Galaxy Note 10 Plus Initial Impressions: Still a Lot to Unpack

Aug 26, 2019 10:00 EDT
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The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is finally here and available for purchase across all retail outlets. I managed to get my hands on the Aura Black variant. The first thing you notice after whipping the device out of the packaging is just how premium it feels. It's hard to describe, but just holding the Galaxy Note 10 Plus for a few minutes somehow makes you rationalize the near $1,000+ price. I've used the Note 10 Plus for three days, and here are my initial impressions about it.

Display

Galaxy Note 10 Plus

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The Galaxy Note 10 Plus' display is about as good as it gets. The large 6.8-inch display feels more polished compared to its predecessor. The hole-punch front-facing camera seems a bit intrusive, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. The colors are accurate, bright and vivid right out of the box. The screen can get surprisingly luminescent at peak brightness. It'll be fun to see how proper HDR content looks on this. I do, however, have one grouse. For reasons best know only to Samsung, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus' display is set to a resolution of 1080p out of the box, and you have to set it to 1440p manually. I'm not sure why Samsung thinks this is a good idea and was hoping that they'd stop doing this.

Camera

Galaxy Note 10 Plus

I haven't had a chance to take the Galaxy Note 10 Plus' camera out for a spin just yet. The few images I did manage to shoot look crisp. Unlike images captured by its predecessors, the images are not oversaturated and look natural. Here's what I've managed to capture so far

The camera app is host to a plethora of camera modes, and I can't wait to get into all of them individually. This is arguably one of the best smartphone cameras on the market right now. Although I'm not much of a social media aficionado, the dedicated Instagram tab in the camera UI will be a godsend for those who use the platform extensively. I'm also fond of the S Pen gestures baked into the camera app.

Build Quality

Galaxy Note 10 Plus

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The all-glass body is one giant fingerprint magnet, so I'd recommend putting your shiny new Galaxy Note 10 Plus in a case ASAP. This is a Galaxy Note device so that one-handed operation will be tricky for a lot of people.  On the one hand, I'm happy that the Bixby button's gone. On the other, I'm miffed that Samsung decided to move the power button to where the Bixby button used to be. Years of muscle memory still have me reaching for the non-existant power button. Thanks, Samsung.

S Pen

Galaxy Note 10 Plus

The prospect of using a smartphone seems a tad dated in the current year. Thankfully, the S Pen is more than one and serves other purposes too. So far, I've only used it within the camera app and will look into it in detail later. I know that it can also be used within the YouTube app for basic navigation too. Not a lot of apps support S Pen gestures at the moment, but Samsung stated in their event that they had opened the door for publishers to bake it into their applications. You can even jot down something on the Lock Screen and save it to the Notes app. Pretty neat if you want to take notes without unlocking your phone.  All in all, I don't see a lot of people using this regularly.

Verdict

To wrap things up, I liked the speed of the Note 10 Plus' Face Unlock. It was noticeably snappier than the one on my Galaxy S9+. The fingerprint scanner, on the other hand, is a different story. The ultrasonic sensor takes a bit more pressure than I'm used to and registering a fingerprint was a chore too. I'm going to stick to Face Unlock for the time being. The out-of-the-box 25W charger is a beast and took about an hour to charge my battery from 45 to 100%. One can only wonder much better the yet-to-be-released 45W chargers will fare. I've liked what the Galaxy Note 10 Plus had had to offer so far and look forward to using it. Watch this space for a full, in-depth review.

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