Samsung

Note 10 Plus FULL REVIEW - The Best Tech Product of 2019!


Every few years there’s this one product that comes out that changes my perspective on tech entirely. You see tech today, mostly smartphones, are quite boring. They all look almost the same, they do the same things, and after using so many smartphones over the years, it’s become quite rare for me to get excited and truly enjoy using a new smartphone, like I used to when I got my first iPhone the 3G, or my Galaxy S4 or my 2013 Retina MacBook Pro. Those were devices that I’ve enjoyed using so much.

But nowadays it’s very hard for me to get excited and hyped about new smartphones, since nothing really changes. However the Note 10+ is a bit of a different story. This has been for me, by far the most enjoyable smartphone I’ve used in years and the second most enjoyable piece of tech of 2019 for me, right after the Oculus Quest.

So, get some popcorn and drinks ready and here’s my full in-depth review of the Galaxy Note 10+, after two months of use, as my daily driver.


DESIGN

Ok, so starting with the design, the Note 10+ is by far my favourite looking phone ever! I’ve enjoyed using the S10+ a lot, and even that was my daily driver for around 2-3 months, until the OnePlus 7 Pro came out but the Note 10 for me at least, looks so much better.

A design comparison between the Note 10+ (Left) and S10+ (Right)

A design comparison between the Note 10+ (Left) and S10+ (Right)

It’s got a more squared off design when compared to the S10+, even thinner bezels, and a smaller camera cutout. It just looks about a year ahead of the S10+ in terms of the looks, even though it only came out five months after. 

Then if you compare it side by side to the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the Note looks about two years ahead in terms of the design! There’s no notch, much thinner bezels on the sides and the top, and the bottom ones are almost identical as well. 

I would say that the only phone on the market right now that might look better than the Note, at least for me, is the OnePlus 7 Pro and the OnePlus 7T Pro. These phones have no camera cutout at all, but they do have slightly thicker bezels all around the phone. 

So design wise, I’m very much into this phone. It is a bit uncomfortable to hold and use, I can definitely say that. You see, because of the squared off shape the corners of the phone will feel a bit sharp in your palm, when compared to the corners of the S10+ for example, which are more rounded.

Add that massive 6.8” display to this and you can probably tell that the Note 10+ is closer to a small tablet in size. It’s definitely the biggest phone that I have ever used and I actually love it! Clearly not a one-handed smartphone but for viewing content and productivity, this is the best one there is.

 

DISPLAY

Speaking of viewing content, let's talk about the display.

The Note 10+ comes with a gigantic 6.8” display, which is also Samsung’s latest generation of AMOLED panels for smartphones, which is actually the same display generation that the iPhone 11 Pro Max also uses. It’s a 3040x1440 resolution panel, with a 498 PPI so it’s very sharp. It supports HDR10+ and full DCI-P3 coverage, and it’s honestly the most gorgeous smartphone display that I’ve ever seen.

Outdoor screen brightness comparison between the iPhone 11 Pro Max (Left) and Note 10+ (Right)

Outdoor screen brightness comparison between the iPhone 11 Pro Max (Left) and Note 10+ (Right)

Now displaymatte actually gave the crown to the iPhone 11 Pro’s display, which does indeed get brighter outdoors in direct sunlight, when compared to the Note. And same goes for manual brightness you can bump the iPhone 11 Pro higher than you can with the Note. But they both go up to around 1200 nits when playing HDR content, so that’s all good. 

However, I can honestly tell you when seeing both in person, indoors at least, the Note 10+’s display does look better. The colours are punchier, and whilst the brightness is lower than on the iPhone it’s not that noticeable indoors as it is outdoors. When you also add in the fact that you can watch videos on YouTube in higher than 1080p, which you cannot do on the iPhone, makes the Note 10+’s display for me at least, the best display on any smartphone for watching videos and reading content. 

We’ve actually bought a professional display colour calibration tool and here are the results that we got out of the Note 10+’s display. On a white surface with a maxed out manual brightness, we got 349 nits, while on the exact same image on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, maxed out brightness again, we got 524 nits.

When it comes to the camera punch hole, I honestly forgot that it was even there after about 10 minutes or so of use, so honestly don’t worry about it. I even like it more than on my S10+ since it’s smaller and also centred and Samsung and the Community have made some amazing wallpapers just for Note 10!

CAMERA

Now, when it comes to the camera it’s pretty good! It’s definitely in the top 3, right after the iPhone 11 Pro’s camera.

So it’s got three lenses on the back; a regular module, a zoom module, and a wide angle module. As well as some extra features which I’ll cover in the Special Features section of this video. I won’t go into too much detail here as we’ve already done two insanely detailed camera comparisons between the Note 10+ and the Pixel 4, the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the OnePlus 7T Pro, the most recent of which I’ll link right here.

And those include thirty individual test categories, each with multiple camera samples ranging from; macro Shots, to HDR front and back, stabilization in 4K, stabilisation with the wide angle, portrait mode, slow motion, timelapse, panorama, night mode, night mode with zoom and night mode with telephoto and many more. So if you do want to see how this camera performs, do check those videos out!

But long story short, it’s got the second best video recording capabilities in the phone, right after the iPhone 11 Pro Max. So It cannot do 4K 60 with the wide angle lens or 4K 60 with the front, but other than that, this is an amazing camera.

The wide angle is even better than on the iPhone, mostly because it bumps the highlights, shadows, and the vibrancy even more and for me at least, the images were slightly more pleasing to the eye. Night mode shots were very good, not as good as on the Pixel 4 or iPhone 11 Pro but pretty close. It definitely has the best portrait mode when it comes to the background separation, thanks to the extra TOF sensors, which I’ll cover more in just a bit. Where the Note 10+ excels is really just regular photos. HDR shots taken indoors and outdoors are just stunning, so if you care a lot about the camera the Note 10+ will not disappoint.

You can see an example of each of these below:

The only disappointment that I do have with this camera is that it’s very similar to the S10. Aside from the zoom module which now has an f/2.1 aperture from the f/2.4, the main camera is the exact same camera as on the S10, which fun fact, was the exact same camera as on the S9, and the S8, and the S7. I mean yes, Samsung has released brand new image sensors for these phones and they have improved the image processing over the years, so the pictures have improved from each generation, but the sensor specs have remained exactly the same since the S7. We have the same 12MP resolution 1/2.55 inch sensor with 1.4 micron sized pixels, with dual pixel technology on the sensor for focusing.

However there are rumors that are suggesting that Samsung may release a new generation of cameras with the Galaxy S11. Therefore if you’re holding off getting a new phone, and camera is your number one focus, the S11 will be a pretty big jump in camera quality from the Note and you should wait for that.

 

PERFORMANCE

Ok, so now, what about the performance? Well, it’s pretty good for the most part.

The Exynos 9825 chip is new to the Galaxy line, as the S10 came with the 9820 (Source: Digital Trends)

The Exynos 9825 chip is new to the Galaxy line, as the S10 came with the 9820 (Source: Digital Trends)

We have pretty much the best specs you can have on an android phone today. We have the Exynos 9825, which is actually a brand new processor from the 9820 that we got with the Galaxy S10 just five months before. So this is now based on a new 7nm process now and in benchmarks at least, this is the processor that scores the highest, in an android phone at least.

Now, if you get the US variant of the Note 10, it will come with Snapdragon 855 and interestingly enough not the 855+ like it was rumoured to come with, and like what the OnePlus 7T & 7T Pro come with, which is a bit of a let down. But the 855+ is just an overclocked 855 anyways, so you’re not really missing out on much.

We also get 256GB of storage as the baseline model and 12GB of RAM by default which is just nuts on a phone! RAM management on this has just been incredible. In a lot of cases, I opened an app that I had open a few days before and it was still there perfectly loaded in the background and perfectly usable!

So I’m very impressed with the RAM management and overall performance on the Note 10, however it’s not perfect. I did have quite a few stutters and app crashes on my Note, definitely way more than I’ve had on my iPhone or Pixel, but the thing is that this phone comes with so many features, that a few crashes and slow downs here are there, are passable for me at least.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Apps Edge on the Note 10+ allows you to quickly access your choice of apps

Apps Edge on the Note 10+ allows you to quickly access your choice of apps

First off, Samsung’s skin OneUI is just amazing! Design-wise, I like it the most out of any other Android Skins, even more than OnePlus’s OxygenOS or the Pixel Launcher. The reason for this is mostly because it looks very clean and it also offers a lot of customisation. Aside from changing the icons, the text font, the wallpaper to an actual video, and even the always on display style, something that as far as I’m aware no other launcher can do, is having app folders inside of Apps Edge. This means that you can essentially have an iPhone style home-screen in the app drawer, while keeping your home-screen very very clean.  And you also have this edge panel which allows you to easily access apps and tools, with a swipe from the right side of your screen. Some people might call this a gimmick but personally, I actually ended up using this feature a lot, keeping most of my delivery apps there, my alarm, and the apps that I use quite frequently that I just don’t want to have on my home-screen. Samsung has also sped up their update cycle quite a bit. OneUI 2.0 is coming very soon, with Android 10 support, and the Beta is already out on the S10. This means that the S10 and the Note 10 will then be the world’s third manufacturers to release Android 10, right after Google and OnePlus, which is pretty amazing to hear, especially when it comes to a Samsung phone.

But it’s not just that, we also get a ton of special features that we don’t really get on many other phones.

We do have an always on display which Apple still lacks on the iPhone, and this is also noticeably better than Google’s always on display, since it does give you a ton of more customisation options. 

We also have a microSD card slot for adding even 1TB of extra storage to this, for a total of 1.5TB which is just a complete overkill on a phone but hey, if you store a ton of games and have all of your movies locally, then the Note is the perfect phone for this.

The Note also comes with reverse wireless charging, which allows you to now only charge another phone from the back of it but also charge wireless accessories such as the Samsung Galaxy Buds, or even the AirPods, from the back of the Note 10. What’s ironic is that you cannot do this if you have AirPods and the newest iPhone 11 Pro. 

Speaking of wireless, one of the new features that the Note 10+ comes with is WiFi 802.11ax, also known as WiFi 6, which is pretty huge. WiFi 5 or 802.11 ac, which is the current standard that most devices use, launched back in 2014, so there’s a 5 year technology leap in between the two. WiFi 6 gives you a theoretical speed of up to 9.6Gb/s or 1.2GB/s which is just incredible! But the best part about WiFi 6 is that if you have a lot of WiFi 6 enabled devices, and a WiFi 6 router as well, they will manage themselves much better than WiFi 5 could and pretty much get rid of any traffic congestion entirely.

Along with improved speaker quality, the water resistance is still here, with IP68 certification for up to a 1.5m submersion up to 30 min. I’ve taken multiple Samsung phones with me to the seaside and the pool and I’ve never had an issue with any of them breaking but if they do break from water damage, do keep in mind that this isn’t covered under warranty. 

Now aside from these features, there are three more that are unique to the Note and these three are the features that truly make the Note a one-of-a-kind phone.

The S-Pen is certainly a useful tool but may go unused after a while by some consumers

The S-Pen is certainly a useful tool but may go unused after a while by some consumers

The first one being of course the S-Pen. This is the built-in stylus that Samsung has in their Note line of smartphones, and this year it gets an accelerometer and gyroscope so that you can control some apps, such as the camera app, with gestures in the air, which is pretty cool. But honestly, I found myself not using the S-Pen after the first few days, mostly because of the app support. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad but if you want to use the S-Pen to its fullest you need to use Samsung Notes. The problem here is that it only works on Android, so no desktop or cloud app for your laptop or tablet, and it only works on Samsung devices. Which kinda turns the Note 10 into a physical notebook, where you only have your notes on that specific device. You can still use the S-Pen in OneNotes or Google Keep, but it’s just not as fluid and the functionality is still far better with Samsung Notes. Also since I’m always much faster at taking notes with a keyboard than I am with a pen, I found myself avoiding to use the S-Pen unless I was editing photos. For me, this has been by far the best functionality of the S-Pen. If you use it in Lightroom and Photoshop Express for masking things, making a selection, or even just adjusting the highlights dial for example it is such an amazing thing to have right in your pocket! 

The second big new features is that TOF (time-of-flight) sensor right next to the camera, which allows the Note to not only take some amazing portrait mode shots, like I mentioned before, of both people and objects, but you can also use it to 3D scan objects. This is a very cool thing to do but it doesn’t really work that well, and same as the S-Pen, I only found myself using this once or twice and never used it again since. 

But the third unique feature is pretty big, and that is DeX! When you connect your Note 10 to a monitor via USB C, it will actually boot into a desktop UI mode, and then you can connect a mouse and keyboard and literally use this similar to how you would use a Windows PC. You have full access to desktop apps such as Microsoft Office and Google Chrome so that’s pretty amazing! So if you’re the kind of person that mostly uses their smartphone and doesn’t really need a full laptop or a desktop PC, then getting a Samsung phone with DeX is a pretty good option. All Samsung phones from the S8 onwards do support DeX, although the S8 and Note 8 do need a separate dock.

But the Note 10 can actually do an extra thing that previous Samsung phones couldn’t. You can now connect it to your laptop as well, and open up the DeX UI on your laptop. Personally, I don’t really get the point of you doing that since one, you do need a cable and two, the whole point of DeX is to turn your smartphone into a PC. But if you’re already carrying a PC then what’s the point? But if you do care about this feature, the S10 did get a recent update to support this as well! 

So as you can see, the Note 10+ is packed with features! There’s not a single smartphone on the market that has more features than this phone does, and while some of them are indeed gimmicks, like drawing with the S-Pen in AR, at least you do get a ton for what you’re paying for! 

Now Samsung has actually removed the headphones jack from the Note 10, making this their first major smartphone to lack the 3.5mm jack. For me this hasn’t really been an issue at all, since I do use wireless headphones all the time, but I do see why some people might be outraged especially when Samsung didn’t include a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter in the box, meaning you do have to buy it separately now. 

BATTERY LIFE

So with all those special features in mind, the huge display on this thing, and the internals, how is the battery?

Well it is actually pretty great! The Note 10+ comes with a 4300mAh battery and it can easily last me through a full day of use, unless I’m travelling. When I’m travelling I’m always on my phone and I haven’t found a phone yet that can last me a whole day in that case. But for my day to day use, the Note 10+ can even last me two days, so it’s been pretty amazing for me.

We also have a much faster fast charging of up to 45 Watts! Yes, the Note 10+ has the fastest charge on any smartphone on the market right now! Now out of the box, we do not get that 45W charger, so you need to buy that separately from Samsung, but we do get a 25W fast charger which can charge the Note up to 50% is just about 30min which is pretty amazing. You can get a full charge in around an hour and twenty minutes or so. With that 45W charger you get a full charge in around forty five minutes or so from what I’ve seen.

 

VALUE

So in the end is the Note 10+ worth it?

Well, the Note 10+ costs £1000 or $1100 in the US, which is actually the exact same price than the iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at. However you get so much more with the Note, the 256GB compared to the 64GB of storage, as well as microSD card expansion. 12GB of RAM compared to 4GB. A larger display, and the ability to play 4K videos on YouTube compared to just 1080p. The S-Pen, reverse wireless charging and so much more, the Note 10 is the true Swiss army knife of smartphones, and I would recommend this to anyone who wants the ultimate experience in a smartphone! 

Samsung does have the smaller Note 10 variant which I didn’t really talk about since the true new Note this year is the Note 10+.

Pixel 4XL vs iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ vs OnePlus 7T Pro - Blind Camera Comparison!


The Google Pixel 3 had some of the best camera abilities on a smartphone at the time of its release. Now the Google Pixel 4 has an additional lens on the back and one less on the front.

We compared it to the most recent releases from Apple, Samsung, and OnePlus to see how it would compare. You can check out our full blind camera comparison above, but here are a few of the shots from the test. Let us know which ones you prefer and why in the comments!

Also, the order of the phones in this article are not the order of the phones in the blind comparison.


FRONT CAMERA - WIDE SELFIE

OnePlus 7T Pro

OnePlus 7T Pro

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Pixel 4XL

Pixel 4XL

iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro Max

 

REAR CAMERA - PORTRAIT MODE

OnePlus 7T Pro

OnePlus 7T Pro

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Pixel 4XL

Pixel 4XL

iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro Max

REAR CAMERA - HDR (High Dynamic Range)

OnePlus 7T Pro

OnePlus 7T Pro

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Pixel 4XL

Pixel 4XL

iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro Max

 

REAR CAMERA - ZOOM

OnePlus 7T Pro

OnePlus 7T Pro

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Pixel 4XL

Pixel 4XL

iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro Max

REAR CAMERA - FOOD

OnePlus 7T Pro

OnePlus 7T Pro

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Pixel 4XL

Pixel 4XL

iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro Max

 

REAR CAMERA - ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY

OnePlus 7T Pro

OnePlus 7T Pro

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Pixel 4XL

Pixel 4XL

iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro Max

 

So which one did you like overall? Don’t forget to watch the full camera comparison to make your full decision, as there are 30 different tests for each camera!

Samsung Galaxy S10+ Review


I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy S10+ for the past 2 months now and I’m simply in love with this device. More so than with any other smartphone that I’ve used.

The Galaxy S10+ is sitting in my pocket at the time of writing this, which not a lot of devices get to do. It’s actually replaced my iPhone XS Max as my main device for these past 2 months and here’s my full in-depth review of the Samsung Galaxy S10+!


DESIGN

This year we are lucky enough to have three S10’s to choose from; the S10+, the S10 and S10e and, whilst this is a review of the S10+, I am just going to go over a few differences in design between the models now.

In terms of display size we get a 5.8” one on the S10e, 6.1” on the S10 and 6.4” on the S10+. Now the S10e does have a flat display rather than the curved ones we get on the S10 and S10+, and the S10+ is the only one with a dual camera cut-out on the front which allows it to have better 3D depth mapping.

Now back to the S10+, the design of this phone is absolutely outstanding. This is, in my eyes at least, the best looking smartphone on the market by far! We get some extremely thin bezels on this phone. The top frame is barely even there, and the speaker is now built into that frame. The sides of the phone are curved, and whilst this does impact usability, which I’ll cover in the software section of this video, it makes the phone absolutely stunning to look at.

The Prism Green S10

The Prism Green S10

The backs of these phones also look amazing. You can get all the S10’s in many colors, some are unfortunately exclusive to only a few countries. The Prism Black and Prism White ones are available pretty much everywhere so you can at least pick those up, and you also have variants such as the Prism Green, like our regular S10 which Vodafone UK provided for us to show in the video, so shout out to Vodafone for that!

But probably the best part about the design of the S10+ is that camera cut-out itself!

There’s no notch at all on the S10+ and we instead get a single cut-out for the front camera, which Samsung has managed to integrate the actual display panel itself! It is really impressive to see how the display wrapped around the camera cut-out, and that portion of the display does support touch input, so you’re not really missing out on anything here.

Many users have started making wallpapers that embrace the cut-out rather than hiding it. There is a Wall-E wallpaper for example just looks incredible, and many of them were made by the community and even Samsung themselves, to fully take advantage of that camera cut-out.

I honestly think that this is one the best things that happened to a smartphone in a while. Apple tries to hide the notch on their iPhones, whereas Samsung’s doing quite the opposite. 

Now the only small “complaint” that I have regarding the S10’s design, is the chin. Not the fact that it’s big, because it’s almost the same size as on the iPhone XS Max, making it the 2nd thinnest chin on the market right now, but the fact that it’s not the same size as the top bezel so it stands out quite easily.

Other than that, in my opinion, this is the most beautiful phone on the market and just a joy to look at! 

 

DISPLAY

Let's great straight to the point on this. This is by far the best display on any smartphone on the market right now! I don’t mean just on a smartphone either, but on any device in general. It’s one of those things that you have to see in person, to fully comprehend how good it really is. 

It’s a 6.4” 3040x1440 OLED display, with an aspect ratio of 19:9 and a pixel density of 522PPI. It’s got gorilla glass 6, and probably the best part about it, is that it can display HDR10+ content. If you are not aware of what this is it means the display can go as bright as 1000 nits, which is just insane on a smartphone.

Also, if you’re coming from an iPhone, Android does support Google’s VP9 codec, meaning you can watch 1440p videos on YouTube, rather than being restricted to just 1080p, like on Apple Products. So not only is the display higher res, but YouTube renders at a higher quality as well and it’s just an incredible experience for watching content.

 

CAMERA

Now the camera is unfortunately where some of the downsides of this phone start, but they aren’t major.

The difference in camera quality between the Note 9 and S10+

The difference in camera quality between the Note 9 and S10+

Whilst you do get a 3rd camera module on the back, which is a wide angle module, meaning you can capture significantly more in the shot than you could with the regular module, the image quality itself hasn’t changed that much from the Note 9 or even the Samsung Galaxy S9 from a year before. In fact, looking at the camera specs, they seem to be using the exact same modules.

Samsung has updated their image processing so the HDR shots especially look better but they’re still not better than on the Pixel 3 XL or the iPhone XS Max in a lot of cases. RAW image processing is good, but again nothing compared to the iPhone XS Max which has the best dynamic range on any smartphone today. 

On the video side, we did get a massive upgrade and that is the fact that you can now record for an unlimited amount of time, which was limited to just 5 minutes of 4K60, or 10 minutes of 4K30 before. That didn’t make a lot of sense, especially considering how much storage you can have in this phone, but I’m glad to see this restriction being removed. 

Slow motion is good if you only care about the result. It can shoot in up to 960fps in 720p, but the slow motion movement detection it done automatically and, at the time of writing this, manual mode is glitched. Long story short, recording the quick balloon pop scene in the video took about 5-6 attempts on the S10+, whereas the iPhone XS Max and the Google Pixel 3 XL nailed it the first time. So it’s very frustrating recording slow-motion on the S10, but when it does work, the result is pretty good. 

However, there are a few weird things with this camera. Take the fact that you cannot use the wide-angle lens or the telephoto lens when recording video, unless you switch to 4K30. 4k60 doesn’t work with the wide-angle for example. Why is it like this? I have no idea, it doesn’t make any sense at all for Samsung to limit this. 

Now don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not saying that this camera is bad. On the contrary, the S10+ has the best smartphone camera on the market, same spot as the Google Pixel 3, the iPhone XS Max or the Huawei P30 Pro, but they all have different ups and downs.

Take the iPhone XS Max for example, it excels in video and dynamic range when it comes to photos. The Pixel 3 has some amazingly good HDR shots and an insane Night Mode. The Huawei P30 Pro has that 5x or even 50x zoom, and an even better Night Mode. Then the S10+ has, in my opinion, the best wide angle camera on a smartphone today, the best front facing camera for video, since it can do 4K video on the front and it can take some outstanding shots with little to no tweaking required. 

In the end, there’s no perfect smartphone camera, but the Galaxy S10+ one is definitely as good as the competition, just in some other areas. 

PERFORMANCE

Performance wise though, this thing is a beast! It comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 in US and Canada and Samsung’s own Exynos 9820 in Europe and Asia, and this year, it seems like the Snapdragon models are a better choice. They are not only faster but they also offer a better battery life.

Since we’re UK based, we got the Exynos model and personally my experience with the S10+’s performance has been really good. I haven’t really had any major lag or freezes on the S10+, unlike what I used to get on the older Samsung models. My iPhone XS Max completely froze 3 times in the past 2 weeks alone, to the point where I had to force restart the device since the touchscreen was completely unresponsive, and I’ve never had that with the S10+. 

The cooling pipe in the S10+ (Source: JerryRigEverything)

The cooling pipe in the S10+ (Source: JerryRigEverything)

Yes, it’s not as powerful as an iPhone XS Max is, but it can easily handle all the everyday tasks extremely well so I’ve very pleased in this regard. And the fact that it comes with 8GB of RAM by default, and even 12GB on the higher end 1TB storage model, means that you’ll never have an issue keeping apps open in the background. 

Heck, it even has a vapor cooling pipe to keep the temperatures low during gaming or video editing, which both the regular S10 or the S10e lack.

 

SOFTWARE

But performance is nothing without a good software experience and I’m pleased to say that the S10+ has the best software experience I’ve seen in a Samsung phone.

The new OneUI is a huge improvement over the previous Samsung Experience UI. Not only do you get this really cool system-wide dark theme, but the whole idea behind Samsung’s OneUI is that you can use it with one hand and everything is gestures based now. So you can swipe down from the home screen to access the notification panel, and even the brightness slider. You swipe up in the middle to go home, you swipe up on the right-hand side to go back, and you swipe up on the left hand side to open up the multitasking bar.

I mean they’re not the best gestures out there, they are better than the Pixel but they are still slide up gestures of the previous buttons rather than something that was designed specifically with the lack of buttons in mind, like the swipe left and right that we have on the iPhone.

Now something that I do like is the fact that you can have folders on the app drawer. You can basically have the entire iOS app UI with a swipe up of a finger and then you can keep the home screen clean and simple, with just a few icons and a few essential widgets.

The Samsung Edge Panel allows you to quickly access your favourite apps

The Samsung Edge Panel allows you to quickly access your favourite apps

I also love Samsung’s Edge Panel that gives you a few extra apps when you swipe from the side of the phone, this is brilliant and extremely useful to have! You can even have tools here, contacts for example, and way more things than just apps. 

However there are a few things I dislike about this software apart from the slightly clunky gestures.

My main issue with the software is with accidental touch rejection. It’s pretty bad and that’s because of the curved display which makes it very easy for your palm to touch some of the icons on the edge. This was improved from the S9 to the Note 9, when Samsung made the edges less curved on the Note 9 and the accidental touches were almost fixed entirely but the edges are now back to being really curved on the S10+, which does make the phone looks nice but it also severely impacts the usability. So I ended up randomly liking comments or tweets, pausing YouTube videos, skipping videos quite a number of times. 

I also dislike the scrolling. There’s no bounce effect like we have on iOS, so everything feels very unnatural and nothing feels as smooth or as fluid as an iPhone does. This doesn’t apply to all Android phones to be honest. For example my Pixel handles a slide gesture much better than my S10 does which constantly struggles with this, mostly because of the curved display which is really annoying! 

Animations don’t feels as smooth as iOS either. Everything feels a bit choppy and unnatural, so if you’re coming from iOS this is something you’ll notice right away. 

And of course, there’s the updates. Samsung is usually about a year late when it comes to updates and even when they do release an update, such as the recent Night mode for the camera, not all S10’s get it at the same time. For example, I still don’t have it on my personal S10, yet the review unit from Vodafone does. Samsung did improve their update cycle and they have launched OneUI on the Note 9, S9, Note 8, even the S8 have it, which is great and all but it’s still far behind Google Pixel phones which get day 1 updates, or OnePlus phones which also get updated just a few weeks or months after Google phones.

SPECIAL FEATURES

This phone is the swiss army knife of smartphones when it comes to special features. It comes with pretty much everything you would need in a smartphone. 

It’s one of the few smartphones to still support a microSD card slot, so you can expand the top of the line 1TB model with up to 512GB of additional storage and have 1.5TB of storage in a smartphone which is just insane!

It doesn’t come with UFS 3.0 storage, which only the Galaxy Fold and the OnePlus 7 Pro have so that’s a bit disappointing, considering that those are Samsung’s own chips which would’ve given the S10+ read speeds of close to 3GB/s up from about 1.5GB/s and write speeds would have almost double as well.

But we do get a ton more features. We get an always-on display which is fully customisable. We also get a notification ring that goes around the camera cut-out, which was recently added in an update.

It does come IP68 water resistance, which same as on every other water resistant phone, but it is not covered under warranty.

We get dual stereo speakers, which are much louder than on something like an iPhone XS Max, and also a headphone jack which is really useful to have if you’re not fully invested into the wireless headphone ecosystem.

The S10’s can now reverse wireless charge any device that accepts wireless charging, like the Pixel 3XL for example

The S10’s can now reverse wireless charge any device that accepts wireless charging, like the Pixel 3XL for example

If you are though, Samsung has also released the Galaxy Buds, which are their answer to Apple’s 2nd generation AirPods. They isolate the sounds much better than the AirPods but their sound isn’t as full as the AirPods. The microphone on the Buds is pretty bad, but they do offer better controls than the AirPods, and probably the best part about them is that you can charge them on the back of your S10!

Yes, the S10 now has reverse wireless charging, so you can charge anything that supports wireless charging; your Galaxy Watch, your Galaxy Buds, or even an iPhone. Also, wireless charging is now even faster on the S10, with up to 12W charging, so that’s great. It can get to 33% in just 30 minutes of charge using fast charge, which is pretty impressive considering it’s large 4100mAH battery. 

The S10 is also one of the world’s first smartphones to feature WiFi 6 or WiFI 802.11ax, the brand new standard that can get theoretical speeds of up to 10Gb/s! There’s very few WiFi 6 routers and networks out there, but this is great for futureproofing. Also if you want 5G, Samsung will be selling that 5G variant of the S10+, which not only comes with 5G but also a larger 6.7” display as well as an extra 4th camera module. 

But there are 2 outstanding features on this phone which not a lot of reviewers talk about and these are by far the most impressive things on any smartphone.

By connected your Samsung phone to an external monitor you can enter DeX mode

By connected your Samsung phone to an external monitor you can enter DeX mode

The first one is DeX. So with the S10, you can use the USB type C port, which is also USB 3.1, and connect it to an external monitor. Once you do that, it boots into this DeX mode, which looks very similar to a Window 10 experience. So you have all of your apps here in full screen, and apps such as Microsoft Office and Chrome work just as they do on your full desktop computer. You can even attach a wireless mouse and a wireless keyboard and basically transform your S10 into a desktop computer whenever you get back home from work. I find this is absolutely amazing! If you’re the kind of person that mostly uses their smartphone and nothing else, being able to use this as a full desktop PC when you get home is not just convenient, but it’s also far more affordable than buying a new computer. 

The 2nd big unique feature is VR. Samsung has the best mobile VR on the market right now. The GearVR which also comes with a motion controller is something that I recommend to every S10 user to get. The GearVR is made in partnership with Oculus so you have full access to thousand of Oculus apps and games and with the S10’s gorgeous 3K OLED display, everything looks stunning!. It’s something that honestly all of you need to try out! It’s that big of a game changer. 

|You can now unlock the S10 and S10+ using the in-display fingerprint reader (Source: Samsung)

|You can now unlock the S10 and S10+ using the in-display fingerprint reader (Source: Samsung)

Finally, we wouldn’t be talking about Special Features without mentioning the Fingerprint Reader. On previous Samsung phones, ever since the S8, we’ve had it on the back, which I was never a fan of. The one on the Note 9 was good, and much easier to reach since it was placed in the middle, rather than to the side. But I would have still preferred a Facial Recognition system like Apple uses on their iPhones or a fingerprint reader on the front. And this is exactly what Samsung has done with the S10. We’ve seen this rumored and leaked, ever since the S8, Samsung using an optical fingerprint reader but for whatever reason they never did. Even the S10 uses an Ultrasonic fingerprint reader, which is far more advanced than an optical one since it doesn’t need any light in order for it to work. Now my experience with this fingerprint reader has been ok. It’s definitely slower than a dedicated fingerprint reader and it doesn’t work as often as FaceID does on the iPhones. Initially it was working just 6/10 times for me, so I added my finger multiple times and now it works 8-9/10 times. Tip for those of you who have trouble with the fingerprint reader. But for me, I would always pick the S10’s fingerprint reader over one that’s on the back of the phone. This is Samsung’s first gen in-display fingerprint reader though, and I’m pretty confident that’s going to get even better with future software updates and new Galaxy phones as well. 

 

BATTERY

How the UI looks in the ‘Ultra Power Saving’ mode

How the UI looks in the ‘Ultra Power Saving’ mode

I found the battery life has been amazing for me. It can easily last me for a full day of use, even when I’m travelling and I’m a really heavy user.

The S10 also has this adaptive power saving mode that limits background usage of certain apps, based on what, how and when you use your. You can also manually toggle that Ultra Power Saving mode, which is not called anymore but it still works in a similar way, where the entire UI is black and you have this simplified UI where you can only use a few essential apps but the battery can last you for a few days, or even weeks by doing this. This with the S10+’s fast wireless charging and fast wired charging, and that 4100mAh battery means that this phone has given me the best battery life so far.



CONCLUSION

Ok, so what are my overall thoughts on the S10+?

Honestly, this is by far the best smartphone on the market right now, keep in mind that this is coming from someone who mostly uses Apple products. 

This is an amazing device with a stunning display, outstanding battery life, a very versatile camera and even the price of it is really good. On Samsung’s website, the S10+ starts from £900 for the 128GB model that also comes with 8GB of RAM, which is £200 less than an iPhone XS Max which only comes with 64GB of storage, no microSD card and a fraction of the features that the S10+ comes it.

The iPhone does offer a more fluid and optimised experience, everything just flows more nicely and if you’re heavily invested into the Apple ecosystem, then that’s a better choice. But for me, since I recently got an iPad Pro as well, I still have iOS for some things meaning that using an S10, an iPad and a MacBook is actually doable.

Also, since you cannot even use 2 apps at the same time on a £1100 iPhone XS Max for example, which you can easily do on the S10, the S10 is also a much better productivity tool that fits right in your pocket.