Some phones are good. Some phones are bad. But few achieve greatness. Enter Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus, a giant-sized, expensive Android phone that justifies its excesses. It isn’t just the most impressive large phone of the year, it’s the best phone Samsung has made in years. Even at a glance, the Note 10 seizes your attention, with its Aura Glow color creating a unique appearance that will leave you wondering whether a case is actually worthwhile. (It is, especially since the Note 10 starts at $949 and the Note 10 Plus starts at $1,100.) It’s not a single feature that puts the Note 10 Plus above the competition, but the execution of everything it brings to the table. The cameras are excellent, but the main cameras are identical to the S10 Plus. It’s in the software that the Note 10 Plus delivers, with its night mode, live focus and its built-in video editor all exceeding expectations.
The S Pen has been a Galaxy Note mainstay since Day One, but it’s never felt more potent. It’s motion controls may seem gimicky, but the ability to control your camera and playlists from afar is legitimately useful. And you’ll have plenty of time to use it because the Note 10 Plus had a battery life of 19 hours out the gate, though don’t expect that to hold up over time.
Admittedly, not everything’s perfect. Samsung is no longer a pro-headphone jack holdout. 3.5mm jacks are dead on every Note 10 model. Bixby is still an also-ran in the grand voice assistant race. And with tax, you’re not going to avoid paying $1,000+ for one. But from light day-to-day use to efforts to push its hardware to the limits, the Note 10 Plus held up incredibly well, and could be not just a great phone for you this year, but for years to come.