There’s never a better time to take a look at the smartphone landscape of any given year than at the end of October. The Samsung Galaxy Note started the H2 flagship avalanche, followed by the annual Apple iPhones, the Huawei Mates, Google’s Pixels and OnePlus’ T refreshes. It’s all here and it’s all on sale, except the Huaweis due to their tricky situation, so you can have the full palette of premium smartphones to chose from for the Holiday season.
And I’m here to tell you that the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ is the most sensible choice for your pocket this season. Before we get into why I think that is, let’s get something out of the way.
If you’re a diehard iPhone user, can’t live without stock Android or have any other self-imposed limitations on your smartphone selection, you might as well exit now. This is a read for the conventional person, the one that relies on his or her phone to do the job it’s required to and doesn’t impose artificial limits that are more down to prejudice than actual facts on their smartphones.
The Galaxy Note10+ is the complete, no-compromises device that offers as much or even more than its rivals. To start with, it’s beautifully built with precision cut aluminum and curved glass. It arrives with a premium retail box that houses a 25W charger and excellent AKG-branded earphones with the only omission being a case (which Samsung offers buckets of, many of which included in some sort of promo with the phone itself).
The Note also has a strict single-memory policy – 256GB across the board, putting those absurd 64GB iPhones and Pixels to shame!
Then there are the specs – the Galaxy Note10+ packs a 7nm Exynos 9825 or Snapdragon 855 chipset, 12GB of RAM, a 4K-capable selfie camera, the 0.5x-1x-2x triple camera every 2019 flagship should have, potent 4,300mAh battery and an absolute marvel of a screen. Not only is it among the sharpest around, but at 6.8-inch there’s just more of it than on any of its mainstream rivals.
You could argue that the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ is expensive but you can grab the 256GB unit for €899 from Amazon compared to a €1,250 64GB iPhone 11 Pro Max. Equalizing the storage puts the Apple phone at €1,419. Not to mention that with some shopping around you can easily go lower with the Note10+, while the iPhone rarely gets major discounts.
You could also argue that the brand new OnePlus 7T Pro is a better bang for buck proposition than the Galaxy Note10+ with a 8GB+256GB priced at €760 and a 12GB+256B McLaren Edition OnePlus 7T Pro just €100 more and you’d have a point.
But the OnePlus lacks any IP rating, wireless charging, further expandable storage and brings a capable, but inferior camera system to the Galaxy Note10+. Then there is the matter of the slightly smaller screen and slightly weaker battery life (especially in video playback).
Outside of the obvious, the Galaxy Note10+ has a few clever tricks that make it a thoughtful companion for everyday life. The S Pen enables you to scribble text on top of a screenshot, jot down a note in a hurry and makes operating sliders (like in a photo edit window) much easier. It’s also an always ready remote camera shutter for those party snaps.
OneUI is by far the most customizable OS in a group of Oxygen OS, stock Android and iOS. It did the Dark Mode thing before both Google and Apple, has clever swipes to call contacts or open up a hidden edge menu with favorite apps – typical Samsung-isms that many will find useless, but make all the difference for the right user group.
Also, the Galaxy Note10+ is the only high-profile flagship with expandable storage (not that many will need it).
So there you have it. The least glamorous flagship is the one to get. People (especially those in this tech business) tend to prop up devices like the OnePlus’ or the Pixels or the iPhones and shrug aside the Galaxies.
OnePlus’ phones get judged based off their competitive price, Google based on its limited experience with making hardware and Apple based on this pre-accepted notion that they’re somehow magically better at this or that than their competitors, while Samsung flagships have been accepted to be feature-packed but somehow lifeless, uncool.
You know what’s cool – having a smartphone capable of doing it all, all the time. Not worrying if 64 gigs will get you through a month of photo and video capture. Topping up your enormous battery in an hour flat. Watching a video on a 6.8-inch AMOLED. Yeah, that’s all cool as ice!