REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S10+
Looking at the Samsung Galaxy S10+, it looks like the handset that has everything you need. its ‘pill shaped’ punchhole selfie camera, more RAM than you’ll ever need, a triple camera array on the rear and loads of other flagship worthy features, the S10+ really is the phone to beat. The tenth iteration in the Galaxy S line, we’ve been playing with Samsung’s latest flagship to see how it fares in day to day use. Here is our review of the Samsung Galaxy S10+.
The Galaxy S10+’s design can be seen as an ever more refined version of the Samsung Galaxy S8 from 2016. With its futuristic Infinity-O panel and holepunch camera section, the Galaxy S10+ is instantly recognisable.
Like previous S models, the S10+ is IP68 certified and you also still get a headphone jack which is a nice inclusion for a 2019 flagship smartphone. The S10+ feels extremely well built with tight tolerances and, even with everything packed into the aluminium and Gorilla Glass 6 sandwich, is still surprisingly light.
The inclusion of reverse wireless charging off the back of the device is also very handy for topping up your friend’s wireless charging enabled handset or to top up the new Galaxy Buds in their wireless charging enabled case. The stereo speakers that flank the display are also noticeably better than those on the S9 or even the Note9 and offer a more pronounced stereo effect.
One thing we’re not a fan of is the strangely high placement of the power button on the right hand side of the device. The majority of major smartphone these days have placed their own power button on this side of the device so as to make it easier to switch between handsets without having to do much retraining of your muscle memory to unlock the phone but it’s weird how high Samsung has placed their unlock/power button on this already tall device.
The S10+ is also the first handset in the world to incorporate an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner which, instead of other displays which use optical versions (using light to scan your fingerprint on the screen) Samsung’s version uses sound which, according to them, is quicker and more secure.
Having used the S10+ for a few weeks now and having come from a Huawei P30 Pro with its optical in-display fingerprint scanner, I can’t say I noticed much improvement in terms of speed but, admittedly, both versions are very fast to begin with. The only real difference I noticed is that I don’t need to press quite as hard as I do on the P30 Pro seeing as its using sound and not light to scan your fingerprint.
Almost like clockwork, every year, when Samsung introduces their latest addition to their Galaxy S range, they also introduce a class-leading display. With the unveiling of the S10 and S10+, this year was no different. The S10+ is packing a (takes deep breath) 6.4″ Quad HD+ Inifity-O Dynamic AMOLED with HDR10+ support and peak luminance (brightness) of a staggering 1,200 nits.
There’s no two ways about it, the screen on the S10+ is the best we’ve ever seen on a smartphone. Its viewing angles, brightness levels, picture clarity and overall colour reproduction are flawless. It’s also very easy to use in direct sunlight and the tiny bezels that frame the screen almost dispensary when watching videos or playing games on the device.
Taking a look at the camera set up, the triple lens array on the rear of the device is the same as the one Samsung included on last year’s Note9. The main 12mp sensor comes with 1.4um large pixels and an f/1.5-f/2.4 dual-aperture lens. Photo quality from this main camera is always respectable if a little bit overexposed. Due to Samsung’s penchant for noise reduction, finer details in shots tend to be smoothed out and, when it comes to low light, moving objects always appear slightly blurry. For dynamic range, Samsung is able to pull in impressive amounts of detail, even in high contrast situations and colour reproduction is always pretty spot on.
Flanking this primary sensor are two additional lens that add a serious level of versatility to the S10+ photography options. There’s the 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle sensor that allows for some impressive panoramic shots to be captured without having to pan the phone. Having this option on a smartphone really opens up a whole world of additional photography options when out and about.
The third and final rear camera is the 12MP telephoto sensor which takes decent daylight images but should be avoided when light starts to fade. When it comes to telephoto photography on Smartphones, Huawei are still the ones to beat with their very impressive 5x optical zoom lens on their latest P30 Pro handset.
Samsung has also recently updated their camera app to include their own ‘Night Mode’ option but, again, the Huawei P30 Pro’s ‘Night Mode’, and even Google’s own ‘Night Sight’ mode, come out on top of what Samsung have implemented here. Hopefully we see a change to this on their upcoming Note10 range.
The S10+ is also capable of recording in 4K 60 FPS which is a nice addition and, if you drop the resolution and frame rate to 1080p/30fps, you can also enable HDR10+ video capture, which is a first for a smartphone.
For the selfie camera, you’ll notice two lenses in the pill shaped hole punch in the top right hand corner of the screen. In this cut out, there’s a 10Mp DualPixel camera with a depth sensor beside it.
We did hope that the secondary selfie camera was going to allow for ultra-wide angle selfie shots but, it wasn’t to be. Implementing their DualPixel autofocus on the front camera makes sure all your selfies are pinsharp even if Samsung’s postprocessing reduces the final image’s sharpness ever so slightly.
The secondary depth sensor is there to help improve the bokeh effect of ‘Live Focus’ shots but, comparing it to other single lens selfie shots that use AI and sheer processing power to decide what’s blurred and what isn’t, we really couldn’t see much of a difference.
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is packing one of the largest batteries to be included in an Galaxy S handset yet. Coming in at 4100mAh, the S10+ battery life really is quite impressive. Samsung has tweaked the device’s idle power consumption to make its huge battery go as long as possible and we were easily getting around 4.5 to 5 hours of screen on time. Now I know that some people don’t like using the screen on time (SOT) as a metric for battery life but, for me, it really shows how much you can get out of the S10+ on a busy day’s use.
When it comes to charging, the S10+ comes with 15W wired fast charging and, if you have the official wireless charger, you can get 12W Qi wireless charging. We would love if Samsung upped their game even more though and included faster wired charging speeds like Huawei’s crazy 40w super charging.
When taking everything into account, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is definitely one of the most feature packed phones available right now. Its class-leading display, versatile camera options, fantastic build quality, impressive battery life and intuitive UI make the S10+ an easy recommendation for anyone looking to upgrade to the best of what Samsung has to offer.