Samsung Galaxy Note10 review
The smallest Note in a while is still 6.3 inches in diagonal
The Galaxy Note10, compact as it may be, has a 6.3-inch display with a surface area almost the size of the Note8's - a bigger phone in every direction. It's got a 2280x1080px resolution, which results in a pixel density of 401ppi. The display snobs among us insist that it is unacceptable for a Note (and we do have a point), but ultimately a consesus was reached that while not as cutting edge as it's supposed to be, the Note10's panel is plenty sharp enough.
It's also plenty bright, reaching close to 800nits in Auto mode in our testing, virtually the same result as the Note10+. It was marginally less bright than its big brother when adjusting the slider manually, and with just 340-ish nits at your disposal this way. This means you're better off leaving the Auto toggle on. The Vivid color mode does get slightly brighter manually - up to 366nits in our test setup, but there's no meaningful difference in Auto.
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
The Note10's panel gets the Dynamic AMOLED moniker to hint at its HDR10+ video capabilities. HDR10+ video is a standard that Samsung pushes for dynamic metadata control over dynamic range allocation (like DolbyVision, but without the royalty fees) and there's not a ton of content available. HDR10 content, on the other hand,(minus the '+') is ubiquitous and the Note10 will play that just as well.
Color reproduction on the Note10 is handled using Samsung's recently introduced Natural/Vivid approach. Out of the box you get the Natural setting, which is tuned for accurate rendition of sRGB content and delivers an excellent average deltaE of 1.8 though color rendition appears a bit bland. We suspect most users will switch to Vivid mode straight away. The good news is that Vivid is just as accurate - it tests well against a DCI-P3 target, where we got an average deltaE of 3.2 for our set of test color swatches.
In both color modes we measured accurate white points, but a noticeable shift towards green for the grayscale swatches, which comes as a surprise as there is none of that on the Note 10+.
The effect got particularly pronounced as we dropped the brightness to the 200nits we carry out our battery tests at. The good news is that there's a remedy for that, at least in Vivid mode, where you get RGB sliders for adjusting the color balance - R and B around the midpoint and G all the way to the left worked for us.
Samsung Galaxy Note10 battery life
The Galaxy Note10 packs a 3,500mAh battery, just barely bigger than the Galaxy S10's 3,400mAh cell. We had our reservations going into the battery testing but as it turned out those had been unfounded. The Galaxy Note10 is pretty much its big bro's equal in our two on-screen tests with 12 hours in web browsing and 18 hours of looping videos. Sure, it can't quite match the Note10+ in voice calls and standby, where more battery simply means more hours, but we're still happy with the numbers.
The Galaxy Note10 posted an overall endurance rating of 92h, short of the Note10+'s 107h but more than respectable nonetheless.
Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSer App. The endurance rating above denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Samsung Galaxy Note10 for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so that our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritty. You can check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.
Charging the Note10 is quite speedy with the bundled 25W adapter. Starting from flat we were looking at 57% at the 30-minute mark, while a full charge took us 1:20h. Who needs those 45 watts then, really? Okay, perhaps some of us do.
Speaker test (old, new one below)
The Galaxy Note10 has a stereo speaker setup in which there's a primary driver firing downwards, and the earpiece serves as the second channel. The two speakers trade channels as you rotate the phone, so left is always left and right is always right in landscape, while portrait orientation gets you the left channel on top every time.
As we mentioned earlier, the earpiece is designed in such a way that sound comes out through a super thin slit towards the front, while the opening on the top plate serves as a port to improve the low-frequency response (within the size constraints of a smartphone, obviously).
The Note10 posted respectable numbers for loudness, really close to the Note10+, and scored an 'Excellent' mark in our test. We're also finding it subjectively one of the best sounding phones you can buy right now.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
Speaker test (new)
Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal "0db" flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.
Much like its Plus sibling the Samsung Galaxy Note10 has no audio jack so we tested it using the official Samsung USB-C to 3.5mm adapter. So keep in mind that if you use a different adapter, your experience may vary.
As it turned out the smaller Galaxy Note10 was louder than the Galaxy Note10+, while the clarity was identical between the two. The output was perfect with an active external amplifier, while headphones only took a small toll on stereo separation.
The loudness was great - while the Galaxy Note10+ was already above average, the smaller Galaxy Note10 did even better in both parts of the test.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 frequency response
You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.
- Swarn Singh
Using Samsung mobiles for long time i am surprised that while upgrading software, always something missing. Always on display is missing in note 10 and available in note 20.What a software upgradation
- 21 Aug 2021
Asus zenfone 8 is a good phone, viable 2021 note10 competitor
- 30 May 2021
this is a very beautiful phone and also light note 20 looks considerably uglier
- 28 Feb 2021