Samsung Galaxy Note 10 phones:

No headphone jack with punch-hole cam


In a move that risks alienating some fans, Samsung has removed the headphone jack from both Note 10 phones. The cold, hard truth is that most phones already ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack, relying on the USB-C port to plug in wired headphones. Samsung was the final major holdout.

Why remove the jack? Samsung claims the decision was to free up space in the phone for more battery capacity, and said that around 70% of Galaxy S and Note owners weren't using it anyway, as people shift toward wireless earbuds.

With the headphone jack gone, those of you who feel attached to wired headphones will need to either buy a dongle adaptor, or use the pair of USB-C headphones that comes in the box. Samsung doesn't supply you with a dongle, but will happily sell you one for $10. You could also decide to make the switch to wireless headphones, including Samsung's Galaxy Buds.

Galaxy Note 10 vs. Note 10 Plus: What's the difference?

Although the design builds off last year's Galaxy Note 9, I was impressed with the way the Note 10 and 10 Plus looked and felt. Leave it to Samsung to make a pretty phone, and one with eye-catching colors (I mean the Aura Glow and Aura Blue, of course). 

The hole-punch selfie camera moves to the center of the Note 10's screen, a big improvement over the Galaxy S10 phones, where the lens is all the way to the right.

Samsung has also shifted the button configuration. The Bixby button is gone. Or rather, it's become one with the power/lock button on the left spine, below the volume keys. Press once to lock and unlock the screen, press twice to launch the camera (or any app, you can program this in the settings) and press and hold to trigger Bixby Voice.

The Note 10 phones use the same in-screen fingerprint reader in the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus.

There are more similarities than differences between these two phones, but Samsung wanted to make sure that the larger Note 10 Plus has the edge on features. We compare the specs at the end, but here are the main distinctions that make the Note 10 Plus a little extra premium.

Samsung Galaxy Note10+ vs Galaxy Note10

Bigger, heavier body: 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm, 196 grams.

Bigger, higher resolution display: 6.8", 1440 x 3040px resolution, 498ppi.

More RAM, bigger storage option and microSD card slot: 12GB RAM, 512GB storage, hybrid microSD slot.

Additional ToF camera: DepthVision: ToF VGA, f/1.4, 72° FoV

Bigger battery and faster charging: 4,300 mAh, 45W wired (charger sold separately) Super fast charging. 15W Fast Wireless Charging 2.0.

No microSD card slot on the Note 10

Samsung also got rid of the microSD card slot for the Note 10 only. The Plus will still accept whatever card you throw at it. 

Again, the reason for the change seems to be a space-saving mission that also helps keep the smaller Note 10 lighter and thinner. That said, it seems likely that Samsung also wanted to give the Note 10 Plus one more way to be different.

Specifications:

Samsung Galaxy Note10+

Body: 151 x 71.8 x 7.9 mm, 168 grams, IP68 rating.

Display: 6.3" Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED, 1080 x 2280px resolution; 19:9 aspect ratio; 401ppi; HDR10+ certified.

SoC: Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9825 (market dependent)

Memory: 256GB storage, no microSD slot with 8GB RAM (LTE) or 12GB (5G).

OS: Android 9.0 Pie, Samsung One UI.

Main cam:Wide (main): 12MP, 1/2.55" sensor, f/1.5-2.4 aperture, 26mm equiv. focal length (77° FoV), dual pixel PDAF, OIS. Telephoto: 12MP, f/2.1 aperture, 52mm equiv. focal length (45° FoV), PDAF, OIS. Ultra-wide: 16MP, f/2.2 aperture, 12mm equiv. focal length (123° FoV), fixed focus.

Front cam: 10MP, f/2.2 aperture, 25mm equiv. focal length (80° FoV), dual pixel PDAF.

Vide: Rear: up to 4K 2160p@60fps, EIS up to 2160p@30fps; HDR10+ recording. Front: up to 4K 2160p@30fps with EIS.

Battery: 3,500 mAh Li-Ion (sealed), 25W wired fast charging. 12W Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare

Connectivity: USB Type-C (v3.1); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac/ax(Wi-Fi 6); GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo; NFC; Bluetooth 5.0, ANT+.

Others: Ultrasonic under-display fingerprint sensor; stereo speakers (bottom-firing + earpiece).

S-Pen: BLE S-Pen 5.8 x 4.35 x 105.08 mm, 3.04 grams unibody, Lithium titanate battery (LTO) up to 10 hours of stand-by, 6-axis sensor, including Gyro and acceleration sensor.

Samsung Galaxy Note10+

Body: 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm, 196 grams, IP68 rating.

Display: 6.8" Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED, 1440 x 3040px resolution; 19:9 aspect ratio; 498ppi; HDR10+ certified.

SoC: Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9825 (market dependent)

Memory: 12GB RAM with 256GB/512GB storage, hybrid microSD slot.

OS: Android 9.0 Pie, Samsung One UI.

Main cam:Wide (main): 12MP, 1/2.55" sensor, f/1.5-2.4 aperture, 26mm equiv. focal length (77° FoV), dual pixel PDAF, OIS. Telephoto: 12MP, f/2.1 aperture, 52mm equiv. focal length (45° FoV), PDAF, OIS. Ultra-wide: 16MP, f/2.2 aperture, 12mm equiv. focal length (123° FoV), fixed focus. DepthVision: ToF VGA, f/1.4, 72° FoV

Front cam: 10MP, f/2.2 aperture, 25mm equiv. focal length (80° FoV), dual pixel PDAF.

Video: Rear: up to 4K 2160p@60fps, EIS up to 2160p@30fps; HDR10+ recording. Front: up to 4K 2160p@30fps with EIS.

Battery: 4,300 mAh Li-Ion (sealed), 45W wired (charger sold separately) Super fast charging. 15W Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare

Connectivity: USB Type-C (v3.1); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac/ax(Wi-Fi 6); GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo; NFC; Bluetooth 5.0, ANT+.

Others: Ultrasonic under-display fingerprint sensor; stereo speakers (bottom-firing + earpiece).

S-Pen: BLE S-Pen 5.8 x 4.35 x 105.08 mm, 3.04 grams unibody, Lithium titanate battery (LTO) up to 10 hours of stand-by, 6-axis sensor, including Gyro and acceleration sensor.

Gesture control is the big new S Pen trick

The S Pen stylus gets a few bonus features in the Galaxy Note 10 and 10 Plus. Last year's Note 9 introduced Bluetooth capability in the stylus, so you can take a photo remotely with a click of the S Pen button. It also has a battery that recharges when you slide the stylus back into the phone.

This time around, the S Pen adds to that Bluetooth power with a new set of gesture control tricks. While holding the button, you can flick left, right, up and down to do things like switch from the main to rear camera, advance musical tracks on Spotify or switch slides in a PowerPoint presentation you launch from your phone. You can also use some more advanced gestures, like a circular arc, to make the camera zoom in or out.

It's better to think of this as a remote control. There's really no reason you'd need to use gesture controls when the phone's in your hand, but if you've got it set up on a tripod to take a group shot, it could be handy.

I'm on the fence about gesture control in general -- it's often a gimmicky solution in search of a problem I rarely have -- but I can see some actual utility here, for some specific instances. It did take a while to get the hang of some of the more advanced gestures, but practice likely makes perfect.

-cnet