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Samsung Galaxy S10

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Set Alert for Product: *NEW EGG* - SAMSUNG GALAXY S10 SM-G973FD 128GB 8GB (UNLOCKED) (Black) - $745.00
9.5

$745.00

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Design9
Functions10
Battery9
Camera10
  • An immersive Cinematic Infinity Display, Pro-grade Camera and Wireless PowerShare The next generation is here
  • Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint ID protects and unlocks with the first touch
  • Pro-grade Camera effortlessly captures epic, pro-quality images of the world as you see it
  • Intelligently accesses power by learning how and when you use your phone
Last updated on November 15, 2019 9:01 pm

Price History

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Description

The Samsung Galaxy S10 has been engineered to be a conversation-changer, a phone that’s intended to turn everyone’s yearly question of “Do I really need to upgrade?” into a more exclamatory “Do I really need to upgrade!”

The Galaxy S10 does make this case, according to our month and a half of testing – with some clear caveats.

It’s the 6.1-inch Infinity Display that really sells this phone. It introduces a nearly-edge-to-edge look that stretches top to bottom, with pixels spilling over the curved edges at the sides – there’s no room for big bezels on Samsung’s 2019 flagship smartphone. For the most part, they don’t exist here.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Design

You’re not going to be overly surprised by the rest of the Samsung Galaxy S10 design, though there are a few notable enhancements, two hidden surprises, and an old classic here.

Its thinner aluminum frame is sandwiched between smooth glass, with the back coming in your choice of color: Flamingo Pink, Prism Black, Prism Blue, Prism White, Canary Yellow and Prism Green. Samsung Galaxy S10 colors will vary by region, with the US getting all but yellow and green.

There’s the smallest of camera bumps on the back, housing the triple-lens camera array, while we saw no signs of Samsung’s invisible reverse wireless charging module below this. It’s a particularly clean look in a world of camera bumps and rear-fingerprint sensors.

We had no difficulty activating Samsung’s Wireless PowerShare feature after turning it on via the quick settings notification shade. We placed our Galaxy Buds case on the lower third of the S10 back and the earbuds began charging almost instantly. It even charged our iPhone XS Max.

Samsung laid out two scenarios in which Wireless PowerShare would be helpful: charging a friend’s phone, or charging your Galaxy Buds at night, effectively making your plugged-in S10 a mobile Qi charger pad. Samsung noted, though, that PowerShare won’t work when the phone is below 30%.

Possibly the best bit about the Samsung Galaxy S10 though is its size. As we’ve already mentioned, it measures 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm, and considering the size of the screen is nestles surprisingly well in the palm.

galaxy-s10-hand

It’s possible to use the S10 one-handed, with the curved edges on the front and rear helping to give the effect that the phone is narrower than it actually is.

That said, the glass and metal body doesn’t offer up a huge amount of grip, so if you’re accident prone we’d recommend picking up a case – even if it’s just a slim silicon job – to provide extra traction in your hand.

Also invisible – this time around the front – is the fingerprint sensor. While a lot of Android phones have used a rear-facing fingerprint sensor, Samsung stuck with the front-facing physical sensor pad all the way up to the Galaxy S7.

So the switch to the back felt foreign on Samsung phones – but it’s come back to the front in the S10, this time tucked underneath the glass.

This is an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, different from the optical sensors on the OnePlus 6T and Huawei Mate 20 Pro, for example.

Samsung uses Qualcomm-backed tech that’s said to be better, and more secure, by making a 3D scan of your print, plus it’ll work if your fingers are wet or cold – two scenarios optical scanners struggle with.

It works reasonably well, but it’s not a fast as an optical fingerprint scanner. You won’t be left waiting – it still takes less than a second to read, register and unlock the S10, but it lacks the zip of scanners not embedded in the display.

There also seems to be a slightly higher failure rate too. You need to be precise with your finger placement, and you’ll need to apply a little pressure for it to work. It takes a little getting used to, but things do improve.

And here’s a welcomed classic that hasn’t changed since the first S phone a decade ago: the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Samsung is one of the few phone makers that includes the standard headphone jack in 2019 – and it’s doing it despite introducing the wireless Galaxy Buds and reducing the thickness of the Galaxy S10.

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Galaxy S10 Display

Samsung’s screens are so good “our competitors are even using them”, Samsung brand manager Paul Guzek told TechRadar, an all-too-obvious dig at Apple. It’s hard to disagree.

In fact, the Galaxy S10’s 6.1-inch 19:9 Super AMOLED display panel looks better than anything Samsung sells its rivals, and it’s been crowned the most color accurate smartphone display ever.

It has elegantly curved edges with pixels that spill over the sides, amped-up brightness for better outdoor visibility, and HDR10+ support for superior contrast and color.

There’s a QHD+ resolution too, which creates a pixel density of 550ppi, ensuring everything on screen is highly detailed. However, the phone defaults to Full HD+, which looks as good and you probably won’t notice a difference on a phone this size, unless you’re using it for VR two inches from your face. It also saves battery life by burning fewer pixels.

the-samsung-galaxy-s10-2-phones

 

The new Infinity-O display type is what stands out – for better or worse. Samsung has successfully avoided a notch cut-out at the top of its flagship phones, instead using a laser-cut hole in the top-right corner of the screen to embed the front-facing camera, as on the Honor View 20.

Is a ‘punch-hole’ camera more or less distracting than a notch? From our time with the Galaxy S10 so far, we’d say less. It sits comfortably to the right in the notification bar, providing plenty of space for the time, battery and connectivity icons, as well as any notifications you may have.

It’s also given Samsung more screen real estate to play with than ever, and don’t let the bigger 6.1-inch screen size scare you off.

The S10’s dimensions are 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm (and it weighs 157g), so it’s only marginally taller and wider than the S9 with its 5.8-inch screen, and noticeably thinner and a bit lighter.

Those marginal increases in height and width are due to the S10’s screen-to-body ratio of 93.1% (the S9 was 83.6%). The S10 Plus sports that 6.4-inch screen with the same screen-to-body ratio and a nice size if you can handle it. However, if you’re wary of false corner touches (especially when typing) due to the bezel-less edges, stick with the normal S10.

Bezel does outline the top and bottom of this display, even if we said it wasn’t big. Samsung’s top speaker still reigns, and there’s a thin but noticeable chin across the bottom; it’s less bezel rather than bezel-less.

And the fact that the bottom bezel is larger than the top one catches our eye – it may be more distracting than the punch-hole.

There’s little to dislike regarding the new display – if the Infinity-O doesn’t distract day-to-day, and as mentioned we’ll update this review when we have more hands-on time with the S10.

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Galaxy S10 Camera

Samsung wants you to take photos at any angle, so the Galaxy S10 has a triple-lens camera on back with a 12MP regular lens, 12MP optically zoomed telephoto lens, and a brand new 16MP ultra-wide lens.

We found that the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus have the same cameras – on the back at least. Here’s our mix of shots during of month and a half of testing:

The-Galaxy-S10s-back-camera

 

We’ve taken a hard look at the Galaxy S10 camera and how its photos compare to those of the class-leading Pixel 3, then determined how good the ultra-wide photos look. Our conclusion? Samsung’s camera comes close, but Google’s post-processing software still engineers a better photo.

The main S10 camera exhibit punchy, Instagram-ready colors and looks better than the muted photos out of an iPhone in most cases. It’s one of the best camera phones out now. However, its HDR prowess can, at times, blow out bright backgrounds during daytime shots. And lowlight, while good enough, does have serious noise reduction to reduce grain. That only leads to a lot of skin smoothing, as if you put on beauty mode when you didn’t.

The good news is that we found the Galaxy S10 camera to be more versatile and fun in some ways. Take for instance, the ultra-wide camera’s 123-degree field of view. It serves the purpose of not having to back up to get everything in a shot, something you won’t get on the Pixel 3.

The ultra-wide camera isn’t always sharp (there’s no OIS on this lens like there is on the other rear lenses) and you’ll have to watch out for unnatural fisheye look at the edges. Anyone unfortunate to be on the edges of a group photo can exhibit ‘fat face.’ But when it works, you’re really glad you have this option. Just pack everyone into the center of group shots, and leave the scenery on the edges. Ultra-wide photos do work really well for landscape shots, when people aren’t the main subject.

What we got the most use out of is the new Live Focus filter option. Specifically, the Color Point filter allows you to go beyond simple bokeh by making the background black-and-white, while keeping your subject in the foreground in color. The camera doesn’t always get the snap right, but keep pressing the shutter button and it’ll adjust and figure out how to separate the monochrome background from the color foreground eventually.

On the front, we have a single 10MP camera. If you upgrade to the S10 Plus, you’ll also get an 8MP camera meant for enhancing depth in portrait photos. In our tests, the difference are minor. Samsung’s S10 single front-facing camera relied heavily on software to blur the edges around our hair. The S10 Plus dual-selfie cam did better.

Scene optimizer gains 10 new categories, with Samsung’s camera AI now able to tell the difference between a cat and dog to fine tune things like white balance. Shot Suggestions is a new feature that uses the neural processor engine to nudge you to properly level your shots or frame subjects better.

On the video side, the software has been upgraded to record offer Digital Video Stabilization. Samsung says that this is meant to make all of your Ultra HD video as smooth as an action cam. Shots fired, GoPro Hero7 Black.

There’s also HDR10+ video recording, which is significant because last year’s S9 didn’t offer HDR recording at all (when other phones from Sony had this feature). It pulls in a wider amount of contrast, though the HEVC (smaller files) codec turns off when you enable Samsung’s lab-labeled HDR10+ feature in the settings. It worked well for us, but expect higher file sizes and maybe a few hiccups, as it appears to be experimental.

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Galaxy S10 Battery and Performance

The Samsung Galaxy S10 gets proper under-the-hood upgrades, touting the new top-of-the-line Snapdragon or Exynos chipsets, depending on which country you live in.

It’s plenty fast. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset we benchmarked came back with a record-breaking multi-score speed… for Android. The iPhone XS is still a bit faster, but Samsung is very close at 11,002 to Apple’s 11,481.

It also comes with 8GB of RAM – a serious upgrade over the 4GB of RAM in last year’s S9 – and includes options for 128GB or 512GB of internal storage. There’s no 64GB version to worry about here, and Samsung still supports expandable storage.

Also onboard is next-gen Wi-Fi 6, which will support seamless transition between Wi-Fi routers and is four times faster than 802.11ax. It should deliver a 20% speed boost, but you’ll need a new router to really get any use out of this feature.

galaxy-s10-battery-charger

What you won’t get on this phone is the S10 Plus and Note 9-exclusive vapor chamber cooling. If you’re a gamer, you may want to upgrade to the larger phone for more than just the bigger screen.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 packs in a 3,400mAh battery, an upgrade over the 3,000mAh capacity of the Galaxy S9.

However, because of the increase in screen size, Samsung is still quoting the same “all-day” battery life for the S10 as it did for its predecessor, and we found this to be true.

We regularly got to the end of day with around 20% left in the tank, with our usage including a couple of hours of Spotify streaming, another two hours of video, a range of social messaging, an hour or two of gaming and a smattering of emails, web browsing and camera use throughout the day.

With more reserved use, it’s possible to get a day and a half from the Galaxy S10 before you have to considering finding a charger.

galaxy-s10-inside

Running the battery test, where we play a 90 minute full HD video with the screen at full brightness and accounts syncing over Wi-Fi in the background, the Galaxy S10 lost just 11%.

That’s the same result as the iPhone XS, and a marked improvement over the Galaxy S9 which dropped 17% in the same test. It means you’ll be able to knock back a couple of movies on the S10 and still have plenty of juice left in the tank.

The Galaxy S10 supports wireless charging, like the previous generation, but Samsung has added a new feature here too. It’s called Wireless PowerShare and allows you to use the Galaxy S10 as a wireless charging mat for your other wirelessly charging devices.

Any device which supports the Qi wireless charging standard can be charged by being placed on the rear of the S10, including the new Samsung Galaxy Buds as well as the most recent iPhones.

Charging speeds are slow, but if your friend is in desperate need of some power and there’s no charger in sight, you could potentially become even more popular.

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Conclusion

The Galaxy S10 is a deserved 10th anniversary phone for Samsung and its storied S series. Its new display type lays out more pixels across less body, the phone has a triple-lens camera so you can now take ultra-wide photos, and inside you’ll find a bigger battery surrounded by beefier specs.

You’ll like all of these powerful features, while your friends will like the new Wireless PowerShare perk – it helps them out more than you. The S10 marks an anniversary, but it also marks something a bit different among smartphones. It disrupts the sameness of smartphones just enough to become a tempting upgrade.

But the real winner this upgrade cycle is the Galaxy S10 Plus – if you can handle the price and its lager 6.4-inch screen size. It’s an easy choice for us if you’re deciding between the two. The Galaxy S10 is too expensive (and got the largest price hike this year among Samsung’s new phones) not to consider the ultimate upgrade. And, if the price of either Samsung phone is giving you second thoughts, this is where the cheaper Galaxy S10e plays an important role.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is for a very particular person. It’s a great smartphone, but it’s for someone who wants the 6.1-inch display, telephoto lens and curved edges. The 5.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S10E skips the telephoto camera and has a flat screen. We find the 6.4-inch Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus to be better with its bigger battery and larger screen, but it is more expensive (but not so much more that it should turn you off).

The S10 falls in the middle of two convincing Samsung S10 variants: a larger and by-in-large better phone, and a smaller, more affordable option. It’s a tougher sell in 2019, even though it has the superb features and the proper S10 name.

This phone isn’t for everyone, even people upgrading from older Samsung S phones. Luckily for Samsung, the alternatives we’re recommending you check out in its palce are two great S10 variants.

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9.5Expert Score
An immersive Cinematic Infinity Display, Pro-grade Camera and Wireless PowerShare The next generation is here Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint ID protects and unlocks with the first touch Pro-grade Camera effortlessly captures epic, pro-quality images of the world as you see it Intelligently accesses power by learning how and when you use your phone
Design
9
Functions
10
Battery
9
Camera
10
PROS
  • High screen-to-body ratio
  • In-screen fingerprint sensor
  • Wireless PowerShare perk
CONS
  • Stunning price hike
  • S10e and S10 Plus are better
  • Great camera, but not the best

Additional information

Specification: Samsung Galaxy S10

Color

Flamingo Pink, Prism Black, Prism Blue, Prism White

Operating System

Android Pie 9.0

Chipset

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

CPU

Octa-core (2×2.7 GHz Mongoose M4 & 2×2.3 GHz Cortex-A75 & 4×1.9 GHz Cortex-A55) – EMEA
Octa-core (1×2.8 GHz Kryo 485 & 3×2.4 GHz Kryo 485 & 4×1.7 GHz Kryo 485) – USA/LATAM, China

GPU

Mali-G76 MP12 – EMEA
Adreno 640 – USA/LATAM – China

Storage (ROM)

128GB, 256GB, 512GB

RAM Memory

8GB

Display

6.1", AMOLED, Corning Gorilla Glass 6

Display Resolution

19:9 ratio, 3040 x 1440 pixels, 550 ppi

Always-On Display Mode

Yes

Front Camera

10 MP, 1080p@30fps, 2160p@60fps, 26 mm, AF, Dual Pixel PDAF, Dual Video Call, f/1.9, Face Recognition, HDR, OIS, Selfie Timer

Rear Camera

1080p@240fps, 12 MP f/1.5-2.4, 12 MP, f/1.5-2.4, 26mm (wide), 12 MP, f/2.4, 52mm (telephoto), 16 MP, f/2.2, 12mm (ultrawide), 2160p@60fps, 720p@960fps, Background blurring, Burst mode, Dual Camera, Dual Pixel, Dual pixel autofocus, Dual Pixel PDAF, Face recognition, HDR imaging, LED flash, Low light enhancement, OIS, Optical image stabilizer, Panorama mode

Video

1080p@240fps, 2160p@60fps, 720p@960fps, Dual Video, HDR

Face Unlock

Yes

Fingerprint Unlock

Ultrasonic Under Display Fingerprint Scanner

Battery

3400mAh

Charging

Fast battery charging 15W, Fast wireless charging 15W, Reverse wireless charging 9W, USB Type-C

SIM Size

Nano-SIM

Dual SIM

Yes

Connectivity

2.4G WiFi, 5G WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, Hotspot, LTE, NFC, WiFi Direct, WiFi Display

Dimensions

Height: 149.9mm (5.9");
Width: 70.4mm (2.77");
Thickness: 7.8mm (0.31");
Weight: 157g (5.54oz);

Sensors

Accelerometer, Barometer, Compass, Fingerprint, Gyro, Heart rate, Iris scanner, Proximity sensor, SpO2, Vibration motor

Memory Card Slot

microSD, up to 512 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)

Videos

Videos: Samsung Galaxy S10

Samsung Galaxy S10 Videos

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