Similar to what Apple did with its 10th-anniversary iPhone, Samsung is also celebrating 10 years of Galaxy smartphones by going bold, bigger and fearless. Today Samsung announced the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, Galaxy S10e, and Galaxy S10 5G, a collection of phones making up the company’s flagship series for 2019. The fresh hardware from Samsung delivers iterative design updates and incorporates tons of feature-driving silicon.
Each of the four new Galaxy S10 models is more impressive than the last: there’s the cheaper S10E ($750, £669), the Galaxy S10 ($900, £799), S10 Plus ($1,000, £899) and Galaxy S10 5G, the brand’s first 5G phone.
And if you thought three phones was a lot, think it again. There’s also the Galaxy S10 5G, which supports the next generation and future of mobile networking technology. It’s not available yet, but you can read more about the phone here. The S10 and S10 Plus bring a few improvements over last year’s Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, so let’s break down what these phones — including the S10e — are all about.
Samsung’s new Dynamic AMOLED displays for the Galaxy S10 series are brighter, sharper, have higher contrast, and are still power efficient. Each phone’s screen features a punch-hole selfie camera, but the rest of the sensors are behind the glass. Samsung calls this the Infinity-O display.
The Galaxy S10E comes with a 5.8-inch screen with Full HD+ resolution, the Galaxy S10 comes with a 6.1-inch display with Quad HD+ resolution, while the Galaxy S10 Plus features a 6.4-inch Quad HD+ display. The Galaxy S10 5G has a huge 6.7-inch Quad HD+ display. All four adopt the 19:9 model screen aspect ratio, making for 93.1 percent screen-to-body ratio.
The phones feature ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensors, which read a 3D image of your thumb through the glass and store the information in the secure Knox module on the phone. The displays also have improved blue light control Samsung claims reduces eye strain by 42 percent, and Gorilla Glass 6 for protection.
Samsung confirmed that the in-display fingerprint has better anti-spoofing measures as it scans the 3D contours of thumbs and fingerprints instead of just capturing an image; machine learning algorithms are applied to keep it secure. The fingerprint data is stored in the phone’s Knox TrustZone, so it’s never uploaded to the cloud. What’s neat is that the in-display fingerprint sensor is secure enough to be used to unlock sensitive apps like the one from your bank, and can even be used to authenticate payments via Samsung Pay. It also has a FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance Biometric Component certification, which is a relatively new standard that ensures biometric tools pass certain tests and are indeed secure.
The cameras are another core and important aspect of the Galaxy S10 collection. The S10E has two rear cameras, the S10 and S10 Plus have three rear cameras, and the S10 5G will have four rear cameras. All of them benefit from on-device smart artificial intelligence that can recognize objects and scenes, and make suggestions on the fly.
On the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus there is an ultra-wide 16MP camera with a 123-degree field of view, a wide-angle 12MP camera with a 77-degree field of view, and a telephoto 12MP camera with a 45-degree field of view. The camera software transitions seamlessly from lens to lens as users zoom in and out. The two most important features are improved bokeh for portrait shooting and a night capture mode. The S10E drops the telephoto camera, while the S10 5G adds a time-of-flight camera. All are capable of capturing 4K video in HDR10+.
The Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor in the U.S., with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for the base models. The S10 only offers 8GB of RAM for the 512GB variant, but the S10 Plus has a 12GB RAM option for the 1TB storage option. There are MicroSD card slots in case you need more space, and you still won’t need to get rid of your 3.5mm earbuds because the phones still have headphone jacks.
The S10 comes with a 3,400mAh battery, but the S10 Plus ratchets it up to a large 4,100mAh capacity, which beats out the battery on the Galaxy Note 9. A USB-C port charges it back up, but Samsung strangely still only supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology, so your phone won’t charge as fast as many other Android phones today. There’s Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 support, so wireless charging should be the same speed as wired, which again is a little behind the times.
Rounding out the performance section, the S10 collection ships with Cat20 LTE with QAM256 and 4×4 MIMO. They are capable of reaching (theoretical) maximum download speeds of 2.9Gbps over LTE-Advanced 4G networks.
The new Galaxy series run Android 9 Pie, the latest version of Android, with Samsung’s One UI interface layered and forked on top. There aren’t a ton of new software features, but Samsung noted that the phones offer faster app launch times as it learns your habits and preloads apps when it expects you’re about to use them. So if you regularly open Flipboard in the morning, it will prepare the app ahead of time so it launches quicker. That sounds cool to be fair enough.
Let’s not also forget Bixby — yes, the virtual assistant still exists (with its own dedicated hardware button) — now has a new feature called Bixby Routines. There are three modes in Routines: Driving Mode, Work Mode, and Night mode; set up the apps you want to use in these modes and Bixby will ensure they are easily accessible and ready to go when these modes are triggered.
Each phone is made from aluminum and glass, and comes in black, blue, green, white, and pink. All but the green will reach the U.S. The S10E also adds a yellow variant. The S10 Plus will also be available in a black or white ceramic finish. This premium material is scratch resistant and will be available in limited numbers.
Samsung has confirmed that the Galaxy S10 family will be among the first to ship with Wi-Fi 6 on board. Wi-Fi 6 is faster and more compatible with other Wi-Fi gear when compared to Wi-Fi 5 and older. Bluetooth 5.0 is on board, as is GPS/GLONASS for worldwide location services.
Salute to 5G
Here’s what we know so far about the Galaxy S10 with 5G: this model has a 6.7-inch screen, two cameras on the front and four cameras on the back. Yes, four, because the 5G model gets a 3D depth-sensing camera in addition to all the lenses on the S10 Plus.
The best part continues. The Galaxy S10 5G also has a 4,500-mAh battery and comes with 256GB of storage with 8GB RAM. This part is important because the 5G phone is the only Galaxy S10 model that doesn’t have a microSD card slot. (Again with the expectations.)
Samsung hasn’t announced pricing yet, but we do know that in the US, it’llin Q2 of 2019 — that’s as early as April — before arriving at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Xfinity Mobile later in Q2 — that is, by the end of June. Samsung will tune the Galaxy S10 5G to each carrier’s 5G bands.