Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus and Galaxy Note 10 have finally arrived. We’ve compared the Galaxy Note 10 Plus to the Galaxy Note 9 to help you decide which Samsung phablet you should buy — and whether the upgrade is worth it.
It’s only been a year since Samsung unveiled its Galaxy Note 9, which has a starting price of $999.99. This past August, the company unveiled its Galaxy Note 10, which starts at $949.99. While the Note 10 is an excellent phone, we don’t recommend upgrading to it from the Note 9, as it’s a step down from its predecessor in several ways.
The real flagship is the Note 10 Plus, starting at $1,099. And while there are a few drawbacks to Samsung’s new phone, it’s better than the Note 9 in just about every way. You don’t need to upgrade — but you won’t be disappointed if you do.
Neither phone is easy to use one-handed, but the Note 10 Plus gives you more screen.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is that it’s a massive device. At 6.8 inches, it’s one of the largest phones you can buy. Some folks may see this as an argument in favor of the 6.4-inch Note 9, which is a bit easier to hold. But the reality is that both phones are large. You won’t be able to comfortably use either with one hand unless you have very large hands — and forget about fitting either into a tight pants pocket. On the other hand, you’ll notice the 0.4 extra inches of screen on the Note 10 Plus. You’ll have more space to write, draw, edit, and do everything else you use your Note for. For a slightly bulkier phone, I think the trade-off is worth it. Winner: Note 10 Plus The Note 10 Plus has a better display, but you probably won’t notice the difference unless you’re looking for it.
The Note 10 Plus has a 6.8-inch AMOLED screen with 3,040 x 1,440 pixel resolution, while the Note 9 has a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen with 2,960 x 1440 pixel resolution. In layman’s terms, these are both superb displays with bright, accurate colors. The Note’s famous rival, the iPhone XS Max, has just an OLED screen with 2,688 x 1,242 pixel resolution. Unless you’re holding the phones right next to each other, you likely won’t notice the difference in screen resolution. What you will notice, however, are the bezels. The Note 9 has very visible bezels on the top and bottom of the screen, while the Note 10 Plus, with Samsung’s signature “Infinity-O” display, is about as bezel-free as you can get. If you covet a bezel-less experience, the Note 10 Plus is the phone for you. The 10 Plus does have a camera notch in the center of the top of its display, which is visible when you’re watching videos. Check out some photos and make sure this won’t be a deal-breaker for you before you upgrade. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus has a top-of-the-line processor in the Snapdragon 855 — the same chip you’ll find in most of this year’s Android flagships. The Note 9 is powered by last year’s Snapdragon 845. The Note 10 Plus also packs in 12GB of RAM, while the Note 9 comes in 6GB or 8GB configurations. Thanks to new processor and increase in RAM, the Note 10 Plus will deliver smoother, snappier performance when it comes to photo processing, video playback, and other intensive tasks, and can better multitask and run apps in the background. However, the Note 9’s Snapdragon 845 and 8GB RAM are still more than enough for most people’s needs. For context, Google’s flagship Pixel 3 XL sports the Snapdragon 845 with only 4GB of RAM, and it still delivers a pleasant browsing experience. Unless your Note 9 is lagging, you probably don’t need the Note 10 Plus’ performance boost. The Note 10 Plus comes with — brace yourself — a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, and a depth-sensing camera, in addition to a 10-megapixel selfie shooter on the front. The Note 9 comes with dual 12-megapixel wide-angle cameras and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, as well as an 8-megapixel selfie-shooter. The Note 10 Plus’s photos look noticeably better, especially in low-light settings. But the Note 10 Plus really stands out when recording video, where it comes with a slew of unique features, including a Live-Focus Mode that adds filters and depth effects while you shoot, and a Zoom-In feature that filters out background audio. The phone also has a native video editor that you can use to trim your clips, and add animations and other effects. If you’re an artist, you can also use the S Pen to add your own doodles to your videos. If you put a high premium on your smartphone’s camera, and if you use your Note for any sort of video editing, the Note 10 Plus is head and shoulders above its predecessor.
The Note 10 Plus has a 4,300-mAh battery, while the Note 9 has a 4,000-mAh battery. This isn’t a huge difference; the phones tend to last comparable amounts of time in battery tests, but the Note 10 Plus a few minutes ahead. That said, battery life degrades over time. If you already have a Note 9, it probably doesn’t last as long as it did when you first bought it, so you’ll get a bit of an upgrade with the Note 10 Plus. The Note 10 Plus comes in 256GB and 512GB configurations, while the Note 9 has expendable storage as well, and comes in 128GB and 512GB configurations. I am only using 45GB of my iPhone’s storage right now, and I have more than 100 apps and thousands of photos; it’s unlikely you need anything close to 512GB of storage if you’re an everyday user like me. That said, if you’ve run out of space on your Note 9 or your Note 10 Plus, both phones have expendable storage as well. Winner: Note 10 Plus