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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 vs Galaxy S10: Which should you opt for?

Which Samsung flagship comes up trumps?

Samsung debuted its long-awaited Galaxy Note 10 earlier this month, although it failed to quite hit the mark. We’d anticipated some major, revolutionary overhauls, and were left quite underwhelmed in our initial review. So underwhelmed, in fact, that the hands-on merited a “Much ado about Note-ing” headline. Props to Mobile Technology Editor Nathan Spendelow for that one.

Six months ago we had our socks blown off by the Galaxy S10, awarding it four stars for its gorgeous design, superb camera and long-lasting battery life. This, we posited, made the Galaxy S10 a “worthy iPhone Xs killer”. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S10 Plus was really worth writing home about; we called it a phone “of rare distinction”, and gave it five stars for its refined camera, comprehensive features and impeccable software.

In the light of the Note 10’s release, we’re pitting it against Samsung’s other flagship, the Galaxy S10. We’ll be comparing specs, features, design and more, so you can figure out which Samsung beauty you want to opt for.

Read on for our in-depth, side-by-side analysis of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S10.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 vs Galaxy S10: Design

The Note 10 boasts an ever-so-slightly sleeker design than its flagship predecessor the Galaxy S10, with the former offering noticeably slimmer bezels than the latter. The Note also comes in six new colours: Aura Black, Aura White, Aura Red, Aura Blue, Aura Pink and Aura Glow. The S10’s hues were similarly thematic: Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Blue and Prism Green.

One big omission from the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is that it comes without a 3.5mm headphone jack, instead requiring wireless or USB Type-C headphones. This is also the first Note to wave goodbye to its micro-SD slot. Meanwhile, the S10 range does still come equipped with a 3.5mm jack, and ships with a pair of AKG-tuned headphones in the box.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 vs Galaxy S10: Specs

In terms of hardware, there’s only a slight deviation between the two handsets. The Note 10 (and Note 10 Plus) are both powered by either Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset, or Exynos 9825. As for the S10, it has a Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9820 chipset, marking a slight difference from its larger stablemate.

In terms of display size, Note handsets typically sport larger screens than the S10 range, and 2019 is no exception. This year’s measurements are as follows: the Note 10 has a 6.3in screen, while the Note 10 Plus has a 6.8in screen. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S10 has a 6.1in screen, the S10 Plus a 6.4in screen and the Galaxy S10 5G has a 6.7in screen. So notable size variations there.

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Speaking of displays, all handsets have Super AMOLED panels and are HDR10+ compliant. The Note 10 is the only one of the models to boast a Full HDR+ screen – the others all sport WQHD+ resolutions.

Battery-wise, the Note 10 has a 3,500mAh battery, while the Note 10 Plus has a 4,300mAh battery. Both iterations of the S10 have slightly smaller batteries, with the S10’s at 3,100mAh and the S10 Plus’ at 3,500mAh. The biggest battery of the bunch, however, goes to the S10 5G, whose capacity is a hefty 4,500mAh.

The Note 10 has a 256GB storage option and 8GB of RAM; the Note 10 Plus offers 256GB and 512GB options, with 12GB of RAM. The S10 is available in 128GB and 512GB options, with 8GB of RAM, and the S10 Plus available in 128GB, 512GB and 1TB options, with 12GB of RAM for those opting for the 1TB option.

For its part, S10 5G comes with 256GB, and offers 8GB of RAM. Both Galaxy ranges run Android 9 Pie out of the box.

When it comes to the all-important camera setup, both the Note 10 and the S10 have 10-megapixel punch hole front-facing cameras – although this appears in the centre the Note 10’s display, but top-right on the S10. The Note 10’s camera also has a smaller footprint than that found on the S10.

The rear cameras specs are identical for the Note 10 and the S10, with both ranges featuring a 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera, dual aperture main 12-megapixel camera and 12-megapixel telephoto lens. One variant here is the VGA 3D Depth Sensor, which appears on the Note 10 Plus and the S10 5G, alongside the aforementioned triple rear camera setup, serving to better capture depth of shots. Aside from this one big addition, there’s not much in the Note 10 and S10’s respective camera setups – other than their positioning on the phone.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 vs Galaxy S10: Features

Features-wise, both the Note 10 and the S10 come with PowerShare, Samsung’s rear wireless charging, along with an under-display fingerprint sensor.

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One obvious difference is that the Note 10 comes equipped with an S Pen, whereas the S10 does not. This, of course, imbues the former with more functionality when it comes to screen interactions: the Note 10’s S Pen has Bluetooth and an impressive six-axis motion sensor, and allows users to control the camera via motion gesture.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 vs Galaxy S10: Price

The Note series is staying true to form by pitching its prices slightly higher than that of the S10 range. The Note 10 will start at £899 in the UK, with the Note 10 Plus starting at a cool £999 for the regular model (a 5G iteration will start at £1,099).

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S10 starts at £799, with the S10 Plus coming in at £899 and the 5G version setting you back £1,099.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 vs Galaxy S10: Verdict

Navigating the various sizings, specs and 5G capabilities (or lack thereof) of the above handsets can be tiring work. We’ve aimed to set them all out plainly for you above, so you can make an informed decision.

We’d postulate, though, that with similar price tags, design and feel, the most notable and important difference between the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and S10 is the former’s S Pen, and the functions it helps facilitate. If you’re not fussed about that – and you’re longing for a 3.5mm headphone jack – we’d say opt for the Samsung Galaxy S10. Moreover, being the older handset, you’re more likely to get a good deal on the phone; you can check out our roundup of best S10 phones here.

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