Samsung's Galaxy S-Class has been providing the world with outstanding smartphones for ten years now and comes in a pack of four for its special birthday. But of course the classic pair of Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus are still the center of attention. The question is almost inevitable: is the Galaxy S10 still the best Android smartphone on the market?
The Galaxy S10 Plus will cost you four figures
With the Galaxy S10 Plus, Samsung once again soars all the way up to the four-figure mark, with the base version starting at $999.99. The 512GB version costs $1,249 and the 1TB version starts at $1,599.
The Galaxy S10 stars at $899.99 for the 128GB version. The 512GB version starts at $1,149.
Those who like their phones colorful can look forward to new and actually very beautiful colors: Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Blue and Prism Green.
The Galaxy S10 Plus is available in Ceramic White and Ceramic Black, both of which - as the name suggests - come with a ceramic composite back which is said to be close to the hardness of diamond. If you pre-order a Galaxy S10 before it launches on the 8th of March, you will get a pair of Galaxy Buds, the new true-wireless, in-ears from Samsung, thrown in for free. The pre-order bonus is only confirmed for Europe at the moment.
You can pre-order the device right now at Samsung's official website.
This is what a Galaxy smartphone should look like
The Galaxy S10 looks like a smartphone should look in 2019: flowing shapes, a metal frame, a slightly curved display with protected glass and as few edges as possible. The Galaxy S10 has a modern look, is beautifully crafted and sits perfectly in your hand. On the left the Bixby button is still below the volume rocker. On the right, there's the power button. Even the good old headphone jack is still present.
The back is made of glass or ceramic and houses the cameras, which are arranged in a horizontal bar. Sharp-eyed smartphone fans will quickly ask: where has the fingerprint sensor gone? It's moved to the front and into the display.
Despite its sexy curves, the Galaxy S10 can withstand a lot. The smartphone is IP68 certified in all variants and will keep water and dust out quite reliably. As always, don't push your luck when it comes to this kind of thing, though.
As is the case with almost all current smartphones with glass on the back, the Galaxy S10 smears quickly and attracts greasy fingerprints almost magically. So wiping over and over again is the order of the day. If you don't want to do this or would like to give your smartphone more protection, then one of the new covers for the Galaxy S10 is the right choice for you. They come in several colors and designs, even with holes in them and with hidden LEDs on the back.
The Galaxy S10 has a superb display
Samsung engineers can easily build quality displays , and you can also see that with the Galaxy S10. The Super AMOLED displays in the two new Galaxy smartphones look gorgeous, have rich colors, great contrasts and are bright and vivid. In the Galaxy S10, the display is 6.1 inches diagonally. In the S10 Plus, it is 6.4 inches. And the best part: Samsung still manages without a notch!
The front camera is hidden behind a small hole in the upper right corner of the Infinity O display, which is a good half a centimeter in diameter. It is cut into the panel with a laser. You also have to get used to looking at this, but the hole takes up less space than most notches.
But the hole in the screen did claim one victim: Samsung has dropped the iris scanner for the Galaxy S10. There is also no 3D face recognition. Face Unlock is here, but it is only processed in 2D via the front camera. This is technically more unreliable and not as secure as 3D scanning.
By the way, the resolution of the Galaxy S10 is set to Full-HD+ by default. If you want to enjoy the maximum QHD+ resolution (and trust me, you do) you have to change this manually in the system settings.
Samsung has cleaned up One UI a lot
The Galaxy S10 ships with Android 9 Pie in conjunction with the new One UI customization from Samsung. It looks very tidy and well thought out. The user interface also takes account the fact that smartphones are getting bigger and bigger and users are having difficulty operating them with one hand. One UI's solution is that the upper third of the screen mainly displays information, while the lower two-thirds are intended for operation - clever.
In some places, however, the simplification of One UI goes a bit too far for me. The top level of the system settings has been streamlined so much that I had to keep digging through submenus to find what I'm looking for. Again and again, the search function has to be used because the menu differs so much from the "normal" Android One and also from earlier Samsung smartphones. You'll get used to it, over time, though.
The Galaxy S10 Plus has plenty of power and storage
With the One UI and the new Exynos 9820 in the European version we tested, the Galaxy S10 is faster than its predecessor. We couldn't find any small jerks or slowdown when trying it out. The Galaxy S10 marches quickly through menus, apps and the browser. Everything starts without delay, and multitasking doesn't cause any problems for the Galaxy smartphones either. That's the way it has to be these days. The version with the Snapdragon 855 will hardly differ, as Qualcomm's flagship chip is also a powerhouse.
Samsung has gone with a lot of RAM and internal storage on the Galaxy S10 Plus. With the largest S10, customers can choose between the version with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage or a generous 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage - and the memory can even be expanded with a microSD card! Not even the giant Galaxy S10 5G can keep up with those numbers. The regular S10 always comes with 8GB of RAM and either 128 or 512GB of internal storage.
What's also important to talk about when it comes to performance is the new fingerprint sensor in the display. It works with ultrasound instead of optical scanning and was extremely fast and reliable during our hands-on. There is no comparison with the other in-display sensors on the market, this is the best. It takes a long time to learn a new fingerprint, but in everyday life, recognition is extremely fast and reliable. Breaking up with the iris scanner will be painless.
Samsung is following suit with its flagship cameras
The more the merrier, as the old saying goes. It also applies to cameras in the smartphone business in 2019 - at least to a certain extent. More lenses and more megapixels don't guarantee a good photo. But, more choice in focal length makes for more fun and more creative possibilities. This is also the case with the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, because both have lots of cameras on board. This is the rear configuration:
- 16 Megapixel Ultra Wide Angle, f/2.2
- 12 Megapixel normal focal length, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, f/1.5-2.4
- 12 Megapixel Telephoto, f/2.4
At the front, the Galaxy S10 relies on a single 10MP selfie camera, whilst the S10 Plus also packs a wide-angle 8MP lens next to it. Sounds good on paper, but not in reality, because with the wide angle lens you only get a little bit more into your picture and for that, you pay the price of a lower resolution. There is no noticeable advantage of the dual selfie camera in practice, at this point, for the Galaxy S10 Plus. The overall quality of the photos looks good the first time you try it out, and the camera is still extremely fast and switches quickly between the individual lenses. However, this can only be properly evaluated during our full review when the device has arrived in our editorial office.
Samsung, too, relies on AI
With the new Exynos 9820, Samsung now also has a processor with an NPU unit, and the Koreans use this in a similar way to the competition with the camera. Automatic scene detection, bokeh effect and live filters and particularly complex image stabilization for videos are aspects where the AI in the Galaxy S10 is intended to help. If desired, the NPU can also be used to improve the composition, i.e. the composition of photos. The assistant uses a system of dots and an artificial horizon to encourage the photographer to point the camera in a certain direction or at a certain level in order to help users capture the perfect picture.
All these little helpers can be switched on and off in the camera app. The scene recognition even gets its own icon in the bottom right corner. This is handy if you notice that the AI does not achieve the desired effect when looking at the display. You can always switch off the composition help via the menu if you find it unnecessary.
Charging is inspired by the Mate 20 Pro
The Galaxy S10 has a battery with a capacity of 3,400 mAh. That's fine, but not outstanding on paper. It will be exciting to observe the battery life in our review of the Galaxy S10, because the Galaxy S9 is not considered to be particularly good in this department. If you need more battery, grab the Galaxy S10 Plus. This brings the capacity up to 4,100 mAh and should last a bit longer with one charge despite the larger display.
Samsung clearly likes Huawei's style
All of the new Galaxy smartphones can be charged wirelessly and come with an 18-watt fast charger in a box. They also have a new feature on board that some of you may already know from the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Reverse charging allows the S-series to supply other devices with power via Qi. Samsung calls this Wireless Power Share. The function must be switched on manually each time you want to use it and it stops automatically when the S10 drops below 30 percent battery.
Unlike Huawei, however, Samsung does not use the function in the presentation of the Galaxy S10 to mock the competition in terms of battery life, but for meaningful things. The new Galaxy Buds can be charged wirelessly as can the new Galaxy Watch Active and both are therefore perfect companions for the Galaxy S10. Just plug one cable into the S10 before bed, add your buds or watch, and both devices will be fully charged again in the morning.
Samsung also offers a matching Qi charging mat for two devices and, unlike the Apple Air Power, it already works. It charges one or two devices with a total of up to 12 watts.
Samsung Galaxy S10 technical specifications
|Dimensions:||149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8 mm|
|Battery size:||3400 mAh|
|Screen size:||6.1 in|
|Screen:||3040 x 1440 pixels (551 ppi)|
|Front camera:||10 megapixels|
|Rear camera:||16 megapixels|
|Android version:||9 - Pie|
|Internal storage:||128 GB
|Chipset:||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Samsung Exynos 9820
|Number of cores:||8|
|Max. clock speed:||2.8 GHz
|Connectivity:||HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 5.0|
Is the Galaxy S10 still the best Android smartphone?
So, is the Galaxy S10 still the best Android smartphone on the market? That all depends on your own tastes and requirements. We haven't had our hands on the device for long, but the ingredients are all there, and even in the tenth year of the S-Class, Samsung is yet again in pole position to be the smartphone leader. The display is fantastic, the camera versatile and the operation comfortable. After my first experiences with the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, the complete package is convincing - and even more so with the regular S10 than the Plus. One thing is already certain: this smartphone summer is going to be really hot!