Dan’s Reviews: Quick Thoughts On Upgrading From A Samsung Galaxy Note8 To A Note10+; First Impression Review Of The Good And The Bad

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My Galaxy Note8 is 2 years old and like many phones after 2 years, the battery life started to become a real annoyance and the phone became sluggish.

Before the Note8 I had the Galaxy Note Edge for 3 years. I was able to keep that phone for longer thanks to swappable batteries, but since then Samsung decided to copy Apple’s path of removing consumer friendly features like that in favor of planned obsolescence.

While I’m clearly a Galaxy Note loyalist, I got my wife Mimi a Pixel 3 for negative $100 during last year’s Google Fi bonanza. The camera on that phone is amazing, but I wasn’t ready to break up with the Galaxy Note line.

When I saw that Samsung would pay $600 for a Pixel 3 trade-in I went on eBay and bought a used one that had no screen cracks for $325 shipped, less $25 in eBay Bucks, for a total of $300 out of pocket. That would lower my cost of a Note by $275 and would still allow me to sell my Note8.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that Samsung would only give the $600 credit if you got an unlocked phone. The Note10+ 5G is not available as an unlocked phone, so the Pixel would only get a $250 credit for that phone.

I was tempted to get the 5G version at the $200 premium. But a $550 premium was just too much to swallow, especially given that 5G isn’t even available in Cleveland yet and that current 5G phone modems won’t have access to all of the 5G spectrum that will be available next year.

I definitely wanted micro-SD storage, so that meant I wanted the Note10+ as the base Note10 doesn’t have a micro-SD slot. The Note10+ also adds a bigger screen, more RAM, an additional camera, and 45W Superfast charging, though Samsung sells the 45W charger separately.

The unlocked Note10+ is $1,099 with 256GB of internal storage or $1,199 with 512GB of storage. My Note8 came with a free 256GB micro-SD card, so I went with the cheaper 256GB version and popped in my old 256GB micro-SD card for additional storage space.

The $600 trade-in is nice because it also reduces the taxable basis of the phone to $499.99. That meant I paid $539.99 for the phone instead of $1,187.99, an actual trade-in savings of $648, of which I paid $300 out of pocket to buy the Pixel. That meant I saved $348 off the price of the phone by buying a trade-in on eBay.

I’ll also get a $200 accessory credit for making the pre-order and 1% back in rewards. I opted to have the accessory credit sent to me later rather than decide what to buy up-front. It will surely come in handy for buying a 45W Superfast charger and some other goodies!

Pre-orders also come with 6 months of Spotify Premium and 4 months of YouTube Premium.

Plus I used my Chase Ink Cash Business Card to earn 5 points per dollar spent as Samsung.com qualifies as telecom spending!

Some quick thoughts on my new phone after 24 hours of playing with it.

The good:

  • The battery life is markedly improved from the Note8, which never lasted close to a full day for me. I’ve been using the Note10+ all day and still have 65% battery life remaining.
  • The camera seems phenomenal. Pictures are clear, the background blur seems great, the options for the ultra-wide angle, wide angle, and telephoto lenses are awesome, the super steady video mode is fantastic, and motion pictures are fun.  It seems like a winner for most lighting, but in low lighting it still doesn’t compete with the Pixel.
  • The video editor seems intuitive and very handy for quickly combining videos, editing scenes, adding music, and more. Editing with the S-Pen is a breeze!
  • The 6.8″ screen is big, bright, and beautiful.
  • The whopping 12GB of RAM means there is no waiting for anything.
  • The form factor is similar to the Note8, but the screen has much more real estate, which is a pleasure. It also feels easier to hold in my hand.
  • My apps and data transferred over seamlessly and quickly with the included USB-C to USB-C cable.
  • The in-screen fingerprint works much better than on the back of the phone.
  • The S-Pen remains the Note’s killer app. It’s better than ever at taking notes and it effortlessly converts my deplorably bad handwriting into searchable text notes.
  • The S-Pen now has gestures that allow you to take pictures, zoom in, change modes, and more with the flick of the wrist.
  • My kids loved playing with the S-Pen’s AR Doodle feature, which allows you to draw on anyone or anything and have the drawing stick even as the camera moves around. The phone is also supposed to have a 3D scan app that looked very cool, though I couldn’t find it so it may not have been released yet.
  • Other S-Pen features like copy/pasting, magnify, translate, screen write, and more are also easy to use.
  • Despite getting an unlocked phone, Voice over LTE and WiFi calling both worked right out of the box. After getting a voicemail I was also able to save the Samsung visual voicemail app to my home screen. Finally I downloaded my old Verizon ringtone and notification sound, so there shouldn’t be any difference between the unlocked and the branded phone.
  • Boldbeast voice recorder is still working fine. I love being able to record calls and it has helped me out several times in the past!
  • Samsung killed the Bixby button, merging it with the power button. When you long-press the power button you get Bixby by default, but Samsung now allows you to change that to get the phone power down options instead. Score for no more pointless Bixby button!

The bad:

  • Samsung moved the power button from the right side to the left side of the phone under the volume rocker. I’m not a fan at all, though I’ll probably get used to it.
  • Due to the placement of the power button on the left side, it’s now trickier to take a screenshot by pushing volume down and power simultaneously. I now use the screen brush hand gesture or use the S-Pen smart select, but it’s not ideal.
  • While I was able to turn the screen off on my Note8 with a double tap on the ever-present home button on the bottom of the phone screen, this no longer turns the screen off on the Note10. I don’t like having to reach for the power button on the left, so I downloaded One Hand Operation+ from the Galaxy store and added a swipe left gesture to turn the screen off. Not as easy as a double-tap, but it does the trick.
  • Samsung has finally joined Apple’s courage and killed the headphone jack. The writing was on the wall, but with my Bose QC 35 wireless headphones I won’t personally miss it.
  • The price. Though the trade-in and accessory offers certainly took some of the sting off the price tag.

Minor grievances aside, it seems like a great phone and the Aura Glow color is certainly unique.

You can still receive pre-order benefits until tonight here.

Will you get a Note10? Which version will you buy?

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55 Comments On "Dan’s Reviews: Quick Thoughts On Upgrading From A Samsung Galaxy Note8 To A Note10+; First Impression Review Of The Good And The Bad"

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I too just went from the 8 to the 10+5G

The phone is arriving today.

Moishie Hersko

“The 6.8″ screen is big, bright, and beautiful.”



So basically u paid 839.99 for the phone? Not to great imo




The spotify and youtube premium is only if you dont currently pay for them.

Note 8 user

Before my warranty was up last year I went to Samsung and they gave me a new battery, screen and a pen


Battery is not covered in warranty after 6 months right? And also how did manage to let them gave you a new screen and a pen as well?


Does Boldbeast recorder works over Bluetooth for you?


Dan, how do you know you could trust an app like Boldbeast with all your contacts?


@dan, for the screenshot, instead of holding down the buttons like you did on the note 8, just press the vol down and power (bixby) button really briefly and let go.

what settings do you have boldbeast on, mine is not recording.


Happy to hear Verizon and Samsung worked together to allow the ability to use wifi calling on an unlocked Samsung. My inability to so on my unlocked Galaxy S8 has caused me many a dropped call


AT&T Note 10 + 256gb. What settings do you have on Boldbeast? It doesn’t work for me


Try the face recognition instead of the finger scanner, it works accurately and lightning fast.
I was skeptical at first but now its all i use unless i am in a very dark location where it cant see my face.


Why would they not include an SD slot on the note 10??


Ah thanks for the post!
Just ordered it yesterday for my wife


Check out the DEX connected to your desktop!


So dan you took the 5g version


Will they charge extra for 5G?

Get A Life!

Get A Life, Dan!


What’s wrong with his current life?


My biggest hangup is Android 9.0 which bans third party apps from accessing the microphone and speaker during phone calls. I need call recording for work and there are no good alternatives.


have you tried dex (with just usb cable)? amazing stuff.
also cool is the native screen recorder.


Can you confirm that with boldbeast you hear both sides of the conversation when connected to Bluetooth? I have the s10+ and it seems that Google blocked the API for Bluetooth/headset recording in Pie. Thank you


What’s DEX? And Dan do you think if we wait the 10 will go down ?


Pixel 3XL vs this?
PErsonally, I have MAJOR RAM issues. But that aside…


Dan, what case did you get?


Thanks. I’ll think about it when it’s half price when the new model comes out .


Android 9 messed up call recording and you can no longer hear the person on the other end (without rooting phone). No idea how that’s working for you.

Jeff B

On the subject of storage space on the phone. WhatsApp has some serious storage issues. They are the biggest hoarder of space;

1. They are not cloud based, so everything is downloaded to the phone
2. Dedupliction is horrible! I end up with 15 copies of the same video from different group’s or if I forward it to someone else. Each on is another copy
3. There is no way to have WhatsApp save to SD card.

If I would have my way I would have everyone move to telegram. WhatsApp sucks, they should have kept it at $1 per year, then they would be beholden to the customers.

This is aside for the monthly WhatsApp system downs…


Yes, whatsapp is a disaster for many reasons, and telegram solves every problem that whatsapp has. But for some reason everyone’s stuck on whatsapp.


For WhatsApp I sync Google photos with the videos and pics , and every so often move them to the SD card. Galaxy s4


Dan thanks for the review. So you paid $839 net out of pocket? I get that people love their phones – I’ve been a OnePlus fan for a few years now. A brand new 7 Pro with 12gb/256gb would be $750 before taxes – but without discounts.

Have you ever tried oneplus? I am still using my nearly 3-year-old OnePlus 3. I am not a heavy user, but I generally need to charge maybe 2x 30 minutes per day (I can still go from 25 to 90% in about 25-30 minutes). Even with the older processer and 6gb of ram, I am still not noticing too much lag.


How is the bloatware?


I have the apple airpods with the wireless case will the note 10/10+charge it?


Samsung’s overlay, Touch-Wiz, is still a pain. I would have stuck with new Pixel 4+. Overall a more user friendly experience.