Samsung has just introduced its new flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S10, S10+ and S10e. And yes, the new S10 devices have virtually everything we need but... do we have to settle for just that? Does Samsung really have nothing different to offer us this year?
A good device but... rather bland
First of all, I want to make one thing clear: the S10 is likely the best smartphone on the market. Its three models come with the best current processors, the Exynos 9820 (European version) or the Snapdragon 855 (in its Chinese and American version), as well as enough RAM to cover everything you need, going up to 12 GB on the most expensive S10+ model. The storage capacity also ranges from 128 GB up to 1TB on the Plus!
In addition, Samsung has included the triple rear camera on a flagship for the first time, along with a double selfie camera on the S10+. If the Galaxy S9 offered one of the best cameras on the market, with optical stabilization and variable aperture, its successor is expected to surpass it by far.
Not only that: the Korean manufacturer still thinks the notch is a passing fad, and has not included it on any of their new flagships. On the other hand, we have good news for those partial to the mini-jack connection (including myself), since the S10 has resisted the annoying trend and still sports a good old-fashioned headphone jack.
I don't want to discuss the specs too much, as you can read all about them in our respective reviews of the S10 and S10+. However, while the list of technical specifications is exceptional, it's not surprising; it looks like an update to the S9. We're talking about the flagship of the world's #1 manufacturer, which is why I expected more innovation, some new feature that surprised me. On the contrary, the presentation has left me quite disinterested...
Leaks are the enemy
It is true that nowadays it is difficult to surprise the public, and it is largely due to leaks. And yes, we digital media are largely to blame. Months and months of rumors, possible renders and images, that little by little reveal future devices until we know almost everything about them weeks before the official unveiling.
Although we still have these events marked on the calendar, all this makes the wow effect disappear. When it comes time to raise the curtain, the emotion has diminished... Every day we find it harder to be surprised, and that is a general problem in our society.
Innovation is in the hands of other manufacturers
Some might say that Samsung doesn't need to surprise consumers for its flagships to be successful. Many users will continue buying high-end Samsung smartphones because of the popularity of the brand and thanks to solid specs. In addition, the manufacturer itself confirmed that its strategy is to introduce its innovations on mid-range devices (quadruple camera on the A9, punch-hole on the A8s), and later launch them on flagships.
If I take a step back and think for a moment, the only manufacturers that have managed to surprise me lately have been OPPO, Vivo and co, with the introduction of retractable or sliding cameras. Brands that bet on innovation as a marketing tool, combined with affordable prices, are, in my opinion, totally revolutionary (as is the case with the Pocophone F1).
The folding smartphone is overshadowing the S10
Some of you may think: "Lack of innovation? Haven't you seen the folding smartphone they just introduced?" And yes, you're right. I'm fascinated by the new foldable, but I don't consider it a real purchase option yet. Its selling price is very high and its manufacturing limited, so it is not yet a product for the masses. I see it more as a demonstration of strength from the Korean brand, which wanted to present the first foldable smartphone before the other big industry names (technically, Royole's FlexPai was really the first of them all).
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Samsung didn't put all the meat on the grill for the S10, focusing on its Galaxy Fold. In a saturated market, it's necessary to completely overhaul the product - to offer something brand new, and that's what should happen with the introduction of foldable smartphones. In addition, the Galaxy Fold has the advantage of not being a victim of leaks. They have been scarce in comparison to those about the Galaxy S10.
If we look back, the Galaxy S8, with a novel design at the time and a much more optimized screen utilization than its predecessor, was the latest model in the S range that introduced a remarkable change worthy of the revolutionary label. The S9 was still a great smartphone but looked more like an update to its predecessor. The same seems to be happening with the S10.
Don't ask about the price
Numbers speak for themselves. The smartphone market is in recession and large manufacturers have lower revenue forecasts for 2019. Consumers are taking longer and longer to renew their devices, but manufacturers can't afford a drop in profits. What is one of the possible solutions?
Obviously raise the price of smartphones, especially flagships. Lately, we have seen some devices border on $1,000 or even surpass that mark, as is the case of the S10+. Paying $1,500 for a smartphone is crazy, unless it's for a revolutionary device, and it's radically different from everything else, isn't it?
What do you think? Were you disappointed by the presentation of Samsung's new Galaxy S range? Did you expect more or was your attention focused on the folding smartphone? Let us know in the comments.