With the holiday season quickly approaching, there will be a lot of people in the market for a new smartphone, and what better time to pick one up. We had the opportunity to use both Samsung and Google’s latest flagship phones, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, and Pixel 4 XL and breakdown our experience with both Android-powered devices.
Believe it or not, there are people out there who prefer to use Android phones and could honestly care less about Apple’s latest offerings, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Both Samsung and Google have managed to deliver two excellent smartphones making the potential user’s decision between the Pixel 4 XL and Galaxy Note 10 Plus a hard one. We will try to make that choice an easy one for you as best we can.
Right off the bat, we have to say that both screens are excellent. The Google Pixel 4 XL sports a 6.3-inch OLED screen compared to Galaxy Note 10 Plus’ much larger, 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen. Both phones have the same resolution, but the Pixel 4 XL’s screen is much sharper due to it being smaller. Both screens deliver accurate colors and deep blacks, as well.
While outside the Note 10 Plus does get significantly brighter than Pixel 4 XL, which helps reduce sun glare on the phone, preventing squinting. But where the Pixel 4 XL beats out the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is with its 90Hz refresh rate. That means the Pixel 4 XL handles fast-paced gaming action better, plus the swiping and scrolling on the phone is much smoother.
Let’s be honest here, smartphone cameras have become the most critical factor when determining which phone we are going to purchase. With its quad-camera setup consisting of a 12-megapixel primary lens, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens plus Time-of-Flight sensor the Galaxy Note 10 Plus on paper has the better camera. BUT Google brought the heat this year with its dual-lens setup that features a 12.2-megapixel primary lens and a 16-megapixel telephoto lens combined with Google’s machine learning and image processing skills.
You can see the difference in the two photos taken using both of the phone’s primary lens, and you will notice Pixel 4 XL slightly edges the out the Galaxy Note 10 Plus.
As far as the telephoto lens, not much has to be said. While the Note 10 Plus’ 12-megapixel telephoto lens is decent, the Pixel XL 4’s 16-megapixel telephoto lens totally makes up for the fact the phone lacks an ultrawide lens. As per the photos below, the Pixel 4 XL does a better job of keeping sharpness while zoomed in. Both shots were at the max zoom length.
Both front-facing cameras are excellent, but the Pixel 4 XL’s selfie camera edges the Note 10 Plus. As you will see below the Note 10 Plus’s Live Focus mode delivers a crisp portrait selfie but looks flat compared to the Pixel 4 XL’s richer in color selfie photo.
Night shooting is the latest feature smartphones have gained. Both Google and Samsung have been ahead of the curve in this department while Apple just caught up. Both the Pixel 4 XL and Galaxy Note 10 Plus’ night mode cameras perform very well, but once again, the Pixel 4 XL’s “Night Sight” beats the Galaxy Plus 10 “Night Mode,” but not by the much.
The Pixel 4 XL delivered a slightly better night shot than the Galaxy Plus 10. Looking at both photos below, you wouldn’t even have thought it was taken at night.
Design and Durability
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and Google Pixel 4 XL are both well-designed devices visually and internally. Both phones are made from glass and feature aluminum frames. But that as far both phones go similarly in the design category. The Pixel 4 XL now features a bezel above the screen that houses the front-facing camera and new radar system and secure face unlock.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus keeps with Samsung’s practice of reducing the bezel as much as possible. The camera is hole punched into the screen and is blacked out when viewing videos, and the edges on the phone are curved.
The Google Pixel 4 XL’s rear dual- camera is stored in a protruding rounded square box on the back of the phone.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus’ triple camera system is stored in a vertical housing unit that does not stick out like the Pixel 4 XL’s rear camera.
Both phones come in a color that will turn heads when you pull them out. The Google Pixel 4’s “Oh So Orange” features a matte finish, which means you won’t have to worry about wiping away fingerprints or smudges. The same cannot be said for the Note 10 Plus “Aura Glow” where you definitely will notice everything down to tiny scratches.
Both phones do have an IP68 rating, which means they are basically impervious to spills, rain, or being completely submerged, so neither device has the edge in that department.
Both finishes are very eye-catching, but if we had to choose one, we gotta go with the Galaxy Note 10 Plus just based on its impressive and very “out-of-this-world” design.
Performance, Battery Life and Charging
Both the Google Pixel 4 XL and Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus sport the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor underneath the hood. That means you don’t have to worry about performance issues, plus your favorite apps and games will run without a hitch, and navigating on both devices is very smooth.
The Google Pixel 4 XL sports a respectable 6GB of RAM while the Galaxy Note 10 Plus doubles that with 12GB of RAM. So if you’re one of those smartphone users who like to push their device and like the ability to switch between numerous apps and games running at the same time, then the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is the phone for you.
As far as memory is concerned, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus offers users either 256GB or 512GB, plus it can be expanded with the inclusion of a MicroSD card slot so it will be insanely hard to run out of space. The Google Pixel 4 XL comes in 64GB or 128GB models, but unfortunately, there is no expandable memory feature. BUT you do get unlimited storage from Google Photos, so don’t have to worry about deleting those photos permanently as they will be uploaded to the cloud for free.
Last but certainly not least battery life, another important factor. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus packs a massive 4,300mAh battery that will last you all day. The Google Pixel 4 XL sports a 3,700mAh battery that won’t offer you the same luxury as the Note Plus 10 in all-day battery life, especially if you use the phone heavily throughout the day. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus can also charge up in a full hour thanks to the 25W charger that comes with. Samsung’s latest flagship phone also charges up faster and gets more juice within the first few minutes of charging.
The Google Pixel 4 XL comes with an 18W charger, which will allow you to charge your phone fully in an hour and a half. Both phones support Qi Wireless charging, but the Galaxy Note 10 Plus takes things a bit further with its ability to share power with other Qi-certified devices.
Now it’s time to focus on the features, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus has plenty of them. Paired with it’s updated Bluetooth enabled S-Pen. Now I have to admit, using a stylist felt extremely weird at first, but after a while, it became second nature. The S-Pen can control a bunch of features on the device besides just being used to navigate or write notes on the phone. It can be used to change your slides or songs with a flick of your wrist, but you have to have the S-Pen in your hand. It does feel gimmicky after a while and chances are you won’t really use the feature that much.
There is also the new AR-Doodle that lets you use the S-Pen to draw sticky animations that will stay in the locations where you created them showing off the Galaxy Note 10’s impressive augmented reality capabilities. You can see it in action in the video below.
AR Doodle is fun to use but gets old really quickly. What is more interesting is the 3D scanning feature on the phone that allows you to scan an object in real life, turning it into a 3D digital scanner model. It doesn’t work all the time correctly, but it’s very cool technology to have in the palm of your hands when it does.
The Google Pixel 4 XL isn’t boasting any new camera tricks like 3D scanning, but its new Motion Sense and very quick Face Unlock are innovative. Users can now do things like change songs or mute phone calls with a wave of your hand. Face Unlock is your security measure since the phone lacks a fingerprint sensor and can be used to make purchases on your phone. My only issue with Face Unlock is that it works entirely too good. I noticed the phone still unlocks with my eyes closed, which could be a problem, definitely something they could correct with an update.
Google Assistant is also upgraded on the Pixel 4 XL and is now smarter and aware of how it is being used.
When it comes down to it, both the Google Pixel 4 XL and Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus are almost similar. Coming in at $899, Google managed somehow to keep the Pixel 4 XL’s 64GB model in the same price range as the Pixel 3. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is a bit more expensive starting at $1,100 for the 256GB model, but you definitely get your bang for your buck because the phone literally does everything.
There’s no wrong choice here when it comes to choosing between these two devices. The Pixel 4 XL and Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus are clear indications that both companies are going in the right direction when it comes to each flagship phone.
Photos: Bernard Smalls/ @PhotosByBeanz