They are 2 of the best smartphones of 2019 without a doubt. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus and the OnePlus 7 Pro are 2 very capable phones with a lot going for them. Of course, no one phone is the right choice for everyone. So, I used both of them to see how 2 of the best phones of 2019 stack up against each other in 2020.
The first contact we have with a phone is holding it. The in-hand feel might not be too important for most of us since we use cases anyway but at the same time smartphone construction and design is an important factor. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus feels like a piece of jewelry in-hand. The glossy shiny silver aluminium bands combined with the Aura Glow paint job screams for attention and rightfully gets it. The display is curved gently and the glass front and back combine to make a product which looks and feels luxurious.
But just because it is cheaper doesn’t mean the OnePlus 7 Pro is a lower quality product. The OnePlus 7 Pro is narrower and more easy to handle although both of them are quite large. The aluminium rail is glossy on this one too and looks good although the nebula blue or black edition don’t grab nearly as much attention as the Aura Glow Note 10. The power button is on the right side on the 7 Pro which is better than the left sided button on the Note 10. The mute slider on the 7 Pro is very convenient and I wish it was there on the Note too. The glass is more steeply curved on the OnePlus which is not a problem but doesn’t feel as good as the Note. It also leads to more accidental touches on the display. All in all, both these phones feel good in the hand but the Note 10 Plus does feel and look like a more expensive product.
Whenever you compare any phone’s display to a Samsung flagship display, you know the best you can do is be the same because no one yet has beaten Samsung at the display game. Even here, while the OnePlus 7 Pro has a bright, sharp and vibrantly colourful display, the Note 10 Plus is just a level above it. The display on the Note 10 Plus is very, very beautiful and the overall multimedia experience is brought to life with the amazing colours. Be it web browsing, book reading, video or gaming, picture quality on the Note 10 makes a significant difference.
That’s not to say that the OnePlus 7 Pro has a bad display. Far from it. As a standalone device, the display on the OnePlus 7 Pro is great. Very impressive and hands down the best display used by OnePlus to date. But where it beats Samsung is in having a higher refresh rate, which makes everything look and feel smoother. It also has no notches or hole punches which gives a very pleasant full screen look to the device compared to the hole punch in the top middle of the Note 10’s display.
All-in-all both these displays are pretty good and it is upto you to decide if you care about the picture quality more or the higher refresh rate.
Performance is another thing where these phones are extremely close. Depending on where you live, you would either have the Snapdragon or Exynos Note 10. The Snapdragon one is clearly better but the Exynos is okay too, just not as good. The OnePlus 7 Pro has the Snapdragon no matter where you buy it and put on top of that OnePlus’ smoother and faster OxygenOS and the 90 Hz display and from the surface, the OnePlus 7 Pro runs much smoother. If you want a phone that feels fast and is a performance beast, the OnePlus 7 Pro is clearly the phone for you.
Coming back to the Note 10, my exynos version is actually pretty good in day to day usage. Memory management works, app loading times are minimal and regular stuff like web browsing, YouTube and social media works flawlessly. The animations are slower on Samsung’s OneUI but that’s not lag, it’s the way the software is designed. It’s only when you come to gaming that you realise the difference between the 2 phones. I tried 3 heavy games, Asphalt 9, CoD Mobile and PUBG. All 3 games when pushed to the limit and played for a 30 minute duration, perform significantly better on the OnePlus 7 Pro. And they’re not even close. The Note 10 drops more frames, heats more and clearly struggles compared to the OnePlus which handles the games effortlessly.
Smaller games like Candy Crush run fine on both but heavier games are clearly more suited to the OnePlus. And of course, this experience might differ with the Snapdragon Note 10 Plus so do keep that in mind if your region has that variant.
- The Galaxy Note 10 Plus takes better pictures than OnePlus 7 Pro especially outdoors.
- The pictures (shot on Note 10+) have better colors and are well saturated, thanks to Samsung’s color science.
- Moreover, the HDR processing on Note 10+ is way ahead of any Android smartphones we’ve tested. (Samples)
- The pictures shot on OnePlus 7 Pro are contrasty and have a processed look as compared to the more natural look in pictures shot on Note 10 Plus.
- The OnePlus 7 Pro has a really fast autofocus especially when you’re shooting with the primary 1x lens.
- The results are somewhat similar in low light. But the Note 10+ retains real life colors after processing.
- The OnePlus 7 Pro also takes fairly good pictures in low light but sometimes the images can get too noisy. It’s a decent low light stills shooter.
- Noise processing is good on both the devices but Note 10+ produces some artefacts in low light pictures.
- The front camera on both the phones take decent selfies, they’re not sharp but Note 10+ renders more accurate skin tones.
- The OnePlus 7 Pro takes more natural looking portraits because of the 3x Telephoto lens. Although, the Note 10+ renders better colors. Subject separation is equitable on both the devices.
- The clear winner is the Note 10+ because of better color rendering and sharpness.
- The OnePlus 7 Pro has very fast autofocus and works like a charm in videos because of the laser focus module.
- Both the devices produce jittery and noisy videos in low light conditions. The results are somewhat better than the previous generations but nowhere near the iPhone’s video camera.
Note 10+ should be your choice if you take a look of pictures and videos with your smartphone. It might not have the fastest auto focus but the camera outshines almost every other smartphone in it’s price bracket because of the color science and HDR processing. Moreover, Samsung has a bunch of different camera modes like a video portrait mode and even a manual video more!
So, the Note 10 Plus is the clear winner if camera is a priority for you.
Miscellaneous – (Battery Life, Speakers)
The battery life on both these phones is pretty good. The Note 10 Plus can last longer by an hour or 90 minutes of more screen time but OnePlus charges faster with it’s warp charging. I happen to charge overnight or in the office so I prefer the Note 10’s arrangement more but again both are so good that it doesn’t really matter.
The stereo speakers in the Note 10 Plus are much better. The sound is clearer, louder and more defined compared to the OnePlus’ speaker. Video watching experience is great on both, regardless.
Another thing I would like to talk about is the reception and earpiece quality, both of which are better on the Galaxy Note 10 Plus though again, the difference is not groundbreaking.
Then there is the S-Pen on the Note 10 Plus, which could or could not be a vital feature for you. I like to doodle around when I use the Note 10 but I have never missed it when I switch over to any other phone. If you really like it, then the Note 10 is your winner because the OnePlus has nothing to compete in this department.
A feature I do miss when I move from Samsung Phones is Samsung Pay. To put it briefly, it is an app which lets you pay with your credit cards directly from your phone, even those without NFC support. It is a life saver when you forget your wallet at home.
Let’s finally talk about the conclusion. Let’s talk about money. Depending on where you live, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus costs 1.5-2.5 times the cost of the OnePlus 7 Pro. Here in India, the OnePlus 7 Pro is roughly Rs 42,000 and the Note 10 Plus is Rs 84,000. At such a stark difference, it would be hard to justify spending double on the Note 10 Plus even if it were a better phone. If we were to keep the price aside for a second, both of these phones are great with strengths and weaknesses of their own like we discussed in the video. You should pick up whichever phone suits you best and the one you feel comfortable spending your money on. As for me, that phone would be the OnePlus 7 Pro.