(Pocket-lint) - Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ have been available since last August and in January 2020, Samsung added the Galaxy Note 10 Lite to the offering. But which is the best version of the Note 10 for you?

We've compared the Galaxy Note 10 against the Note 10+ and the Note 10 Lite to help you work out which one you should buy.

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What's the same on the Note 10, Note 10+ and Note 10 Lite?

  • Bluetooth S Pen
  • Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor
  • Software

While the Note 10 and Note 10+ are similar in many ways, the Note 10 Lite is very different. For this trio of phones, the similarity comes down to the Bluetooth-enabled S Pen as well as an Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor and software experience from One UI.

It's the inclusion of the S Pen that really defines the Note family, along with the Air Command gestures that all these phones offer. However, in most cases, these phones are very different - especially the Note 10 Lite.

What's different on the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+?

While the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ share several features and design attributes, the Note 10 Lite is a whole otehr thing.

Physical dimensions and build

  • Note 10: 151 x 71.8 x 7.9mm, 168g
  • Note 10+: 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9mm, 196g
  • Note 10 Lite: 163.7 x 76.1 x 8.7mm, 199g

Unsurprisingly, all the models differ in terms of physical size and weight. The largest of the lot is the Note 10 Lite - it doesnt have a build that's as premium, so despite not having the largest display, it's the largest and heaviest phone overall. It also doesn't get the IP68 water protection that the Note 10 and the Note 10+ offer, although the overall finish of the phone is high quality. It also gets a 3.5mm headphone socket, with neither of the other phones offer.

As for the Note 10 and Note 10+, both those phones have exactly the same design, but it's scaled up on the Note 10+. The forehead and chin are slimmed down so there's minimal bezel and those displays are curved at the edges, while the Note 10 Lite is flat. That makes for a very different phone in the Note 10 Lite, while the Note 10 and Note 10+ are clones of each other.

Display 

  • Note 10: 6.3-inch, 2280 x 1080, 401ppi, HDR 10+
  • Note 10+: 6.8-inch, 3040 x 1440, 498ppi, HDR 10+
  • Note 10 Lite: 6.7-inch, 2400 x 1080, 394ppi

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 comes with a 6.3-inch display while the Note 10+ offers an 6.8-inch screen, making it the largest Samsung offers. The Note 10 Lite slips into the middle at 6.7-inches.

All these displays are Super AMOLED panels of the Infinity-O design, with a central punch hole for the front camera, but the Note 10 Lite misses out on HDR10+ support which both the others offer.

The resolutions are all different. The Note 10 and Note 10 Lite offer a Full HD+ resolution, while the Note 10+ offers a Quad HD+ resolution. That leaves the Note 10+ with the best display and a 498ppi, while the Note 10 drops to 401ppi. Finally, although close the Note 10 Lite is the weakest of the bunch at 394ppi.

What we will say is that space makes a differnence when it comes to using the S Pen and the Note 10 might just be too small for some people to get the most from the skills it offers.

Hardware, RAM and storage

  • Note 10: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855/Exynos 9825 (region dependent), 8GB RAM, 256GB storage, no microSD
  • Note 10+: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855/Exynos 9825 (region dependent), 12GB RAM, 256/512GB storage, microSD
  • Note 10 Lite: Exynos 9810, 6/8GB RAM, 128GB storage, microSD

The hardware loadout of these devices very much reflects their positioning. The Galaxy Note Lite comes with an Exynos 9810, so this isn't as powerful as the other two devices, both of which have flagship-grade hardware, either the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, or the Exynos 9825, depending on where you buy it. The Lite also has lower RAM and storage.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 has 8GB of RAM on board and it comes in one model with 256GB of storage and no microSD support - something that might be a deal breaker for some.

The Note 10+ meanwhile, has 12GB of RAM and is available in a 256GB option and a 512GB option, both of which have microSD support. The Note 10+ therefore positions itself as the slightly more powerful handset, although we suspect the real-world performance will be similar, with the Note 10 Lite some way behind.

The Note 10+ also comes in a 5G version.

Battery

  • Note 10: 3500mAh
  • Note 10+: 4300mAh
  • Note 10 Lite: 4500mAh

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 comes with a 3500mAh battery capacity. The Note 10+ meanwhile offers a 4300mAh battery while the Note 10 Lite tops them all with 4500mAh, so with the pared-back specs it might last longer than the other two devices. 

Both Note 10 models offer 45W charging when plugged in, though the charger is sold separately, and both offer reverse wireless charging too, or Power Share as Samsung calls it. We don't know if the Note 10 Lite offers these features, but it does suppport fast charging.

Rear camera specifications

  • Note 10: Triple rear (12MP + 12MP + 16MP)
  • Note 10+: Quad rear (12MP + 12MP + 16MP + ToF)
  • Note 10 Lite: Triple rear (12MP + 12MP + 12MP)

Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ have a vertical triple rear camera system made up of the main 12-megapixel camera with Dual Aperture (f/1.5 and f/2.4) and OIS, an ultra-wide 16-megapixel camera with an aperture of f/2.2 and a telephoto 12-megapixel camer with an aperture of f/2.1 and OIS.

The Note 10+ also offers a fourth Time of Flight sensor on the rear too however, which Samsung calls a DepthVision Camera. It has a VGA resolution and an aperture of f/2.4 - and should allow more comprehensive depth information capture.

The Note 10 Lite has a slightly different configuration. It uses older hardware, so while the main camera is 12-megapixels, it's a fixed aperture of f/1.7 - the Note 8 camera bascially - so different to the other too. The other lenses in the system are different too - the telephoto has a narrower aperture while the telephoto is a lower resolution. All in all, from the spec sheet, it's a less potent system.

Looking at the front cameras, Samsung has put a 32-megapixel sensor on the Note 10 Lite, while the Note 10 and Note 10+ offer a 10-megapixel camera. Again, totally different, apart from the positioning in the centre of the display. 

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Conclusion

Of the flagship level devices, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ offers a larger battery, more RAM, more storage options, microSD support, a larger and sharper display and a quad rear camera setup rather than triple compared to the standard Note 10. That brings with it increased cost with the size - but at least you have two flagship options.

The Note 10 Lite is a whole other thing. It offers the S Pen and will come in the same Aura Glow colour as the other Note models, but the design is different, with a bigger body and mid-sized display. It has the largest battery to its credit, but won't be as powerful has the other devices. We're still waiting to hear what the price will be, but it will at least give you the S Pen functions in a more affordable package.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle.