Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Star Wars Special Edition hands-on: The dark side of the force is strong

Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 Plus is one of the best smartphones available today. With the release of the new Star Wars movie, The Rise of Skywalker, Samsung released a themed device with hardware and software elements depicting Kylo Ren in various ways.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

Given my online moniker of palmsolo, it's pretty clear I'm a Star Wars fan. I was eight when the first Star Wars was released and immediately fell in love with the movies while collecting trading cards, toys, characters, and more over the past 42 years. Over the past few weeks I've been testing out the Garmin Darth Vader watch and wondering how else I can include Star Wars in my daily life.

Last week Samsung released its Galaxy Note 10 Plus Star Wars Special Edition device with The Rise of the Skywalker elements in the hardware, software, and even accessories. Samsung loaned me one of these unique new devices and it deserves some discussion of its own beyond our Note 10 Plus full review.

See also: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus review: Best business phone improves in speed and S Pen capability

Star Wars packaging

  • The outer sleeve shows Kylo Ren's masked face in a hooded cloak. There is Star Wars and Disney branding on this sleeve too.
  • The inner box has Kylo Ren's repaired face mask in the center with the words "I'll show you the dark side" below the mask.
  • When you lift up the lid of the box Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker is shown with a starry background.
  • A metal Kylo Ren plate is included with red highlights and the new movie name on it.

Star Wars hardware elements

  • The Note 10 Plus has red left side buttons, red outline around the camera, and a red S Pen.
  • The first order symbol is etched onto the back of the Note 10 Plus with Star Wars also branded on the device itself.
  • A high quality leather shell cover is included with Kylo Ren designs etched in black and white while the words Star Wars are also etched into the leather.

Star Wars software elements

  • A dark side theme is available as the default and that includes icon packs, wallpaper, and sounds (notification/ringtone).
  • Various wallpaper and lock screen images are available.
  • An always-on display image is available
  • Lightsaber extraction and retraction sounds are present when you remove and return the S Pen. This may be one of the coolest parts of the entire experience for me. I would love to have then seen the phone make light saber sounds as you wield the S Pen like a lightsaber, but Air Actions hasn't yet gotten that sophisticated.
  • Star Wars stickers for using in messaging.
  • Animations when you turn on the phone or shut the display off.

Samsung also includes a unique color variant of the Samsung Galaxy Buds. The earbuds themselves are black, but the charging case interior is colored red while the exterior is matte black. The Galaxy Buds are one of my favorite earbuds and are valued at $129.99.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Star Wars Special Edition hands-on: in pictures

The same Galaxy Note 10 Plus with 256GB internal storage is priced at $1,099.99. The Kylo Ren Black model in the Star Wars Edition package is $1,299.99. While it is $200 more, you get the $129.99 special color Galaxy Buds, a very nice embossed leather cover (easily a $50+ case), and a metal badge for this premium. The phone and S Pen also have unique color combinations that cannot be found on other Galaxy phones.

Also: Garmin Darth Vader Legacy Saga Series review: Star Wars themed sports watch offers extensive health and fitness features

If this phone had launched with 5G support on T-Mobile then it would have been a no-brainer purchase for me. I absolutely love all of the Star Wars elements present in this package and am going to be sad to return it to Samsung.

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