Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus vs. S10 Plus: Which one should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and Galaxy S10 Plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

If you prize refined design and big screens, then Samsung has plenty to offer. Two of its best, similarly priced phones are the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and the Galaxy S10 Plus, but how do you choose between them? That’s where we come in, with this spec comparison that will explain exactly what each phone offers and highlight the areas where they differ. If you’re ready to step up to 5G, then check out our comparison of Samsung’s 5G handsets.

Specs

Samsung Note 10 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
Size 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm (6.39 x 3.04 x 0.31 inches) 157.6 × 74.1 × 7.8 mm (6.20 × 2.91 × 0.30 inches)
Weight 196 grams (6.91 ounces) 175 grams (6.17 ounces)
Screen size 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Screen resolution 3,040 × 1,440 pixels (498 pixels per inch) 3,040 × 1,440 pixels (526 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie (under One UI) Android 9.0 Pie (under One UI)
Storage space 256GB, 512GB 128GB, 512GB, 1TB
MicroSD card slot Yes Yes
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay, Samsung Pay Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
RAM 12GB 8GB, 12GB
Camera Quad-lens 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, 12MP variable aperture, 12MP telephoto, and DepthVision lens rear, 10MP front Triple lens 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, 12MP variable aperture, and 12MP telephoto rear, 10MP, and 8MP front dual lens
Video 2160p at 60 frames-per-second, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps 2160p at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 240 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes, ultrasonic in-display Yes, ultrasonic in-display
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Battery 4,300mAh

45W fast charging (25W charger included)

15W Qi Fast Wireless Charging 2.0

4,100mAh

15W fast charging

12W Qi Fast Wireless Charging 2.0

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support All major U.S. carriers All major U.S. carriers
Colors Aura glow, aura white, aura black, aura Blue Prism black, prism white, prism blue, flamingo pink, ceramic black, ceramic white
Price $1,100 $1,000
Buy from Samsung Samsung, Amazon
Review score 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and Galaxy S10 Plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both phones use the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, which offers fast, smooth performance. The Note 10 Plus comes with 12GB of RAM, regardless of whether you opt for the 256GB or 512GB model. The 128GB and 512GB versions of the S10 Plus make do with 8GB of RAM, but the 1TB version jumps to 12GB of RAM. You’ll have to be a monster multitasker to feel the difference here. For all intents and purposes, you can expect the same level of performance from both of these phones.

The Note 10 Plus has an edge in battery capacity with a 4,300mAh battery, but it also has a bigger screen to power, which swallows up that 200mAh advantage. In our battery test, the Note 10 Plus managed to go for 12 hours and 30 minutes, but the S10 Plus managed an extra 10 minutes. The deciding factor here is the charging because the Note 10 Plus comes with a 25-watt charger, but can be charged at up to 45W if you buy the right kit separately — that means it can be charged up a lot faster than the S10 Plus, which is stuck at 15W. Both have wireless charging support and can charge other devices, like Galaxy Buds, by placing them on the back of the phone.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Design and durability

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and Galaxy S10 Plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung’s refined design is a real sight to behold, and both of these smartphones are among the best-looking around. The glass front and back curve into a metal frame, but the Note 10 Plus is slightly more blocky, while the S10 Plus has more rounded corners. On the back, the S10 Plus has a horizontally arranged camera suite, whereas the Note 10 Plus has vertically stacked lenses offset to the left. Both are available in a range of colors, but the eye-catching aura glow version of the Note really stands out. Around front, the Note has a single hole-punch camera at the top center of the screen, while the S10 Plus has a dual-lens front-facing camera offset to the right.

Both are fragile, so cases are advisable. Water is nothing to worry about, though, because they both boast IP68 ratings, which means they can survive submersion unscathed.

The S10 Plus is smaller, lighter, and much easier to handle; the Note 10 Plus is enormous. The S10 Plus also has a headphone port and a Bixby button, both of which are absent from the Note.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Display

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and Galaxy S10 Plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

You’ll enjoy a vibrant, bright Dynamic AMOLED screen, no matter which of these phones you choose. It’s a gorgeous display that’s HDR10+ certified and boasts a resolution of 3,040 x 1,440 pixels. Because the Note 10 Plus has a 6.8-inch screen and the S10 Plus has a 6.4-inch screen, and they both have that same resolution, the smaller display is slightly sharper, but you won’t really see a difference.

The single central lens in the Note 10 Plus is slightly less distracting than the dual-lens in the S10 Plus, but you’ll soon get used to either. We can’t separate them here.

Winner: Tie

Camera

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and Galaxy S10 Plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The cameras are very similar, but the Note 10 Plus offers two advantages in the main camera: The telephoto lens has a wider aperture for better low-light performance, and there’s a fourth lens in the shape of a time-of-flight sensor, which can capture accurate depth information and should enhance portrait mode and Live Focus video. Select photos from the Note 10 Plus are slightly better than the S10 Plus, but not by much. These improvements are subtle.

Samsung has also added a new Zoom-in Mic feature to enable you to zoom in on audio when recording video. It also worked to improve stabilization in the Note 10 Plus.

Around front, the S10 Plus wins out with a dual-lens camera that pairs 10-megapixel and 8-megapixel lenses. The Note 10 Plus has a solitary 10-megapixel lens. Selfie fans will likely prefer the S10 Plus, though only the Note 10 Plus has a Night Mode that works on the front camera. We’re giving the Note 10 Plus the win.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Software and updates

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus apps
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

With Android 9.0 Pie and Samsung’s One UI skin over the top, you’re in for a great software experience here. The Note 10 Plus has a few extras that relate to its S Pen stylus, but all the important stuff, including lots of customization options, is present on both phones.

Sadly, Samsung does not have a great update record and can take a while to roll out new Android versions, but that’s going to be much the same with both phones, so it doesn’t differentiate them.

Winner: Tie

Special features

Samsung Galaxy Note 10
Corey Gaskin/Digital Trends

There’s a versatile camera suite, A.I. assistant Bixby, DeX mode to enable your phone to double as a desktop, and a whole lot more in Samsung’s bag of tricks, but what sets these phones apart is the S Pen. Only the Note has a pop-out stylus that can be used to jot notes, sketch, or even doodle on your friends’ faces in 3D with augmented reality. Samsung also boosted the Note’s productivity credentials with a few Microsoft tie-ins that make it easy to mirror your phone’s screen to your desktop, though these may also come to the S10 Plus via a software update.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus starts from $1,000. The Note 10 Plus will cost you an extra $100 for the cheapest model. Both are very widely available and can be picked up at all the major carriers.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

There are a lot of ties, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus ekes out a win over the S10 Plus. For most people, the S10 Plus is more than enough — and you can find it for less than its original retail price — but the Note 10 Plus is for people who really want the S Pen features, as well as the superfast recharging speed. It’s also going to be unwieldy for a lot of people because it’s so big. Ultimately, these are both spectacular phones with a lot to offer, so you can hardly go wrong.

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