In a world of smartphones dominated by notches, Samsung was the only company to stick to its industrial design of curved sides and thick top and bottom bezels. While some would say that this looked “old-fashioned” , others would choose words like “practical” and “symmetric”. And now with its latest offering, the Galaxy S10/S10+, Samsung has gone back to the drawing board to create a design that reflects the smartphone of today.
I have spent one month with the Galaxy S10+ as my daily driver and here’s my review. Please note that whatever I say holds true for the regular S10 as well, save for the battery capacity and the display size.
Starting from the front, The S10+ has the new “Infinity-O display” which has a cutout for the front camera in the screen, allowing the bezels to be thinner than ever on any Samsung phone till date. The screen is curved on the sides allowing it to blend seamlessly with the side. The rear of the phone is all glass, housing a triple camera system(which I’ll get to in a bit), also curving on to the sides.
The power button is on the right, which is placed slightly higher than I am used to on other phones. The volume rocker is placed on the left, right on top of the Bixby Key- which can thankfully be remapped this time around. To the bottom of the phone we have a 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-Type C port, and a speaker. The top of the phone houses the secondary noise cancelling microphone. Sadly, No IR blaster this time.
Talking about the variants, you get 6 options:
Note : The Ceramic versions are only available for the Galaxy S10+ models with 8GB RAM and 512 GB internal Storage and Galaxy S10+ Performance Edition (12GB RAM and 1TB internal storage)
The Prism White colour gives a pinkish-hue based on the angle the light hits it. And if you are not a fan of it, You can go with the Prism Black which helps you keep a low profile.
Samsung has always had the best displays in a smartphone and the S10+ is no exception. Samsung has packed in a 6.4 inch 1440×3040 pixel display (and a 6.1 inch display on the S10) resulting in a pixel density of 522 PPI on the S10+ and 550 PPI on the S10.
Technicalities aside, This is the best display on any smartphone, period. It gets plenty bright under direct sunlight and while using it indoors, you will never have to turn the brightness up more than 30%. The curved edges set it apart from the competition and makes it a pleasure to consume media on this phone.
Addressing the cutout on the front of the display, Let me mention that i was skeptical at first. Looking at anything that isn’t symmetric, makes my OCD kick in. And the infinity O cutout on the front made me think I would not help but notice it all the time. However, within a day of using the phone I completely stopped noticing it. There’s also an option to hide the cutout, which comes at a cost of losing the screen real estate.
Not all is bad about this cutout, though. People on the internet have found creative ways of making wallpapers that blend in with the notch. Turning this into a feature of sorts.
Performance wise, every Samsung phone has been up there with the flagships. The Samsung Galaxy S10+ takes the performance further by being one of the first mainstream phones to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855/Exynos 9820 processors (depending on your region).
The phone ships with Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 in USA, Canada, China, Japan and Latin America and with the Exynos 9820 everywhere else.
The Snapdragon 855 has an edge over the Exynos 9820 in terms of performance, battery life and camera performance.
Exynos or Snapdragon, There will be literally no lag or stutter while gaming on your phone or even day to day use for that matter. One of Samsung’s USP with this phone is the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. It works bouncing a sonic pulse wave off of your fingertip to create a three-dimensional image. It’s much more secure than optical in-display scanners found on the likes of the OnePlus 6T/ Huawei Mate 20 etc, and will work even if your fingers are greasy, dirty, or wet. It works well, but it suffers in terms of speed as optical fingerprint scanners are much faster. Also, there is a faster face unlock which works well outdoors, but struggles in where there is less ambient light around.
The charging speeds are capped at 15W, which makes me miss the speeds offered by Dash/Warp Charging on the OnePlus devices. But, Samsung is reportedly planning to enable 25W charging in the future with a software update. The phone supports fast wireless charging and also reverse wireless charging. Yes, You read that right. The Samsung Galaxy S10+ can wirelessly charge any Qi-enabled phone. I haven’t used it for any purpose other than showing off.
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ sports a triple camera configuration with a 12MP wide-angle camera, a 12MP Telephoto camera and a 16MP ultra wide camera (with a 123degree field of view). The wide-angle camera supports dual aperture mode where the camera can automatically change the amount of light entering the lens based on the amount of light present in the scene. For the purpose of your selfies, the phone sports a 10MP camera with an 8MP depth sensor allowing you to take portrait selfies.
The image quality is amazing. It is the best camera in a phone that I have used. The ultra wide camera allows you to capture more things in a frame which is not quite possible with any other smartphone camera. The telephoto camera is useful for certain situations where the subject is further away from you. The wide angle camera which is generally used to take most of the pictures has excellent colour reproduction and HDR(High Dynamic Range). Low light shots are impressive as well. All in all, If i would have to go on a vacation with just one phone, I would confidently choose the S10+ for that.
One feature the S10+ doesn’t have compared to the other flagships like the Pixel/Huawei is a dedicated night mode. If Samsung adds it with an upcoming software update, which is reportedly soon, this will be the best all-round smartphone camera.
As mentioned above, The Snapdragon 855 has an edge over the Exynos 9820 in terms of, battery life. Users with the Snapdragon 855 variant are getting 20-30% better battery life compared to the Exynos version, which isn’t bad. My Exynos S10+ variant gets me about 4-5 hours of screen on time with heavy use. With its 4000 mAh battery, I can easily squeeze out a day’s worth of usage. If you are going for the regular S10, you can expect a slightly better battery life for both the variants as it has a smaller display to power. If that’s not enough, you can top off the battery using the included fast charger or even use the wireless charger for that matter.
This is the first time I have used a Samsung phone as my daily driver and I am happy that I made the switch from OnePlus. This is the phone that you can easily use for 2 years and not worry about upgrading. I have received 2 software updates in the past 30 days and if it continues this way, this might very well be one of the first phones to run the next Android version. Here’s the answer to the question you’ve read this whole review for : Is the Samsung Galaxy S10+ worth it?
With the Samsung Galaxy S10 coming in at $899/£799 for the 128 GB variant and $1149/£999 for the 512 GB variant and the Samsung Galaxy S10+ coming in at $999/£899 for the 128 GB variant and $1249/£1099 for the 512 GB and $1699/£1399 for the 1TB variant, It is a great buy. Sure, you are paying a premium over other flaghships, but you are getting the extra suite of features with arguably one of the best smartphone cameras. The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is a breath of fresh air with its beautiful design and improved software. This shows that Samsung is here to stay.