The Note 10's new S-Pen includes "Air Actions" which allow the user to control the phone with gestures from a distance.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on August 8, 2019

Samsung’s annual upgrade of its popular Android-based smartphone has seen the launch of Note 10 at Samsung‘s second Unpacked event of the year at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York.

Samsung also launched the Galaxy Watch Active2, Galaxy Tab S6 and Galaxy Book S.

For the first time, there are two smartphones, the Note 10 and Note 10+, in 4G and 5G (not in Australia). The smaller Note 10 features a 6.3-inch display (still bigger than the Galaxy S10), while the Note 10+, Samsung’s largest smartphone, features a 6.8-inch Quad HD+ 3040×1440 screen.

The body of the Note 10+ is almost the same size as the 6.4-inch Note 9 and has a 94% screen-to-body ratio with almost no bezel. The Note 10+ also has an extra DepthVision camera that you can use to 3D scan objects, which you can then manipulate into interactive avatars or print as a 3D file.

Both new phones have Ultra Wide 16MP F2.2 (123°), Wide-angle 12MP 2PD AF F1.5/F2.4 OIS (77°) and a 12MP f2.1 OIS (45°) Telephoto lenses, similar to the rear cameras in the Galaxy S10 and 5G S10. The Note 10+ has an extra 10MP 2PD AF F2.2 (80°) camera on the front.

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The most interesting feature of the Note 10 is the new S-Pen. While it doesn’t contain the built-in camera that had been widely reported, it does contain a 6-axis sensor, including a gyro sensor and acceleration sensor, and new “Air Actions”, which allow the user to control the phone with gestures from a distance. It can connect to other devices via Bluetooth and can convert handwritten notes into a Word document, with support for multiple languages.

Then there’s the fun colour options, including a special edition that has an iridescent finish.

The Note 10 and Note 10+ don’t have headphone jacks, which is a first for any flagship Galaxy phone. USB-C headphones will come included in the Note 10 box, but a necessary dongle will cost another US$9.99 separately.

Battery sizes have also been increased. The Note 10 has 8GB RAM with 256GBs internal storage, the 4G Note 10+ has 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, and the 5G Note 10+ has 12GB RAM and 512GB internal storage. The Note 10+ is also equipped with a MicroSD slot to expand storage capability.

“It seems like Samsung has touched and improved upon every aspect of the phone. So regardless of if you’re a gamer, a power user, or just someone trying to get work done on their phone, the Note 10 and Note 10+ have something to offer, just as long as you can stomach its price,” GizModo‘s Sam Rutherford writes.

TechRadar‘s James Packham wrote: “The Galaxy Note 10 is Samsung’s easiest to use S Pen-toting phone yet, and while there may not be any game-changing features to make this a must-buy handset, it looks to be a solid addition to the Note range.”

Both devices are available for preorder, with the Note 10 costing US$949 and Note 10+ US$1,099. The Note 10 5G edition will start at US$1,300 for a 256GB configuration. In Australia, The Note 10 will cost A$1499, the Note 10+ 4G is A$1699 and Note 10+ 5G is A$1999. Initially, they will be available in Aura Glow, Aura White and Aura Black.

Samsung also released the Galaxy Watch Active2 smartwatch, which supersedes the Galaxy Watch. It features an upgraded OneUI overlay and a touch bezel (replacing the physical rotating bezel from the Galaxy Watch) to control the watch.

As its Active label indicates, it can manually track 39 different kinds of workouts, including running pace monitoring, as well as tracking stress levels and giving guided meditation. The Watch Active 2 will hit stores October 8, priced at A$549 for the 44mm Bluetooth variant, A$749 for the 40mm 4G or A$799 for the 44mm 4G.

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In February, Samsung released the Galaxy Tab S5e and today unveiled the Galaxy Tab S6. The Galaxy Tab S6 is similar to the Tab S5e in size but its performance has received a huge boost to turn it into a productivity-based tablet. The Tab S6 has a 10.5-inch display with 2560×1600 resolution. As xda developers wrote “that’s a 2K display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. This tablet is incredibly thin at just 5.7mm, making it just 0.2mm thicker than the Tab S5e. It comes with quad AKG-tuned speakers for rich and immersive surround sound. The Tab S6 also has facial recognition and an optical in-display fingerprint scanner as its forms of biometric unlocking, as it gets rid of the fingerprint scanner present in the Tab S5e.”

The Tab S6 comes with an S Pen, which has up to 10 hours of battery life and takes just 10 minutes to charge. It is aimed directly at the iPad Pro market.

Samsung’s Galaxy Book S is a premium, ultra-portable laptop. It is the first laptop to feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx processor (CPU), the chip maker’s first 7-nanometer CPU. The laptop features an 8-core processor with a boost clock of 2.84GHz and 8GB of memory (RAM). Backing that up is 256GB of solid-state drive (SSD) space – up to 512GB – and LTE capability with Nano SIM support.

It will be available in the US for US$999 from next month.