One Week in with the Galaxy Note 10

I got my Galaxy Note 10+ on launch day. I am coming from my beloved Galaxy Note 8, aka my favorite portable device ever. The 8 had no issues and still did everything I asked of it well. To be honest, before I saw the 10 in person, I had already decided to skip it.

I happened to be in Best Buy on launch-day and fell in love with the massive screen on the 10+. I gave in and picked one up. In a word, this thing is awesome. Every time that I pull it out of my pocket, I feel like pulling a He-Man and shouting “I have the power,” at the top of my lungs while pointing the S-Pen to the sky. Samsung should make that the default sound for removing the pen from its slot.

The screen is noticeably larger than the previous Note, or my wife’s iPhone+, but the footprint of the chassis is barley larger than either and it isn’t noticeably heavier. The display stretches from edge to edge and thanks to the punch-hole camera, from top to bottom. Various reviews either praise or hate the punch hole personally, I like it. It gets rid of the notch and is less likely to break than a pop-up.

 

Note8_Note10_iPhone7Plus

The in-display fingerprint reader has been another point of contention amongst reviewers. Again, I personally love this change. I’ve had zero issues with it scanning my fingers so far but, maybe my fingerprints are somehow easier to detect than other peoples’? In any case, not having to reach around to the back of the device is a huge improvement from my point of view.

Speaking of the back of the device. Samsung chose to remove the heart-rate and blood-oxygen sensors. I will miss them, but not enough to switch back to my old phone. To be honest, my smart-watch does this job and I rarely used the phone’s sensors anyway. I’m guessing Samsung assumed this was the case for most of us by now.  

On the subject of removals, the headphone jack has also met it’s demise. I think the media in general, is alwasy looking for an emotional reaction and has settled on the headphone jack as their issue de’jour. I switched to bluetooth headphones long ago and hadn’t used my 3.5mm jack in years. If you still need wired headphones, the adapters are everywhere, get one and be happy. 

Note10_Back

The cameras (there are five) are fantastic. I know that the big publications have requirements to find the flaws in everything, but they’re reaching on the negative points of this camera system. The pictures are just awesome. The ability to edit them in real-time with precision is ridiculously futuristic. I especially appreciate the Pro mode, it gives you DSLR-ish controls like ISO, manual focus, and adjustable exposure times. 

The wide angle can capture an entire room. Two true telephoto lenses are something I never thought that we would see in a phone with a flat back. I’ve had all the gimmick camera phones like the Lumia 1020, trying to get a camera that could replace my point and shoot. They worked but putting up with the big bump on the back was a high price to pay. The multi-camera setups are a much better solution. I’ve taken quite a few pics but haven’t put the cameras through the ringer yet so check back for more on this subject.

Wide_Angle

In my day job, as a consultant, I am constantly using my Galaxy Note. Whether it be to jot down meeting notes or reply to emails when I’m out in the field; I need a battery that can last through a full day of use. The Note 8 could struggle in this regard. I always kept a battery pack in my bag and had to resort to it on several occasions.

Just a few days ago I used my Note 10+ to document (notes, diagrams, video, and pictures) an entire multi-building network and computer infrastructure. When I got in my vehicle to head back to the office, I was shocked to see my battery still had 54% left. I had been at it for more than 4 hours, the 8 would have been in dire need of a recharge.

OneNote_ScreenShot

I’ve always been a fan of Dex mode on the Samsung devices. It has enabled me to travel without lugging a laptop on the plane many times. It also allows my phone to act as an extra computer when my main system is engaged in other tasks. For example, if my main computer is processing video, I check my email, update documents, and chat with my co-workers from Dex mode. You just need a Dex compatible dock, keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

Dex_Mode

The Note 10 has a new Dex mode trick. You can link your phone to your Windows or Mac computer via a USB-C cable (one in box) and use Dex mode with your PC or Laptop’s screen and input devices. This still works in the example I gave above. You are only remotley controlling Dex, so your main computer’s resrouces (CPU, Memory, etc.) are free for other tasks.

Finally we can talk about my favorite part of the phone. The S-Pen is stellar, as usual. I’ve written pages and pages of text with it already, including this post. I’ve edited photos and videos, and used it as a mouse when remote controlling systems. The new gesture features turn the S-Pen into a Wii-Mote and aren’t overly impressive to me yet, but I can see developers taking advantage of the option in games. 

Writing

Phones can’t be all work and no play. The Note 10+ is a gaming monster. With twelve gigabytes of RAM and a vapor-chamber cooled processor it has power to spare. The phone’s screen size rivals the one on the Nintendo Switch which really helps with immersion and makes it more comfortable to hold for dual thumb controls. 

Note_VS_Switch

On day one, I installed Modern Combat 5 and set it to the highest graphics setting with and played flawlessly at 60 FPS. Given the that screen resolution is higher than 1440P, most laptops struggle to play 1080P, and the Switch is 720P, this level of performance is astounding.  

MC5_ScreenShot

I look forward to spending the next couple of years with this phone in my pocket. I’m sure it will serve me well. 

About Kevin Trent

IT professional with almost 30 years of experience in Infrastructure, Architecting, Administration, Development, and Communications.

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