Why Samsung removed the headphone jack from the Galaxy Note 10


Samsung is so over the headphone jack.

After three years of bashing Apple for removing the 3.5 mm headphone jack from the iPhone, Samsung has joined its rival and killed the audio port from its new Galaxy Note 10 phones, too.

Yep, the jack is gone from Samsung’s biggest and most powerful phone of the year, and it’s likely never returning in any future Galaxy Notes.

But why is Samsung eliminating the analog audio port after holding out for so long?

The answer may be obvious to engineers and designers: The jack had to go in order to make room for other components.

Specifically, Samsung needed more space to cram larger batteries into both the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+.

Samsung’s director of product strategy and marketing Suzanne De Silva told me ahead of the Note 10s’ Unpacked launch event that because the two Note 10s are so thin, they needed more space along the vertical y-axis to spread out the battery cells.

Samsung could have crammed in larger batteries that are thicker, but that would have also meant making the Note 10s fatter as well.

By gutting the headphone jack and making the batteries thinner and taller, Samsung was able to safely fit them inside the phones’ thin bodies.

If you recall, the reason why Note 7 phones exploded in 2016 was because the batteries barely fit into their thin bodies. Samsung tried to cram every imaginable phone feature in the Note 7 and paid the price. With the Note 10, Samsung’s not taking any chances. A big and safe battery comes at the expense of the headphone jack. Don’t like it? Get a Galaxy S10 or Pixel 3a or 3a XL instead.

And thin as the Note 10 batteries are, Samsung says they go through the same 8-point battery safety check as all of its batteries have since the Note 7 disaster.

There’s also another reason Samsung removed the headphone jack: According to the company’s post-purchase research, the majority of Galaxy Note users are using wireless headphones or earbuds with their phones.

Whether they’re using Samsung’s own IconX or Galaxy Buds or another brand’s wireless headphones, De Silva said Note users are early adopters of new technologies and have embraced a wire-free listening experience.

My own unscientific polling on Twitter also suggests people aren’t bothered by the death of the jack. Maybe it’s because other phones, like the Pixel 3 and OnePlus 7 Pro and Huawei P30 Pro, don’t have headphone jacks, either. Or maybe because everyone’s got wireless earbuds. Whatever the case, the loss of the port is no longer as unreasonable as it was a few years ago.

So, there you go. Samsung isn’t killing the headphone jack because of “courage.” The jack’s dead for the sake of a bigger battery and wireless headphones. It sure isn’t an exciting answer, but at least now you can sleep easy knowing why.

As for whether this means next year’s Galaxy S11 won’t have a headphone jack, Samsung and De Silva wouldn’t say, but it’s probably a safe bet it won’t. After all, the Galaxy Fold, which is relaunching in September, doesn’t have a headphone jack, either.

The future — for phones at least — is headphone jack-less. You can choose to resist it all you want, but just like they did with removable batteries, flagship phones will inevitably drop the jack.

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