Samsung Galaxy Note 10: Three Variants, 5G, Zero Headphone Jack

Samsung Galaxy Note 10: Three Variants, 5G, Zero Headphone Jack
By Sarvjit Rangra / August 29, 2019

Don't let the lack of a 3.5 mm jack throw you off the Note 10's trail; there are plenty of reasons to consider the upgrade, including wireless Qi charging between devices and the removal of the Bixby key.

August 23 marks the date of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 release, and while it's mostly the same Note that you've come to love and expect over the years, this one cuts a few noteworthy notches above its predecessors. There are three models: your standard Note 10, the Note 10+ with faster charging and a bigger screen, and the Note 10 5G with access to burgeoning 5G technology. We'll cover the differences between these three and help you determine whether an upgrade is worth the heavy-handed price tags.

This is the first generation of Note handsets to include multiple models based on "regular versus plus" thinking. This has existed in the S line for awhile now, and it's proven effective, so Samsung has made it a point to divide the phablets from the practically-just-a-tablet variants as it wasn't enough to cut the bezels down to around 9% of the device facing; they had to make the physical size larger too. However, that's not the case with the base Note 10 model, which stays faithful to the 6.3-inch screen that was on the Note 8 and is just 0.1 inches under the Note 9. The low sixes seem to be a sweet spot for phablets.

Let's go over what to look for in the three variants.

Specs in Common on All Three Models

Here's what doesn't change between all three Note 10 models:

  • "Punch-hole" front-facing camera
  • QHD Infinity-O AMOLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 octa-core APU clocked at 2,840 MHz
  • Vapor chamber cooling system
  • 25 W charging support
  • Gorilla Glass 6 chemically reinforced screen glass
  • 2D face detection and in-screen fingerprint scanning
  • No 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • No Bixby key
  • IP 68 water- and dust-resistance
  • S Pen stylus
  • Dolby Atmos dual speakers (one at the top and bottom of the screen)

Differences in the Galaxy Note 10 (Base Model)

This model is intended for old-school Galaxy Note users who'd prefer to keep things smaller and more affordable while enjoying the signature benefits of the Note series in the Note 10. We recommend this device for more casual Note users who aren't looking for over-the-top specs and won't mind the lack of a microSD port.

  • 8 GB of RAM while the other two models have 12 GB
  • Doesn't support microSD while the other two models do
  • 256 GB of internal storage versus 512 GB in the other two models
  • 6.3-inch screen while the other two models are 6.8 inches
  • Triple-camera setup while the other two models have quad-camera layouts
  • 3,500 mAh battery while the other two models have 4,300 mAh batteries
  • Only supports 4G LTE while the Note 10 5G also supports 5G

Differences in the Galaxy Note 10+

The Note 10+ is identical to the Note 10 5G other than the lack of 5G support. Compared to the base model, this variant features a larger screen, larger multi-camera array, more RAM and 45 W charging. You'll receive a 25 W charger out of the box with the Note 10+, but you can purchase an official 45 W version either from Samsung or a comparable charger from a third party provided it supports Programmable Power Supply (PPS), which is the standard that's used to safely provide high-current charging to the Note 10+ and Note 10 5G.

Unless stated otherwise, all of the following specs are the same as the Note 10 5G.

  • 12GB of RAM
  • MicroSD support
  • 512 GB of internal storage
  • Quad-camera arrangement
  • 45 W charging support with the separate purchase of a compatible charger
  • "All-day battery" as quoted by Samsung; the Note 10 and Note 10 5G do not have this claim
  • 4,300 mAh battery, same as the Note 10 5G
  • Only supports 4G LTE while the Note 10 5G also supports 5G

Differences in the Galaxy Note 10 5G

This is the the most expensive and elusive variant, and considering the nascence of 5G technology, you'll probably want to stick with the Note 10+ this year. However, if you live in a 5G-supported territory and need the extra speed, it may be worth considering. Keep in mind that 5G coverage is spotty indoors, and that's just wherever there are towers for it. Ask your carrier if you're covered before diving into this variant.

The only differences to note in the 5G model is, well, the 5G support. Other than this point, the Note 10 5G is identical to the Note 10+.

Why Ditch the Headphone Jack?

Now that we've covered what sets each model apart and who should get them, you're probably wondering why Samsung pushed ads for years that jabbed at Apple for removing the headphone jack in the iPhone when the Note 10 is now following in the Cupertino tech giant's footsteps. The reasoning is pretty much the same as Apple's: It's 2019, most people use wireless headphones by now, and a 3.5 mm jack isn't really essential like it was a few years ago.

More importantly, it was necessary to remove the jack in all three Note 10 models because more space was needed to safely seat the improved battery. Let's just say that Samsung doesn't want a repeat of the Note 7 incident, and if you really need the headphone jack that badly, you might consider the S10 series instead. We'll have to agree with Samsung on this one: Apple may have jumped the gun when they ditched the headphone jack so soon, but years later, it's only natural that wireless solutions would become more common. With that said, we'll probably never see it return on future Note models again, but you can optionally use a USB-C adapter to reclaim the headphone jack if you absolutely must have that ultra-crisp sound quality.

You might also be wondering why Samsung would strip away the microSD port from the base model. The answer to that one is less clear. We'll guess that it was to shave rupees off the Note 10's price tag, but don't take our word for it. However, we're not too bothered by this move since the other two models do still support it, and the base model has a whole 256 GB of inbuilt storage to work with, which is more than most people need.

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