There is no shortage of smartphones up for review this month, but one particularly notable (pun intended) drop this week on the review desk was the Samsung Note 10 Plus. It’s a device that impressed no end at the launch last month, but those hands-on times are always limited and invariably hampered by a clunky tether.
Having the device in hands gives a much truer reflect of its ergonomics and what it it is like to use the Note 10 Plus. So first impressions on that front – it feels fantastic, and somehow not as large as it seemed at the launch event. At 6.8 inches, its not small, but because it is so thin, it doesn’t feel ginormous or unwieldy, but rather very similar to its predecessor, the Note 9 (review).
There are some initial differences that I noticed right away. The power button has shifted from the right hand side to the left, which should result in less instances of inadvertently switching the device off if you are right handed. Also the Bixby button that was on the left in the Note 9 is gone.
The colour on my review unit, incidentally, is Aura Black, which is reminiscent of the deep of night. Even as the lighter colours dazzled, I like it the deep rich black as well. That’s not to say you aren’t treated to a light show – when the phone is charging or connected to your computer while at your side, you get this entrancing cyan-blue-green pulsation of colour that immediately made me want to reach for the stylus and combine those colours into an abstract. That’s for another time though.
What has remained is the terrific ease of setting the phone up and transferring your existing settings, particularly if you have a Samsung account and cloud backup. I appreciate having the layout and all the apps of a previous Samsung device seamlessly migrated across to a new one, within about 5 to 10 minutes (a bit more perhaps depending on how many apps you have on your phone). Nonetheless, it makes for a seamless start, which is fantastic.
One of the features I was particularly keen to test out was the cameras on the device. While the Note 9 had two back shooters, the Note 10 Plus borrows from the Galaxy S10 Plus, adding a wide angle shooter to the mix. More particularly, the device boasts a 12-megapixel a variable f/1.5 to f/2.4 aperture camera, a 12-megapixel f/2.1 telephoto lens (with OIS), and then a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture, which is ideal for landscape, nature, travel and architecture shots.
With initial setup done, I took the phone for a leisurely walk with video through my garden to see how well it would cope with an array of greens, oranges, whites and pinks that dot my garden at the moment.
On the plus side, having the three cameras to easily shift between is a boon. As well, it seems like the Note 10 Plus doesn’t hunt for focus as much as I remember the Note 9 doing. While some of the colours seem a bit truer and not as saturated as the Note 9 tended towards, on the negative side, greens appear to be noticeably over-processed. Hopefully that is something that will be rectified in an update. Nonetheless, as for as initial forays go, I’m largely impressed.
You can see the initial video results for yourself below.