Samsung Galaxy S10 - Fast, feature-packed, and everything you expect of Samsung 6 months ago

Samsung Galaxy S10 - Fast, feature-packed, and everything you expect of Samsung

Our Samsung Galaxy S10 review.

Of the numerous Android phones released every year, none arrive with quite the level of hype that accompanies a flagship Samsung Galaxy device. The Galaxy S10 is the biggest phone release of 2019 so far, and it deserves the many accolades that are likely coming its way.

The Galaxy S10 is one of three new releases by Samsung, the middle ground between the Galaxy S10+ and the Galaxy S10e.

When you look at the Samsung Galaxy S10, you're looking at the peak of Samsung's design and manufacturing process and it's one of the best phones you can buy right now.

Samsung has created a phone that is the very definition of 'feature-packed', but more on that a little later; let's start with the straightforward, what comes in the box.

  • USB Cable: Type-C USB cable that connects the adapter to your phone.
  • Travel Adapter: The charger adapter that you plug into the wall.
  • Ejector Tool: Used for ejecting the SIM and microSD tray.
  • USB Connector: Used for changing the Type-C USB port to a Type-B USB.
  • Headphone Set and Replacement Earbuds: A pair of AKG headphones and an extra set of earbud tips in different sizes.
  • Quick Reference Guide and User Manual

Design

Samsung has once again built on the same basic design concept since the Galaxy S6, slowly changing the proportions, stretching the edges and increasing the scale with each subsequent phone.

The real stand out is the latest AMOLED display. The 6.1-inch Galaxy S10 display is once again amazing and the benchmark all other companies are chasing by some distance.

Not only does it stretch and curve almost edge-to-edge, giving the impression you’re holding nothing but screen, it comes with everything you'd expect with a high quality display.

The one aspect of Samsung's mobile displays that continuously impresses is just how bright they are while also having low reflectivity. This makes visibility in direct sunlight a non-issue, although you might say that's not something to be overly concerned about in Ireland.

Instead of a dip in the display, the Galaxy S10 moves its front camera into a circular cutout that sits towards the top-right of the panel. Unlike the traditional notch, the screen flows around the hole, which makes for a more seamless design, allowing videos to play around the small circular opening.

The size is also a bonus for anyone who doesn't want to use a giant phone, as it's slightly smaller than most of its competitors on the market. I used the phone without a case and came away pleased by how easily it disappeared into my pocket and what a joy it was to use one-handed.

Rejoice, for the Galaxy S10 also has a headphone jack! Notch-less and a headphone jack, long may this continue!

On a side note, Samsung packs a pair of wired AKG earbuds with every Galaxy S10 model, and they really are superb.

Features

We mentioned earlier that this phone is the very definition of 'feature-packed' and Samsung has once again lived up to its reputation of squeezing in every last feature it can into the Galaxy S10.

Every Galaxy S10 comes loaded with Android 9 (Pie) and Samsung’s new One UI, which looks a lot like previous Samsung interfaces, but with the added bonus that it's much easier to navigate.

While it will vary by region, our version used Samsung’s own Exynos 9820 chipset and came with 8GB of RAM.

Since the phone has the very latest internals, no task on this phone feels slow or laggy. Nor are there any apps that really push the hardware to its limits. It's swift changing between apps and never feels troubled in use.

The fingerprint scanner has been moved to in the screen itself from its previous spot on the back of the phone with positive results and is at least as good as any other scanners on the market.

The phone ships in optimised mode, which balances performance and battery life. You can jump to high performance for gaming, or dial back to medium power-saving mode or maximum power-saving mode when you need to conserve power.

Samsung have boosted the battery in the S10 to 3,400mAh, up from 3,000mAh in the S9. They've also added 10’s wireless power share. Turn it on and place the phone face down and it turns into a Qi charging mat. You can charge any Qi device on it, including the new Galaxy Buds in their charging case.

It charges very swiftly; either with the accompanying charger or wirelessly, it gulps in the power.

Camera

The Galaxy S10’s camera line-up is another headline feature. Three can be found on the back, with another unit on the front for selfies and face unlock.

It consists of:

  • Rear 12 MP, f/1.5-2.4, 26mm (wide), 1/2.55", 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
  • Rear 12 MP, f/2.4, 52mm (telephoto), 1/3.6", 1.0µm, AF, OIS, 2x optical zoom
  • Rear 16 MP, f/2.2, 12mm (ultrawide), 1.0µm
  • Front 10 MP, f/1.9, 26mm (wide), 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF

*F-stop value represents the amount of light that goes into the lens. The smaller the f-stop value, the more light will enter the lens. For example, an aperture of f1.8 will allow a lot more light than an aperture of f2.2, which causes better, brighter photography in low light conditions - night photos etc.

The  Galaxy S10’s smarter ‘scene optimiser’ mode, which works on all three cameras, performs well in most situations. It can now recognise up to 30 different scenes, including faces and night scenes, and tweaks the colours to make them vibrant and punchy without going too far.

Samsung Galaxy S10 review

The improved HDR mode is a real bonus and one of the features we enjoyed most about the phone.

You can now squeeze in even more into your photos with the ultra wide camera, which is perfect for capturing a picturesque shot of the open countryside or the busy streets of a parade.

For those into photography, this phone will not disappoint as it will allow you to shoot with the best of them.

Overall

Samsung has done a brilliant job with this phone, from the camera, to the display, to what's under the hood.

The Galaxy S10’s screen is gorgeous, the battery is sufficient, the hardware is top of the line, and the software is the best we've seen Samsung produce, and that's a high benchmark. Other pros include the headphone jack, expandable storage, wireless charging and the waterproof chassis.

The invisible fingerprint scanner is a nice addition from the Galaxy S9 but you’ll need to make sure you follow directions precisely when you initially scan your thumbs during the setup as it's quite sensitive.

There isn’t a more complete flagship Android phone you can buy right now than the Samsung Galaxy S10 and its two biggest competitors are the aforementioned Samsung S10e and the Galaxy S10+.

Samsung says it has taken hardware to the next level with this offering and it's difficult not to agree, it's a brilliant phone and likely to be one of the best of 2019.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is available from the Samsung store here with prices beginning at €919.