Samsung has supersized its pen stylus-based Galaxy Note range with two new models - the Note 10 (which boasts a 6.3-inch display) and the 10+, whose screen has been boosted to a 6.8-incher.

(Some points of reference if you're in the size matters camp: Samsung's Galaxy S10+ has a 6.4in display - the same as the Note 9 - while Huawei's P30 Pro is 4.47in the iPhone XS Max 6.5in.)

Like the latest additions to the Korean company's S series, the new Notes support 5G - the faster mobile network technology that Vodafone NZ will launch in December.

That gives Samsung a jump on Apple, which has yet to say when it will release an iPhone with 5G support (though it could be as soon as next month).

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Techs and specs are beefed up across the board. The Note 10+ now has a stonking 12 gigabytes of RAM (most laptops sport 8GB).

And Samsung pushes the fact you can use its "Dex" software to plug a Note into a full-size monitor, and connect it to a full-size keyboard, giving you a PC on the move (Dex formerly required a $200 docking station; now you only need a monitor that can take a USB-C cable - there's also an adapter - plus a keyboard that supports Bluetooth).

Samsung NZ mobile lead Todd Selwyn with the new Galaxy Note 10 and 10+. Photo / Dean Purcell
Samsung NZ mobile lead Todd Selwyn with the new Galaxy Note 10 and 10+. Photo / Dean Purcell

The Note's pen stylus has also got smarter. Before, you could click it the S Pen to forward through sides. Now, you can wave it like a wand to wireless adjust the volume on a video, or skip forward or back through footage, among other new "air gestures".

On the software side, Samsung has ditched its own email client in favour of including Microsoft's Outlook as its default email and calendaring app.

Samsung says the new Note 10 and 10+ offer better handwriting recognition, and make it easy to save notes written with its S Pen (or notes converted to text) into PDF or Microsoft Office formats.
Samsung says the new Note 10 and 10+ offer better handwriting recognition, and make it easy to save notes written with its S Pen (or notes converted to text) into PDF or Microsoft Office formats.

There's Microsoft Link pre-installed for one-click file syncing with a Windows PC.

And Microsoft's OneDrive is now the default cloud-storage app.

Samsung's closer alliance to the Seattle-based tech giant is a stark rival to Huawei, which faces an uncertain hardware and software future after the White House put it on a high tech export blacklist (which does not affect current models).

Samsung NZ head of mobile Todd Selwyn says the overall mobile market is flat, though he says the Galaxy S10 (released in March) has outsold the Galaxy S9.

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He prefers to see that as a positive market reaction to the S10 rather than making hay from Huawei troubles. IDC figures have both Samsung and Apple making gains since their Chinese rival was put on the export blacklist.

The Note 10 has three rear cameras (wide angle, ultra wide and telephoto) while the 10+ has four, adding a
The Note 10 has three rear cameras (wide angle, ultra wide and telephoto) while the 10+ has four, adding a "depthvision" lens. Both have 3D scanning and "AR doodle" apps. Photo / AP.

The Wall Street Journal noted overheating issues with the S10 when using 5G,. We'll have to wait until 5G is launched here to see how the S10 and Note 10 go with Vodafone NZ's network upgrade (and Spark's from July next year; 2degrees has yet to say when it will add 5G). Samsung says it will tweak its phones software and setup over the coming months to hone their 5G performance.

Headphone jack ditched

Meantime, the only obvious point of controversy is the elimination of a 3.5mm headphone jack from the new Notes - something of an about-face after Samsung poked fun at Apple for doing the same.

Instead, there's a single USB-C jack for charging or headphones. Selwyn is not anticipating it will be a major issue, given a pair of USB-C buds are included in the box, and the fact that most people buy wireless earbuds these days.

Samsung has ditched a dedicated 3.5mm headline jack with the Note 10 and 10+ in favour of a USB-C jack that does double-duty as a headphone jack and charger. Wireless buds come in the case. Photo / AP
Samsung has ditched a dedicated 3.5mm headline jack with the Note 10 and 10+ in favour of a USB-C jack that does double-duty as a headphone jack and charger. Wireless buds come in the case. Photo / AP

Jettisoning a dedicated headphone jack has also also allowed for a slimmer profile than the Note 9.

Wireless charging

Like the S10 series, the new Notes can be charged via an optional wireless charging pad ($120), which will give you a half-charge in half an hour.

And again like the S10, they support "piggyback" wireless charging - that is, you can place another S10 or Note 10, Samsung Watch or Galaxy Buds on the back of a Note 10 and it will transfer some of its charge. It's a neat trick. And again, it's a department where Apple has fallen behind the 8 ball (despite its $100m+ purchase of NZ's PowerbyProxi in 2017 - which, as things stand is not looking like it will go down in Apple's acquisitions hall of fame).

The Note 10 and 10+ can be charged on an optional wireless charging dock - or score a
The Note 10 and 10+ can be charged on an optional wireless charging dock - or score a "piggyback" wireless charge by one Note (or Samsung Watch or Galaxy Buds) being placed on another.

The Note 10 has three rear cameras (wide angle, ultra wide and telephoto) while the 10+ has four, adding a "depthvision" lens that allows for 3D scanning.

New features include being able to add a "bokeh" blur to the background in a video clip, and an AR Doodle app that lets you, say, draw a hat on someone's head that will then stick to them in the video.

And a "night mode" has been added to the front camera, designed to yield better selfies in low light.

The Note 10 ($1699) and Note 10+ ($1899) will be available for pre-order from August 9 via 2degrees, Vodafone and Spark and instore from August 23.

See full tech specs here.

Folding phone a no-go for NZ

Those hoping for local-release news on the Galaxy Fold today at Samsung's "unpacking" event today were out of luck.

Samsung's Galaxy Fold will only make it as far as Australia. There is talk of constrained supply. Image / YouTube still
Samsung's Galaxy Fold will only make it as far as Australia. There is talk of constrained supply. Image / YouTube still

Selwyn confirms the $3000 show-piece smartphone - which unfolds to become a tablet - will only be released in a handful of markets and New Zealand is not one of them.

There is talk of constrained supply.

If you want to have stab at parallel importing, the Fold has got as close as Australia.