If you're split between which of Samsung's just-released phablets to buy — the charmingly compact 6.3-inch Galaxy Note 10 or the larger, feature-packed 6.8-inch Galaxy Note 10 Plus — battery life is one important reason you should splurge on the bigger phone.
Here at Tom's Guide, we run every smartphone we review through our custom battery test. We set the device's screen brightness to 150 nits, and we force it to endlessly load webpages until the battery completely drains.
The average time a handset lasts in this test is 10 hours and 14 minutes. The smaller Galaxy Note 10, with its 3,500-mAh battery, notched an average of 9 hours and 10 minutes, across two tests. The 4,300-mAh Note 10 Plus, on the other hand, averaged 11 hours and 9 minutes. We're in the process of running an additional test on each device, and will update this story once they are completed.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story listed a higher battery test result for the 6.1-inch Galaxy Note 10 due to a testing error. After conducting additional testing on both Note 10 models, we’ve revised this report .
Galaxy Note 10 battery life vs. competing phones
|Huawei P30 Pro||12:53|
|Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus||12:35|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 9||11:26|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus||11:09|
|Apple iPhone XS Max||10:38|
|OnePlus 7 Pro||9:31|
|Google Pixel 3 XL||9:30|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 10||9:10|
Now, an earlier version of this story actually placed the smaller Note 10 at the top of the list with a 14:33 result. The reason for this, unfortunately, was an error in testing. Our battery test runs devices through a predetermined list of websites, and the list of sites in the two tests we initially ran with the Note 10 contained less-demanding pages that lacked battery-siphoning advertisements and video.
Once we retested both Note 10 variants using the proper group of sites that more accurately reflect the modern web in terms of page sizes and resources, we saw those numbers come back down to Earth. (If anything, it highlights how destructive the internet is today on power-conscious mobile hardware. Though that's another story.)
The two-hour gap between the 6.3-inch Note 10 and 6.8-inch Note 10 Plus reflects the advantage of the latter's larger battery, which is 800 mAh bigger.
The only phone Tom's Guide has tested to trounce both devices is Motorola's $249 Moto G7 Power, which delivered 15 hours and 35 minutes. However, the G7 Power is a low-end Android phone with power-sipping processor and a battery 70% larger than the one inside the standard Note 10, so you'd expect it to last that long.
And if you're wondering if Apple's biggest, baddest iPhone fared any better than the Note 10 Plus, it didn't. The iPhone XS Max turned in just 10:38. Perhaps Apple's upcoming iPhone 11 Pro will improve upon that — we'll find out when the phone is revealed in a little over a week's time.
Something that especially impresses us about the Note 10's battery is how quickly it charges back up. The Note 10 and 10 Plus are Samsung's first phablet to support the company's new 25-watt Super Fast Charging spec out of the box.
Using that brick, the smaller Note 10 is able to reach 50% capacity after being plugged in for a half-hour, while the larger one actually achieves a whopping 65%, based on our testing. If you need even more speed — and we certainly don't blame you if you do — Samsung will soon offer an quicker 45W charging kit as well.
Both Note 10 devices can also recharge wirelessly, at up to 15W speed, and recharge other devices as well using Samsung's Wireless PowerShare feature. Because the Plus model is so efficient as it is, you'll definitely have some extra juice to spare for a pair of Galaxy Buds.
Ultimately, there are more than a few good reasons to choose either Galaxy Note 10 as your next device — that's why they've landed on our list of the best smartphones available today. We love how Samsung has shoehorned massive AMOLED panels and gobs of storage into both variants, and the cameras are quite good (even if they're not class-leading). But if you're chasing the longest-lasting battery in your next phablet above all else, the Note 10 Plus is the way to go.