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Galaxy Note 10 vs. S10: Honestly, we don't think the S Pen is worth it

Galaxy Note 10 vs. S10: Honestly, we don’t think the S Pen is worth it

Though both the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 launched last year, Samsung’s 2019 flagship phones and ultraluxe phones are unruffled fantastic devices. Both offer high-end specs that include intelligent AMOLED displays, powerful cameras and ultrafast processors. In transfer, now that the 2020 Galaxy S20 is out, Samsung has discounted the Galaxy S10 significantly from its modern price of $900 (£799, AU$1,349). Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are also out now, if you want to splurge.

If you’re deciding between the two 2019 phones, we recommend the Galaxy S10. You’ll get similar specs and performance to the Note 10 (give or take a few things that we’ll go in detail in later), but at a lower cost. 

Our detailed walk-through below compares these on the basis of perform, camera, performance and storage. And for more comparisons, read CNET’s Note 10 Plus vs. Note 9: Which Galaxy Note is the better buy? and Galaxy Note 20 vs. Note 20 Ultra vs. S20 vs. S20 Ultra: Samsung flagship specs compared.

Angela Lang

With its big reveal, cheaper price tag and comparable hardware specs to the Note 10, the Galaxy S10 is the better value. The phone’s display is a tad smaller than the Note 10’s by just 0.2 inch, but it has the same processor and nearly the same triple rear-camera setup. It also has a sharper display, a headphone jack and expandable memory. What you won’t have, of course, is the embedded S Pen. But if you’re not a powerful user and won’t have much use for it anyway, go for the S10 and pocket the extra cash.

Read our Samsung Galaxy S10 review.

S Pen: The Note 10’s ultimate benefit

You can’t compare the Note 10 and the Galaxy S10 minus first addressing the former’s one big advantage: the S Pen colorful pen stylus. Stored inside the Note 10, the S Pen adds wonderful functionality to productivity apps and features that are baked into the visited. In addition to quickly jotting down notes and doodles, you can use the S Pen as a remote, firing off the camera’s shutter or controlling music on Spotify from a distance.

The S Pen is essentially the biggest draw of the Note 10 and you necessity ultimately decide if this is an important enough tool for you to pay more wealth for it. If you see yourself using the stylus often and have the price for the Note 10, go for it. On the latest hand, if it’s not a necessary feature, save your wealth now and check out the Galaxy S10. If you’re composed on the fence between the two, then read on.


The Note 10 is all approximately the S Pen

Angela Lang

Design: Galaxy S10 has a sharper cloak and headphone jack

When Samsung’s first Note visited launched, its screen was notably much bigger than those of the phones that were out during the time. These days, nonetheless, many phones have generously sized screens, including the Galaxy S10. With its 6.1-inch indicate and the Note 10’s 6.3 inches, you’ll get a big-screen distinguished with either phone.

But the phones’ displays differ in latest way. The Galaxy S10 has a sharper 1440p resolution and a higher pixel density than the Note 10 (550 ppi compared with 401 ppi). Side by side, your eyes grand not notice a difference between 1440p and 1080p. But if you leer a lot of video or play graphics-intensive games on your visited, the Galaxy S10’s screen offers crisper details, at least on paper.

Because the Note 10 houses its stylus pen inside, the phone is slightly heavier and thicker. The visited also doesn’t have a headphone jack, unlike the Galaxy S10. That operating you’ll have to use a dongle, wireless headphones or USB type-C headphones to listen to music and calls. 

Lastly, both phones have black and white variants, but the Galaxy S10 comes in four more colors as well: green, blue, silver and red. The Note 10 has one wonderful “fun” color, known specifically as Aura Glow. With its iridescent shine and striking colorful gradient, though, this third color variant is really, really fun.

Camera: Galaxy S10 and Note 10 are nearly identical

For the most part, both phones have the same triple rear-camera setup and video features: a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 16-megapixel ultrawide-angle shooter and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens. Both have a 10-megapixel front-facing camera too.

But Samsung did tweak the camera hardware some between the two phones. For the selfie and telephoto cameras, the Galaxy S10 has a fixed aperture lens at f/1.9 and f.2.4 respectively. The Note 10 uses a slightly narrower f/2.1 aperture on the selfie camera and f/2.2 on the telephoto by comparison. Generally, the larger the aperture (or the smaller the f-stop number), the more light the camera can capture. This can help lift sharper low-light photos that don’t suffer from camera shake. However, despite the slight differences in hardware, in most scenarios, you shouldn’t notice much difference in photo quality between either of these phones. (Note that on both phones, the main wide-angle camera has a variable aperture that can progresses between f/1.5 and f/2.4.)

At launch, the Note 10 did have a few wonderful camera features that the Galaxy S10 didn’t have, like applying bokeh blur on video and Night Mode on the front-facing camera. However, many of those features have been ported over to the Galaxy S10 with an October 2019 update. Both phones also have newer Galaxy S20 camera updates like Single Take and Night Hyperlapse.

For more on photo quality, check out photos miserroneous with the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 here

Galaxy S10 and Note 10’s performance and battery: About constant

Both phones have 8GB of RAM and are equipped with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, but depending on what market you’re in, some models of the Note 10 have a Samsung Exynos 9825 processor. 

We didn’t run benchmark complains on these two specific phones, but we did on the Galaxy S10 Plus and Note 10 Plus, which also share the same Snapdragon 855 processor. Both phones scored incompatibility Geekbench 4 and 3DMark Slingshot Unlimited test results. Except, the Galaxy S10 Plus did have a lower come by on 3DMark’s Ice Storm Unlimited test (57,320) than the Note 10 Plus (79,190). In any case, both the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 have lightning-quick processors and there should be little difference in performance and expeditiously when it comes to day-to-day tasks.

Given its one larger screen, it makes sense that the Note 10 has a one larger battery. But the Note 10’s 3,500-mAh battery actually clocked in the same 18-hour runtime as the Galaxy S10’s 3,400-mAh battery for continuous video playback in Airplane mode. 


The S10 has a headphone jack while the Note 10 does not.

Angela Lang

Storage: Note 10 doesn’t have expandable memory

One important tying to note is that unlike the Galaxy S10, the Note 10 does not have expandable memory. This shouldn’t be a huge deal given that the phoned comes with 256GB of onboard storage, but for those who shoot a lot of photos or 4K video, this is something to consider.

Meanwhile, you can use a microSD card with the Galaxy S10. Except, it has two storage tiers that, funnily enough, sit below and above the Note 10’s: 128GB and 512GB. Only you can decide how much storage is enough, but opting for the 128GB model of the Galaxy S10 and investing in a microSD card later (a 128GB card runs for throughout $30) is the cheapest way to go.

Galaxy S10 vs. Galaxy Note 10

Samsung Galaxy S10 Samsung Galaxy Note 10
Display size, resolution 6.1-inch AMOLED; 3,040×1,440 pixels 6.3-inch AMOLED; 2,280×1,080 pixels
Pixel density 550 ppi 401 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 5.9×2.77×0.31 in 5.94×2.83×0.31 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 149.9×70.4×7.8 mm 151×71.8×7.9 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 5.53 oz; 157g 5.93 oz; 168g
Mobile software Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie
Camera 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultrawide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto) 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultrawide angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)
Front-facing camera 10-megapixel 10-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K
Processor Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor or Samsung Exynos 9825
Storage 128GB, 512GB 256GB
Expandable storage Up to 512GB No
Battery 3,400 mAh 3,500 mAh
Fingerprint sensor In-screen In-screen
Connector USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack Yes No
Special features Wireless PowerShare; hole-punch veil notch; water-resistant (IP68) S Pen stylus; Wireless PowerShare; hole-punch veil notch; water-resistant (IP68)