After months and months of leaks and rumours, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10 Plus are official. However, Samsung decided against unveiling a cheaper, more accessible version to try and combat the overall downturn in high-end smartphone sales.
When Samsung launched the Galaxy S10, it also added a more affordable option into the mix. The Galaxy S10e took most of what made the S10 great – camera, chipset, sleek design – but removed some of the more luxurious extras. It lacked the curved edges, in-display fingerprint sensor and third rear camera.
Did those sacrifices lead to a bad phone? Absolutely not. In fact, I would say the S10e was my favourite S10 variant and the one I would recommend to most people. So why isn’t there a Galaxy Note 10e?
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For instance, take the Note 10 then replace the in-display fingerprint with a physical one on the side, remove one of the rear cameras and flatten the display. Voila, a Note 10e. As is the case with the S10e, I don’t think this would make the Note 10e any worse a phone.
Importantly it would retain the key selling point of the Note series: the S Pen. The little stylus that sits inside the bottom of the phone is what makes a Note a Note. It lets you doodle even when the screen is off, jot down notes or even paint.
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The S Pen has been the key distinguishing factor since all Samsung flagships ostensibly became ‘phablets’ and it’s not something offered by any other major phone – unless you count LG’s Stylus series, which rarely makes it over to the UK or US. I’m sure people buy a Note because of the S Pen and keep upgrading to the latest models to avoid losing it.
Thing is, Note phones have always been priced highly and this makes the S Pen more of a luxury feature. Offer it on a model that’s slightly more affordable and you’re opening one of your most unique selling points to a much wider audience.
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This move would also allow Samsung to launch a phone that directly tackles the way the smartphone sales seem to be going. Phone sales are down and people are seemingly less willing to spend £1000 or $1000 on a phone. This is why the Pixel 3a has been such a success for Google, as it offers some high-end features (the camera), cuts away the stuff people don’t tend to use and ensures the price is low.
But, at least for now, there’s no Note 10e and if you want the full Note experience you’re going to have to pay for it and plump for either the Note 10 or Note 10 Plus. You’ll be able to pick both phones up from August 23 and they’ll be carried by all the big networks in the UK and US. There’s also a 5G version of the Plus available too, which is virtually the same phone, with support for the latest mobile networks.