Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus vs. Note 10 vs. Note 9: Spec comparison

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus vs. Note 10 vs. Note 9: All the notable differences

We’re used to an annual upgrade for Samsung’s Galaxy Note line, but at this year’s Galaxy Unpacked event we got not one new Note, but two. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and the Galaxy Note 10 deliver a lot of what we were hoping for and a few more things besides, but there are some differences between the two that are worth noting. There are also some interesting changes from last year’s Galaxy Note 9.

Let’s compare Samsung’s three latest Note models to dig into exactly what divides them and pick a winner across various categories to help you decide whether it’s time for an upgrade and guide you to the right purchase.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Size 162.3 × 77.2 × 7.9 mm (6.39 × 3.04 × 0.31 inches) 151 x 71.8 x 7.9 mm (5.94 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches) 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm (6.37 x 3 x 0.34 inches
Weight 196 grams (6.91 oz) 168 grams (5.93 ounces) 201 grams (7.09 ounces)
Screen size 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 6.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED 6.4-inch Super AMOLED
Screen resolution 3040 × 1440 pixels (498 pixels per inch) 2280 x 1080 pixels (401 pixels per inch) 2960 x 1440 pixels (516 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie
Storage space 256GB, 512GB 256GB 128GB, 512GB
MicroSD card slot Yes No Yes
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay, Samsung Pay Google Pay, Samsung Pay Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
RAM 12GB 8GB 6GB, 8GB
Camera Quad lens 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, 12MP standard, 12MP telephoto, and ToF DepthVision rear, 10MP front Triple lens 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, 12MP standard, and 12MP telephoto rear, 10MP front Dual 12MP (with dual OIS) rear, variable aperture, 8MP front
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, 720p at 960 fps 2160p at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C USB-C 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes, ultrasonic in display Yes, ultrasonic in display Yes, back
Water resistance IP68 IP68 IP68
Battery 4,300mAh

QC2.0, AFC, PD3.0

Qi Fast wireless charging 2.0

3,500mAh

QC2.0, AFC, PD3.0

Qi Fast wireless charging 2.0

4,000mAh

QuickCharge 2.0

Qi wireless charging

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint
Colors Aura Glow, Aura White, Aura Black, Aura Blue Aura Glow, Aura White, Aura Black Ocean Blue, Lavender Purple
Price $1,100 $950 $1,000
Buy from Samsung Samsung AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Amazon, Samsung
Review score Hands-on Hands-on 4 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

We can immediately eliminate the Galaxy Note 9 here because it has last year’s processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus and the Note 10 will be packing the newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 in most markets, but may have a comparable Samsung processor in some places. Samsung says the new phones are 33% faster for general processing and 42% faster for graphics. While the Note 9 was offered with 6GB or 8GB of RAM, the Note 10 comes with 8GB of RAM and the Note 10 Plus comes with a whopping 12GB of RAM. That’s more than enough to satisfy major multitaskers. The performance of the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus will also benefit from the adoption of UFS 3.0 storage and support for Wi-Fi 6.

The Galaxy Note 10 has a significantly smaller battery than the Note 9, but it also has a slightly smaller screen and a more power-efficient processor, so that may not result in much of a difference in real-world stamina. The Note 10 Plus has the biggest battery, but also the largest screen to power. We expect the new Notes will offer at least the same battery life as the Note 9, so they should see you through even the busiest of days. The big improvement in the battery department is in charging speeds. You’ll get a charger in the box with the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus that goes up to 25W — the Note 9 maxed out at 18W. That means charging times should drop to around the hour mark. The Note 10 Plus also has the option of super-fast charging at 45W, but you’ll have to buy a capable charger separately.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Design and durability

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is a lot smaller than the Note 9, despite almost having the same size screen. Samsung has managed to pack a much bigger screen into the Note 10 Plus without increasing its frame by much and both the new phones are significantly slimmer than their predecessor; they are also lighter, which is a particularly impressive achievement in the Note 10 Plus. The edge-to-edge design with hole-punch, front-facing cameras is familiar from the S10 range, as is the curved glass front and back which slides neatly into the metal frame, but the Note 10’s sport a vertically stacked camera suite offset to the left on the back and a central hole-punch camera in the screen.

The S Pen and the USB-C charging port are there on all three, but Samsung has ditched the 3.5mm audio port in the Note 10s. The fingerprint sensor on the back of the Note 9 is also gone, with the Note 10s switching to an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner.

You’ll need a case to protect these phones, as the fragile curved glass is easy to crack or scratch if you drop them, and the metal frame can get scuffed. They all offer water resistance, so rain or spills shouldn’t be a cause for concern. All three have an IP68 rating.

Apart from the loss of the headphone port, we prefer the design of the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus. Which is best depends on the size you want — the Note 10 Plus will be too big for some people.

Winner: Tie — Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus

Display

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung is a leader in display technology, and all three Note models have excellent screens. The Note 9 has a 6.4-inch screen, the Note 10 has a 6.3-inch screen, and the Note 10 Plus has an enormous 6.8-inch screen. The Note 10s have Dynamic AMOLED screens which offer higher brightness than the Super AMOLED in the Note 9, but they all boast a wide range of colors and are crisp and legible in most conditions. The Note 9 is HDR10 certified, but the Note 10s kick it up a notch with HDR10+ certification. Interestingly, the pixel density is highest in the Note 9 at 516 pixels per inch, while the Note 10 scores 401 and the Note 10 Plus scores 498. Another disadvantage of the newer Note screens is the hole-punch camera. The best display here in terms of size and quality is the Note 10 Plus.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Camera

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

The race to turn out the best camera phones has made this one of the categories where you notice the most difference from model to model and the Notes are no exception. The Note 9’s dual 12-megapixel lenses and 8-megapixel front-facing camera look positively anemic next to the triple-lens camera in the Note 10, which combines a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, with a 12-megapixel variable aperture lens, and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens. The Note 10 Plus goes even further, adding a Time-of-Flight VGA DepthVision camera to the Note 10’s triple-lens setup. The Note 10s both have 10-megapixel front-facing cameras and some impressive video capture options that are absent from the Note 9.

The Note 10 Plus wins out here with the most versatile camera suite, but the Note 10 isn’t far behind.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Software and updates

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

You’ll find Android 9.0 Pie with Samsung’s One user interface over the top on all three phones. It’s some of the most feature-packed software around with lots of customization options, but it manages not to be overly complex. Sadly, Samsung’s update record is poor as it tends to take a while to roll out Android updates, but that’s going to be the same with each of these phones. The Note 10 and Note 10 Plus will likely be supported for a little longer than the Note 9 just because they’re newer, but there isn’t much to separate them here.

Winner: Tie

Special features

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung is the king of special features in its smartphones, so you’ll find the S Pen stylus, Bixby, DeX desktop mode, and lots more in all three of these phones. The Note 10 and Note 10 Plus seem to have a few new S Pen tricks and extended DeX support, enabling them to convert handwriting and export to Microsoft Word or double up as desktop replacements. They also boast wireless power-sharing, so you can use them to wirelessly charge other Qi devices.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is the only one to offer super-fast charging at 45W and the DepthVision camera enables it to scan an object and turn it into a movable 3D rendering. The Note 10 Plus also comes in a 5G variant for those of you looking to take advantage of next-generation mobile networks.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus starts at $1,100. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 starts from $950. Both are available for pre-order from August 8 and will start shipping August 23. The Note 9 starts at $1,000 right now, but we imagine it will come down in price soon. All three are widely available from major carriers and retailers.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

The name gives it away, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus does offer just that little bit more than the Note 10 or last year’s Note 9. A much larger and sharper screen, a Time-of-Flight sensor in the camera, a bigger battery, and a faster charging option set it apart from the regular Note 10. Both Note 10 models offer better performance, more versatile cameras, and more extras when compared to the Note 9, though there’s nothing revolutionary to demand that you update now if you already own a Note 9. The superiority of the Note 10 Plus is reflected in the price, but if budget is no obstacle, it’s the phone we would pick.

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