Galaxy Note 10+ Review

(gentle music)

– This is the Samsung Galaxy Note10+.

In a vacuum, it’s a no brainer of a buy,

with a feature list longer
than almost any smartphones

and an eight-year legacy
of almost nothing but hits.

But you shouldn’t buy phones in a vacuum.

You should buy them in context.

When you look at how good the competition

has got 700 and even $400 price points,

the Note10+ has to work harder than ever

to justify its $1100 tag.

I’ve been using the phone for seven days.

Let’s see how close it
gets to that justification.

Flashback to last year with me real quick.

It was tough to justify
a four-figure price tag

for a phone, especially
since I’d just eviscerated

the iPhone XS Max for the same offense.

But I argued that the
Galaxy Note9 was worth it

because it was as close to no
compromises as you could get.

Well, while the Note10+ doesn’t
bring as many compromises

as it’s smaller Note10 sibling,

the ones it does make are contentious.

Let’s start with the
now-absent headphone jack.

I mentioned in my hands-on
that it won’t bother those

who’ve already made the switch
to Bluetooth headphones.

But for creators, whom Samsung
is specifically targeting

with this new built-in video editor,

the 3.5 millimeter jack
is still a crucial tool.

If we take a situation like this,

where I’m talking directly to the camera,

it’s cool to use the S Pen as a remote,

and the Live focus effect
can make it look like

I’m on a malfunctioning
Holodeck, which is cool,

but without a headphone jack,

I can’t plug a lav mic into the Note.

And with the field of
view of just 80 degrees,

the framing gets a little cramped

unless I use a selfie stick.

This phone really could have used

something like a 97-degree camera,

like the wide-angle selfie on the Pixel 3.

And then there’s the
new fingerprint sensor.

When in-display readers are implemented,

like they are on the One Plus
7 Pro, I really like them

because that optical reader is super fast.

And if it does make me wait,

at least it gives me
visual and haptic feedback

while it tries to authenticate me.

The Note10’s ultrasonic reader
is slower to begin with.

And since you get no haptic feedback

and barely any visual feedback on the AOD,

well, that makes it feel even slower.

There’s no longer a heart-rate
reader or an iris scanner

on the Note10+, neither
of which I really miss.

But what I do miss is
the notification LED,

still the best way to tell you

that someone’s trying to reach you

if your phone is across the room.

Now I hope you’re not bummed out

about me starting with the negatives

  Samsung Galaxy S22

because Samsung does give us a
bunch of goodies in exchange.

Starting with the biggest
battery ever put into a Note.

I punished this thing.

The first thing I did after unboxing

was set the always on
display to persistent mode.

And I set that gorgeous screen,

also the biggest ever on a
Note, to maximum resolution.

This being the summertime, it stayed close

to max brightness most of the time too.

To to pile on the pain, I paired the phone

to a smartwatch and two sets
of Bluetooth headphones.

And I never took fewer
than 30 photos a day.

Despite all that, the phone
never got close to zero

before bedtime after 18 hours.

When I did charge, the
25-watt adapter in the box

got me from zero to 58% in a half hour

and to a full charge in 75 minutes.

I only had to do that for testing, though.

I usually used wireless charging,

the Note10+ gives you that capability

in forward and reverse.

In case you have a Galaxy Watch

or Galaxy Buds you need
to juice up on the go.

Oh, that’s a feature that
came over from the Galaxy S10,

and so did the camera array.

It is so nice to have
this diversity of angles,

especially the Ultra Wide Camera,

so I’m pretty forgiving
of the shortcomings

like the inconsistent color science

and the lackluster low-light performance.

Yes, even with the new
Night Mode, it’s not great.

Here’s a fun fact.

I spent most of my review
period shooting video

with the Note10+, instead of stills,

because of how much I enjoyed

that new Super steady stabilization.

This was shot with no gimbal, no rig,

just a phone in my hand.

Samsung has peppered in
a few new features here.

You get a Zoom-in Mic,
probably inspired by HTC,

which increases microphone sensitivity

as you magnify on a subject.

♪ I shout from the mountain ♪

– [Micheal] And speaking of stuff borrowed

from other manufacturers, Super
Slow-motion is back again,

largely unchanged from the S10

but still more useful than
it is on the Sony phones.

Package all that up with
the built-in video editor

and you get a potent production platform

for mobile filmmakers.

Not as potent as it could be
with proper manual controls

and the camcorder and the
aforementioned headphone jack,

Samsung is still bested by LG there.

And the free video editor is
very basic and a little buggy,

you’re gonna need to invest
in something like Adobe Rush

to produce something with
any kind of polish to it.

Incidentally, I will have
the opportunity to try that,

and next week I’m gonna produce a video

entirely on the Note10+, when I test out

Verizon’s new 5G network in Providence.

  Galaxy Unpacked August 2021

If you wanna see that when it goes live,

make sure you’re subscribed
to TheMrMobile on YouTube.

We’ve left the phone’s halo feature

pending for long enough, wouldn’t you say?

Yeah, Samsung is once again leaning mainly

on the S Pen to differentiate the Note

and it’s still the phones
most compelling feature.

No, not because of the new gyro gestures,

which I find just as useless after a week

as I did in that first minute.

And certainly not because you can doodle

on people’s faces now.

Those are the kind of
gimmicks that lead to people

dismissing the S Pen as a toy

when really, it’s a very useful tool.

In addition to being a helpful anachronism

for those who still love
the feel of handwriting,

it’s a mouse that brings the
precision clicks you need

if you’re gonna do stuff
like edit video on the go.

It helps with the flow
of the edit process,

with the button controlling play and pause

so you can more easily
navigate the timeline.

It’s great for photo editing,

making precision changes to
certain regions of the photo.

And for someone like me, whose thumbs

are finally starting to feel the effects

of years spent swiping smartphone screens,

it’s much-appreciated
alternate input method.

It’s like those old Jeep stickers,

you need to use the S Pen
for a while to understand it.

Or you know you could
just get hooked on this.

(S Pen clicks)
That’s what happens when you

spend too long making a phone video,

things get a little weird.

“Okay,” say the meat-and-potatoes folks,

“What about the cake
underneath all the icing?”

Mixed metaphors aside, the
fundamentals are strong.

Voice calls are bright and loud.

And those dual speakers
also make watching media

a pleasure with only
a slight casing rattle

to complain about at max volume.

– Hi, I’m Michael Josh,

and you’re watching GadgetMatch.

– [Micheal] The phone’s design boasts

more attention to detail
than any Samsung phone

up to this point, right down
to the fully-aligned ports

at the top and bottom.

I already mentioned the screen,
but during the edit process

I saw this tweet from XDA’s
Max Weinbach on Twitter.

And he’s right, I think this
is the prettiest display

I’ve ever laid eyes on,
refresh rate be damned.

And the phone itself is
strikingly beautiful.

You gotta love a phone that
looks like a compact disc.

But if you’re tired of the fingerprints,

or those reflections messing up

your out-the-window Amtrak shots,

you can kill two smudges with one skin

thanks to my sponsor, dbrand.

Whether you go for a special grip case

or just the classic vinyl skins,

you’ll get protection and looks

  Samsung Galaxy A72

that you just can’t find anywhere else.

Hit the link in my description

to deck out your Note10 or 10+,

and thanks to dbrand for
sponsoring this video.

Folks, I’m gonna bring it home

with a slightly controversial opinion.

An expensive smartphone is fine,

as long as it packs extensive features.

The Galaxy Note10+ fits that bill

from its spec sheet to its S Pen,

and if it’s between
buying this or an iPhone,

the Note is definitely the
more compelling product.

But if you forgive my speculation,

it seems like Samsung didn’t try as hard

to blow the roof off with this one.

And if that’s true, I
think the reason for that

might be that when the
Note10 was being designed,

Samsung still expected the Galaxy Fold

to be the thing that would wow
the Note’s traditional base.

Needless to say it hasn’t
worked out that way.

At least not yet.

So as impressive as it is on a few fronts,

on others the Note10+ feels like

the launch event that announced it.

Flashy but also by the numbers.

It feels like a phone
from a company that knows

it doesn’t have meaningful
Android competition in the US.

A company, that as my colleague
Andrew Martonik puts it,

“is already winning the race in neutral.”

And in 2019, with excellent phones

like the Pixel 3a and
OnePlus 7 Pro on shelves

for many, many hundreds of dollars less,

you’re soon gonna have
to do better than this

to earn the kind of glowing recommendation

the Note used to be known for.

My friends, as long as this video is,

there’s more I didn’t
get to, from Samsung DeX

to more of those camera
modes, so be sure to check out

the full review from Android Central,

which I’ll link below.

Big thanks to Hayato Huseman
and my other friends from AC

for their help assembling this video,

which was made possible by a
review sample from Samsung.

The company did not offer
compensation for this review

or receive copy approval rights.

That means they’re seeing
it at the same time you are.

Please subscribe if
that’s the kind of review

you’d like to see more of on YouTube.

Until next time, thanks for watching

and stay mobile, my friends.

 


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