Although both of them Galaxy S10 and Note 10 The Samsung flagship phones 2019 and ultra-luxury phones launched last year are still fantastic devices. Both offer high-end specifications such as brilliant AMOLED displays, powerful cameras and ultra-fast processors. Also now that 2020 Galaxy S20 Samsung has significantly subtracted the Galaxy S10 from its original price of USD 900, GBP 799 and AU $ 1,349.

If you choose between the two phones, we recommend the Galaxy S10. You get similar specs and performance to the Note 10 (give or take some things that we'll cover in more detail later), but at a lower cost.

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For more information on both phones, see the CNET guide, which compares them by design, camera, performance, and memory. And for another comparison, read CNETs Note 10 Plus vs. Note 9: which Galaxy Note is the better buy?

Angela Lang / CNET

With its large display, the cheaper price and the hardware specifications comparable to the Note 10, the Galaxy S10 is the better value. The phone's display is slightly smaller than that of the Note 10, but has the same processor and almost the same triple rear-view camera setup. It also has a sharper display, a headphone jack, and expandable memory. What you will of course not have is the embedded S-pin. But if you're not a power user and don't have much of it anyway, go for the S10 and pocket the extra money.

Read our Samsung Galaxy S10 review.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

Is the Note 10's integrated pen worth the hundreds of dollars you would save if you chose the Galaxy S10? For most users who can swipe and type well without them, we would say no. And since most of what is under the hood of the Note 10 is so similar to the Galaxy S10, we recommend doing so instead. However, if you really think that the S Pen has a lot of utility (which can do things other than drawing, such as taking pictures remotely and controlling apps), you won't be disappointed with the Note 10 is always still an excellent, if expensive, phone.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 10 review.

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Note 10 Plus is not only great, it is also excellent


S Pen: The ultimate advantage of the Note 10

You can't compare the Note 10 and the Galaxy S10 without first addressing the one big advantage of the former: the S Pen Smart Pen Stylus. The S Note is stored in the Note 10 and offers additional functions for productivity apps and functions that are integrated into the phone. Not only can you write notes and doodles quickly, you can also use the S Pen as a remote control to trigger the camera shutter or remotely control music on Spotify.

The S Pen is essentially the Note 10's biggest draw, and you should ultimately decide whether this is a tool important enough to pay more money for it. If you see that you use the pen a lot and have the budget for the Note 10, go for it. However, if this isn't necessary, save money now and have a look at the Galaxy S10. If you're still on the fence between the two, keep reading.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 12

The Note 10 is all about the S Pen

Angela Lang / CNET

Design: The Galaxy S10 has a sharper screen and a headphone jack

When Samsung's first Note phone came on the market, the screen was significantly larger than that of the phones that were unavailable during that time. However, many phones these days have generous screens, including the Galaxy S10. With its 6.1-inch display and the 6.3-inch display of the Note 10, you get a large-screen experience with both phones.

However, the displays of the phones differ in other ways. The Galaxy S10 has a sharper resolution of 1440p and a higher pixel density than the Note 10 (550 ppi compared to 401 ppi). Side by side, your eyes may not notice a difference between 1440p and 1080p. However, if you watch a lot of videos or play graphics-intensive games on your phone, the screen of the Galaxy S10 offers pin-sharp details, at least on paper.

Since the pen is in the Note 10, the phone is a bit heavier and thicker. In contrast to the Galaxy S10, the phone does not have a headphone jack. That means you need to use a dongle, wireless headphones, or USB Type-C headphones to listen to music and calls.

Finally, both phones have black and white variations, but the Galaxy S10 is also available in four other colors: green, blue, silver, and red. The Note 10 has an additional "fun" color that is specifically known as the Aura Glow. With its iridescent sheen and striking color gradient, this third color variant is really, really fun.

Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, S10E: Every camera lens and every curve

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Camera: Galaxy S10 and Note 10 are almost identical

Both phones largely have the same triple rear-view camera setup and video features: a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle shooter, and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens. Both also have a 10 megapixel front camera.

But Samsung has slightly adjusted the camera hardware between the two phones. For the selfie and telephoto cameras, the Galaxy S10 has a lens with a fixed aperture at 1: 1.9 or 1: 2.4. In comparison, the Note 10 uses a somewhat narrower aperture of 1: 2.1 for the selfie camera and 1: 2.2 for the telephoto lens. In general, the larger the aperture (or the smaller the f-number), the more light the camera can take. This can help take clearer photos in low light conditions that don't suffer from blurring. Despite the slight differences in hardware, you shouldn't see a big difference in photo quality between these two phones in most scenarios. (Note that the main wide-angle camera on both phones has a variable aperture that can switch between 1: 1.5 and 1: 2.4.)

At launch, the Note 10 had some additional camera features that the Galaxy S10 didn't have, like applying bokeh blur to video and night mode on the front-facing camera. However, many of these functions have been ported to the website Galaxy S10 with an update from October 2019. Both phones also have newer Galaxy S20 camera updates like single take and night hyperlapse.

For more information on photo quality, see Photos taken with the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 here

Power and battery of the Galaxy S10 and Note 10: About the same

Both phones have 8 GB of RAM and are equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 octa-core chipset. Depending on the market you're in, some Note 10 models have a Samsung Exynos 9825 processor.

We haven't done any benchmark tests for these two specific phones, but for the Galaxy S10 Plus and Note 10 pluswho also share the same Snapdragon 855 processor. Both phones got similar test results for Geekbench 4 and 3DMark Slingshot Unlimited. However, the Galaxy S10 Plus had a lower score in the 3DMark (57,320) Ice Storm Unlimited test than the Note 10 Plus (79,190). In any case, both the Galaxy S10 and the Note 10 have lightning-fast processors, and there should be little difference in performance and speed in everyday tasks.

Due to the slightly larger screen, it makes sense that the Note 10 has a slightly larger battery. However, the Note 10's 3,500 mAh battery was clocked in the same 18-hour runtime as the Galaxy S10's 3,400 mAh battery for continuous video playback in airplane mode.

Galaxy s10 macro 13

The S10 has a headphone jack, the Note 10 does not.

Angela Lang / CNET

Memory: Note 10 does not have expandable memory

One important thing to note is that unlike the Galaxy S10, the Note 10 has no expandable memory. This shouldn't be a big deal as the phone has 256 GB of onboard storage. However, for those who take a lot of photos or 4K video, this is worth considering.

In the meantime, you can use a microSD card with the Galaxy S10. However, it does have two tiers of memory, which are funnily below and above Note 10: 128 GB and 512 GB. Only you can decide how much space is sufficient. However, opting for the 128GB model of the Galaxy S10 and later investing in a microSD card (a 128GB card costs around $ 30) is the cheapest way.

Galaxy S10 vs. Galaxy Note 10

Samsung Galaxy S10

Samsung Galaxy Note 10

Display size, resolution

6.1 inch AMOLED; 3,040 x 1,440 pixels

6.3 inch AMOLED; 2,280 x 1,080 pixels

Pixel density

550 ppi

401 ppi

Dimensions (inches)

5.9 x 2.77 x 0.31 inches

5.94 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches

Dimensions (millimeters)

149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8 mm

151 x 71.8 x 7.9 mm

Weight (ounces, grams)

5.53 ounces; 157 g

5.93 ounces; 168 g

Mobile software

Android 9.0 Pie

Android 9.0 Pie


12 megapixels (wide angle), 16 megapixels (ultra wide angle), 12 megapixels (telephoto)

12 megapixels (wide angle), 16 megapixels (ultra wide angle), 12 megapixels (telephoto)

Front camera

10 megapixels

10 megapixels

Video recording




Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor or Samsung Exynos 9825


128 GB, 512 GB

256 GB


8 GB

8 GB

Expandable memory

Up to 512 GB



3,400 mAh

3,500 mAh

Fingerprint sensor






Headphone jack



Special features

Wireless PowerShare; Perforated screen notch; waterproof (IP68)

S pen pin; Wireless PowerShare; Perforated screen notch; waterproof (IP68)

Samsung Galaxy S10

Buy the better value

Samsung Galaxy Note 10

Not worth the extra money if S Pen is not a priority


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