Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 is here, with a pair of big-screen models lapping up attention and competing for the dollars of smartphone shoppers. But the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus aren’t the first flagship phones Samsung has introduced this year. About six months ago, Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S10 lineup. And the similarities between those phones and these two newcomers is pretty striking.
How do the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S10 compare? To find out, let’s take a closer look at the specs for each Galaxy lineup (excluding the Galaxy S10e, which doesn’t really compare thanks to its lower price).
Galaxy Note 10 vs Note 10: Specs Compared
|S10||S10 Plus||Note 10||Note 10 Plus|
|Display Resolution||6.1-inch Edge AMOLED (3040 x 1440)||6.4-inch Edge AMOLED (3040 x 1440)||6.3-inch AMOLED (2280 x 1080)||6.8-inch AMOLED (3040 x 1440)|
|CPU||Snapdragon 855||Snapdragon 855||Snapdragon 855||Snapdragon 855|
|Storage||128GB, 512GB||128GB, 512GB, 1TB||256GB||256GB, 512GB|
|MicroSD||Yes (up to 512GB)||Yes (up to 512GB)||No||Yes|
|Rear Cameras||16-MP ultra-wide (f/2.2), 12-MP dual-pixel wide (f/1.5, f/2.4), 12-MP telephoto (f/2.4)||16-MP ultra-wide (f/2.2), 12-MP dual-pixel wide (f/1.5, f/2.4), 12-MP telephoto (f/2.4)||16-MP ultra-wide (f/2.2), 12-MP dual-pixel wide (f/1.5, f/2.4), 12-MP telephoto (f/2.1)||16-MP ultra-wide (f/2.2), 12-MP dual-pixel wide (f/1.5, f/2.4), 12-MP telephoto (f/2.1), time-of-flight depth sensor|
|Front Camera(s)||10-MP dual pixel (f/1.9)||10-MP dual pixel (f/1.9), 8-MP depth-sensing (f/2.2)||10-MP dual pixel (f/2.2)||10-MP dual pixel (f/2.2)|
|Battery||3,400 mAh||4,100 mAh||3,500 mAh||4,300 mAh|
|Dimensions||5.9 x 2.77 x 0.3 inches||6.2 x 2.91 x 0.3 inches||5.9 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches||6.4 x 3 x 0.31 inches|
|Weight||5.5 ounces||6.17 ounces||5.9 ounces||6.9 ounces|
The Galaxy Note 10 has 6.3-inch display while the Galaxy Note 10 Plus offers a huge 6.8-inch screen. Compare that to the 6.1-inch Galaxy S10 and 6.4-inch Galaxy S10 Plus.The separate Galaxy S10 5G has a 6.75-inch display, which is closer in size to the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, though Samsung’s newest phone has the largest display you can get — at least until the Galaxy Fold finally ships.
The other major display difference is that the regular Note 10 has a Full HD+ resolution, which is not as sharp as the quad HD panel on the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, let alone both the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus.
Aesthetically, the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus have a cutout for the front camera in the middle of the display, while the S10 and S10 Plus put this punch hole on the right side of the screen. (Both the Note 10 and S10 lineup use the Infinity O display Samsung makes, featuring a circular camera cutout.) Whether one position is better than the other, or both are equally bad and should have been a pop-up camera or notch instead will be up to you.
Processors, RAM and Storage
While we hoped that the Note 10 series would come with the latest Snapdragon 855+, a new variant of Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line processor that promises better graphic performance, Samsung instead opted for the Snapdragon 855 for Galaxy Note models shipping in the U.S. That’s the same chipset you’ll find in the S10 models. We’ll need to benchmark the new phones to see if they measure up to the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus results.
In terms of RAM, the Galaxy Note 10 will have 8GB (unless you can get the 5G version from Korea which has 12GB) and the Galaxy Note 10 Plus will boost that up to 12GB. The Galaxy S10 has 8GB on board, while the Galaxy S10 Plus has has 8GB with a 12GB option.
The Galaxy Note 10 is locked at 256GB of storage — there’s no microSD slot on this model nor are there other storage variations. The Note 10 Plus also features a base model with 256GB, but you can upgrade to a 512GB version or augment the onboard storage with a microSD card. In comparison, the S10 and S10 Plus start with 128GB with options to go up to 512GB; S10 Plus owners can even opt for a 1TB version if they don’t mind paying an extra $600 on top of the starting price.
Samsung upgrade storage in the Note 10 to the UFS3.0 data transfer protocol. That means it’s faster to access files and more than it is on the S10s, which use an older version.
Despite hopes for revamped cameras with greater resolution and more aperture options on the Galaxy Note 10, the cameras on the new phones are basically identical to what Samsung offers with thee S10 lineup.
That means both the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus feature a 12MP dual-pixel standard lens, an 16MP ultra-wide lens and a 12MP telephoto lens on the back, with the only difference being the aperture on the telephoto lens. It’s now a wider f/2.1 on the Note 10 lineup compared to f/2.4 on the S10 series. Hopefully, this means you’ll get better zoom photography on the Note 10 since the wider aperture will let in more light.
In addition, the Note 10 Plus gets a time-of-flight sensor (TOF), which was previously only found on the Galaxy S10 5G. This ToF sensor will help produce better portrait shots with a more convincing bokeh effect, as well as provide better performance in augmented reality apps.
On the front of the phones, it’s the same 10MP selfie camera on all the phones, except the aperture is now smaller on the Note 10 (f/2.2 versus f/1.9). The Galaxy S10 Plus and S10 5G remain the only models to feature a second front camera (and the S10 5G includes a front TOF sensor, too).
Battery and charging
Get ready for a smaller battery on the regular Galaxy Note 10. It only has a 3,500mAh battery, significantly less capacity than the 4,000 mAh battery on the Galaxy Note 9. Still, the Galaxy S10 gets by well enough with a 3,400 mAh battery, and because the Note 10 may have a lower-resolution full HD+ display, compared to quad HD on the S10, it may offer longer endurance than the S10.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus gets a 4,300mAh capacity, higher than the 4,100 mAh in the Galaxy S10 Plus, which lasted 12.5 hours on our battery test, placing it among the longest-lasting smartphones we’ve tested. The Note 10 Plus does have a larger screen, of course, so the extra capacity is warranted.
As for charging, the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus both support super-fast 45-watt charging, but only offer 25-watt chargers in the box, like the Galaxy S10 5G. It’s better than the 15W-charging on the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus which is comparatively sluggish, but it would have been nice to enjoy the super-fast option by default.
Special features (and missing features)
The biggest differentiator between the Galaxy Note line and the Galaxy S series remains the S Pen. And the S Pen in the new Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus offers some notable upgrades. These include new Air Command features for performing various gestures, AR functions and the ability to save handwriting as a text document. The S Pen will also produce context-appropriate sounds. For example, if you’re using the stylus to highlight text, it will make a sound like a highlighter.
It's worth noting, though, that both the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus have killed the headphone jack. So you'll have to opt for wireless earbuds or Bluetooth headphones. The S10 and S10 Plus both have a headphone jack.
Overall, the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus do not look dramatically different from the S10 and S10 Plus. But there are lots of little upgrades that could compel smartphone shoppers to make the plunge, like faster memory performance, more capable cameras, faster charging, and new S Pen functions.
Look for us to update this comparison once we get the chance to more thoroughly test out the Galaxy Note 10 family to see how battery life and performance compare to the Galaxy S10. We also plan on a photo faceoff to see if the software improvements in the Note 10 deliver better photos than what the Galaxy S10 can produce.