The Note 10 Plus 5G is arguably the best phone that Samsung has ever made. Impeccable components, gorgeous design, and about as futureproof as a smartphone can get. It’s also incredibly expensive and the tentpole feature – 5G – remains scarce outside major cities and sometimes within them.
The S10 5G is another impressive device but suffers the same drawback. If you want the very best then the Note 10 Plus 5G is it, but it may be more sensible to go for the Standard Galaxy Note 10 instead.
Price When Reviewed
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G: $1299.99
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G: $1,299
The Samsung Galaxy smartphone range is one of the most popular on the planet. New additions are eagerly awaited each year and the latest releases bring not only the usual top-end specifications, but also the introduction of 5G technology. We compare the two models that boast these high-speed mobile-data connections to see which is the best for your needs. It’s Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G vs
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.
Price and availability
The Galaxy S10 5G is available now directly from Samsung for
$1,299.99, coming with 256GB of storage. UK customers can also purchase the handset via a contract on
EE with prices starting around the £65p/m mark.
Prices are equally high for the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, with the flagship coming in two storage variants that cost £1,099 (256GB) or £1,199 (512GB)
directly from Samsung. Again, there are contracts available from the likes of O2, Vodaphone, and EE, with other high-street retailers also offering the device. Take a look at our
Best Samsung Galaxy Note 10 deals for more details.
US customers are restricted to
Verizon for the Note 10 Pus 5G, which can be purchased directly from Samsung for $1,299 (256GB) or $1,399 (512GB).
Samsung’s new designs have all but dispensed with bezels. Both the S10 5G and Note 10 Plus 5G feature beautiful expanses of glass that curve into the slim metal frames from both the front and the back. The displays are only interrupted by a punch-hole camera aperture centrally located at the top of the Note 10 Plus 5G and a pill-shaped one in the upper right corner of the S10 5G, all of which gives either device a ludicrous screen-to-body ratio.
Traditionally there is a noticeable difference in terms of dimensions when it comes to comparing an S and Note model. This isn’t quite the case with these particular models, as the S10 5G features a huge 6.7in display, while the Note 10 Plus 5G goes slightly bigger with a 6.8in panel.
Even with the S-Pen nestling in the body of the latter, there’s little between them, with the S10 5G actually a tiny bit taller and narrower. Both weigh in at 198g, so in terms of construction you can choose either without losing the form factor.
S10 5G – 162.6 x 77.1 x 7.9mm; 198g
Note 10 Plus 5G – 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9mm; 198g
There are some subtle hardware differences though, with the Note 10 Plus 5G including a microSD card slot that can expand the available storage by up to 512GB, while the S10 5G comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Here’s a breakdown of the main specifications for both devices;
Quad Camera – Ultra Wide: 16MP F2.2 (123°), Wide-angle: 12MP 2PD AF F1.5/F2.4 OIS (77°), Telephoto: 12MP F2.1 OIS (45°), 3D Depth Camera
Quad camera – 16MP Ultra wide, 12MP Wide-angle, 12MP telephoto, 3D depth camera
10MP and 3D depth cameras
Embedded ultrasonic fingerprint sensor in display
Embedded ultrasonic fingerprint sensor in display
5 (A2DP, LE, aptX)
5 (A2DP, LE, aptX)
Aura Glow, Aura Black
Crown Silver, Majestic Black
162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9mm
162.6 x 77.1 x 7.9mm
Infinity and beyond
These devices come with luscious Infinity-O displays on board, replete with curved edges that continue the approach that has featured on Samsung flagships for a few years now. You can’t go wrong with either, thanks to Samsung’s mastery of AMOLED display technology. The S10 5G in marginally smaller with its 6.7in panel, but it’s such a small difference that it basically doesn’t matter. What might, is the amount of space that the camera array takes up.
On the S10 5G it does occupy a larger portion, due to its pill-shaped cut-out, but this is offset by being in the right corner. The Note 10 Plus 5G circular punch-hole camera is smaller but placed right in the middle of the upper part of the panel. Whichever one you find favourable will go a long way to deciding on the model that’s right for you.
Otherwise, both offer impressive 3340×1440 resolutions, HDR10+ certification, and bright gorgeous displays that are some of the best currently available. One hidden feature is the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor placed beneath the panel, which allows you to unlock either device without the need for a dedicated button.
Cameras come to the four
Another essential area for premium smartphones is that of cameras. Here again the two models are practically identical, with both containing four lenses on the rear. Samsung has taken the, up until recently, standard array of telephoto and wide-angle cameras and added an ultra-wide optic with an amazing 123 degree angle, plus a 3D depth camera to improve portrait shots.
On the front the Note 10 Plus 5G has a solitary 10MP selfie camera, while the S10 5G adds a 3D depth camera, which explains the larger cut-out in the display. Photographs and videos captured on either are excellent, with slo-motion, time lapse, HDR, 4K video, and Portrait modes all on offer.
Obviously, one of the major draws of these phones is 5G LTE compatibility. At the time of writing, availability of 5G networks is still rather restricted, with UK cities like London, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester beginning to see the faster connections. If you live there, and can afford the expensive 5G contracts, then you will be blessed with rapid mobile connections and possibly access to faster 4G services when using the Note 10 Plus 5G or S10 5G.
As its name suggests, the Note 10 Plus 5G is not just a smartphone but, thanks to the S-Pen stylus, it can be used as a notebook, sketchpad, and editing suite. Devotees will sing the virtues of the accessory, and Samsung has bolstered its capabilities this year with new ‘air actions’ that utilise the sensors in the stylus to execute commands such as navigating through your photo album, controlling the cameras remotely, and increasing or decreasing the volume of music.
You can still take instant notes by writing on the lock screen, plus there are various apps that allow the creation of art or photo editing with the S-Pen. If none of this interests you, then the S10 5G is the obvious choice, but once you explore the S-Pen features you may find that it becomes quite a tempting proposition.
Under the hood
As these are premium devices it’s hardly shocking to find top-end components making up the circuitry. In North America and other parts of the world both units ship with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor. European buyers have Samsung’s own Exynos chips, with the S10 5G using the 9820 while the Note 10 Plus 5G comes with the newer 9825.
It’s not just here that the Note has the edge, as the model also features 12GB of RAM, as opposed to the 8GB on the S10 5G, plus the option of 256GB or 512GB of onboard storage, with the S10 5G limited to 256GB. Not only that, the Note can extend this by a further by up to 512GB thanks to its included microSD slot.
Everyone loves Pie
Aside from the S-Pen specific features, the software experience on either device is the same. Both come with Android 9 Pie as standard, overlaid with Samsung’s One UI interface. This is a refined skin that dispenses with some of the garish colours and overbearing options that often blighted the company’s products in the past.
The Note 10 Plus 5G is an incredibly powerful smartphone, boasting top-shelf hardware, elegant design, and the S-Pen that adds something special to the recipe. The S10 5G also has much of the same desirability, albeit without the stylus, but does have a headphone jack.
But, and this is significant, unless you’re desperate to get a 5G compatible phone and live in an area that offers those network speeds, then you may be better served saving some money and opting for the equally excellent
Galaxy Note 10 or
Galaxy S10 instead.
Martyn has been involved with tech ever since the arrival of his ZX Spectrum back in the early 80s. He covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews for Macworld and its sister site Tech Advisor.