- Samsung announced four new Galaxy S10 smartphones on February 20 during its Unpacked event.
- There are a ton of new and updated features, as well as a new design.
- The Galaxy S10e and regular Galaxy S10 models differ in certain features.
I had some hands-on time with Samsung’s new Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, and even the Galaxy S10 5G before Samsung’s Unpacked event, and there’s a lot to talk about.
The head of Samsung’s mobile division, DJ Koh, said early last year to expect significant changes in the new Galaxy S10 devices, and I’d say the company delivered. The new Galaxy S10 phones are significantly redesigned and come with a bunch of new and updated features that make them almost indistinguishable from previous Galaxy S phones.
Here, I mainly talk about the Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10, and Galaxy S10 Plus, as I’ve had some time to check out working units that have a set release date. I also talk about the Galaxy S10 5G, which isn’t expected until later in the first half of 2019.
Check out the new Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, and Galaxy S10 5G:
Let’s get this out of the way first: Yes, the Galaxy S10 phones come with a headphone jack.
Headphone jack aside, here’s the full Galaxy S10 lineup, including the Galaxy S10e, the Galaxy S10, and the Galaxy S10 Plus.
In typical Samsung fashion, the company’s latest Galaxy S smartphones have an ultra-premium look and feel. Anyone familiar with Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphones will see this as normal, but those who have never owned or used a Galaxy S device will notice how they’re a cut above the rest.
With that said, the Galaxy S10 phones didn’t feel particularly thin. It doesn’t seem to be a priority for Samsung.
Samsung smartphones are known to have the best smartphone displays in the business, and the company has updated its displays for the Galaxy S10 series. Samsung calls it a “Dynamic AMOLED” display that now supports HDR10+ for better colours and contrast. I didn’t notice much of a difference during my short time with the phones, so it’s something I’ll be looking out for when I have the devices in my hand for a longer period of time.
You might also notice Samsung’s Infinity O display, which has punch-hole cutouts for the selfie cameras instead of a notch. The cutouts are only for the selfie cameras. All the other sensors, such as the ambient-light sensor and the proximity sensor, are hidden underneath the display.
Here are the specs of each display:
- The Galaxy S10e has a 5.8-inch flat display with full HD 1080p resolution.
- The Galaxy S10 has a 6.1-inch curved display with quad HD 1440p resolution.
- The Galaxy S10 Plus has a 6.4-inch curved display, also with quad HD 1440p resolution.
Apart from screen size, there isn’t a huge difference between them at first glance, but the Galaxy S10e has slightly thicker bezels than the regular Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus.
Much like how the iPhone XR has slightly thicker bezels than the iPhone XS and XS Max, the Galaxy S10e has slightly thicker bezels than the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus.
With that said, the difference in bezel size is less pronounced than it is with the iPhones.
The hole-punch cutout doesn’t look like it will be a problem with apps or videos.
The hole-punch cutout will act like a notch does with apps and videos: The cutout will inhabit the notifications bar at the top of the Android operating system and won’t interfere with apps.
As for videos, you’ll only notice the cutout if you zoom into a video:
And only the Galaxy S10 Plus has a dual-lens selfie camera — the regular Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S10e have single selfie cameras.
The Galaxy S10 Plus’ dual-lens selfie camera offers a little extra over the single-lens selfie cameras on the Galaxy S10 and S10e.
The regular selfie camera offers a fairly typical 80-degree selfie, and the second lens has a slightly wider 90-degree field of view and also assists with depth sensing for achieving that blurry background “bokeh” effect on portrait-mode selfies.
The Galaxy S10 and S10e use software and a neural processing unit (NPU) to enhance the blurry-background bokeh effect. Whether the NPU is as good as a dedicated lens on the Galaxy S10 phones has yet to be seen.
The Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus both have triple-lens camera systems, while the Galaxy S10e has a dual-lens camera.
All three phones come with a regular 12-megapixel, 77-degree field of view camera and a 16-megapixel, ultra-wide, 123-degree field of view camera.
The Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus have an extra 12-megapixel lens for two-times zoomed photos. The Galaxy S10e can also zoom, but it does so with digital zooming, which isn’t as good as the optical zoom from the dedicated zoomed lens on the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus.
The Galaxy S10 phones will all come in four different “prism” colour options, including white …
… black …
… blue …
… and my personal favourite, “flamingo” pink.
All three phones run on the latest Snapdragon 855 processor from the mobile chipmaker Qualcomm, and they come with more RAM than any previous Galaxy device.
The Snapdragon 855 is the latest and most powerful processor for Android phones, and when I tried them, the Galaxy S10 phones seemed to run just like any new premium flagship phone should – fluid and snappy.
The Galaxy S10e comes with 6 GB of RAM, which is fairly standard on flagship devices these days.
The Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus come standard with 8 GB of RAM, which is on the higher end and should make for fast and fluid switching between apps – especially with Samsung’s new streamlined “One UI” interface layer, which makes Android look and feel a little more… Samsung-y.
But it doesn’t stop there. There’s a 12 GB RAM option for the Galaxy S10 Plus that comes with 1 terabyte of storage. Both of those numbers are massive for a smartphone.
Otherwise, each phone comes with 128 GB of storage as standard, or:
- The Galaxy S10e can go up to 256 GB of storage.
- The Galaxy S10 will have a 512 GB option.
- And the Galaxy S10 Plus will have 512 GB and 1 terabyte (1,000 GB) options.
All the phones’ storage can be upgraded with up to a 512 GB microSD card.
One of the major new features in the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus is an ultra-sonic in-display fingerprint sensor on the front, which seems to work well.
The fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus has made a return to the front of the phone – its rightful place, in my opinion.
It’s an ultra-sonic fingerprint sensor that’s more advanced and secure than the light-based fingerprint sensors we’ve used on the OnePlus 6T.
Worthy of note: Samsung has entirely ditched iris recognition. The fingerprint sensor and basic facial recognition are now the only biometric methods to unlocking the phones. But that’s OK because the iris recognition on Samsung’s previous phones were never that great.
The Galaxy S10e doesn’t have an in-display fingerprint sensor. Instead, it has a conventional capacitive fingerprint sensor on its side.
The Galaxy S10e isn’t getting the in-display-fingerprint-sensor treatment. Instead, it gets a regular fingerprint sensor that’s built into the power button on the right edge of the phone.
Another big feature is reverse wireless charging, which Samsung calls Wireless PowerShare, that lets you charge devices that support wireless charging from the back of the Galaxy S10 phones — even the Galaxy S10e.
You can charge other phones that support wireless charging with the new Galaxy S10 devices, including the Galaxy S10e. All you need to do is enable the PowerShare option from the Android notification shade and place a phone in need of charging on the back of the Galaxy S10 phones.
As you may have noticed in the photo above, you can also charge other wireless-charging devices, such as Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds wireless earphones.
Battery-wise, the Galaxy S10e comes with a 3,100 mAh battery. The Galaxy S10 has a 3,400 mAh battery, and the Galaxy S10 Plus has a 4,100 mAh battery.
Speaking of Galaxy Buds, here they are.
The new Galaxy Buds come with a charging case, which itself can be charged wirelessly off the back of the Galaxy S10 phones.
Here are the release dates and prices.
The Galaxy S10 phones will all be available for preorder on February 21 and will go on full retail sale on March 8.
The base prices for the new Galaxy phones are:
- Galaxy S10e 6 GB/128 GB: $US750
- Galaxy S10 8 GB/128 GB: $US900
- Galaxy S10 Plus 8 GB/128 GB: $US1,000.
And now for the fourth model of the Galaxy S10 lineup: the Galaxy S10 5G.
The Galaxy S10 5G will be one of the first phones that natively supports 5G when its released in the second half 2019.
Samsung had only a dummy unit to show, so we couldn’t see what it’s like to use a 5G network. Not that it would have been possible, anyway, as no mobile carriers have mobile 5G networks in New York City at the moment.
Indeed, the Galaxy S10 5G will make sense only for people who live in areas where carriers have deployed their mobile 5G networks. And so far, areas with mobile 5G networks are extremely limited, and 5G rollout is seemingly quite slow.
The Galaxy S10 5G has a massive 6.7-inch screen and four cameras on the back.
Details on the Galaxy S10 5G are limited so far, but Samsung could tell us it has a huge, 6.7-inch display, and it comes only in an 8 GB RAM option with 256 GB of storage. It doesn’t have a microSD slot for expandable storage.
The device also has four cameras on the back. Three of them offer the same options as the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, and the fourth lens is a 3D depth camera for augmented reality applications, such as a measuring-tape app. It can also help with live video focusing.
On the front, there are also two selfie cameras. One is for regular selfies, and the other is a 3D depth-sensing camera.
The Galaxy S10 5G will have a huge battery and a slightly different design compared with the regular Galaxy S10 devices.
Tucked away in the Galaxy S10 5G will be a 4,500 mAh battery. It will be interesting to see how 5G connectivity affects battery life whenever we have a chance to connect to 5G.
One of the extra perks of the Galaxy S10 5G is a new 25-watt charger that can charge faster than the regular fast chargers that come with Samsung’s Galaxy devices.
There’s no word on pricing yet for the Galaxy S10 5G, but I’d expect it to be very pricey. We’ll have to get more details when Samsung announces them.
Read more about Samsung Unpacked 2019:
- LIVE: Samsung unveils new Galaxy phones, watches, and more
- Samsung has finally showed off its new foldable smartphone, the $US1,980 Galaxy Fold
- I tried the entire lineup of Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 phones. Here’s what they’re like in person
- These are the new Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus smartphones from Samsung