services, the Microsoft integration bits, and, of course, the camera system. So, I should have more soon.

And yes, I’ll be keeping this one. At an astonishing $1100, this is the most expensive smartphone I’ve ever purchased. But that’s before I factor in the crazy $600 trade-in on the Pixel 3 XL (for which I paid $480). Still, $980 is … yeah. Expensive. But also a great new entry into the Galaxy ecosystem. So we’ll see how it goes.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ First Impressions”

  1. Jaxidian

    At least it's a write-off! I hope you enjoy! I also hope you got the other ~$300 of freebies and discounts with the pre-order deals!

  2. rmlounsbury

    I would note that if you use DeX through the dock or USB-C cable and connect the mouse and keyboard direct to the device (whether by dock or wireless) the DeX experience is probably a lot better. Using DeX that was smooth on the Note 8 and Galaxy S10+ that I tested it with awhile back. The only thing that was slow was the Ubuntu Linux instance that you can run with Linux on DeX.

    I'm guessing there is some software problems with the Mac and Windows client that need to be resolved.

  3. mmcpher

    I've had an unlocked Note 10+ for about a day, and it's sitting right next to my Note 9. The Note 10+ display is something to behold. I am pining for my back-ordered case because of inadvertent launches, particularly from the navigation bar. What has positively surprised me is how well and how quickly the onscreen fingerprint reader is working. It already is better-integrated with certain apps than ever my previous notes were. I am still basking in the glow of a new device, but migration has been better than with previous upgrades and there have been a few bonuses in that my Samsung Watch and my Your Phone have each jumped up, as if they had been waiting for the Note 10+.

    I will be interested to see how a new user adapts to the stylus. It has some real utility for precise screen-region selection and text entry, never mind the Potteresque wand-waving. I will be following with interest how well the Note 10+ photo experience sizes up for PT.

  4. Daekar

    I will eagerly look forward to your evaluation of the 3D scanning function. This phone might be my next 3D printer accessory if it proves promising.

  5. csalese

    "At an astonishing $1100, this is the most expensive smartphone I’ve ever purchased. But that’s before I factor in the crazy $600 trade-in on the Pixel 3 XL (for which I paid $480). Still, $980 is … yeah."

    I'm totally reading this wrong or the math is way off...

    1100 - 600 ≠ 980

  6. harrymyhre

    I was at the Microsoft store on Sunday and sat at a desk and looked at that same model. Nice display. I was a bit lost because I have grown used to IOS.

  7. wolters

    I've been so waiting on your final thoughts/review on the Note 10 since we both tend to lean back to a Pixel due to the camera, despite always enjoying the wealth of features in the Note phone.

    I posted my initial thoughts in the forums while back ( )

    And I have a few more...

    • YourPhone is a bit quirky but I hope to see it evolve. Some slight syncing issues and often the app on Windows 10 won't start and I have to kill the process and then it will pop up. My biggest request is for copy/paste of media to be allowed (something Android Messages on the web did very well.)
    • The performance continues to impress when coming from Pixel 3 XL. Everything seems so much faster and I'm not battling apps being closed out or websites being logged out.
    • The screen is pretty fantastic.
    • The Camera - The jury is still out. The Pixel continues to be more consistent but that said, when the Note 10+ takes a good photo, it is really good. The problem I battle is blurry selfie photos and quick loss of detail in the slightest of zooming in. The Pixel's photos seem to retain a lot more detail when zoomed in whereas the Note's photos blur.
    • I'm using as much of the Samsung Ecosystem as I can to give it a good shot. Samsung Messages is serviceable and I am primarily using it so it has a slightly deeper integration with my Galaxy Watch. But between Messages and Samsung Contacts, I have encountered some odd quirks, especially with contact names often not appearing, being incorrect or someone else's name popping up in a message / call. I may return to Android Messages.
    • And speaking of Galaxy Watch and while not tied directly to the Note (as GW works great on ANY Android Phone), I just have to say how much I enjoy it and think it is the best, complete smartwatch for Android users. And this is after several years of supporting WearOS.

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