Samsung Galaxy Note 10 rumor review: release date, price, specs, and features of the future beast
But that’s not all Samsung has in store for us, oh no. We have a new Note to look forward to — the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, which should come in less than half a year if the manufacturer follows its refresh cycle accurately.
So, what’s there to be excited about? Let’s go through everything we know about the Galaxy Note 10 so far!
Table of contents:
Four variants of the Galaxy Note 10?
With the Galaxy S10 line, Samsung went a bit overkill. Not only do we have a Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus, but also a small Galaxy S10e and a supersized Galaxy S10 5G coming down the line. That's a lot of versions of the same(ish) phone! So, what about the Galaxy Note 10?
Well, rumors insist again and again we will see two differently-sized Galaxy Note 10 phones — a regular Note 10 and a bigger Note 10+. And then, there will be a separate 5G model — some say only the Note 10+ will have a 5G version, others say both variants will have their 5G spinoffs. In other words, we will have three to four different versions of the Galaxy Note 10.
But worry not, your choice might be a bit limited anyway. Leaked posters suggest that the Note 10+ 5G will be a Verizon-exclusive device. Our guess is that this may be a timed exclusivity — maybe for a month to three — but that's just guesswork right now.
Design: not just a Galaxy S10 copy-paste job
The latest rumors say that Samsung doesn't want the Note 10 to just look like a Galaxy S10++. Instead, we might see a reworked design with much starker angles and reworked camera positions. According to the latest rumors, we will still get a camera punch-hole cutout on the screen. However, it will not be tucked away in the top right of the display. It will be right at the top center, mimicking a waterdrop-style notch without the actual waterdrop — just a tiny hole up there.
Now for the bad news — the Note 10 might just be Samsung’s first mainstream flagship (we don't consider the $1,980 Fold to be mainstream) phone with no headphone jack. Leaked schematics from Verizon's 5G tests further affirmed this, so it seems to be the dreadful reality.
You'll also notice that the Bixby button is missing from some of the leaked "official" renders or pictures. This is because Samsung has reportedly decided to put the Bixby activation action in the phone's power button — much like how the iPhone X's Siri is called upon with the sleep/wake button. That's a good call, really. No reason to have a bunch of hardware keys that confuse our fingers.
All the colors of the rainbow
Colors have turned into a big deal as people seek out phones that allow them to accessorise and express their individualities and preferences. According to a recent major leak, the Note 10 and Note 10+ will come with a grand total of 3 colors to pick from.
With the possibility of four different Note models, there's also the chance we will get a few different screen sizes. The rumor mill is not concrete on what kind of diagonals we should expect, but word on the street is that the more affordable edition will have a 6.3-inch display, while the Pro would go up to 6.8 inches. For comparison's sake — the Note 9 has a 6.4-inch screen right now.
Also, to thin out the Note 10's "forehead" as much as possible, Samsung has allegedly decided to go with Sound on Display technology. This is the tech where the phone vibrates the screen to create sound, instead of using the conventional earpiece. LG has already done that with the G8 and Huawei has it on the P30 Pro. You mostly can't tell there's no earpiece when you are using the device, but the P30 Pro does tend to be on the quiet side during phonecalls.
We don't expect the change in size would make the Pro much bigger than the current Note 9. It will probably be very similar in size, as Samsung has adopted a new design language with super-thin chins and foreheads on the phones, moving the selfie cameras in a display cutout. But that 6.28-inch "Galaxy Note 10e" will probably be a noticeably more compact version of the phone — just slightly bigger than the Galaxy S10. If that turns out to be true, fans that have been begging for a more compact Note would surely be happy! Unfortunately, some rumors say that the "small note" would only be available in some markets. Let's hope that one's wrong!
The curved "edge" displays have been a divisive topic in the fandom for some years — especially since Samsung killed the "flat screen" variants of its flagships and only went with the curved models. The one saving grace of the Note series was that Sammy recognized that using an S Pen on a display with aggressive arches towards its ends isn't optimal, so ever since the Note 7, the curves on Note phones have had a much tighter angle than on the Galaxy S line. Effectively, there was more flat area to use and a less pronounced arch at the edges of the screen.
This might change with the Galaxy Note 10, as whispers suggest Samsung will be looking to go back to a more pronounced slope for more of a "wow" effect. This could, however, only affect one of the Note 10 models, who knows? In any case, the fandom might be about to suffer another "pro-curve vs against curve" split.
Look, ma! No buttons!
A certain obscure rumor claims that the Galaxy Note 10 might be the first Samsung phone with no hardware buttons. We've see HTC attempt this with the U12, and we've recently seen Meizu try it with its "holeless" concept of a phone. Thus far... it hasn't resulted in a successful experience.
The main issue with a no-buttons phone is the fact that you still need to have physical nubs that the user can feel with their finger, and you need to have stellar haptic feedback to "tell" the fingers when a press has actually been registered. If you don't have that tech... why bother? Just go with a good, clicky, sturdy button.
We are very doubtful that Samsung could be planning a button-less Galaxy Note 10. It's not impossible but... take this rumor with a bag of salt.
For the most part, we expect the regular Note 10 would come with the same triple camera module that the Galaxy S10 introduced — a 12 MP wide angle, 12 MP telephoto, and 16 MP ultra-wide angle set of cameras. We would also hope to see that at least the Note 10 Pro would have the ToF Camera that is also going to be installed on the upcoming Galaxy S10 5G. Time of Flight sensors are used to accurately determine object locations and sizes much more accurately than what current tech does. This will be helpful in the areas of Augmented Reality applications and also — hopefully — even more accurate Portrait Mode effects.
There have been reports that Samsung is working on a 5x optical zoom module, which should be able to battle the crazy zoom capabilities of the newest Huawei and OnePlus phones. However, we may or may not see that tech in the Note 10, as leaksters say Samsung is saving its newest camera developments for a special phone or for next year's Galaxy S11.
There was a rumor that the Note 10 would have a 64 MP main camera, which stemmed from the fact that the company announced an ISOCELL sensor with this resolution earlier. However, that's not very likely, as these sensors have 0.8 μm pixels, which are extremely small compared to the 1.4 μm ones in its "flagship" sensors. It's not all about the megapixel count — having these big pixels makes for more light collection and much better and faster performance when lighting isn't ideal. Serial leakster IceUniverse has also refuted the rumor that Sammy would use the 64 MP sensor in the Note 10.
Hardware — return of the king?
Back in the old days, the Galaxy Note line always had something more than just a larger screen and an S Pen. It packed a hardware edge that you just simply couldn’t get on the S line of the same year. In recent years, the Notes have mostly been a “bigger Galaxy S”. But, in 2019, this may again change.
Rumor has it that the international variant of the Galaxy Note 10 will sport a new generation of Exynos 9825 processors — built on a 7 nm process, faster than their Galaxy S counterparts and technologically ready for the 5G era. The US models will come with the updated Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+, which is brand-new and has currently only been seen on the super-charged Asus ROG Phone 2. In other words — it's a pretty over-the-top processor. The Note 10's starting storage will be 256 GB and there will allegedly be 512 GB models to opt for. As for storage expansion — the Note 10+ will have a microSD card slot, but the regular Note 10 will not. Still, 256 GB of storage is a lot of room!
It’s also rumored that the Note 10+ will come with super-fast 12 GB RAM chips, which is more than overkill. The base version will probably have 8 GB of RAM, which is plenty enough for modern flagship phones.
New battery technologies — speedy charging
According to the latest specs rumors, we'll have some big batteries to keep the lights on. The base Galaxy Note 10 will have a 3,500 mAh cell and the pro-grade Note 10+ will sport a 4,300 mAh juicebox.
Topping these cells should be pretty quick. Leaks say the base Note 10 will support 25 W fast charging and the Note 10+ may even be able to take a 45 W wallplug. Now, according to rumors, however, the 45 W charger will not come in the Note 10+'s box... you'll get the "regular" 25 W by default. For the super-juicer, you'll have to buy it extra for $50.
Galaxy Note 10 price and release date
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hit the store shelves on the 24th of August in 2018, priced at $999 for the base model. We’ve no reason to believe the Note 10 would be delayed — Samsung has enjoyed having a full month to market the Note phones and gain momentum before Apple announces its iPhones as it does every September.
As for the price, we do think we might see a slight increase. Currently, the Galaxy S10e sits at $750, the Galaxy S10 holds the $900 point, and the Galaxy S10+ took up the $1,000 slot. Rumors say the regular Galaxy Note 10 will start at $999 and the bigger Note 10+ would be $1,149 and that sounds about right. Yeah, that's a hell of a price-tag, but at least we expect Samsung to come out with some good trade-in deals as well.
Mind you, this is mostly just an educated guess, but it’s all backed up by recent trends in the smartphone industry. We’d still love to be wrong here.