One of the great things about covering mobile devices is the opportunity to get hands-on many of the latest and greatest smartphones. Over the past year, there have indeed been some fantastic mid-range and high-end options from Samsung, Apple, OnePlus, TCL, Motorola, LG, and Google as you may have read about in my various reviews.
Regular readers know I'm a huge fan of the Samsung Galaxy Note line, and Note 10 Plus has definitely improved over the past 10 months, with an update to Android 10, improved Samsung OneUI, and recently added new features launched on the Galaxy S20 series. The Note 10 Plus Star Wars Edition is my current daily driver and will likely remain that way until I have the chance to try out the Note 20, or whatever Samsung is going to call it.
While the Note 10 Plus currently sits in the fourth position on the 10 best smartphones list, that is primarily because 5G is included in the top three. Given that most of us have been in lockdown for three months and are just starting to get back to work, 5G hasn't been that important with Wi-Fi providing service to most Americans. That may change later this year and in 2021, but it is assured we will see 5G in the next Note series that is rumored to launch in August.
Looking back on the past 10 months, here are a few reasons I just cannot put down the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus.
- S Pen: The S Pen has always been the key differentiator for Note fans and I use it daily for easy navigation and text entry, hovering over email to preview the content, screen off memos, enjoyable browsing with hover scrolling, fun and personal Live Messages, quick magnification, and more. Others, like LG support stylus use, but there is no other option quite like the Note series.
- Cameras: The Galaxy Note 10 Plus doesn't have the new Super Zoom lens seen on the S20 Ultra, but it has the tried and true dual aperture setup with telephoto, wide-angle, and ToF lenses. It takes great macro shots and I prefer the usability and results from the Note 10 Plus over the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The Note 10 Plus also now has the cool Single Take function first seen on the S20 series.
- Edge panels: Once you set up a few Edge panels, it greatly increases the efficiency of your phone with one of the best ways to launch dual-screen apps, quickly communicate with key contacts and more. I have five Edge panels and use them regularly throughout each day.
- Wireless Powershare: I've used this many times to top off the charge on the Galaxy Buds and my Galaxy Watch Active 2. It's a feature in Samsung and Huawei phones many not think much about, but subtle features like these make the Note 10 Plus a fantastic complete package.
- Samsung DeX: People use their smartphones for everything, and with the improvements in Samsung DeX (check out our complete Executive Guide), the reality of using your phone as your only computer is close to being realized. A DeX docking station is no longer required, so all you need to do is plug in an HDMI cable. The experience has been improved over past Samsung devices, and there are very few limitations to getting work done. A few months ago I purchased the NexDock 2 and can now enjoy the DeX experience on the go.
- Base 256GB internal storage: The Note 10 Plus has a microSD card for expandable storage, but even if you never use it then the internal 256GB is something to appreciate. Apple still launches its flagship phones with a measly 64GB and charges a premium fee for additional capacity.
The more I use the Note 10 Plus, the more excited I am about the prospects of the next Samsung Galaxy Note that we are likely to see in August.
The new Galaxy S20 Series trumps the Note 10 Plus with support for 5G and high refresh rate displays. I can see the difference between the 60Hz display on the Note 10 Plus and the 120Hz display on the S20 Ultra, but everything else I like about the Note 10 Plus trumps the display.