Samsung launches Galaxy Note lineup with 3 new models

The new Samsung lineup gives Korean mobile manufacturer a chance to appeal to phone buyers before Apple's expected iPhone launch in September

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Samsung has launched its new lineup of premium smartphones – the Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10+ and Galaxy Note 10+ 5G. These greatest phones will be available in the market before Apple launches its new iPhones in September.

This is the first time Samsung has launched more than one model of its fan-favourite Galaxy Note phone, which helps it cater to as many of those buyers as possible. There’s a model for people who don’t like “huge” phones, there’s a big one for power users and there’s a 5G variant for folks who want to future-proof for next-generation networks that are beginning to roll out now.

Here’s what you need to know about them.

The Galaxy Note 10

This Galaxy Note 10 has a really unique finish that changes colours in the light. The Galaxy Note 10 is the phone most people should buy.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 has a 6.3-inch screen, which is the biggest difference from the 6.8-inch screen on the Galaxy Note 10+. Samsung said it’s launching a smaller version in case some customers find the full-sized Note to be too large. And that’s a good strategy, since earlier Note phones have felt a bit bulky and heavy. This year, the Galaxy Note 10 feels much lighter and thinner. The phones are still big, but since the screen takes up most of the front of the phone, they don’t feel as large as earlier models.

The screen is the one big selling point. It’s probably the best on any phone you can buy. It’s sharp, colourful and really bright. But so are the screens on most other high-end phones, including Samsung’s Galaxy S10 devices that launched earlier this year. Apple’s iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max use a similar display technology. The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ stand out against iPhones by including just a tiny cut-out for the front-camera. The rest of the face of the phone is entirely screen, which means things like videos and photos tend to pop a bit more, since there aren’t any big bezels or notches to distract you.

The finishes on the phones are gorgeous. These might be the best looking phones on the market.

There are three cameras on the back, and they seemed pretty good. One gives you 2x optical zoom, another is for wide-angle pictures, which most people love since it lets fit more into a picture. There’s also another standard camera which, when used in tandem with the optical zoom lens, lets you shoot portrait pictures.

The S Pen is also improved. It’s a unibody design now, so it feels a bit more sturdy, and it has beveled edges that make it easier to grip. It’s still a hair on the tiny side, though. Some new S Pen features coming include gesture support, so you can set up the phone and then control things like the camera’s zoom without touching the phone. It’s neat, if a bit gimmicky. But Samsung is appealing to its power users who probably like these features.

Samsung has always put a focus on bigger and faster-charging batteries. This year, it removed the standard headphone jack to squeeze in as big of a battery as possible. It says customers can also charge the Galaxy Note 10 fully in about an hour, or get a day’s use after it’s plugged in for 30 minutes.

Finally, you’ll get four times the storage of an entry-level iPhone. Samsung is shipping the Note 10 with 256GB of storage, which is far more than most people probably need. But there’s no microSD card slot, so you can’t add more storage as you could with previous Note models.

Galaxy Note 10+

The Galaxy Note 10+ is a larger version of Galaxy Note 10, but it has a few important changes that will appeal to hardcore Note fans.

First, it has an even bigger 6.8-inch screen. It’s also really thin and light, so the phone didn’t feel too cumbersome. But it’s definitely not a phone for one-handed use. The Note 10+ has a bigger battery and will be available with either 256GB or 512GB of storage, which is a ton. There’s also a microSD card slot so you can add even more storage. This is appealing for people who install a lot of games, download a lot of movies and, importantly, shoot a lot of high-res video. And video editing is pretty fun with the S Pen, which made it easier to tap in and select specific frames of a shot.

The Galaxy Note 10+ will also include up to 12GB of RAM, compared with 8GB of RAM in the Galaxy Note 10. This should mean smoother performance while running lots of applications at once, including in Samsung’s “Dex” desktop environment, which lets you connect a monitor, mouse and keyboard and use the phone as a sort of mini PC. DeX will also let you plug your phone into a PC or Mac and run apps on your phone in a secure windowed environment. Previously, you had to connect it to a display. This has been primarily an enterprise play for Samsung before.

The Note 10+ also has a “time of flight” sensor on the back, which uses light beams to better measure the distance between objects. For now, this is mostly used to take better portrait photos, but it can also enhance augmented reality apps and games. It’s not a must-have feature today, but could be useful in the future as more AR apps become available.

The Galaxy Note 10+ otherwise has the same three cameras as the standard version. The S Pen has the same functions as it does on the regular Galaxy Note 10, too.

Galaxy Note 10+ 5G
The Galaxy Note 10+ 5G that, as its name implies, supports 5G networks. It’s otherwise identical to the Galaxy Note 10+.