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Samsung S10 vs Note 10: how to choose between Samsung’s flagship phones

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 08/08/2019 Amelia Heathman
a person standing in front of a brick building © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

The Samsung S10+ is one of our favourite phones of this year but there’s a new contender coming from inside the South Korean-company: the new Note 10.

Released last night in New York, the Note 10 range says that bigger is better with a total of three phones to choose from: a 6.3-inch Note 10, a 6.8-inch Note 10+ and a Note 10+ 5G version.

But how to choose which Samsung phone is right for you? We’ve broken down the specs and compared the two phone ranges so you know which one to go for.

Samsung S10 vs Note 10: Design

The new Samsung Note 10 in Aura Glow (Samsung ) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited The new Samsung Note 10 in Aura Glow (Samsung ) The biggest difference between the two phone ranges starts with size. The S10 has a 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen, whilst the S10+ is slightly bigger at 6.4-inches. The Note 10 range knocks this out of the park: the standard Note 10 has a 6.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen, whilst the Note 10+ is 6.8. This is not a phone for people with small hands.

Other design differences include the placement of the camera lenses. On the Note 10 range, Samsung has gone for a pinhole camera in the centre of the phone, whereas on the S10, it’s to the right of the screen.

In addition, the S10 range has the rear camera lenses in a horizontal format, whereas on the Note 10, it is stacked vertically. We prefer the front camera placement on the S10, but the rear camera placement on the Note 10 in terms of design, but it’s up to you which one you think looks better.

a close up of a monitor: The Samsung Galaxy S10 has a discreet pinhole design for the front-facing camera (Samsung) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited The Samsung Galaxy S10 has a discreet pinhole design for the front-facing camera (Samsung) When it comes to screen quality, the Note 10 has a Full HD screen, whereas both S10 phones and the Note 10+ have Quad HD screens. That means the bigger Note and the S10 phones will be better for watching shows on Netflix or YouTube, as well as gaming, thanks to that higher quality.

Both phone ranges feature a premium full glass design. The Note 10 is available in Aura Glow, Aura Black and Aura White, whilst the S10 range is available in Prism Green, Prism White and Prism Black.

Samsung S10 vs Note 10: Camera

a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: The Samsung Note 10 has three rear camera lenses whilst the Note 10+ has four ( Bryan Bedder / Stringer / Getty) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited The Samsung Note 10 has three rear camera lenses whilst the Note 10+ has four ( Bryan Bedder / Stringer / Getty) There’s not much difference in the camera set up on the S10 and Note 10 ranges.

The S10, S10+ and the Note 10 have the same three lenses on the back: a 12MP telephoto lens, 12MP wide-angle lens and a 16MP ultra-wide angle lens. We had a lot of fun playing with the S10+ ultra-wide lens so this will be good on the Note 10 too.

The main difference is that the S10+ has dual selfie cameras, unlike the S10 and the Note 10 range which only has one. As well, the Note 10+ gets an extra depth-of-field lens to improve night and portrait photography and allow for augmented reality (AR) scanning. Samsung went deep on this feature during the launch night, but it’s similar to what Huawei debuted on last year’s Mate 20 Pro device.

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If portrait photography means a lot to you then go for the Note 10+ but if not there’s no discernible differences between the specs offering when it comes to the cameras on the S10 and Note 10.

Samsung S10 vs Note 10: specs

Jin Jin wearing a suit and tie: Samsung Electronic's president and CEO DJ Koh with the new Note 10 phone ( Drew Angerer / Staff / Getty) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Samsung Electronic's president and CEO DJ Koh with the new Note 10 phone ( Drew Angerer / Staff / Getty) Inside the phones is where we start to see the discrepancies. The S10 range is fitted with the Exynos 8nm processor whereas the Note 10 features Samsung’s new 7nm processor which promises to consume less energy and therefore run faster than the previous chip.

In terms of memory, the Note 10 and S10 will both have 8GB of RAM. There’s the potential to have either 128GB of storage or 512GB with the S10, whilst the Note 10 only comes with 256GB. There’s also no space for an SD card on the Note 10 range, so you can’t boost this further.

On the bigger phones, the S10+ has either 8GB of RAM or 12GB if you fork out for the ceramic version. The Note 10+ comes with a standard 12GB RAM – extremely handy if you want to take advantage of the DeX feature where you can plug the phone into a screen to have it function as a computer using a HDMI cable.

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With the S10+ you can buy a 1TB storage version and boost this with an SD card, whereas the Note 10+ has room for up to 512GB, with no space for an SD card. 

All that power is useless if the battery can’t handle it. The S10 has a 3,400 mAh battery whilst the S10+ has a 4,100 mAh. The only disappointing thing we found with the S10+ was the battery, this barely lasted a day of use and needed topping up at night.

By comparison, the Note 10 has a 3,500 mAh battery and the Note 10+ offers 4,300 mAh. As we haven’t tested the devices yet, we don’t know how they will figure in real life but that new chip means the Note range should be more power efficient than the S10.

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The Note 10 range is the clear winner when it comes to power here though some people will be disappointed with the removal of the SD slot.

Samsung S10 vs Note 10: Price

Prices for the S10 start at £799, whilst the S10+ is more expensive at £899. The Note 10 range takes this up a notch: the Note 10 will cost £899, whilst prices for the Note 10+ start from £999.

Last year’s Note 9 was Samsung’s first £1,000+ smartphone so it’s hardly surprising but it does show that the high-end smartphone makers are happy to keep pushing up those prices.

Samsung S10 vs Note 10: Verdict

For a big phone with a lot of power, the Note 10 range is a clear winner.

Yet, if forking out for that high price, as well as dealing with such a large device all the time doesn’t work for you, then you’ll be more than happy with an S10.

The Samsung S10 range is available to buy now whilst the Note 10 range will be on sale from August 23 at the Carphone Warehouse. 

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