- The Galaxy Note 10 from Samsung has a bunch of new features that are worth knowing about but easily missed.
- One of my favourite feature updates is the ability to convert handwritten notes into digital text, as well as searching for notes with keywords. It seems minor, but it makes a huge impact on how well the Note 10 works as a note-taking device.
- There are a bunch of other features and updates to the camera and S Pen, and even a feature that lets you run a strange version of Samsung’s Android on your Windows 10 or ApplemacOS computer.
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Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 is out and available for all to buy, and for those who are reading this on their shiny new Note 10, or thinking of buying it, there are some cool features to know about.
Oftentimes, it can be hard to follow what Samsung’s added to its new smartphone. The company takes an “everything under the sun” approach, and the Note 10 is no different.
New features and improvements have been added to the Note 10’s note-taking ability, camera, and S Pen, and one feature even extends the Note 10 onto your Windows 10 or macOS computer.
Check out the best new features of the Galaxy Note 10:
1. Super-fast charging with the new 25W charger that’s included with the Note 10.
The Note 10 comes with a 25W charger included that charges the phone faster than the 15W chargers that came with previous Galaxy devices.
It’s a great upgrade for charging that gives you quick bursts of power and full charges in less time, which means less time for the Note 10 to be tethered to a charging cord.
2. That background blur “bokeh” effect from portrait photos works on videos now. Here’s a video I took of my cat with the new Live Focus Video mode:
As you can tell from the video above, it’s not super great. It makes the background look more like you have a dirty camera lens rather than actual bokeh – that blurry background effect. Still, it does help keep you focused on the cat rather than what’s around him.
3. You can get your text messages on your Windows 10 computer with the “Your Phone” app.
Microsoft’s “Your Phone” app can be used with most Android phones. It’s Microsoft’s version of Apple’s Messages feature that iPhone and Mac users love so much, where they can send and receive text messages on their Macs.
Samsung integrated “Your Phone” more deeply with the Galaxy Note 10 to let you wirelessly stream the Note 10’s screen onto your Windows 10 computer.
Apart from that, Your Phone is still a place on your Windows 10 computer where you can answer text messages without reaching for your phone.
4. The ultra-wide-angle camera lens is a great feature that’s becoming standard on premium phones.
This isn’t specific to the Galaxy Note 10, but it’s worth mentioning. The ultra-wide-angle camera on the Note 10 is great for capturing more details around you, or for capturing something that’s too close to you for the regular camera lens.
Here’s the same photo taken with the regular camera lens:
5. The new “Zoom-in mic” feature lets you zoom in to a subject while recording a video to help isolate the sound coming from that subject.
If you’re recording someone playing an instrument on a noisy street, for example, you can zoom in to the musician to cancel out some of the ambient sound.
6. The Note 10’s S Pen makes it easier to edit videos and photos than using your finger.
Samsung gave the Note 10 its own integrated video editing app with some basic tools, like cutting, filters, text, stickers, and adding background music. It’s not the most comprehensive video editor, but you can use the S Pen on any video editing app for more precise editing than any finger will allow.
7. You can convert your hand-written notes into digital text.
This is perhaps one of the most useful additions to the Note 10 that enhances the Note line’s core feature: note-taking. To be able to convert your hand-written notes into digital text is incredibly helpful, especially if your handwriting on the Note is hard to read.
It’s also surprisingly accurate in converting your handwriting into digital text. With that said, it seems like a work in progress. Every time I’ve converted my handwriting to text, I’ve had to spend a few minutes looking for the option – it’s not intuitive or easy to find. Plus, the text I convert doesn’t look very good, which is an odd thing to say about a digital text note. The block of text itself looks small and stunted.
Thankfully, this is all stuff that Samsung can improve upon with software updates.
8. You can search for notes with keywords, both in hand-written and digital text notes.
The other minor feature addition that makes a major impact is the ability to search for the notes you’re looking for using keywords. It’s easy to pile up the notes on the Note 10, and I know from experience that notes can quickly get disorganized, making them almost impossible to find.
The note searching feature works with hand-written notes, as well as notes that have been converted to text. In the photo above, I was able to find a note I made about Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, which I taste-tested and wrote about. (Indeed, you can add bacon to your plant-based Whopper.)
9. The new “Air Actions” with the S Pen lets you control the Note 10’s camera from a few feet away.
Air Actions lets you make gestures in the air with the S Pen to control the camera, including zooming, changing camera modes, and switching between front and rear camera.
For example, you can make circular motions with the S Pen to zoom in, or you can flip the S Pen up to switch to the selfie or rear camera.
You can even use S Pen gestures to adjust the volume and rewind or fast-forward while you’re watching a video. It’s on the gimmicky side of things, but someone out there is bound to like Air Actions.
10. I’m not sure most people will love this, but it’s worth a mention anyway: You can connect the Note 10 to a computer to use Dex. It’s like having a mini computer within your own computer.
This is an odd feature, and I’m not exactly sure what it’s for. It doesn’t detract from the Note 10 at all, and it’s totally fine that it exists, but I’m just not sure why.
Samsung says Dex on PC lets you click and drag stuff from your phone to your PC, which is a neat feature.
It also lets you use the apps on your Note 10 on your computer with a mouse and keyboard. I suppose it could be useful for apps like Instagram that aren’t fully implemented on computers or web browsers.
Still, Dex’s usefulness still has to be clarified. You can download the Dex app for both Windows 10 or Apple’s macOS computers.