|Released 2019, March 08||175g / 198g (ceramic), 7.8mm thickness|
|Android 9.0, up to Android 10, One UI 2||128GB/512GB/1TB storage, microSDXC|
|6.4″ 1440×3040 pixels||16MP 2160p|
|8/12 GB RAM Exynos 9820||4100mAh Li-Ion|
Samsung Galaxy S10+ Specifications
Versions: SM-G975F/DS (Global); SM-G975U (USA); SM-G975W (Canada)
Also known as Samsung Galaxy S10+ Performance Edition (1 TB, 12 GB RAM model only)
|NETWORK||Technology||GSM / CDMA / HSPA / EVDO / LTE|
|2G bands||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2 (dual-SIM model only)|
|CDMA 800 / 1900 – USA|
|3G bands||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100 – Global, USA|
|CDMA2000 1xEV-DO – USA|
|4G bands||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66 – Global|
|1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 66, 71 – USA|
|Speed||HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE-A (7CA) Cat20 2000/150 Mbps|
|LAUNCH||Announced||2019, February 20|
|Status||Available. Released 2019, March 08|
|BODY||Dimensions||157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm (6.20 x 2.92 x 0.31 in)|
|Weight||175 g / 198 g (ceramic) (6.17 oz)|
|Build||Glass front (Gorilla Glass 6), glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), aluminium frame
Glass front (Gorilla Glass 6), ceramic back, ceramic frame
|SIM||Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified)
IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)
|DISPLAY||Type||Dynamic AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||6.4 inches, 103.8 cm2 (~88.9% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1440 x 3040 pixels, 19:9 ratio (~522 ppi density)|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass 6|
|PLATFORM||OS||Android 9.0 (Pie), upgradable to Android 10, One UI 2|
|Chipset||Exynos 9820 (8 nm) – EMEA/LATAM
Qualcomm SM8150 Snapdragon 855 (7 nm) – USA/China
|CPU||Octa-core (2×2.73 GHz Mongoose M4 & 2×2.31 GHz Cortex-A75 & 4×1.95 GHz Cortex-A55) – EMEA/LATAM
Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 485 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 485 & 4×1.78 GHz Kryo 485) – USA/China
|GPU||Mali-G76 MP12 – EMEA/LATAM
Adreno 640 – USA/China
|MEMORY||Card slot||microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot) – dual SIM model only|
|Internal||128GB 8GB RAM, 512GB 8GB RAM, 1TB 12GB RAM|
|MAIN CAMERA||Triple||12 MP, f/1.5-2.4, 26mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
12 MP, f/2.4, 52mm (telephoto), 1/3.6″, 1.0µm, AF, OIS, 2x optical zoom
16 MP, f/2.2, 12mm (ultrawide), 1/3.1″, 1.0µm, Super Steady video
|Features||LED flash, auto-HDR, panorama|
|Video||[email protected] (no EIS), [email protected], [email protected]/60/240fps, [email protected], HDR10+, dual-video rec., stereo sound rec., gyro-EIS & OIS|
|SELFIE CAMERA||Dual||10 MP, f/1.9, 26mm (wide), 1/3″, 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF
8 MP, f/2.2, 22mm (wide), 1/4″, 1.12µm, depth sensor
|Features||Dual video call, Auto-HDR|
|Video||[email protected], [email protected]|
|SOUND||Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speakers|
Tuned by AKG
|COMMS||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO|
|Radio||FM radio (USA & Canada only)|
|USB||3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector|
|FEATURES||Sensors||Fingerprint (under display, ultrasonic), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, heart rate, SpO2|
Bixby natural language commands and dictation
Samsung DeX (desktop experience support)
|BATTERY||Non-removable Li-Ion 4100 mAh battery|
|Charging||Fast charging 15W
USB Power Delivery 2.0
Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging 15W
Power bank/Reverse wireless charging 9W
|MISC||Colors||Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green, Prism Blue, Canary Yellow, Flamingo Pink, Ceramic Black, Ceramic White, Cardinal Red, Smoke Blue|
|Models||SM-G975F, SM-G975U, SM-G975W, SM-G975U1, SM-G9750, SM-G975N, SM-G975X|
|SAR||1.06 W/kg (head) 1.03 W/kg (body)|
|SAR EU||0.52 W/kg (head) 1.58 W/kg (body)|
|Price||₹ 71,550 / $ 459.60 / £ 599.99 / € 625.00|
|TESTS||Performance||AnTuTu: 333736 (v7), 399901 (v8)
GeekBench: 10387 (v4.4), 2190 (v5.1)
GFXBench: 23fps (ES 3.1 onscreen)
|Display||Contrast ratio: Infinite (nominal), 4.514 (sunlight)|
|Camera||Photo / Video|
|Loudspeaker||-24.7 LUFS (Very good)|
|Audio quality||Noise -93.0dB / Crosstalk -94.3dB|
Endurance rating 91h
Samsung Galaxy S10+ Brief Description
Punch out a hole in the display, add an extra camera on the back, do the mandatory yearly updates to the internals and you’d end up with a Samsung Galaxy S10+ – that is, if you started out with an S9+ if it wasn’t obvious. Only that would be oversimplifying it, and we’d rather explore the nuances. Let’s go ahead and get started on our journey to find out how big of an upgrade the tenth edition of Samsung’s Galaxy S is.
Now, just because we opened so bluntly, doesn’t mean all of that isn’t true – there is, indeed, a hole in the display, but it’s one gorgeous AMOLED panel that covers almost the entirety of the phone, plus the hole is not simply a hole but an all-new 4K-capable dual pixel selfie cam.
Also true, there’s a third camera on the back of the S10+ and S10, the missing ultra-wide-angle piece of the S9+’s camera puzzle, completing what is in our minds the smartphone camera trifecta. At least for now?
And the chipset is new and almighty, and there’s more RAM than on many people’s laptops, and the S10+ can be had with up to a terabyte of internal storage – the hardware is top-class. Here’s a rundown of what makes up a Galaxy S10+.
Samsung Galaxy S10+ specs
- Body: Aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass 6 front, GG5 back, 157.6×74.1×7.8mm, 175g; Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green, Prism Blue, Canary Yellow, Flamingo Pink color schemes. Ceramic Black and Ceramic White available with… ceramic backs, 198g. IP68 rating for dust and water protection.
- Display: 6.4″ Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED, 1,440×3,040px, 19:9 (2.11:1) aspect ratio, 526ppi; HDR10+ support (first).
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 12MP, 1/2.55″ sensor, f/1.5-2.4 aperture, 26mm equiv. focal length (77° FoV), dual pixel PDAF, OIS. Telephoto: 12MP, 1/3.6″ sensor, f/2.4 aperture, 52mm equiv. focal length (45° FoV), PDAF, OIS. Ultra-wide: 16MP, f/2.2 aperture, 12mm equiv. focal length (123° FoV), fixed focus.
- Front camera: Main: 10MP, f/1.9 aperture, 25mm equiv. focal length (80° FoV), dual pixel PDAF. Secondary (depth only): 8MP, f/2.2 aperture, 80° FoV, fixed focus lens.
- Video recording: Rear: up to 4K [email protected], EIS up to [email protected], slow-mo up to [email protected], super slow-mo [email protected] for up to 0.4s (12s playback at normal speed); HDR10+ recording. Front: up to 4K [email protected] with EIS.
- OS/Software: Android 9.0 Pie, Samsung One UI.
- Chipset (market dependent): Snapdragon 855 (7nm): octa-core CPU (1×2.8GHz & 3×2.4GHz Kryo Gold & 4×1.7GHz Kryo 485 Silver); Adreno 640 GPU. Exynos 9820 (8nm): octa-core CPU (2×2.7GHz Mongoose M4 & 2×2.3GHz Cortex-A75 & 4×1.9GHz Cortex-A55); Mali-G76 MP12 GPU.
- Memory: 8GB RAM with 128GB storage, 8GB RAM with 512GB storage (Ceramic version only), 12GB RAM with 1TB storage (Ceramic version only); microSD card slot (hybrid on the dual SIM versions).
- Battery: 4,100mAh Li-Ion (sealed), 15W wired charging (Adaptive Fast charging, QuickCharge 2.0 compatible), 15W Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare.
- Connectivity: Single-SIM, Dual-SIM available in certain markets (hybrid slot); LTE-A, 7-Band carrier aggregation, Cat.20/13 (2Gbps/150Mbps); USB Type-C (v3.1); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac/ax MU-MIMO; GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo; NFC; Bluetooth 5.0.
- Misc: Ultrasonic under-display fingerprint sensor; stereo speakers (bottom-firing + earpiece); bundled AKG headphones
The S10+ sits within a lineup of four Galaxy S10s, the highest-end one of the three that are coming out this spring. Scale it down a bit (the usual – display size, battery capacity), take away the secondary cam on the front, and you get the vanilla Galaxy S10. Next to these two, the Galaxy S10e stands, with no telephoto cam (ultra-wide still present) and a smaller, flatter, lower-res display, but otherwise a properly capable super-mini like the ones Sony no longer wants to make.
Then there’s the fourth one – the ultimate Galaxy S10 5G that may or may not happen. If it does get released, after all, that’s going to be some time or another no earlier than this summer. That’s definitive.
Anyway, we have the Galaxy S10+ here and now, though, so let’s not waste any more time and get it unpacked.
Samsung Galaxy S10+ unboxing
For this generation Samsung went out and redesigned the packaging a bit. It’s still a black box, but now there’s a large ‘S10+’ printed on it in a color that matches the paint job of the phone inside. Take off the lid and you’ll see the phone, the accessories underneath.
What you’re getting is a 15W charger that supports Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charge standard (QuickCharge 2.0 compliant) and a USB cable to go with it. There’s also a nice AKG branded headset with braided cables and Samsung’s usual set of two USB adapters – female A to male C and female micro B to male C. We’ve previously seen bundles missing one of these adapters, so this will likely vary by region. The same thing with the case – in some markets there will be one bundled, but our review unit doesn’t have it.
Design and 360-degree spin
We could pretend it’s not there, but it wouldn’t make it magically disappear, so let’s address it. It’s the pill-shaped cutout in the top right corner of the display, an extension to the punch hole style solution to what is perhaps the most pressing issue in the industry – where to fit the selfie cam in the absence of a top bezel.
You can hide the camera in settings, resulting in an unused black bar on top.
We haven’t heard a single person say they specifically like punch-hole selfie cameras, in isolation – at best, people will say a punch hole is a little less objectionable than a full-on iPhone X style notch, but even that opinion isn’t universal. And with the influx of sleeker dewdrop notches, the notch-hating has become less violent.
Samsung avoided the notch for its flagship phones last year to make sure Galaxies stood out in a crowd of notches, but for the S10 generation, it decided to adopt the punch hole and make a name for itself that way. It’s even branded its displays after it – the Galaxy S10+ has an Infinity-O display. The thing is, we may be getting too hung up on the ‘O’ bit and missing the ‘Infinity’.
And the Galaxy S10+ is indeed about as close as we’ve gotten to an infinity display – one that stretches from edge to edge. We’re not entirely there yet, there’s still a few millimeters worth of chin and some bezel on top and to the sides, but the S10+ is an impressive feat of industrial design, nonetheless.
The way they’ve done it has left enough room for a conventional earpiece ported on the front – no need for piezo speakers and vibrating the display. The ambient light and proximity sensors are actually underneath the display, in the area below the signal icons, but there’s no notification/status LED anymore, sadly.
The curved edge displays have been a Samsung signature for a few years now, and the S10+ has one too. After the proof-of-concept Note Edge of 2014, the curves have been getting subtler and they’re barely there this generation, as function fights for a better balance with form.
We’re debating on which side of that scale to put the under-display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. It is very futuristic, there’s no doubt about that, to place your finger on the display and have the device recognize you and unlock itself. Plus, being on the front, you could use it with the phone lying on a table.
However, it’s not quite without flaws in terms of reliability (more on that in the software section), while conventional rear-mounted sensors have gotten close to perfect and we’re wondering if we’re getting the right trade-offs here.
Being our usual positive selves, we’ll point out that the lack of a fingerprint sensor on the back has allowed for a more streamlined, minimalist look. Well, to the extent that a triple camera setup can be made to look minimalist, that is.
The three modules share a common window with the flash, heart rate sensor, and SpO2, and somehow all of that doesn’t look cluttered. Now imagine there was a fingerprint reader to spoil things – nah, under the display it belongs.
Our Galaxy S10+ review unit is in the Prism White color which has a pearlescent effect and looks all shades of pale pink and blue under a different light. A few other Prism color schemes are available, and we’d struggle to pick just one favorite – even the black we wouldn’t straight up dismiss as too incognito, as it’s got a peculiar depth effect than we’re liking. We couldn’t get to see the ceramic versions, sadly.
Those should be more scratch-resistant than the Gorilla Glass 5-clad Prism backs but that comes at the expense of added weight – a ceramic Galaxy S10+ weighs in at 198g, 3g short of the current Note9 and 9g more than the hefty S9+.
Chances are, you’ll be getting one of the regular S10+s and those are a pleasant surprise when it comes to weight – just 175g, compared to the 189g of the S9+. The difference is immediately felt when switching between the two, and the weight loss is much appreciated. It’s also made all the more impressive by the fact that the S10+ packs a larger battery than the S9+. Not only that, but the S10+ is also thinner than the phone it replaces by 0.7mm.
You can’t tell from the photo, but the new one feels much lighter.
The Galaxy S10+ measures 157.6×74.1×7.8mm making it half a mile shorter and 0.3mm wider than the S9+, and 4.2mm shorter and 2.3mm narrower than the Note9. It feels more compact than either of those, largely thanks to the slimmer profile.
The Mate 20 Pro is also thicker (8.6mm) and heavier (189g) than the S10+ but is close to 2mm narrower and you may very well be able to feel the difference when having to stretch across the displays. Then there’s the iPhone XS Max which is actually one of few current large-size flagships that are thinner than the S10+ (only marginally, at 7.7mm, but still). It is, however, significantly heavier (208g) and wider (77.4mm).
For all its (relative) compactness, the Galaxy S10+ has one big issue when it comes to handling – the power button is placed so high on the right side that it requires more than the usual finger/palm gymnastics to reach, regardless of which is your preferred hand. We can only speculate as to the reason why it’s there – internal components location or to make it more in line with the S10e’s power button/fingerprint sensor? – but rarely have we had such consensus at the office as we do on hating its position.
The volume rocker and the Bixby key are on the left, pretty much where you’d expect them to be. All buttons click nicely and have adequate size and shape, though a larger power button couldn’t have hurt. Then again, a lower-placed power button couldn’t have hurt either, yet here we are.
The card tray slides in on top and on dual SIM models it’ll have one nanoSIM slot and one that’s shared between a second nanoSIM and a microSD card – shared, as in one or the other. Dedicated slots are much better, just saying.
Down on the bottom, there are no changes from the outgoing model – a USB-C port is in the middle, with a 3.5mm headphone jack to the left and the mic and loudspeaker on the right.
Oh, by the way, as was the case with the last generation, the frame is made of aluminum and polished almost glossy with just the slightest hint of the back color added into the mix. Of course, the Galaxy S10+ is IP68-rated for dust and water protection.
6.4-inch HDR10+ capable Dynamic AMOLED
The smartphones in the Galaxy S10 family are equipped with Samsung’s first Dynamic AMOLED displays. It’s like the Super AMOLEDs of yesteryear, but with an emphasis on HDR – these Galaxies are the first smartphones to support HDR10+ (the ‘+’ is what counts here). But most importantly, these panels are much better now.
The S10+ in particular has a 6.4-inch panel with 1440x3040px resolution – QuadHD+, if you’re so inclined, in a 19:9 aspect ratio. Pixel density works out to a plentiful 526ppi.
Oh, we almost forgot – it’s an Infinity-O display, the ‘O’ denoting the cutout for the selfie camera.
We measured 385nits of maximum brightness on our S10+ unit when handling the slider manually. Letting the Auto take over, the phone is capable of cranking that up to more than twice that – 793nits in our test. That’s a class-leading result and a substantial jump from the Note9 and S9+, and also the iPhone XS Max. The iPhone remains capable of pushing the manual brightness much higher than the S10+ if that’s your thing.
Now, regarding the measurement of max brightness, it must be noted that our results differ from the numbers Samsung quotes (up to 1200nits). But we do carry out our brightness testing at a 75% average picture level (APL), which means that our white test pattern takes up 75% of the physical size of the screen as we consider this a rather real-life level.
Due to the nature of the technology, an AMOLED screen would be able to push its brightness progressively higher as the area that needs to be lit up in white gets smaller. So any AMOLED max screen brightness measurement is only comparable with other tests when the size of the test pattern is clear.
We can only imagine Samsung’s claim for 1200nits maximum brightness may very well be true, it would just be measured under different conditions (with a smaller APL). We played around just to see what happens with a 10% APL and we got a 1025-nit reading. Also, we can’t exclude the option that Samsung may be driving their screen to the advertized brightness level only when certain conditions are met – such as when playing HDR video. So we hope you get our point, you should compare these test results only to the other devices we ourselves have tested.
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Contrast ratio|
|Samsung Galaxy S10||0||396||∞|
|Samsung Galaxy S10 (Max Auto)||0||820||∞|
|Samsung Galaxy S10+||0||385||∞|
|Samsung Galaxy S10+ (Max Auto)||0||793||∞|
|Apple iPhone XS||0||660||∞|
|Apple iPhone XS Max||0||653||∞|
|Oppo Find X (new)||0||426||∞|
|Samsung Galaxy Note9||0||367||∞|
|Samsung Galaxy Note9 (Max Auto)||0||658||∞|
|Sony Xperia XZ3||0||442||∞|
|Huawei Mate 20 Pro||0.002||508||254000|
|Huawei Mate 20 Pro (Max Auto)||0.003||657||219000|
|Xiaomi Mi Mix 3||0||445||∞|
|Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 (Max Auto)||0||633||∞|
|Huawei Mate 20 X||0||459||∞|
|Huawei Mate 20 X (Max Auto)||0||655||∞|
|Xiaomi Mi 9||0||428||∞|
|Xiaomi Mi 9 (Max Auto)||0||620||∞|
|Google Pixel 3||0||426||∞|
In our sunlight legibility test, the Galaxy S10+ is unsurprisingly a top-class performer. Our reading for it under direct light is right up there with the S9+, Note9, and iPhone XS Max. The iPhone XS and the Mate 20 Pro still reach higher values.
Sunlight contrast ratio
The handling of colors that’s been more or less unchanged for generations of Galaxies has been overhauled. The menu now gives you two settings – Vivid and the default Natural. Natural is tuned for the sRGB color space where we measured an average DeltaE of 1.9 and a maximum of 4.1. The whites remain accurate to within a DeltaE of 2, which is stellar.
The Vivid mode comes with a significantly punchier output which we didn’t find to be accurate to any particular color space. Previously, the Basic mode was tuned for sRGB, AMOLED Photo was accurate to the AdobeRGB color space, and AMOLED Cinema was the go-to mode for DCI-P3 content. On the S10+ you don’t get that differentiation.
When in Vivid mode, you get a slider for adjusting the color temperature in a five-step range from cool to warm, with the default in between. There is an additional set of RGB sliders under the advanced button below. We didn’t find the sliders to improve accuracy, though we won’t judge if you like a particular look you can achieve with them.
Display color settings
As for HDR10+, let’s try for a simple explanation. Think of it like this – even an HDR panel may end up having a narrower dynamic range than you may want within a single movie. HDR10 content comes with static metadata that specifies how to allocate that available dynamic range from the moment you start the playback. If your display’s dynamic range is 16 arbitrary units, and your movie spans 20 units, you’d lose 4 when playing back because the dynamic range was preallocated for the best average for this movie. Imagine that you could allocate on the fly the 16 units of DR based on the dynamic range needed to display each individual frame instead of setting it in the beginning. That’s roughly what the ‘+’ in HDR10+ does. Basically, HDR10+ uses a similar principle for employing dynamic metadata to Dolby Vision, only minus the royalty fees.
There’s the tiny caveat that as of now, HDR10+ content is realistically only available on Amazon Prime Video, and devices that support it are few. Those include, you guessed it, some Samsung TVs, some TVs by Panasonic and Philips, and these Galaxy S10s here.
Samsung Galaxy S10+ battery life
The Galaxy S10+ has a 4,100mAh power pack inside – one of the highest capacity batteries around. The Mate 20 Pro still has that extra 100mAh more, while the arch-rival iPhone XS Max only packs a 3,174mAh cell. All three of these have essentially the same display area, though the iPhone has a lower-res display – of course, there’s also the matter of each maker having its own chipset inside.
In our testing, the Exynos version of the Galaxy S10+ clocked a little short of 12 hours in Wi-Fi web browsing and almost 15 hours of looping videos in airplane mode. We measured a full 24 hours of 3G voice calls too. All of that resulted in an overall Endurance rating of 91 hours.
Comparing the numbers to the two phones above, there are a few differences here and there, with mostly the iPhone’s poor voice call endurance (16:08h) standing out. The S10+ outlasts the XS Max by an hour in video playback, with the Mate 20 Pro quitting yet half an hour later. The Mate is also the champ in web browsing beating the Galaxy by some 2 hours, leaving the iPhone in third.
Overall, the Galaxy S10+’s battery life is very good, it’s just we were expecting (hoping for?) even better endurance, fooled by the significant increase in capacity over last year’s model (3,500mAh in the S9+).
Filling up that battery once it’s been depleted happens with Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charger that’s been around unchanged since the dawn of time (or the Galaxy S5, same thing). It’s rated at 9V/1.67A and 5V/2A, so 15W is the maximum it’ll output. It charges the S10+ from flat to full in 1:33h with the battery indicator showing 41% at the half-hour mark – so not really all that bad, especially considering the big battery. For perspective, the Mate 20 Pro gets a full charge in 1 hour flat and it’s at 74% 30 minutes into it, while the iPhone’s 5V/1A dinosaur of an adapter only pumps in 15% in half an hour.
Now, the Galaxy S10+ can also be charged wirelessly and it supports Samsung’s Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, which is Qi-based as before. We didn’t have such a charger to test with, but the previous generation 9W Samsung Fast Chargers yielded something along the lines of 20% for 30 minutes and 3 hours for a full charge.
Ah, not only can the S10+ be charged wirelessly, but it can also charge other devices. The feature is called Wireless PowerShare and has a toggle to enable it in the quick toggles area and it’ll turn off if there’s nothing to be charged within a certain amount of time. Perhaps the best bit is that you can be charging your S10+ with a cable and it can simultaneously charge a second device wirelessly. We can see this being handy for filling up two devices overnight when traveling light and carrying a single adaptor and cable.
Speaker test (old, new one below)
The Galaxy S10+ has a stereo speaker setup that’s made up of the main bottom-firing loudspeaker and the earpiece (a fairly typical front-facing one, wink). When holding the phone in landscape, each speaker handles the respective channel, while in portrait they’re assigned the channel they had last time they were in landscape. Of course, the dedicated bottom speaker is boomier, there’s no escaping that.
In our three-pronged test, the Galaxy S10+ posted an ‘Excellent’ score for speaker loudness, showing an improvement over both the S9+ and the Note9’s ‘Very Good’ marks. It’s also a joy to listen to, with noticeably more presence than the S9+ and sound remaining clear at max volume.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Pink noise/ Music, dB||Ringing phone, dB||Overall score|
|Xiaomi Mi Mix 3||67.9||71.6||73.7||Good|
|Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium||68.1||73.2||73.7||Good|
|LG V40 ThinQ||68.2||74.1||77.4||Very Good|
|Samsung Galaxy S9+||68.4||74.0||80.1||Very Good|
|OnePlus 6T||67.2||72.5||84.5||Very Good|
|Xiaomi Mi 9||70.1||74.2||81.6||Very Good|
|Samsung Galaxy Note9||71.2||74.9||80.2||Very Good|
|Oppo Find X||70.7||75.2||81.2||Very Good|
|Huawei Mate 20||74.3||70.2||82.6||Very Good|
|Huawei Mate 20 Pro||70.3||73.4||83.8||Very Good|
|Sony Xperia XZ3||71.0||75.4||82.9||Excellent|
|Google Pixel 3||77.5||71.7||81.1||Excellent|
|Samsung Galaxy S10+||74.4||74.2||83.6||Excellent|
|Huawei Mate 20 X||71.4||73.5||91.1||Excellent|
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is an extraordinary phone when it comes to audio reproduction. Its clarity was perfect with an active external amplifier and plugging in headphones had no impact whatsoever – a truly rare feat.
Volume levels were impressive too – the Galaxy S10+ was among the loudest phones we’ve heard in both parts of the test. Even the most demanding audiophiles with super high-impedance headphones will have a hard time finding something wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S10+’s audio output.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|Samsung Galaxy S10+||+0.03, -0.05||-93.0||92.8||0.0015||0.0070||-94.3|
|Samsung Galaxy S10+ (headphones)||+0.06, -0.03||-92.7||92.5||0.0044||0.044||-87.2|
|Samsung Galaxy Note9||+0.01, -0.03||-93.7||93.7||0.0017||0.0074||-94.1|
|Samsung Galaxy Note9 (headphones)||+0.03, -0.02||-93.6||93.5||0.0033||0.046||-93.2|
|Xiaomi Mi 9||+0.02, -0.01||-93.9||93.1||0.0015||0.0066||-91.9|
|Xiaomi Mi 9 (headphones)||+0.05, -0.04||-92.6||93.5||0.0026||0.072||-58.7|
|Huawei Mate 20||+0.02, -0.16||-92.1||92.0||0.0017||0.013||-85.6|
|Huawei Mate 20 (headphones)||+0.07, -0.07||-92.1||92.4||0.0021||0.106||-66.5|
Samsung Galaxy S10+ frequency response
Android Pie with One UI
The Galaxy S10 family comes with yet another new Samsung take on user interface after the much-hated TouchWiz morphed into Grace and later became simply Samsung UX. The latest iteration is called One UI and we’re somewhat familiar with it from the Pie update to the S9 and Note9, but the S10s are the first phones to ship with it. It’s characterized by its rounded menus and buttons, focus on single-handed use, and a colorful iconography.
There’s an always-on display, of course, and with One UI it can also be not-so-always-on – now you can have it displayed only when you double-tap on the screen, in addition to being able to set up a daily schedule as before. You can, of course, you know, keep it always on. The clock faces are mostly the same as the ones we found on the S9.
Always on display settings
The lock screen has the usual camera and dialer shortcuts, which you can reassign to any app. Interestingly enough, the notification cards that were introduced with Nougat and can be found on most droids since, are gone on One UI, in its default state. Instead, you’re getting just the icons, clumped together next to a clock. Double-tapping them pulls down the notification shade where the familiar cards are. However, if you go into settings, you can revert to the classic view.
You’re also seeing the fingerprint reader icon on the lock screen, indicating where to press to unlock, if you’ve set up fingerprint unlock. If you’ve got face to unlock running, the outline of the camera will light up, indicating it’s looking for your mug. Iris recognition is gone – there’s no room for an IR emitter and an extra camera.
Let’s point out that Samsung’s promised a software update that will arrive in the coming days, bringing significant improvements to the fingerprint reader performance. Seeing as how the phone isn’t available for sale yet, there’s no reason for complaints about that. We’ll be sure to update you on the FP behavior post said update.
Lockscreen • FP reader ripple effect • Security settings • Face recognition • Fingerprint settings
The setup process is a bit lengthy, requiring a lot of taps, but that’s generally a good thing – it should theoretically mean more reliable recognition later on.
However, in its current state on our review unit, it’s anything but flawless, often refusing to unlock after three or four tries and eventually blocking FP recognition due to too many failed attempts. We found pressing and holding to work better than briefly tapping, the finger-pointing upwards instead of funny angles helps, and a hint where actually to press is a good idea. As it is, one only shows up if you tap on the screen.
Update, June 18: While testing out the Galaxy’s newly introduced Night mode, we also revisited the fingerprint reader situation. We’re happy to report that the experience has changed dramatically since our initial encounter with the S10+ and the sensor now works every time, at odd angles too. It’s still not the fastest unlock procedure, with optical under-display sensors on the OnePlus 7 Pro and the Huawei P30 Pro offering perceptibly quicker access to the home screen, but at least now we have the confidence we’ll actually get to the home screen on every attempt.
One UI’s new default icons are large and colorful and a departure from the more subdued and minimalist look of the previous generation. Some will love them, most won’t care. If for some reason you’d like a landscape view of your home screen, you can enable the rotation in settings.
One thing Samsung could have finally changed for the better is opening folders in a more compact window next to the folder icon. Instead, just as before, they open full screen sending the apps up and away from immediate reach.
Homescreen • Folder view • Homescreen settings • App drawer • …or no app drawer
The notification shade is one of the more heavily redesigned UI elements. Upon first pull, it’s a row of toggles and notifications – business as usual. Pull again and the upper third of the screen shows just a clock while the toggles are brought down much lower, making them easier to reach. Mind you, there’s a setting that lets you pull the shade from an empty area of the screen, not just the top, so flipping your toggles is no longer a two-hand task.
Samsung has managed, on the other hand, to ruin its task switcher, thanks in no small part to Google’s own native Pie solution. And while the new task switcher is bearable, less so is the fact that One UI adopts Android 9’s roundabout way of going into multi-window by tapping the app icon and selecting split-screen from the menu. And then, after you’re already into split screen, gone are all the options you used to have for swapping the apps, going into popup view, snap window and app pairs. Bummer.
Notifications • Toggles • Brightness • Task switcher • Menu to go into multi window • Multi window
Edge panels remain, fret not, though it’s debatable if anyone’s using those at all. Introduced with the S6 Edge, they’re a set of panes that slides in from the side with shortcuts to contacts, apps, tasks, tools, or whatnot. Edge lighting is also here with customization options for color, width, transparency, and a few effects.
Edge panels • Edge lighting
The edge functions go way back, but the option for gesture navigation is brand new – another party that Samsung joins rather late. You can replace the actions on the classic navigation bar with swipes from the bottom up that do the same. You swipe up from the center to go home, swipe up on the right to go back and swipe up on the left to open the task switcher. A swipe up and hold from the center will launch Google Assistant. You can choose to show or hide the bars that indicate where the swipes should be done and if you’re going the gesture route, it does make more sense to hide them altogether.
We feel that Samsung’s implementation of gesture navigation is a bit half-baked and doesn’t do much to speed up interaction or make it any more natural than taps do. It does free up screen estate by removing the navbar, so there’s that.
A bunch of familiar gestures and the likes are available on the S10+ as well. You can go into a shrunken-down one-handed mode (either triple press home, or swipe in from a bottom corner), and you can launch the camera with a double press of the power button. Meanwhile, Smart Stay will use the front camera to determine whether you’re looking at the phone so it won’t go to standby if you’re staring blankly at the screen for a long time. All of these can be switched off.
Navigation options • Nav bar removed • Hints removed too * Gestures
Secure folder, Game launcher, Bixby – the usual suspects are all here as well. The secure folder lets you keep files, memos, and apps away from prying eyes. Game launcher groups all your games in one place and makes sure your gaming sessions remain as uninterrupted as possible.
Secure folder • Game launcher
Bixby is the same assistant no one asked for, but now you can assign the button to launch another app or carry out a whole routine of actions, quick commands Samsung calls them. You have to choose whether a single press will launch Bixby and a double press will run the app, or the other way around – you can’t disable Bixby entirely. Still, we very much appreciate the change.
Samsung’s Gallery has stood the test of time and still makes it to every new Galaxy. It makes you wonder who uses the Stories – shareable, collaborative albums where your friends can add their own photos from the party or just a Story on a shared theme (e.g. sunsets). The Albums pane gives you a sorted view of your images by origin (camera, screenshots, downloaded images) while the Pictures pane is effectively a timeline – it aggregates all of your images and arranges them chronologically. Several image editing tools are available – from basic cropping, to collage making, to a more capable editor (which supports image correction, effects and drawing).
Unlike the in-house Gallery, music playback is left in the hands of Google’s own Play Music. The player and service is ubiquitous and it can play your local files, as well as stream music from the cloud. Samsung’s extensive sound enhancements do come as standard, and they include the SoundAlive equalizer and our favorite – Adapt Sound that tunes the EQ to your hearing and your particular pair of ears and headphones by playing multiple frequencies and asking how well you hear them.
Gallery • Google Play Music • Adapt Sound
Samsung’s fresh new S10 lineup is once again powered by the best the industry can offer – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 or Samsung’s in-house Exynos 9820 chipset, depending on the market.
Our S10+ review unit is the Exynos variety. The 8nm chip’s CPU is in a 2+2+4 configuration with two big Mongoose M4 cores clocked at 2.7 GHz, two Cortex-A75 cores ticking at 2.4 GHz, and 4 Cortex-A55 cores running at 1.9 GHz for less demanding applications. The GPU is Mali-G76 MP12. Mass-market S10+ units like ours ship with 8GB of RAM, while a Performance version with 12GB will also be available.
The M4 cores offer the highest per-core performance in the Android world with the Kryo Gold in the Mi 9’s Snapdragon 855 a distant second. Even so, the Galaxy S10+ can’t match the single-core performance of the current iPhone XS Max.
GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)
Higher is better
In the multi-core test, the Mi 9 steals the lead – the Snapdragon 855 is more powerful than the Exynos 9820 in the Galaxy under such loads. The S10+ still manages to inch ahead of the Kirin 980-powered Mates.
GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)
Higher is better
In Antutu, the Mi 9 beats the S10+ but also the iPhone XS Max. The Galaxy does still post higher scores than the Kirin bunch and the Snapdragon 845s of yesteryear.
Higher is better
In offscreen tests of GFXBench the Mi 9 and S10+ post largely the same fps numbers, and the two have a lead to the tune of 20% over the S845 devices and about 30% more than the Kirin 980s.
GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)
Higher is better
GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)
Higher is better
Onscreen tests put a heavier strain on Mali in the higher-res Galaxy than the 1080p display of the Mi 9 exerts on the Adreno inside it. Hence, the fps scores are significantly higher on the Snapdragon device than what the S10+ can output.
GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)
Higher is better
GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)
Higher is better
The Exynos Galaxy S10+ performs to a very high standard, delivering the highest single-core CPU results among fellow droids and demonstrates similar raw graphics power to what we got out of the only S855 device we’ve tested so far. It will be interesting to see how Galaxy S10/S10+ units with the Snapdragon SoC compare to their Exynos stablemates, and we’ll be sure to check that when we get a chance.
Additionally, we have to point out that under sustained load the Galaxy S10+ does heat up considerably, and throttles a bit (think 10% drop in Antutu scores after 6 runs and no more in subsequent runs). The entire device becomes warm, which means it’s dissipating heat efficiently, but also that it’s generating a lot of it. Again, we’re eager to compare against a S855 version.
All of the cameras – the right ones, too
Samsung may have been late to the dual-camera party with a telephoto module appearing on a flagship only as late as the Galaxy S9+ last year, but it’s catching up quickly with trends. On the Galaxy S10 and S10+, they’ve also added an ultra-wide-angle module to the back for a complete and versatile triple setup.
The ultra-wide-angle camera covers a field of view of 123 degrees, which translates to an equivalent focal length of 12mm in 35mm film terms. To put it bluntly, it’s VERY wide. The lens has an f/2.2 aperture and its focus is fixed – there’s no autofocus.
For comparison, the ultra-wide cameras on the Xiaomi Mi 9 and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro both have autofocus, though neither is quite as wide as the one on the S10+. Then again, the Xiaomi does get very close with its 13mm equivalent and 117-degree coverage. Meanwhile, the LG V40 ThinQ and the Mate 20 non-Pro have fixed-focus ultra-wide lenses that are 16mm and 17mm respectively.
There’s a 16MP sensor behind that lens but for whatever reason, our Galaxy S10+ outputs 12MP shots. Meanwhile, the S10’s ultra-wide images are 16MP, go figure.
The other two cameras have been carried over from the S9+ and the Note9. The primary module uses a 12MP sensor with 1.4µm pixels and dual-pixel phase-detect autofocus. It’s got a dual aperture lens in front which is able to switch between f/1.5 to capture more light in dark scenarios and f/2.4 for improved sharpness in a good light. The focal length is equivalent to that of a 26mm lens on a full-frame camera (77-degree field of view). The lens is also stabilized.
The telephoto camera’s optics are stabilized too and offer an equivalent focal length of 52mm or a 45-degree field of view. The sensor behind has 12 million and change 1.0µm pixels. Phase detect autofocus is available too, only it’s not the dual pixel variety.
On the software side of things, Samsung’s expanded the range of scenes its Scene Optimizer will recognize and optimize for by 10 for a total of 30, and they’re all listed on the official S10’s specs pages if you’re that curious. More importantly, there’s now a Bright night mode, which should improve low light performance, although we didn’t find it to make much of a difference.
A whole new feature is Shot suggestions. The phone analyzes the scene and suggests the right framing and it will go ahead and take the shot if you align the phone accordingly. We found it more irritating than useful.
Other than that, the camera app is a natural evolution of the one found on the S9+ and Note9 with some extra input from the A7 and A9 for handling the camera switching. That would be the tree designation – ‘3 trees’ means ultra-wide-angle cam, ‘2 trees’ denote the regular camera, and ‘1 tree’ means the telephoto. Pinch to zoom is also available and it switches seamlessly between the three cams unlike on the A9 where there was a jump between ultra-wide and regular.
The basic operation is straightforward with sideswipes for cycling through modes and an up/down action for toggling between the rear and front cameras. You can add, remove, and rearrange the modes in settings. The HDR (Rich tone) setting is not only in the menu but it’s even more convoluted as it has an on/off toggle, and then when it’s on, you can choose whether to kick in automatically or be always on. This one we keep in an auto.
There’s a Pro mode too, and it’s one of the pro-est around. You can select ISO (50-800), push shutter speed around (1/24000s-10s), manually select the aperture of the main cam (f/1.5 or f/2.4), focus manually (with peaking to aid you), and select the white balance (by light temperature). Metering mode and AF area options are available too. A new addition is a set of picture controls for contrast, saturation, and whatnot. Sadly, there’s no live histogram.
We have to complain about Samsung’s choice to bury a couple of settings deep where you won’t look for them. One is the selfie flipping, which is turned on by default so you’d end up with mirrored selfies out of the box. The other is the software correction for the ultra-wide camera photos which we thought wasn’t available. It is. Both toggles are under Save options in settings.
A major change this year comes in portrait mode – Live focus, that is. Samsung’s switched to using the primary camera for capturing the photo and the telephoto for gathering depth data, as opposed to the other way around. This carries the same implications we’ve pointed out a thousand times.
Here goes the 1001st – a wider angle lens when shooting portraits means having to be uncomfortably close to your subject to get headshot-style framing and wide-angle lenses are typically less flattering on facial features, but, on a positive note, it also means having the superior (larger) sensor capture the image, which is essential in low light and appreciated in a good light.
Dual selfie camera
Over on the front, the Galaxy S10+ has two selfie cameras. Or rather, one selfie camera and a depth detection module for better Live focus portrait selfies. The S10 non-Plus doesn’t have the depth sensor so its portraits rely on just one camera.
The primary cam is listed at 10MP, but that’s not strictly true. Yes, it does take 10MP stills in a 4:3 aspect 3648x2736px but if you switch to 16:9 aspect you’d get 3968x2232px images. So the sensor has at least 3968x2736px to work with, or 10.85MP. 3968px on the long side is also enough for the 4K video that the selfie camera is capable of (3840x2160px), which 3648px clearly isn’t.
There’s another thing that’s more perplexing. There are two modes on the selfie camera – wide and slightly less wide. It’s a bit misleading because the wide one actually uses the entirety of the sensor (well, the entirety available at the selected aspect) and produces full-size selfies, while the tighter one simply crops the center and you end up with smaller images (10MP and 6.5MP in 4:3, respectively). But why?
Let’s go ahead and start with the ultra-wide-angle camera – we’ve never had one on a Galaxy S flagship, after all. For one, designing a lens so wide with no distortion is nigh impossible for full-size cameras and it’s not any easier for a smartphone, so this camera does produce images with pronounced barrel distortion. That’s said, the distortion is far from the worst we’ve seen – early LG ultra wides and Samsung’s own (very recent) A7/A9 (2018) can compete for that title.
In principle, the ultra-wide lens works great for capturing interiors, exaggerating perspective while emphasizing a nearby subject and clouds, also clouds. Here’s precisely one of each.
Ultra-wide camera samples
At fit to screen magnifications the images look pretty nice with pleasing colors and very good dynamic range as far as these types of cameras go – due to the extreme coverage you’re inevitably going to get a wider margin between the lightest and the darkest area in the frame, and the HDR algorithms can only do so much.
Pixel-level detail is also respectable if you don’t stare too closely at the corners and if you get the focus distance right – that’s not the case with the second sample above where the closest flower pot is too close to be in focus. So that’s one of the main uses cases for an ultra-wide camera that the Galaxy S10+ can’t excel at due to lack of AF. But we feel like we may be judging it too harshly.
Ultra-wide camera samples
Update, Feb 28: Here are a couple of samples to illustrate how the software correction works.
Ultra-wide camera correction: Off • On • Off • On
Moving on to the main camera, we’re seeing predictably great photos – detailed and clean, with Samsung’s signature, highly-competent noise suppression leaving pretty much no trace of noise while preserving detail. Colors are lively but not over the top and dynamic range is excellent – the S10+ passes the snail test with flying colors.
Main camera samples
The telephoto camera is also a known commodity, and we’ve come to expect great results from it in bright light. In such conditions, it captures images with very similar quality to ones from the main cam. We’re inclined to think we’re seeing an improvement over the old model’s slightly less contrasty output.
Telephoto camera samples
In low light, the main camera captures excellent images with well-defined detail and little noise. Dynamic range is also very good – check out the floodlights on the top floor of the yellow building below, usually clipped to white.
Main camera, low-light samples
Now, Samsung’s got a ‘night mode’ of sorts called ‘Bright Night’, which is a toggle in the settings under Scene Optimizer. You can’t force it on, and it’ll only engage in extremely dark conditions. It’ll tell you to keep the phone steady and churn away, but the interface isn’t very intuitive and it doesn’t let you know how long it’ll take. In our set of samples, it only kicked in in one scene, and only for one of the shots while the rest ended up regular night shots. The one that is ‘Bright Night’ isn’t spectacular either.
Main camera, low-light samples: Bright Night mode • Regular night photo
The Galaxy S10+ is more inclined to actually use its telephoto camera for ‘2x’ zoomed-in shots – previous models straight up defaulted to a digitally zoomed-in shot from the primary cam. Even so, it still resorts to the main module under a certain light threshold, it’s just that it’s apparently lower now. The fact is, however, neither approach produces stunning results and telephoto shots are just usable, but little more.
Telephoto camera, low-light samples
That just about sums up the low-light photos from the ultra-wide camera as well. The thing is though, you won’t be looking at them up close because then you’d be missing the… big picture.
Ultra-wide camera, low-light samples
Update, June 7: Samsung released a major firmware update adding a proper standalone Night mode, as opposed to the Bright night option in Scene optimizer (which is now gone, by the way). We duly went out to shoot some samples to compare Night mode and regular Photo mode, plus we brought a Pixel 3 along for reference.
Photos taken in Photo mode are already great, but that’s been established before.
Main camera, low-light samples, Photo mode
Night mode does make a considerable difference indeed. It lifts up the shadows while also preventing point light sources from blowing out. It handles bright lights particularly well-avoiding halos and drawing distinct outlines, something the Pixel doesn’t quite manage. Colors are rendered true to life and there’s no sign of the bleaching effect so characteristic of the Pixel’s Night mode in warm lighting.
Main camera, low-light samples, Night mode
The Pixel does produce generally brighter and livelier images, and has a more natural look to the images when pixel-peeping, compared to the more sharpened Galaxy shots. In any case, the Galaxy’s Night mode shots compare very favourably to the ones from the Pixel, which we consider the benchmark in the field.
Pixel 3, low-light samples, Night sight
Night mode is also available on the ultra-wide camera bringing much the same improvements it does on the main one.
Ultra-wide camera, low-light samples, Photo mode
Ultra-wide camera, low-light samples, Night mode
Sadly, there’s no Night mode for the selfie camera.
You can head over to our Photo compare tool to have a look at how the Galaxy S10+’s camera stacks up to competitors’ in the controlled environment of our studio.
Galaxy S10+ against the Galaxy S9+ and the iPhone XS Max in our Photo compare tool
The S10+ may be taking the portraits with the main cam as opposed to the telephoto, but we’re really happy with the shots we’re getting out of it. The subject/background separation is excellent, faces are nicely detailed and skin tones are just right. Naturally, your mileage will vary with the complexity of the subject and its relation to the background, but even unruly-hair-guy is satisfied.
Live focus also does more than a respectable job with non-human subjects and you can use it for close-ups of flowers and whatnot.
Portrait samples, non-human subjects
One-upping the selfie game
The Galaxy S10+ comes with an all-new 10MP primary front-facing camera and an 8MP auxiliary unit for gathering depth data. That second module is what sets the S10+ apart from the single-cam S10. In good light, the S10+ captures awesome selfies – sharp and highly-detailed. In photo mode the colors come out a bit warmer and more contrasty than in portrait mode – even with all beautification options turned off, and we’re attributing that to the HDR processing which is off when in Live focus. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, we’re just saying that photos taken in the two modes will have a slightly different look if HDR kicks in in Photo mode.
Speaking of portraits, here they come. Just like with the rear cameras, Live focus shots show very competent subject separation and natural-looking background blur.
There are a few different effects you can apply to your portraits with a couple of different blur styles or a black and white filter to the out of focus area. You can also apply these post shot in the gallery.
One area where the selfie camera isn’t great in low-light shooting and in less than ideal conditions photos quickly get mushy.
The Galaxy S10+ is a highly-capable video camera that offers 2160p video at 60fps and 30fps, HDR10+ capture, and 960fps slow-motion recording at 720p. Of course, there’s also 1080p at 30fps and 60fps as well.
With the H.264 codec, the [email protected] videos are captured at 72Mbps bitrate, the [email protected] – 48Mbps, the [email protected] – 28Mbps, and the [email protected] – 14Mbps. H.265 is also available, bringing those numbers down. HDR10+ footage is in H.265 only and the bitrate is 54Mbps. The audio is always recorded in stereo at 256Kbps bitrate.
There’s electronic stabilization available in all modes except 2160p/60fps. That’s not all though – there is also a Super Steady mode for extra-bumpy occasions. Aiming to replace your GoPro, it uses the ultra-wide camera, which means no autofocus. It’s also only available in 1080p resolution due to the processing power requirements and the lack of many extra pixels outside of the 2160p frame for the stabilization to crop in from. Those caveats aside, the results are mightily impressive (as impressive as having this reviewer go for a run at all).
The regular stabilization is already very good and it has you covered when more detailed footage (or, you know, autofocus) is required. It smooths out shake nicely and we didn’t observe any jello effect or issues when panning.
Otherwise video quality is very good. 4K footage from the main cam is detailed and contrasty, with spot-on color reproduction. There’s virtually no difference between 30fps and 60fps clips in terms of detail, which is quite a feat.
1080p videos are similarly great and aside from the obvious drop in resolution (and consequently detail) when compared to 4K, they exhibit the same qualities.
The telephoto camera’s output is nearly as good in [email protected] as the main one, but going to 60fps brings a noticeable degradation in quality. And, surprise-surprise, the same applies to 1080p recording, only [email protected] comes with an extra crop compared to [email protected]
There are no such issues with the ultra-wide camera – it simply doesn’t have 60fps modes. The 30fps ones are excellent though, provided your subject are far enough to be in focus. Because, you know – fixed focus lens, and not fixed up close.
Samsung’s doubled the time you can record super slow-motion video to 0.4s in 720p, which translates to 12s when played back at normal speed. Alternatively, you can shoot in 480p for up to 0.8s and the S10+ will upscale it to 720p. The feature that auto starts slow motion when it detects action in the frame is still here, and it’s a blessing. It’s optional, of course, so if you want to time your recording yourself you have that ability.
Samsung was keen to point out the S10 family’s capability for 4K video recording with the selfie cam. The footage is very sharp and detailed, and the dual pixel autofocus locks onto your face nicely. Dynamic range isn’t too wide, however, and more importantly, the focal length is such that if you’re hand-holding the phone in landscape (how all of the videos is meant to be recorded) you’ll just manage to fit your head in the frame. Grab a selfie stick though, and it could work.
Here’s how the Galaxy S10+ compares against its predecessor and the iPhone XS Max in our Video compare tool.
Galaxy S10+ against the Galaxy S9+ and the iPhone XS Max in our Video compare tool
Picking just the right high-end phone among all high-end phones is never easy, but the good thing is you can’t really go wrong. Take the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, for example. Like the S10+, it too comes with a triple camera and its tele has even more reach than the one on the Galaxy, plus its ultra-wide-angle cam has autofocus, which the S10+’s doesn’t. On the flip side, the Mate takes dismal selfies, while we’re really loving the ones out of the Galaxy. The S10+ packs a more powerful chip (the Exynos version, at least), while the Mate’s battery lasts longer, plus it charges faster.
Huawei Mate 20 Pro • Apple iPhone XS Max • Sony Xperia 1 • LG V50 ThinQ 5G
The iPhone XS Max doesn’t charge faster than anything, but that’s hardly a dealbreaker. Another awesome screen, comparable battery life, great camera performance – the iPhone is a top-seller for a reason. The Galaxy, however, has an extra ultra-wide camera on the back and a depth sensor on the front – can’t beat those with any iOS optimizations.
Seeing how Samsung is usually first to market in the spring, the S10+ beats some key rivals. The Xperia 1 quickly comes to mind with a unique sorta-4K 21:9 display, similar triple-cam setup to the Galaxy’s and vanilla Android experience. We’re yet to fully test this one though, plus it’s a good couple of months away from launch – you could grab an S10+, get tired of it by summer and switch to an Xperia.
Or an LG V50 ThinQ 5G, which should be out sometime in the summer too. It matches the S10+’s rear cameras nearly spec for spec, has LG’s custom software running on it instead of One UI (both have their own passionate haters, but hey, get a Pixel, alright?), but it has a notch, and notches are so last year.
Seriously, though, the biggest competitor to the Galaxy S10+ is, in fact, the smaller S10 – at a meaningfully lower price, you’re getting virtually identical hardware minus the secondary selfie cam. Just how important could selfie portraits be?
The Galaxy S9+ was an S8+ with an extra camera. The Galaxy S10+ is an S9+ with an extra camera. So that would be 2 more cameras then if you’re coming from the S8+, all by itself making it a worthy upgrade. If you’re coming from the S9+ it’s not as simple, though we would argue that with the S10+ the YoY improvements are more meaningful than what we had in 2018 – the ones we can name, but also the cumulative all-around refinement.
We’d happily recommend the Galaxy S10+ if you want the absolute best Samsung has on offer right now. But realistically, the smaller Galaxy S10 would be our pick – essentially the same phone, only more affordable.
- Standout design, top-quality build, unique colors.
- Spectacular display.
- Battery life about on par with the best in class (still, we expected better from the numbers).
- Superb photo and video quality with minor exceptions.
- Frustrating fingerprint reader experience (to be improved via an update).
Update, June 18: Fixed.
- Low-light selfies are meh.
- We wish the ultra-wide cam had autofocus.
- Bright night mode isn’t up there with the Pixel’s or Huawei’s night modes.
Update, June 18: The newly introduced Night mode is on par with the ones from competitors.
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Samsung Galaxy S10+ official images