Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus vs. Huawei P30 Pro: Which is worth your $1,000?

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

Looking for a huge, powerful Android phone with all the trimmings? Samsung and Huawei are two of the best, and both have excellent offerings to scratch your large phone itch, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and the Huawei P30 Pro. With big displays, beautiful glass builds, and flagship specs on both, it’s a tough decision to make. But with prices in excess of $1,000, few could own both — so which of the two is better for you? We took a look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and the Huawei P30 Pro to find out.

Specs

Samsung Note 10 Plus
Huawei P30 Pro
Size 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm (6.39 x 3.04 x 0.31 inches) 158 x 73.4 x 8.41 mm (6.22 x 2.89 x 0.33 inches)
Weight 196 grams (6.91 ounces) 192 grams (6.77 ounces)
Screen size 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 6.47-inch AMOLED
Screen resolution 3040 x 1440 pixels (498 pixels per inch) 2340 x 1080 pixels (398 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie (under One UI) Android 9.0 Pie (under EMUI 9.1)
Storage space 256GB, 512GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
MicroSD card slot Yes No, Huawei’s proprietary NM card only
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay, Samsung Pay Google Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Kirin 980
RAM 12GB 8GB
Camera Quad-lens: 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, 12MP variable aperture wide-angle, 12MP telephoto, and DepthVision lens rear, 10MP front Quad-lens 40MP, 20MP, 8MP, and ToF rear, 32MP front
Video 2160p at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps 2160p at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 240 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes, ultrasonic in-display Yes, in-display
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Battery 4,300mAh

45W fast charging (25W charger included)

15W Qi Fast Wireless Charging 2.0

4,200mAh

40W Huawei SuperCharge

15W Qi wireless fast charging

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 Amber Sunrise, Breathing Crystal, Pearl White, Aurora, Black
Price $1,100 999 euros ($1,128)
Buy from Samsung Huawei
Review score 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei P30 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus comes with the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 12GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of storage. That’s enough power and storage for most, but we’re still a little disappointed Samsung didn’t include the updated Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, as it would provide even more oomph. The Snapdragon 855 is more powerful than the P30 Pro’s Kirin 980 processor though. That said, they’re both extremely capable, and you’re unlikely to notice a difference between the two in everyday use.

Samsung has upgraded its charging speeds at last, and the Note 10 Plus can charge at a blisteringly fast 45W. Unfortunately, it only comes with a 25W charger, but that’s still fast enough to fully refill its battery in just over an hour. The P30 Pro’s 40W charging isn’t as fast as the Note 10 Plus’ maximum, but you’ll get it with the charger out of the box, which we appreciate.

But it’s the Chinese phone that takes the lead with truly stellar battery life. The Note 10 Plus’ 4,300mAh battery lasted around a day with moderate use, while the P30 Pro’s 4,200mAh battery is capable of lasting for two days between charges. In our battery tests, the P30 Pro beat the Note 10 Plus by almost four hours. The P30 Pro’s battery is incredible, and with performance being much the same across both phones, the battery wins it for the P30 Pro.

Winner: Huawei P30 Pro

Design and durability

There are no losers here where looks are concerned. Both of these phones are absolute stunners, with sleek glass builds and barely any bezel. That said, the Note 10 Plus’ punch-hole is probably preferable if you dislike a notched screen. The P30 Pro’s notch is small and unobtrusive though, so there’s little real difference in usable space on the displays. Both also have some stunning color variants, like the P30 Pro’s amber sunrise and breathing crystal and the Note 10 Plus’ aura glow models. Samsung has lost one of its usual advantages in the design department, thanks to the removal of the headphone jack.

The Note 10 Plus is certainly fragile, so make sure to slap one of the best Note 10 Plus cases on it. The P30 Pro will also benefit from a case, as the glass can be slippery and may shatter on a bad drop. There’s solid water-resistance here with both phones rocking an IP68-rating that should protect them from an accidental dunking in the pool.

Both are beautiful phones with excellent water-resistance and fragile glass builds. We can’t pick between them.

Winner: Tie

Display

huawei p30 pro
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Note 10 Plus’ 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED is the larger of the two displays, but the P30 Pro’s 6.47-inch AMOLED gives it a run for its money in size. The Note has the sharper of the two displays, thanks to the 1440p resolution, and Samsung’s screen technology is second to none, displaying beautiful colors and deep black levels. It also comes with an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner, which is usually faster and more accurate than the P30 Pro’s optical in-display fingerprint scanner. While the P30 Pro’s display is still excellent, the Note 10 Plus has one of the best screens on the market right now, and it takes this round.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Camera

samsung galaxy note 10 plus vs iphone xs max selfie camera

The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is sporting a quad-lens rear camera suite. Comprised of a 12-megapixel variable aperture main lens with optical image stabilization, a 12-megapixel f/2.1 telephoto lens (with OIS), a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture, and a time-of-flight sensor for depth-sensing, the Note 10 Plus takes some excellent photos. It’s versatile too, thanks to the array of lenses on offer.

But can it beat the P30 Pro’s similar quad-lens setup? It has a 40-megapixel f/1.6 aperture lens, a 20-megapixel f/2.2 aperture lens, an 8-megapixel f/3.4 aperture lens, and a time-of-flight sensor too, and it just about has the Note 10 Plus beat. While formidable, the Note 10 Plus struggles against the P30 Pro’s incredible low light performance and the 5-times periscope zoom. Both are incredibly versatile, but Huawei’s camera system has the edge.

The Note 10 Plus has some interesting video capabilities, but it just can’t compete with the P30 Pro’s excellent camera. The Huawei phone takes this.

Winner: Huawei P30 Pro

Software and updates

Huawei P30 Pro review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s bad news for stock Android fans — both of these phones use heavily customized UIs over Android 9.0 Pie. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Samsung’s One UI is much improved over the bad old days of TouchWiz, and Huawei’s EMUI has a similar ugly duckling story. Both are customizable and easy to use, and don’t suffer from lag during use. It’s easy to get used to both of these, and you’ll probably enjoy using them, but we slightly prefer Samsung’s software.

Both phones will get Android 10, but it’s hard to say which will get it first. Customized skins take a while to create and deploy, which means Huawei and Samsung can take some time to push out the latest version of Android to older phones. You’re probably going to be waiting some time to get Android 10 on either phone and there’s no clear answer on which company is faster with its updates.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Special features

samsung galaxy note 10 plus vs iphone xs max ar drawing

The P30 Pro has no shortage of special features loaded into its thin frame. There’s the much-improved in-display fingerprint scanner, facial recognition, and Huawei’s own digital wellbeing app. Some bits aren’t particularly welcome, such as the use of the Swiftkey keyboard, but elements like the built-in desktop mode activated by plugging the phone into a monitor shows promise.

But the Note range has always been about the special features. Like the P30 Pro, there’s facial recognition and the upgraded DeX desktop mode that can run on Windows or Mac PCs. There’s also an in-display fingerprint scanner, and it uses ultrasonic tech that’s faster and more secure. But the Note’s real strength is in the S Pen. You can jot down notes (that can be sent to Microsoft Word), control your camera remotely, and even draw on your friends in AR. The S Pen is a feature not many other phones emulate, and it’s the Note’s real strength.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is currently available, and prices start from $1,100 for the 256GB model. The Huawei P30 Pro isn’t officially available in the U.S., but you can buy it internationally with prices starting from about $1,125. Unlike the Note 10 Plus, which will work on most U.S. networks, the P30 Pro will only work on AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s networks.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

While the Huawei P30 Pro impresses with its beautiful design, long-lasting battery, and incredibly versatile camera, it’s pipped to the winning post in this contest by the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus. With powerful specs, a gorgeous screen, and super-productive special features, Samsung’s smartphone is the one we would pick given the choice. But the differences between the two are slight, and if battery life and camera quality trump the S Pen and stunning display for you, then the Huawei P30 Pro should be your choice.

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