At Unpacked Last night in London (and San Francisco) Samsung took the wraps off the next generation of Galaxy devices. This marked the end of the last decade and the start of a new generation of Mobile. Samsung debuted the Galaxy S10, the Galaxy S10+ and the Galaxy S10e.
Starting off with the main device, the Galaxy S10. This is clearly the device that Samsung believes most people are going to buy, and it is a nice evolution from the S9. Gone is the forehead and chin, replaced with a camera hole punch in the corner, or “Infinity O” display as Samsung calls it. This Infinity O display and the reduction of the bezels, in general, allows Samsung to achieve a reported 93.1% screen to body ratio which is truly something. It’s hard to describe how much this really feels like an edge to edge display. Unlike Huawei and Honor, Samsung didn’t shout about the size of the camera cutout on the S10 series, so it’s going to take a bit more digging to find it, but in person, it is visually striking.
The S10 has a 6.1” QuadHD Dynamic AMOLED screen, aspect ratio of 19:9 that melts over the edge glass and once again, it really is a sight to behold. The glass lamination is so perfect that I have to use the overused and very tired expression of “it looks like the image is painted on top of the glass” because it does. The screen truly is awesome and it’s also HDR10+ certified. The camera in that hole up front is a 10mp SuperSpeed Dual Pixel Autofocus sensor that can record in 4K UHD. This f/1.9 lens has a relatively wide 80-degree field of view aswell meaning selfies aren’t going to just be limited to you anymore – the age of the groufie is imminent. The rear camera setup is just as interesting, and with a triple camera setup the Galaxy S10 shares the camera with the Galaxy Fold, namely a 12mp main camera, a 12mp 2x telephoto camera and a 16mp ultra wide 1123-degree camera.
Looking over some of the internals, the Galaxy S10 has 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and either 128 or 512GB internal eUFS storage with up to 512GB MicroSD card meaning that you could have up to 1TB of storage in your Galaxy S10. That’s a whole lot of storage. The Galaxy S10 is paired with either a Snapdragon 855 from Qualcomm or the Exynos 9820 from Samsung depending on your region and is topped off with a 3400mAh internal battery. Overall a nice spec sheet.
You know what? Most of the same descriptives used for the S10 could have been used when detailing my impressions of the Galaxy S10+ also. The S10 and the S10+ are very similar save for the larger screen (6.4” to 6.1”) a larger battery (4100mAh vs 3400mAh) and a dual front-facing camera (the second is an RGB depth scanner). It’s biggest spec bump is the ability to have 1TB of internal storage as well as a 512gb MicroSD card. Yes, whilst the S10 can go up to an astounding 1TB, the S10 Plus can go to 1.5TB – because 1TB isn’t enough.
The most exciting and somewhat controversial inclusion in the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ products is the Ultrasonic under screen fingerprint scanner. Proponents of this tech think it is much better than the optical based ones we’ve seen used before, whilst others think it is the poor relation and we should just move to facial recognition sooner rather than later. I’m a mix between the two. I think we need to get better in-screen fingerprint scanners because there are scenarios where a fingerprint is going to be more useful and easier to use than facial scanning. We’ve seen this with Apple and FaceID, and when the FaceID system fails, you’re in trouble. A mix like with what Huawei has done on the Mate 20 Pro is ideal for now in my opinion. Facial recognition isn’t quite there yet, and neither is in screen fingerprint scanners. Working on both allows us to have multiple security options until one becomes the defacto standard.
Lastly, we have the outsider, the Galaxy S10e, which is actually my favourite Galaxy S10 variant to date. The Galaxy S10e is the smaller Galaxy S10 that doesn’t actually strip all that much away, and what it does take out, I’m fine with.
The S10e makes do with a smaller, flatter Infinity O display at 5.8” with slightly more bezels around the edge leading to it having only a 91.6% screen to body ratio. The real benefit of the S10e screen is that it is so much easier to hold and use, with athe added benefit of a reduced, but still excellent, 1080p screen being lighter on the battery too. The S10e also loses out on the under screen Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, to be replaced by a side mounted one in the power button.
The S10e also loses one of the rear cameras, the 12mp 2x Telephoto zoom. Once again, I’m fine with this omission. It is the least useful of the three cameras. 2x zoom isn’t all that much, and they weren’t doing what Huawei does with the AI interpolation for better zoom anyway, so a standard wide and an ultrawide lens makes for a pretty great setup in my opinion. It’s also the same camera, with the same variable aperture, with the same lens and the same front camera – no skimping on the optics for the mini-in-all-but-name thiarounde round.
So these are the three main Galaxy S10’s that Samsung showed off Last night, they also briefly teased a 5G Galaxy S10 model with a 6.7” screen, but we’ll talk more about that once we actually know more.
The Galaxy S10 series went on pre-sale last night and orders will ship on March 8th.