Though this year has already seen the reveal of the Samsung Galaxy S10 range and the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the electronics company still has another flagship phone to announce. The new Note flagship is traditionally released in the latter part of the year, and though we’re definitely not getting a Note 10 Tesla Special Edition (sadly), it seems the Note 10 is definitely on the way. However, there’s something a little bit different this year — we’re getting two phones instead of one.
Rumors and leaks say we should expect two Galaxy Note 10 models this year — the Galaxy Note 10, and a larger model called either the Note 10 Pro or the Note 10 Plus. Here’s everything we know about the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10 range.
Design and display
Like the Samsung Galaxy S10 range before it, we’re expecting a significant redesign for the Note 10. Recent rumors suggest Samsung will finally do away with the headphone jack, after years of resisting the trend. This was originally leaked in photos mistakenly published by the Federal Communications Commission that confirmed dimensions and showed images of phones without headphone jacks. Dummy units of both devices have also forgone the headphone jack, and though these are likely based on the FCC images, it’s not a good sign for headphone jack-lovers. Not only that, but an image of Samsung’s supposed USB-C headphone jack dongle has been leaked by SamMobile, seemingly confirming the lack of headphone jack.
Expect further reductions in bezels, and the introduction of a hole-punch selfie lens in the Infinity-O display. Unlike the Galaxy S10 range though, the camera is expected to be centered at the top of the display. This image below, published by WinFuture, shows what we expect from the Note 10 range.
Leaked screen protector designs from Ice Universe show off an extremely narrow “chin” bezel, apparently on a similar level as the iPhone XS — which, when paired with the expected hole-punch display and curved edges, could mean the Note 10 has barely any bezel at all. The screen protector also lacks a space for an earpiece. This could mean Samsung has introduced a sound-on-display (SOD) speaker instead of a more traditional earpiece. This technology uses piezoelectric transducers behind the screen to send audio waves through the display, turning the display into a speaker, and removing the need for an additional earpiece.
The Note 10 may also lack physical buttons. According to a previous rumor, the Note 10 may use textured, capacitive, pressure-sensitive buttons for power, volume, and Bixby duties. This has been rumored before, and used (with varying levels of success) on phones including the HTC U12 Plus, HTC U11 and the Pixel 2. Since then, renders of the phone have seemingly omitted the Bixby button, signaling the end for that much-maligned feature.
Release date, price, and names
For recent releases, Samsung has been opening up reservations before it officially announces the phones — and this time is no different. The company is now allowing customers to reserve a spot in the pre-order line for the next Galaxy smartphone — which is almost certainly the Galaxy Note 10. Reservations will be accepted until August 7, which just so happens to be the same day of Galaxy Unpacked, which is where the company is expected to unveil the Galaxy Note 10 to the world. Samsung also says that if you go through the reservation process, you’ll get your device on August 23.
You can also trade in your old phone if you want the Galaxy Note 10 — and doing so will get you up to $600 in credit toward the new phone. Eligible devices include the Galaxy S10 series, the Galaxy Note 9, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Samsung has confirmed in a tweet that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 will launch at a Samsung Galaxy Unpacked on August 7. This is the date reported by CNET, and eventually verified by Samsung to Digital Trends. While the tweet doesn’t explicitly mention the Note 10 will be in attendance, the inclusion of the S Pen and a single camera lens — likely the single front-facing hole-punch selfie camera — make it fairly clear what’s coming.
But what will the two models be called? The smaller model being called the “Samsung Galaxy Note 10” is fairly uncontested, but the larger version is currently the source of much disagreement. At the moment, the choice is between two names: The Note 10 Pro and the Note 10 Plus. Most leakers, including Evan Blass, Steve H.McFly, and Ice Universe have put their money behind “Note 10 Plus,” but “Note 10 Pro” continues to do the rounds. With many of the major leakers backing “Plus” and Samsung’s previous use of “Plus” in other ranges, that seems the most likely — but don’t discount Samsung using the “Pro” label to push the Note 10’s productivity focus.
We expected the Galaxy Note 10 to come at a price of around $1,000, and the most recent leaks haven’t disappointed. According to a report from Russian website Hi-tech, the phone will cost more than a thousand dollars, and will likely start in the region of $1,100 to $1,200. Of course, it’s not clear which version of the phone this will be, and it’s likely this refers to the expected Note 10 Pro/Plus — so you can expect a smaller Note 10 to come at a lower price. Still, price rises are never welcome news.
The Galaxy Note 10 will almost certainly be a powerhouse, as it’s designed for productivity and media. It was originally reported the Note 10 range would use the Snapdragon 855, rather than the newer Snapdragon 855 Plus, but that seems to have changed recently, with Evan Blass and Steve H.McFly both expecting to see the Snapdragon 855 Plus in the Note 10 range. However, with leakers at loggerheads on this, it’s fair to stay skeptical for the moment.
Outside of the processor, we’re expecting strong specs regardless. Those same leakers expect to see 8GB of RAM and a hefty 256GB of internal storage. The Note 10’s battery will apparently be 3,600mAh in size, while the Note 10 Pro/Plus will boast a large 4,000mAh capacity. Charging capabilities is likely to see an upgrade too, with 45W fast charging (though both will ship with a 25W charger) and 15W PowerShare to recharge a friend’s phone wirelessly.
What would the Note be without its signature feature, the S Pen? There doesn’t seem to be a major redesign planned for the S Pen, but we may be seeing a fun new feature in the form of “Air Gestures”. According to Evan Blass, this year’s S Pen will be able to be used to draw gestures in the air to control your phone — a similar concept to the LG G8 ThinQ‘s Air Gestures. This seems to be the inspiration behind the Samsung Unpacked invitation.
But there could have been much more, and in the early stages, there were rumors Samsung may try to jam a camera into the S Pen. This idea came from a patent, discovered by Android Police, that shows a camera inside the S Pen stylus, removing the need for a selfie lens. The long shape of the S Pen may also make it the perfect place to hide an optical zoom lens. Unfortunately for lovers of odd tech, this doesn’t seem to have moved past the concept stage for the Note 10, and we’ve heard nothing additional about this — yet.
What will Samsung do with the Galaxy Note 10’s camera? Samsung’s flagship phones have had a main lens with a “variable aperture” — meaning they can switch between two apertures — since the Galaxy S9, but the Note 10 could be taking that feature even further. According to leaker Ice Universe, the Galaxy Note 10 will be the first phone to come with a triple-state variable aperture.
Samsung China engineers said that the Note10 camera will use a three-stage variable aperture: F1.5/F1.8/F2.4
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) June 20, 2019
Being able to intelligently swap between these three apertures will mean the Note 10 will be able to choose the aperture that’s best for the available light, shrinking down to f/2.4 in bright light, or opening wide to f/1.5 in low lighting. The f/1.8 aperture would work as a strong middle-ground option. Of course, this is just a rumor for the moment, but it’s worth keeping in mind, as Samsung is always looking to improve its camera systems.
It seems both the Note 10 and the Note 10 Pro/Plus will have three main lenses — a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens, and a 12-megapixel zoom lens. However, the Pro/Plus will be equipped with depth-sensing lenses @OnLeaks refers to as “DepthVison ToF.” These will likely boost that model’s ability to shoot accurate portrait images significantly.
Will it have 5G connectivity?
Be prepared to ask this question of every phone released this year — but there’s a very real possibility the Note 10 might release with 5G connectivity built in, much like the Galaxy S10 5G model.
We’re closer to launch now, but rumors of a 5G Note 10 just won’t go away. The latest news concerns the kernel source code for the Exynos chipset released by Samsung alongside the Galaxy S10 range. The code makes mention of a “davinci5g” — “Da Vinci” being the currently assumed code name of the Note 10. Previous to this, a leak from Sammobile gives the Note 10’s model number as “SM-N975F.” While this may not seem strange, it’s more usual for the Note range’s model to end with a “0,” not a “5.” Could this errant 5 indicate 5G connectivity? It’s certainly worth keeping in mind.
We’ll update this article as we hear more about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 10.
Updated on August 1, 2019: Samsung headphone jack dongle leaks, seemingly confirming lack of headphone jack on phone.