Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+: first camera samples, iPhone XS comparison

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+: first camera samples, iPhone XS comparison
The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ are finally unveiled and — as expected — they are specs champions. Samsung has not only consistently packed the best specs they can cram into its Note devices, it has also been putting great emphasis on its cameras’ performance over the past few year.

And performers these phones are. Whether you pick up a recent Galaxy S or Galaxy Note, you will end up taking great shots. It seems that the current Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+ don’t have much of an upgrade in that department when compared to the Galaxy S10 line that came out earlier this year. But we wouldn’t say that’s bad — the S10 already takes amazing shots.

Both the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+ have a 12 MP main camera, a 12 MP telephoto camera, and a 16 MP ultra-wide-angle snapper. On the front, that tiny punch-hole hides a 10 MP selfie camera. The Note 10+ has an extra DepthVision Camera, which allows it to place virtual objects in Augmented Reality with higher accuracy, make full 3D scans of real-world objects, and possibly provide improved edge detection for Live Focus features.

While we still haven’t gotten the chance to put the cameras through a full review process, we did spend enough hands-on time with the new Notes to snap a bunch of pictures. 

Samsung has been fine-tuning color reproduction and sharpening over the past few years. It still leans towards slightly oversharpening objects, but it’s not even near to a point where we would call it “unrealistic”. It has also struggled with yellow-ish colors in the past, but the balance seems to be more in line this year around.

For comparison, we also took several photos with an iPhone XS, just to see what differences we can expect.

The following shot shows Samsung's tendency to over-sharpen detail a bit too much. Depending on who views it, the detail on these bricks may look amazing, or it could look a bit over the top:

However, overall, even in the challenging conditions of in-doors with multiple light sources and different colors bouncing around, the Note 10 still managed to hit a balanced point that's pleasing to view and more than good enough to share:

*iPhone XS (left) vs Galaxy Note 10 (right) regular wide-angle

Of course, we have a stellar camera on the front and of course it offers a Live Focus function. You know — for when you want to get extra artsy with your selfies. It does get a tad noisy when the light is less than ideal, but otherwise it's pretty good at capturing dynamic shots with challenging highlights. Its faux bokeh effect is pretty on point but it's still challenged by strands of loose hair or dark background elements meeting the edge of the subject's body.

*iPhone XS (left) vs Galaxy Note 10 (right) selfie

Conclusion and expectations

Of course, we wouldn't be hasty to cast judgement on the Note 10's camera just yet. From our preliminary tests, it looks pretty good — as good as the Galaxy S10 camera. There were a few hiccups and minor disappointments, but we'll need to spend more time with it to see if these annoyances are a regular occurrence or off-shoot incidents. Of course, we wouldn't rule out the possibility that a patch can further fine-tune the camera, since the hands-on units were essentially pre-production phones. Stay tuned!

Related phones

Galaxy Note 10
  • Display 6.3" 1080 x 2280 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 3500 mAh
Galaxy Note 10+
  • Display 6.8" 1440 x 3040 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4300 mAh



1. twens

Posts: 1184; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

Not bad.

2. MsPooks

Posts: 251; Member since: Jul 08, 2019

Any issues you're seeing are there to stay. Samsung doesn't see them as issues.

4. tedkord

Posts: 17481; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

So only 9 were affected?

8. oldskool50 unregistered

What? Are you mad that the Galaxy camera has been better than your favorite since the S4? Seems you're happy PA doesn't know how to use cameras on galaxy phones. We've proven this many times. You just got here and you're bias.

15. thenotoriousrob

Posts: 22; Member since: Oct 11, 2017

Kind of like apple and all their dongles. They're features, right?


Posts: 132; Member since: May 08, 2015

What issues? Just took #1 spot in Dxomark, lol

3. User123456789

Posts: 1200; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Samsung needs to decrease noise reduction by 30% at least.

5. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2488; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

It just looks alright to me. I was never really impressed with the XS camera and the Note 10 doesn’t seem that much better. I have a feeling the upcoming Pixel 4, Mate 30 Pro, and OnePlus 7T Pro will be interesting in the camera departments.

9. oldskool50 unregistered

The issue with the photos above are not the cameras, its the person taking the shots. He has no idea what he is doing. Or he is purposely trying to make the Note look bad. Considering how deceptive photos have been in the past, I'm sure I'm right on both. I suggest watching SuperSaf and watch his camera comparisons vs PA with the same phones that PA have tested and you see a considerable difference.

18. Mike88

Posts: 438; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

From the pics above, it’s clear that the iPhone XS camera is better than Note 10 so what’s your point?


Posts: 132; Member since: May 08, 2015

We'll, Dxomark clearly disagrees as it just ranked Note 10+ above every other phone and most definitely above the X's Max

6. User123456789

Posts: 1200; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Samsung photos are made for social network upload. Dont try to print nor look at it on a big 4K screen.

17. LiveFaith

Posts: 493; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Hmmm. Good point. But then I think about which thing 99% of users do with digital photos.

7. oldskool50 unregistered

In the first photo, I just think it was a rushed shot where either you didn't focus or you simply don't know how to take pictures. You can clearly see in the photos, you likely didn't use a stick to have both phones take the shot the exact same way. They were taken either at different angles, or the subject in the photo moved. Either of which can easily throw a camera off. I think this is simply a novice tryign to take pictures. I will reserve final judgment until real pros on YouTube do camera comparisons like SuperSaf who does a more professional job at taking vids and photos. You guys consistently seem to take terrible pictures with Galaxy phones, while no one else does. Of course we all know why too!

12. User123456789

Posts: 1200; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Autofocus. Manual focus can lead to overexposed shots on phones.

10. DizzysEat

Posts: 18; Member since: Apr 05, 2018

I know this only pertains to stills, but did they bring back Pro/Manual Mode on videos?

11. iloveapps

Posts: 909; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

This is a big disappointment camera performance of NOTE. Its really look ugly than a year old iphone XS max. Point and shoot is really bad. I bet Note 10 needs tripod to get a better pic than iphone X but nowhere it would be better than XS max.

13. morgeus09

Posts: 108; Member since: Aug 19, 2018

Youre funny


Posts: 132; Member since: May 08, 2015

Yeah, Dxomark disagrees

14. thenotoriousrob

Posts: 22; Member since: Oct 11, 2017

The true camera tests are in very low light. Next time you go to a concert or some show inside where it's dark look at all the differences in the lighting when people hold up their phones to take pictures. My Xs is miserable. Seeing those androids pop makes me want to switch back.

19. User123456789

Posts: 1200; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Not really. Low light performance depends on settings being used. Auto mode will never give you as good results as manual mode. Often phones have issue with artificial light, which leads to wrong WB.

24. thenotoriousrob

Posts: 22; Member since: Oct 11, 2017

Ok. Take the best Apple and Samsung to a low light scenario and watch the results. Not even close.


Posts: 132; Member since: May 08, 2015

PhoneArena at it again. Always the first to come out and always proven wrong when more professional comparisons come out later on. Don't you guys get tired of yourself? Never see the bad shots taken by iPhoneArena anywhere else, so that leaves only one conclusion: purposely rigged to make Samsung look bad. Proven time and time again so there really is no denying it.

26. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

IKR.. Soon SuperSaf will post his Note10 camera test. His test is more transparent, he can't take better sample from one phone and worse from other since it's simultaneously side-by-side, and his test cover many different scenarios. And maybe in a week, DxO will also post their review from profesional perspective, I guest it won't take the crown but still get a place in top 5.


Posts: 132; Member since: May 08, 2015

First signs look promising. #1 spot in Dxomark

21. tangbunna

Posts: 491; Member since: Sep 29, 2016

after look at the photo compariso , I cancelled my note10+ pre order and buy the 10 months old Xs max.


Posts: 132; Member since: May 08, 2015

Stupid decision as the Note just ranked #1 in Dxomark

22. Vancetastic

Posts: 1798; Member since: May 17, 2017

I’m not sure which I prefer...I think it would depend on what I was using the photo for.

25. japkoslav

Posts: 1552; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Kinda what I expected from S10 camera. Can't wait for a proper vs. battle and video samples in future.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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