Samsung has unveiled two Galaxy Notes this year, claiming they're more like laptops than phones. With one sporting a rather ginormous screen among its many features, it's a fair description.
"The Note range offers the best of the best of Samsung. The newest features, the highest performance and that's what people really look for,' Todd Selwyn, head of mobile portfolio at Samsung New Zealand, told Newshub.
I got some early hands-on time with the Note10 and Note10+ and while they won't cause a frenzied stampede to the shops, they're much prettier than their predecessor, more powerful and generally better for productivity.
Both Note10 models pack a 7nm (nanometre) chip which Samsung says offers 20 percent better performance on 20 percent less power. Storage is great too. 256GB for both phones. The Note10 Plus benefits from 12GB of RAM as opposed to 8GB for the smaller phone.
For size and style there is a lot to like. Both are curvier, sleeker and slimmer than last year's offering, with a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio.
The Note10 has a 6.3 inch Full HD+ display (401ppi) while the Note 10+ has a 6.8 inch Quad HD+ resolution display (498ppi). Fans of Samsung's S range may be surprised by this decision, as both the phones in S range have Quad HD+ resolution.
As an aside, the Note 10+ might have a bigger screen than the S10+ but that doesn't make the phone bulkier. The footprint is about the same and it actually feels thinner and lighter.
The headphone jack has gone (USB-C headphones come in the box). Removing it has become popular among smartphone manufacturers as it allows for a thinner device. While its disappearance might upset some hardcore fans, Samsung didn't seem too concerned, saying most people use Bluetooth headphones anyway.
The Note's signature stylus, the S Pen - which acts as both a pen and a remote control - has also had a revamp. No more lurid yellow, now it's a quieter more stylish blue.
The S Pen has been given a range of air gestures and and is now much more useful generally. Handwritten notes can easily be converted into text and exported from Samsung Notes into other applications such as Microsoft Office. Business users will be pleased to hear that Samsung has collaborated extensively with Microsoft for this year's Note to make it as useful as pssible.
The camera rear set-up on the Note10 range is good. Wide, ultrawide, telephoto and depth of field sensor for the Note10+. The smaller device is just missing the depth of field sensor. Both phones feature a punch hole selfie camera in the top of the screen.
The Note's video capabilities have been given a huge boost.
Live focus adds depth of field adjustments so you can blur the background to focus on your subject. An audio zoom microphone emphasises audio coming from whatever you're focused on in a video and an improved Super Steady stabilises footage and is now available in Hyperlapse mode for steady time-lapse videos.
Users can edit their recorded video on the go from their phone and Video Editor can be used with the S Pen for precision clipping and editing. For those who want more control, Adobe Rush provides a suite of editing tools that work with the S Pen.
A screen recorder is now built in and the S Pen can be used to annotate as they record. AR Doodle uses the S pen to personalise photos and 3D Scanner can take a scan of an object and turn it into a 3D rendering.
"People are becoming their own little production houses and they want to produce content in a way that’s professional - all of those features have been improved," said Selwyn.
Both phones have a higher water and dust of IP68. Both also have beefy batteries and a Superfast Charge feature - 50 percent in 30 minutes on the Note10+.
The next few months are a very busy time for smartphone launches, with Samsung's other two main rivals, Apple and Huawei also releasing launching phones. So will the Note be able to compete? Samsung certainly thinks so.
"We do really well here in comparison with other countries," said Selwyn. Our highest market share for the year is always when we launch the Note. We're expecting a good uptake again."
Of course premium doesn’t come cheap. The larger model is NZ$1899 and the standard is NZ$1699 but that’s not too bad when compared to some competitor devices.
Samsung says for what the phones offer, the Note range is very good value. You can judge for yourself. Pre-orders start this week and phones go on sale on August 23.