Samsung Galaxy Note 10: how its trademark feature stops innovation

Is the stylus worth the headache?

Samsung Galaxy Note 10
(Image credit: Twitter / @OnLeaks)

When you think of the Samsung Galaxy Note series, you probably think of two things – massive screens, and a stylus. Oh, and maybe that time they kept spontaneously detonating in people's pockets.

In the eight years since the Galaxy Note made its debut, expansive screens have become the norm. However, the S Pen stylus remains unique – despite a steady stream of rumours Apple will add Apple Pencil support in a future iPhone model.

However, this trademark Galaxy Note feature is hindering the teams at Samsung who want to evolve the handset, according to an insider.

Sources inside Samsung claim the new forthcoming Galaxy Note 10, which will be announced at a Galaxy Unpacked on August 7, would have an extra 800mAh capacity in the battery for greater longevity, as well as more "aggressive" cameras and narrower bezels around the AMOLED display were it not for the S Pen.

Keeping the stylus around in the Note 10 forced those in the R&D department to dramatically scale back their ambitions, the insider claims. The new report comes courtesy of prolific tipster Ice Universe, who has accurately leaked a number of unannounced Samsung products in the past.

It's unclear exactly what the insiders mean by more "aggressive" cameras.

However, with rivals like Oppo and Huawei pushing the boundaries of what is possible with optical and AI-enhanced hybrid zoom solutions – the Oppo Reno has a 10x zoom, while the P30 Pro can manage up to 50x, the 2x optical zoom achieved by Samsung's last flagship smartphone is looking remarkably twee in comparison.

Earlier rumours suggested Samsung prototyped a display with an extreme curvature, although the Seoul-based company eventually dismissed this new design. While some suggested Samsung would ditch all physical buttons from the handset entirely.

That said, without the S Pen, it becomes nigh impossible to distinguish between the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy S series. After all, the Galaxy S10 5G sports a bigger screen and better cameras than the current flagship Galaxy Note, leaving only the S Pen and the productivity-focused features that it enables as the main differentiator.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

(Image credit: Future)

Some have suggested Samsung will dismantle the Note series soon, leaving only one flagship smartphone range with multiple models – like the S10e and S10 5G variants that were added to the line-up this year.

Given that Samsung revived the Note brand after the disastrous battery problems that plagued the Galaxy Note 7, it seems unlikely that it'll give up on it anytime soon.

The Galaxy Note 10 is widely-tipped to come with a vastly-improved S Pen, which could include a camera built into the stylus. The Note 10 will be unveiled on-stage in New York on August 7. T3 will have all of the news as soon as it breaks.

Aaron Brown

As a former Staff Writer for T3, Aaron writes about almost anything shiny and techie. When he’s not barking orders at Alexa-powered microwaves or gawping at 5G speed tests, Aaron covers everything from smartphones, tablets and laptops, to speakers, TVs and smart home gadgets. Prior to joining T3, Aaron worked at the Daily Express and and MailOnline.