(Pocket-lint) - Samsung's Note series arrived last summer, with two models on offer. But how do they stand up against the Galaxy S10 range?
Also check out how all these devices compare to the new Galaxy S20 series, too.
What's the same between the Note 10 and S10?
- Software experience
- Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor
- Reverse wireless charging
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 devices feature a similar hardware setup to the Galaxy S10 series. The Note 10 and the Note 10+ both run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 or the Exynos 9825 chipset. The S10 models run on either the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9820, so a slight variation but only slight.
All models have punch hole front cameras, meaning full Infinity O displays across both ranges, but the front camera specifications and designs differ slightly between the Note and S10 models - more on that below.
The two series do share features including reverse wireless charging, or Power Share as Samsung calls it, an under-display fingerprint sensor and a very similar software experience too. The Note 10 models bring a couple of new tricks thanks to the S Pen however.
The overall software experience is the same too. They all use One UI on Android and the majority is the same, with a few differences in the camera, the S Pen functions - but it's largely the same visual experience.
What's different between the Note 10 and S10?
Whilst the Galaxy Note 10 and S10 models share a number of similarities, there are plenty of differences between the two series.
- Note 10/Note 10+: Punch hole front camera in centre, vertical rear cameras
- S10/S10+/S10 5G: Top-right positioned punch hole front camera, horizontal rear cameras
The Galaxy Note 10 series has a slightly different design to the S10 series, as usual.
The punch hole front camera is in the centre of the display for the Note 10 devices rather than the right-hand top corner like the S10 models. The camera system on the rear of the Note 10 is arranged vertically in the top left corner too, while the S10 models have a horizontally aligned rear camera system in the centre at the top.
An IP68-rated glass and metal body is present on both series though and both have USB Type-C charging ports.
The Note is slightly squarer in the corners than the Galaxy S, which gives space for the S Pen to slot into the bottom. There's no 3.5mm headphone socket and no Bixby button on the Note 10.
- Note gets the S Pen
As many Note fans would expect, the Note 10 series offers a built-in S Pen, which is Bluetooth-enabled and now has a six-axis motion sensor. This will allow all the normal S Pen functions - like writing and drawing - but now offers more functions away from the phone. It will give you motion gestures to swipe through camera modes, for example, including the ability to zoom in with a spiral motion.
The S Pen is positioned in the right corner at the bottom of the device, next to the charging port.
The Galaxy S doesn't offer an S Pen.
- Note 10/Note 10+: 6.3-inch/6.8-inch display
- S10/S10+/S10 5G: 6.1-inch/6.4-inch/6.7-inch display
The Galaxy Note series has typically had a larger display than the Galaxy S series, though this year is a little different.
The Note 10 has a 6.3-inch screen while the Note 10+ has the largest screen (just) at 6.8-inches.
The Galaxy S10 has a 6.1-inch screen, the Galaxy S10+ has a 6.4-inch screen and the Galaxy S10 5G has a 6.7-inch screen.
All models have Super AMOLED panels and all are HDR 10+ compliant. The S10 models and the Note 10+ all offer Quad HD+ resolutions, but the smaller Note 10 features a Full HD+ screen, making it the softest if the five devices being compared here.
- Note 10, S10 and S10+: Triple camera system
- Note 10+ and S10 5G: Triple camera system with depth sensor
The standard Galaxy Note 10 and the Galaxy S10 and S10+ all share the same camera specifications, with a triple rear camera made up of a dual aperture main 12-megapixel camera, 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera and 12-megapixel telephoto lens.
The Galaxy Note 10+ and the S10 5G have this triple rear camera setup too, but they add a fourth VGA 3D Depth Sensor too. That should mean that these cameras are better placed to capture depth information.
Otherwise we expect the performance to generally be the same.
- Note 10/Note 10+: 10MP
- S10/S10+/S10 5G: 10MP / 10MP+8MP / 10MP+3D Depth Sensor
Both the Galaxy Note 10 models have a single 10-megapixel punch hole front camera in the centre of the display. The Galaxy S10 also has a single front camera, but offset to the right.
The Galaxy S10+ and Galaxy S10 5G have dual punch hole front cameras, but they aren't the same. The S10+ adds a second 8-megapixel sensor, while the S10 5G adds a 3D depth sensor. In out review of the Galaxy S10+, we didn't find this expanding front camera to really offer much extra over the single offering.
We can't help feeling that with Samsung only offering a single camera on the front of the Note, that reducing the impact on the display is more important - and the features offered by the additional front sensors really aren't worth it.
- Note 10/Note 10+: 151 x 71.8 x 7.9mm / 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9mm
- S10/S10+/S10 5G: 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm / 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm / 162.6 x 77.1 x 7.9mm
The Galaxy Note series is normally larger than the Galaxy S range but that's not the case this time round.
The Note 10, despite offering a 0.2-inch larger screen is only slightly larger than the standard S10. The Note 10+ meanwhile, is bigger than the S10+ but ever so slightly smaller than the S10 5G, even though it has a 0.1-inch larger display.
- Note 10/Note 10+: No 3.5mm headphone jack
- S10/S10+/S10 5G: 3.5mm headphone jack
The Galaxy S10 devices all come with a 3.5mm headphone jack and AKG-tuned headphones in the box.
- Note 10/Note 10+: 3500mAh/4300mAh
- S10/S10+: 3100mAh/3500mAh/4500mAh
The standard Note 10 comes with a 3500mAh battery, while the Note 10+ has a 4300mAh battery.
The S10 meanwhile, has a 3100mAh battery, the S10+ has a 3500mAh battery and the S10 5G has a 4500mAh capacity.
- Note 10/Note 10+: 256GB / 256GB and 512GB
- S10/S10+/S10 5G: 128GB and 512GB / 128GB, 512GB and 1TB / 256GB
The Galaxy Note 10 comes in a 256GB storage option only and it is the only model of the five in this feature not to offer microSD support for storage expansion. The Note 10+ comes in 256GB and 512GB storage models.
The S10 is available in 128GB and 512GB storage models, the S10+ is available in 128GB, 512GB and 1TB storage options and the S10 5G comes with 256GB.
Exactly why microSD has been dropped on one model, we can't be sure - but it might mark the start of Samsung finding a way to reduce costs.
- Note 10/Note 10+: 8GB / 12GB
- S10/S10+/S10 5G: 8GB / 8GB and 12GB / 8GB
The Note 10 has 8GB of RAM support, while the Note 10+ has 12GB of RAM.
The S10 and S10 5G both have 8GB of RAM, while the S10+ is available with 12GB of RAM if users select the 1TB storage model.
- S10 5G/Note 10/Note 10+: 5G capabilities
- S10/S10+: 4G LTE
The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ are available in 4G LTE and 5G enabled models in some countries. In the UK, only the Note 10+ will be available as a 5G model. Only the Galaxy S10 5G model features 5G for the S10 range.
Both the S10 and S10+ are 4G LTE only.
There are several differences between the Note 10 and the S10 ranges, but the decision will likely fall down to whether you want the S Pen functionality or not, as that's the biggest real difference.
The designs of the two ranges are slightly different, as are the screen sizes and dimensions. But on the whole, the day-to-day experience of most of these phones is very similar. If you're really after a 3.5mm headphone socket then that might shift you towards the Galaxy S, but otherwise, your decision is likely to be made on what deals you can get - and the older phone is likely to be cheaper.