So far, 2019 has been a big year for Samsung smartphones, with multiple Galaxy S10 phones arriving on the scene and a mid-tier Galaxy A50 joining them. (The less said about the Galaxy Fold, the better.) But the year is far from over. Samsung is readying a big launch next month for the Galaxy Note 10. And, based on the rumors, you can expect more than one model.
(Image: © Galaxy Note 9 (Credit: Tom's Guide))
Read on through our rumor roundup and be sure to check back often to find out what Samsung could ultimately deliver when the Galaxy Note 10 makes its eagerly anticipated debut in August.
Latest Galaxy Note 10 News (Updated July 10)
- A tweet posted (and later deleted) by Samsung Indonesia touted the productivity features of the Galaxy Note 10.
- Images of front and back glass panels, believed to correspond to the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+, have leaked on Weibo and were reposted by Samsung insider Ice Universe. They echo leaks to date that suggest the larger Plus (or Pro) model will carry an extra fourth lens for depth sensing.
- Samsung has scheduled a press event for August 7, where the company is all but certain to release the Galaxy Note 10.
Galaxy Note 10: Release date and price
Look for the Galaxy Note 10 to debut in August, now that Samsung has scheduled a launch event for August 7 (which is what many rumors were predicting). That falls into line with Samsung's recent release pattern for the Galaxy Note 8 and 9, which both appeared in August to allow the company to get the jump on the September debut of Apple's new iPhones.
Considering that the Galaxy S10 Plus — arguably the best comparison to the Galaxy Note 10 — costs $999, and the Galaxy Note 9 also cost $999 at launch, there's a good chance the device will be on a similarly pricey side. This said, a recent rumor has suggested that the price will actually be bumped up by $100 or $200, with the base price topping $1,000.
Two Versions: Extra large and large
A report from Korea's The Bell says that Samsung is working on two versions of the Galaxy Note 10. One of the phone would have a large 6.7-inch display, while another model would have a smaller 6.4-inch screen. However, the report indicates that the smaller Note 10 may be slated for release in Europe only. (ETNews, in its report on Samsung's plans, places the screen sizes at 6.3 and 6.8 inches). A pair of Ice Universe Twitter leaks shows the display protectors for the two versions side by side, again demonstrating the significant difference in size.
Compare the size of Note10 and Note Pro pic.twitter.com/XWsEEDVjY1June 18, 2019
However, a SamMobile report followed that and pointed to two model numbers Samsung have been assigned to the Galaxy Note 10. Those model numbers, SM-N970 and SM-N975, haven't been confirmed by Samsung. However, they follow the syntax Samsung has used in the past. And if accurate, the model numbers all but point to two models.
Interestingly, SamMobile also tipped two other models — SM-N971 and SM-N976. Those won't actually be distinct models, according to the report. Instead, they'll be 5G versions of the 970 and 975.
So, for now, it appears Samsung will be planning one large and one extra large model and then 5G variants for each, for a total of four versions. A subsequent report from leaker Ice Universe suggests that Samsung will call the larger of the two models the Galaxy Note 10 Pro (though we've also seen hints at it being dubbed the Note 10+ as well). In a follow-up tweet, Ice Universe claimed the Note 10 Pro would sport a 4,500 mAh battery, which is the same size as the power pack in the Galaxy S10 5G.
(Image: © Subhanshu Ambhore/@Sudhanshu1414)
A collection of new renders of the Note 10 — which appear to have originated from a case maker but were shared on Twitter by tipster Sudhanshu Ambhore — further fuels the prospect of two models. One model shows off a triple-lens camera housing, presumed to be the standard variant, and another adds a depth-aware time-of-flight sensor to the stack. These images arrived the same day ETNews reported that one of Samsung's suppliers is constructing a new factory exclusively for producing time-of-flight sensors.
Information given to case retailers by Samsung show that there are only two different sizes of official Note 10 cases available, with the 5G confirmed by Samsung as fitting into the Note 10 Pro size. This likely means that rather than having a unique model, like the Galaxy S10 5G was in the S10 series, both the Note 10 5G and Note 10 Pro 5G versions fit into their respective 4G phone bodies, or at least both fit into that of the larger Note 10 Pro.
The standard Note 10 however will reportedly have a significantly smaller power source. Galaxy Club, a Dutch website, has published claims that the lower tier version of the Note 10 will only have 3,400mAh to play with. It’s a disappointingly small capacity, and a step back from the Note 9, but we can hope that Samsung’s got some other tricks up its sleeve to make sure that the overall battery life hasn’t got worse as well.
For those who like having expanded storage on their phones, then there’s bad news: XDA Developers’ source says that only the Note 10 Pro will have a microSD slot. We don’t know yet, nor have we seen any rumors about how large the storage options are for the Note 10, but whatever they are on the standard Note 10, that could be as much as you will ever get in terms of physical storage.
(Image: © Galaxy Note 9 (Credit: Tom's Guide))
In terms of color choices, a source who spoke to MySmartPrice claims that there will be black, white, silver, red, and pink to choose from, with the Note 10 Pro getting a few exclusive colors of its own too. Twitter user and smartphone leaker Ice Universe has suggested that there will be a “gradient, blue and silver gradient”, which could indicate one of these special Pro-version-only colors, or be referring to the silver color from the other leak, which invites the question of what other gradients might be on offer.
(Image: © Note 10 Renders (Credit: PhoneArena))
Battery: Fast charging or no?
The Note 10's battery might charge quite quickly based on initial reports. Ice Universe had predicted 25-watt fast charging for the Note 10, but has now dismissed that idea. After initially stating that their new belief was that the charger was going to be more powerful than 25W, they are now suggesting the Note 10’s charger might be capable of 45W charging.
This is based on a recent picture Ice Universe posted of Leonardo da Vinci and the text ‘101101’. If you’re scratching your head as to how this relates to charging speed, then keep in mind that the internal code name for the Note 10 at Samsung is ‘Da Vinci’, and that in binary, 101101 translates to 45 in base 10 (our normal counting system).
A new kind of Infinity Display
Samsung's Infinity-O display technology, which allows for a cutout for the front facing camera within an OLED screen, debuted in earnest with the Galaxy S10. For that reason, it's not surprising that rumors have suggested the company will utilize that same design in the Galaxy Note 10. However, what we've heard so far suggests the implementation could be a bit different.
(Image: © Note 10 Renders (Credit: Onleaks/91mobiles))
For one, that hole punch might be shifted over to the center. (That's where the front camera will be on the new Galaxy A50, though that cheaper model is using Samsung's Infinity-U display which has a teardrop-shaped cutout.) To be honest, it's difficult to track down exactly where this rumor began — PhoneArena suggested it in a mockup, and T3 reported it alongside a new story that mentioned the Note 10 will feature a 19:9 display, based on a leaked benchmark from html5test discovered by Dutch blog Mobielkopen. It’s also been repeated by Twitter user OnLeaks, and 91 Mobiles (with whom OnLeaks helped create the above render) but he doesn’t cite a specific source.
For those keeping track, the aspect ratio of the Note 9's panel was 18.5:9, so it appears Samsung's next-gen phablet could carry a screen that's a bit taller than the current iteration. As for that center-mounted selfie camera — like all rumors, take it with a grain of salt.
If you compare the latest OnLeaks renders of the Note 10 and Note 10 Pro (below), you can see the differences between the two handsets, which are in summary the size, the materials (the Pro is expected to be available with a ceramic back, like the high end S10s) and the fourth camera on the Pro.
Ice Universe passed judgement on these renders in a tweet, saying that the renders were ‘a bit exaggerated’, particularly the Pro’s chin, which they claim is only slightly smaller than that of the S10+. So take these renders with an additional pinch of salt compared to usual, as the real thing might be a little chunkier than the renderers are showing!
Recent screen leaks have shown no speaker grille at the top of the display. According to the tweets of Ice Universe this is because Samsung is instead using Sound on Display (SoD), which vibrates the screen instead. It’s been showing off this technology for a couple of years, but this would be the debut of an actual product using it. It would be another bold design choice on a phone that’s already full of divisive details.
Buttons or no buttons?
Samsung could have ditched the buttons in its Galaxy Note 10 and gone with a buttonless design, but it seems now that this isn’t going to be the case.
The buttonless claim came from ETNews, one of the more reliable sources out of Samsung's home base in South Korea. The site's sources said that Samsung was mulling the possibility of ditching the volume, power and Bixby keys, replacing them with gestures.
However, Ice Universe, frequent leaker of Samsung information via their Twitter account, and a second source speaking to Android Police, have said that this buttonless direction was only investigated initially by Samsung. After testing, they continue, Samsung found that having no buttons was too unreliable, and that the release version of the Note 10 will still have buttons. This is what the most recent unofficial renders now reflect, as you can see here.
(Image: © Note 10 Renders (Credit: Onleaks/Pricebaba))
Interestingly, Samsung has patented technology that places sensors on the sides of the device to activate certain features. It's also possible that the way you touch or squeeze the Galaxy Note 10's sides could prompt an action.
A case, purportedly designed for the Galaxy Note 10, has leaked on Twitter, and it appears to mimic the mockups that have been posted recently. The placement of the buttons and camera flash, adjacent to the triple-lens module, square up well with renders that have leaked to date — potentially adding even more credibility to the latest images we've seen of the Note 10.
Plenty of cameras
Samsung could try to top its Galaxy S10 models with a Galaxy Note 10 that offers not three, but four cameras on the rear. That would match the number that Huawei has on its flagship P30 Pro phone, and that the Galaxy S10 5G has too.
(Image: © Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G sports four rear cameras. (Credit: Tom's Guide))
It's now believed that only the Note 10 Pro will get all four cameras, while the Note 10 will have three. According to SamMobile, the quad-camera setup would pave the way for Samsung to offer a standard camera, a telephoto lens, like the 5x optical zoom lens Samsung is just putting into production, and an ultrawide snapper like the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus. It’s possible that the fourth camera could be a time-of-flight sensor. Based on the recent expansion of one of Samsung’s component manufacturers to make additional TOF sensors, it’s possible that both the Note 10 and Note 10 Pro will get this depth-sensing tech.
However, the primary sensor might not be as powerful as we initially hoped. Samsung's new 64-megapixel ISOCELL sensor will not appear in the Galaxy Note 10, according to a tweet from well-known leaker Ice Universe, and a source speaking to Forbes.
(Image: © Note 10 Renders (Credit: PhoneArena))
Ice Universe more recently commented that the primary camera will not be getting an upgraded sensor at all. This means that the hardware the camera uses will be the same as the Galaxy S10, and as all of Samsung’s flagship devices since the Galaxy S7, with next year’s S11 moving to a better version. It’s still a solid piece of camera tech, but it will be annoying for people looking to upgrade to the Note 10 after skipping a few generations that they’re missing out on a significant photography improvement by a single model.
This could prove to be something of a setback for the handset's camera, as other companies like Huawei and OnePlus have been employing sensors with astronomically high megapixel counts in recent years. However what could be new is an upgrade to the variable aperture that has been used on this sensor since the Galaxy S9. Instead of two settings, there will allegedly be three, increasing the camera’s versatility in different light conditions. So it may not be completely bad news for the main rear camera after all.
(Image: © LetsGoDigital)
The layout of the cameras was initially a point of contention, but rumors seem to have now settled on two sections arranged on the top left corner of the Ice Universe tweeted an image of what was claimed to be the Note 10’s rear sensor block, plus an illustration to show how these indicate that the cameras will be split: the main, zoom and wide lenses on one side and the flash, ToF camera and flood illuminator on the other.
There might 4G and 5G Galaxy Note 10 versions in the works, if a recent XDA Developers leak is any indication.
The site recently discovered some code baked into Samsung's kernel that points to a "davinci5G." At first blush, that might not mean much, but Da Vinci is believed to be the code-name for Samsung's Galaxy Note 10. And the 5G mention is obviously a reference to a 5G version.
Samsung is expected to deliver the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 you can find in the Galaxy S10 lineup in the Galaxy Note 10. But there also looks to be an Exynos 9825 version too.
(Image: © Galaxy Note 9 (Credit: Tom's Guide))
We have seen what look to be benchmarks for the Note 10 5G versions, which show that there is also the Samsung-made Exynos chip available alongside the Snapdragon, depending on who you buy the phone from. The test results show the Snapdragon processor is more powerful though, beating even the 855-equipped Galaxy S10+. The Exynos processor is still plenty powerful enough according to the Geekbench 4 tests, but users seeking true phablet power will want to look for the Note 10 containing the Qualcomm processor.
These results do not apply to the normal Note 10s, which will be released first, but we would hope for at least similar performance.
In-display fingerprint sensor
(Image: © Galaxy S10's fingerprint sensor (Credit: Tom's Guide))
Again, this one hasn't been confirmed by Samsung, but all signs point to the company bringing the same in-display fingerprint sensor it offered in the Galaxy S10 to the Galaxy Note 10. The feature is one of the biggest upgrades in the Galaxy S10, and since the Galaxy Note 10 will aim for the same high-end market segment, it makes sense to look for it in Samsung's next flagship.
The S Pen gets a refresh
(Image: © Galaxy Note 9's S Pen (Credit: Tom's Guide))
Some people believe that Samsung's use of the "Da Vinci" code-name points to some big upgrades for the S Pen and its performance with drawing and art. There's not much else to go on in a Softpedia report on the Da Vinci name and the S Pen, but the Galaxy Note does deliver S Pen upgrades each year — with the Note 9, Samsung added Bluetooth connectivity — so clearly something big could be in the works for artists.
For what it's worth, a tweet from Samsung Indonesia that was subsequently deleted featured a video that touted the productivity-boosting features of the Galaxy Note 10. Then again, considering that Samsung has always positioned the Note as the phone for power users, this is hardly a big shift in strategy.
We haven’t heard much about the apps that the Note 10 will contain. It’s pretty much a given that the phone will run on Android 9 Pie, and will come with Samsung’s One UI along with all the pre-intalled Samsung apps that accompany it.
One notable addition that’s rumored to come preinstalled on the Note 10 is Microsoft’s Your Phone Companion, which links up Android phones to Windows 10 devices with many useful features like synced apps and video/photo sharing. Apple users have had this ability for a while already, so the fact it’s taking two companies (three if you count Google as well) to work together to get rivaling functionality off the ground is a little embarrassing. Still, the features seem useful and the inclusion on a major handset release like this could see Microsoft’s integration app get some more love from users.
So long headphone jack?
This change might not go over so well with long-time Note users, but the Galaxy Note 10 could be the first Samsung smartphone not to ship with a headphone jack, according to a report from ETNews that's been amplified in subsequent Note 10 renders. The move could mean that future Samsung devices could similarly ship without a headphone jack.
While some renders and rumors have indicated the Note 10 has a headphone jack, a new leak related to XDA Developers says that demo models have had headphones jacks, but these are only a way of protecting the devices’ identities. So this could indeed spell the end for the 3.5mm jack on Samsung’s phablet. Bring on the adapters!