Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G will cost $1,300 and start as a Verizon exclusive

Later this year, a version of the phone with Qualcomm's newer X55 5G modem will launch on AT&T and T-Mobile.

In the US, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus comes with the option for 5G connectivity. 
Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung's second 5G phone, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, has arrived. Like the first device, the Galaxy S10 5G, it's launching exclusively on Verizon's network in the US before heading to other carriers. Unlike the Galaxy S10 5G, the 5G version of the Note 10 is simply a Plus model with an extra cellular chip, not a supercharged phone.

Notably, the version coming to AT&T and T-Mobile will have Qualcomm's newest 5G modem, which can tap into more 5G bands

The Galaxy S10 5G, which hit the market in mid-May, was essentially the Galaxy S10 Plus on steroids. It had an extra camera lens on the back, a bigger battery and other features that made it the highest-end phone available from Samsung in the first half of the year.

Aside from price -- $1,300 for 5G versus $1,099 for the Note 10 Plus -- the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G has only one major difference from its 4G sibling: It weighs about 2 grams more because of the extra components inside. Like the 4G variant, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G sports a 6.8-inch screen and comes in three colors: aura glow (a sort of iridescent silvery color), aura white and aura black. 

5G is touted as a game-changing technology, with the ability to dramatically boost the speed and coverage of wireless networks. It can run between 10 and 100 times faster than your typical 4G cellular connection today. And latency, the amount of time between when your phone pings the network and when it responds, is faster than what Wi-Fi provides.

Different flavors of 5G

Verizon will exclusively carry the 5G phone for a period of time before other carriers will offer the Note 10 Plus 5G. For the Galaxy S10 5G, that exclusivity period lasted a month, and Brian Higgins, Verizon vice president of product and device marketing, said the Note 10 Plus 5G's exclusivity will last "at least as long."

"We've been working with [Samsung] for the better part of a year for roadmap and planning on this device," Higgins said. 

AT&T and T-Mobile will offer the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G later this year with a new modem, the Qualcomm X55. The Verizon version uses the older X50, which accesses the super-fast millimeter wave network but not the broader low-band, sub-6Ghz networks favored by AT&T and T-Mobile. Sprint also will carry the Note 10 Plus 5G but wouldn't say which modem it'll use. 

Millimeter wave is capable of high speeds, but it doesn't travel long distances and is easily blocked by buildings and trees. It'll largely be available in cities like Chicago, and it's the network first rolled out by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. The sub-6Ghz technology isn't nearly as fast, but it's more stable and can travel longer distances. AT&T and T-Mobile have been waiting for a phone to work on their sub-6Ghz networks before they turn them on. It appears the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G will be that device. 

Most X55-powered phones will hit the market in 2020, Qualcomm has said. Both AT&T and T-Mobile plan to have nationwide 5G coverage next year because of sub-6Ghz. 

"This is an aggressive timeline that follows our recent network progress, allowing 5G capable smartphones to be able to access our broad 5G network that we plan to make available starting this year and nationwide in the first half of 2020," AT&T said in a press release. 

But the AT&T and T-Mobile version of the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G comes with some big limitations. The phone will only be able to access their sub-6Ghz networks, not their millimeter wave services. That means coverage will be more steady, but the devices likely won't see the big speeds found in early speed tests.

Fixing overheating

The Galaxy S10 5G phone had issues with overheating, but Samsung said it's included an improved vapor chamber, with about a gram of water, in the Note 10 Plus 5G to stop the device from getting too hot (it's designed to keep the Note cool during gaming but also should help when accessing 5G, Samsung said). And Samsung has tweaked the software in its phones to improve energy consumption. That's something it'll also improve in the Galaxy S10 5G.  

"The algorithms for thermal management are always continually improving," said Suzanne de Silva, director of product management for Samsung Electronics America. She added that the company has been working with network and chip partners to optimize the devices for 5G. 

In South Korea and other markets -- possibly Europe -- there'll be an option for 5G in the smaller Galaxy Note 10. But only the Plus version will come with 5G in the US. 

Preorders for the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G start Aug. 8, and it'll be in stores Aug. 23. The 256GB version of the phone will cost $1,300 -- the same amount as the Galaxy 10 5G. Higgins said Verizon won't be dropping the price for the three-month-old 5G phone.

If you're on a payment plan, the Note 10 5G will cost $37 for 36 months or $55 for 24 months at Verizon. A 512GB model will retail for $1,4000, or $39 for 36 months or $59 for 24 months.