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Note 10 Plus vs. Note 9: Which Samsung Galaxy phone is the better buy?

Note 10 Plus vs. Note 9: There is no doubt that the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is the best phone Samsung has made in years (sorry, Galaxy S20 Ultra). It is also the Android phone to beat if you want a pen. Thanks to some price reductions since the start, you can now find the Note 10 Plus from $ 830 (999 euros, 1,699 AU dollars). But if your budget doesn’t go that far and you’re still looking for a Galaxy phone that delivers top performance and all-day battery life, that’s it Note 9 could be enough.

To find out if you should pay more for the Note 10 Plus or less for the Note 9, I used both phones for a week and compared them side by side, from camera quality to design to performance in everyday situations. Watch the video above in the article to see my full impressions, or read on the abridged version.

Angela Lang / CNET

Do you want the best that Android has to offer? You can find almost anything you want in Samsung’s current flagship (except for a headphone jack). Note 10 Plus has an excellent 6.8-inch screen, expandable memory and a wide-angle camera. There is now also a 5G version. Undoubtedly, this is still an expensive phone (even after a few price cuts after launch), but its performance and all-day battery life can justify the cost.

Angela Lang / CNET

The Galaxy Note 9 is still an excellent buy, especially if you appreciate some of the hardware options that it offers over the Note 10 Plus, such as: B. a headphone jack and an iris scanner. Although it doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles of the newer phone, the screen still looks good and the cameras work fine. It has also been unsubscribed since the release of Note 10 and 10 Plus, so it’s a much better deal.

Does the Galaxy Note 10 Plus have a headphone jack?

It doesn’t. If you are a fan of wired headphones, the choice is easy: Note 9. The Note 10 Plus also does not include a dongle if you want to connect 3.5 mm headphones. (However, USB-C headphones are included.)

The Note 9 has some other design features that are missing from the more expensive phone, e.g. B. the notification light and a fingerprint scanner on the back. The Note 10 Plus has an in-screen fingerprint scanner (just like that Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus before) and I found it very responsive, but there were still a or two cases where my print was not registered compared to the almost 100% accuracy of the Note 9 reader.

The way in which you switch off the phone differs slightly in both cases: the Note 9 has the power switch on the right, while the Note 10 Plus has a new button and the volume rocker on the left of the screen. (Note: You can also reassign the Bixby button on note 9.)

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Note 10 Plus Comparison 2
Angela Lang / CNET

When it comes to display quality, both phones are excellent. The Note 10 Plus gives you more screen space thanks to the 6.8-inch Infinity-O display with a border upwards (although the overall dimensions are similar to the Note 9), with the front-facing camera integrated into the top of the screen. The Note 9’s 6.4-inch display is also good to look at, but you’ll have to grapple with bezels at the top and bottom of the phone.

I admit that the Note 9 is a bit easier to use with one hand because it’s a bit narrower than the Note 10 Plus, but I preferred the newer phone when I could use it with both hands: sit back, watch videos, or with the S Pen.

The material of the Note 10 Plus looks fabulous, but is a magnet for fingerprints. As soon as I took it out of the box, I smeared my back. You can of course use a case, but then you can lose the dazzling effect of aura glow or the aura blue finish if you choose these colors.

On the other hand, you may not need to use a case as the Note 10 Plus uses Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and back to protect against falls. The Note 9 uses the previous generation Gorilla Glass 5.

The Galaxy Note 10 Plus offers additional S pen tricks

One reason to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note from another Galaxy or Android phone is the stylus. I haven’t found there is a big difference between the sensitivity and accuracy of the S Pen on the Note 10 Plus compared to the Note 9, though you’ll get some extra features if you choose the newer phone.

Air gestures let you control some apps (like the camera or YouTube) by pressing the S Pen button and moving the pen back and forth, up and down, or even in a circle. It may seem like a gimmick on paper, but I really enjoyed using it, especially when it came to switching between camera modes remotely or switching tracks in a music app like Spotify.

You can also use the Note 10 Plus to automatically transcribe your handwriting from the S Pen. It’s pretty accurate, though it can do something wrong if you have particularly messy handwriting.

The Note 9 doesn’t have air gestures, but it does have Bluetooth, so you can use it as a remote control to take photos or further customize it for some other apps like Gallery in the Settings menu.

Camera: wide-angle and night mode, advantage note 10 plus

One of my favorite extensions to the Note 10 Plus is the ultra-wide-angle camera that accompanies the normal wide-angle and 2x telephoto lens of the Note 10 Plus. (There is also a depth detection camera that is used for 3D scanning.) However, this configuration is not new to the Galaxy family, as it is the same camera setup used in the Galaxy S10 Plus 5G.

With Note 9 you only get a normal wide-angle lens and a 2x telephoto lens on the back. Overall, I think the results from the cameras are pretty close, with the exception of the wide-angle lens, which I like to use with the Note 10 Plus. The Note 10 Plus’ dynamic range is slightly wider, although for most people you won’t notice a big difference between photos taken in good light on both phones.

Where there’s a bigger difference is the Note 10 Plus’s special night mode. It helps brighten the scene and highlight details in the shadows that you would normally miss on the Note 9. (The Note 9 also receives this special night mode in a wireless update, although my phone has not received it now.)

4K video is great for both. The Note 10 Plus offers better stabilization with its super steady mode – but is only active at 1080p. On the newer phone, you also get a live focus video that lets you blur the background behind your subject to make it stand out. I found that the result looked best when I used the selfie camera instead of the rearview camera, but it’s not a feature that I would use a lot and is not worth upgrading from the Note 9 to me. Find a photo and video examples in the video at the top of this page.

Note 9 still has excellent battery life and performance

Both phones are absolute beasts when it comes to performance. You can find the complete benchmark results in our test reports for Note 9 and Note 10 Plus. In real situations, however, I didn’t see any noticeable difference between the two when I recorded and edited 4K videos, played graphics-intensive games, or ran a variety of apps in the background.

Your mileage varies when it comes to battery life, and a lot depends on how you use your phone. But for my usage, which generally included watching videos, making some calls, using maps, recording 4K videos, and editing photos, I was able to spend a full day with a battery between 15% and 25 Spend% on both Note 9 and Note 10 Plus. The Note 10 Plus has a battery with a slightly higher capacity and the option of a 45 W charger (which costs extra) for even faster charging.

Just tell me which Galaxy Note to buy!

It is not without reason that the Galaxy Note is Samsung’s flagship. Both are great devices that promise you a fantastic Android experience. For me, the decision about which device to choose depends on how much you’re willing to invest in a phone. I’m sorry to be kidding, but if you want my full answer to the phone I would choose, you can find it in the video at the top of the page.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus vs. Note 9 specifications

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Display size, resolution 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED; 3,040 x 1,440 pixels 6.4 inch Super AMOLED; 2,960 x 1,440 pixels
Pixel density 498 ppi 516 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 6.39 x 3.04 x 0.31 inches 6.37 x 3.01 x 0.35 inches
Dimensions (millimeters) 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 6.91 ounces; 196 g 7.09 oz; 201 g
Mobile software Android 9.0 Pie Android 8.1 Oreo
camera 12 megapixels (wide angle), 16 megapixels (ultra wide angle), 12 megapixels (telephoto), 3D depth (HQVGA) 12 megapixels (wide), 12 megapixels (telephoto)
Front camera 10 megapixels 8 megapixels
Video recording 4K 4K
processor Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor or Samsung Exynos 9825 Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor (2.8 GHz + 1.7 GHz) or Octa-Core Samsung Exynos 9810 (2.7 GHz + 1.7 GHz)
warehouse 256 GB, 512 GB 128 GB, 512 GB
R.A.M. 12 GB 6 GB, 8 GB
Expandable memory Up to 1 TB 512 GB
battery 4,300 mAh 4,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor In-screen Back of the phone
Interconnects USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack No Yes
Special features Wireless PowerShare; waterproof (IP68); S pen with bluetooth connectivity and air actions Waterproof (IP68); Wireless charging; S stylus with Bluetooth connection; Iris and facial palpation
Price outside the contract (USD) $ 1,100 $ 1,000 (128 GB), $ 1,250 (512 GB) *
Price (GBP) £ 999 £ 899 (128 GB), £ 1,099 (512 GB) *
Price (AUD) $ 1,699 AU $ 1,499 (128 GB), AU $ 1,799 (512 GB) *