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Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review: An efficient, surprisingly light phone that’s burdened by its price

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Look out for an upgraded S-Pen and the much-improved DeX feature

Not on many occasions, I suppose, does a smartphone aid in self-reflection. In this regard, the Aura Glow version of Samsung Note 10+ is somewhat a historical device. A few moments after unboxing it, I was staring at my reflection while checking its back, which bears a striking resemblance to the shiny surface of the late compact disc. You will get the design if you are a fan of flamboyance in fashion. If you aren’t one, like me, you will just ask, to no one in particular, ‘why?’

Design and display

If you overlook the garish back, a few other annoyances (like the deprivation of the 3.5mm earphone jack) and the hefty price tag (costs ₹79,999), the Note 10+ is an efficient, easy-to-carry smartphone (weighs 196 grams).

With the Aura Glow version of the Note 10+, the first thing that would catch your attention is its look — whether you like it or not is a different matter. The front of it is sleek and smooth with a notch-less, almost bezel-less Dynamic AMOLED display — the front camera, like a bindi, is placed in the centre. The front and rear glass panels and the phone’s metal coalesce into one shimmering device that feels slick when held.

The back is where the problem is. Well, the bling, of course, is a matter of taste. But even if you like the reflective surface, it will soon be smeared by fingerprints — which can easily mar the experience. ‘Will I protect the phone from staining by covering it (and, thereby, diminishing its original beauty) or let it remain uncovered (and oversee the finger-smudges)?’ is a question that requires some contemplation.

The Cinematic Infinity Display can achieve peak brightness of up to 1200 nits — even under a sunny noon sky, I could read a news article with ease. The images, whilst watching a video, appear rich as well. With AKG’s stereo speakers accentuated by Dolby Atmos, binging on TV shows is fun (the earphones that came with the device kept coming off my ears though).

Specifications
  • DISPLAY: 6.8-inch Quad HD+, Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display, 3040×1440 (498ppi), HDR10+ Certified
  • CAMERAS: REAR: Quad Camera, Ultra Wide: 16MP F2.2 (123°), Wide-angle: 12MP 2PD AF F1.5/F2.4 OIS (77°), Telephoto: 12MP F2.1 OIS (45°), DepthVision Camera: VGA; FRONT: 10MP 2PD AF F2.2 (80°)
  • BODY: 77.2 x 162.3 x 7.9mm, 196g, (BLE S Pen: 5.8 × 4.35 × 105.08 3.04g)
  • BATTERY: 4,300mAh; Super Fast Charging compatible on wired with QC2.0, AFC and PD3.0; Wireless charging speeds with Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 compatible with WPC and PMA
  • AUTHENTICATION: Lock Type: Pattern, PIN, Password; Biometric Lock Types: Fingerprint sensor, Face recognition

Upgraded hardware

The S-Pen, perhaps the most distinct accessory that comes with the Note series, is slightly more than just a gimmicky stylus this time. It is stubbier than its predecessors, which makes it easier to hold. The note-taking and doodling apart, it is helpful in clicking selfies, adjusting volume, navigating through gallery, among other things.

Of course, these are mundane functions, but in order to perform them with the S-Pen, you need to make swishes and flicks much like what the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry do with their magic wands. But these movements aren’t easy to master — you’d rather use your fingers to change the camera mode than use the S-Pen and end up producing 10 weird selfies.

Samsung has also improved its DeX feature that lets you use its Android apps on your computer screens with the help of just a USB Type-C to HDMI cable. To do the same in the Galaxy S8 version, you need a DeX station that costs over ₹8,000. DeX is handy but far from completion, as many apps don’t support this feature.

When it comes to the Note10+ camera, there isn’t a drastic change from Galaxy S10. And, that is not necessarily a bad thing, as it is already among the best smartphone cameras. The triple camera set-up (16MP ultrawide+12MP wide-angle+12MP telephoto) with DepthVision is adequate even for a serious photographer. There is a host of camera modes — hyperlapse, super slow mo, night, food and more — that makes it easy even for novices to click and record decent photos and videos. The live video mode, for instance, blurs the background of the subject, creating a bokeh effect — it doesn’t work all the time, but when used right, produces cool outcomes.

The AR Doodles and emojis allow you to fiddle around if you want to indulge in drawing moustaches or make funny faces. The doodles on the face will follow the face as it moves, even while recording videos. You can also record yourself doodling, if you press the record button before you begin to draw.

For its weight, the Note 10+ packs a big battery — in fact the 4,300mAh cell is more powerful than its younger sibling the Note 10, and is the most resilient in the Note series. If you aren’t into constant heavy-duty gaming, the phone will easily last over a day after a charge. And, of course, if you want to quickly do your hair, you can always turn your phone around to use it as a makeshift mini-mirror.

The Note 10+ could have topped my list of the best smartphone releases this year but it loses out by a small margin to the smoother, sleeker and significantly more inexpensive OnePlus 7 Pro.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 3:04:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/gadgets/samsung-galaxy-note-10-review-an-efficient-surprisingly-light-phone-thats-burdened-by-its-price/article29375536.ece

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