The Samsung Galaxy S10 series is one of the only flagship series that has an offering which can cater for everyone – aside from those looking for a cheap smartphone; but seriously, it’s a flagship; price isn’t really their main concern. The main draw of any flagship is performance and that’s something that Samsung hasn’t skimped on when it comes to the S10 series . However, with the three different variants it can be a little daunting for users. I mean, it’s pretty easy if you want a small flagship – you’ve got the S10e; if you’re looking for a large phone or a more robust front camera – the S10+ is your go to. So, where does that leave the S10? Is there really a need for the S10 when the other two variants carve out a distinct niche? That’s what you’ll be finding out in this review.
The Samsung Galaxy 10 is, for me, the best designed of the Galaxy S10 trio. The ergonomics and the overall feel of the smartphone is the most balanced of the Galaxy S10 trio. The design seems to take into consideration nearly all of the interactions and way you could hold the device.
The Galaxy S10’s overall design has a premium feel to it. The design cues feel deliberate and functional. The dual curves on the front and back of the smartphone gives it a natural feel when held in the hand. This is complemented by a heft which makes the Galaxy S10 feel like an extension of the user.
The Galaxy S10 follows in the footsteps of the S10e and has a single front camera sensor. This is placed in the top right corner of the device and doesn’t intrude when using the device. It definitely fades into the background as you use the device. Aesthetically, the S10 and its colour options allow the device to stand out or blend into the background depending on what the user wants.
The S10 is also one of Samsung’s first devices to feature an under display fingerprint scanner. Unlike the S10e, the new placement of the fingerprint scanner under the display allows users to not only wake the screen with a simple press of the screen, but also unlock their device. The new placement is also one of the most natural thanks to the size of the phone which is not too big nor too small.
The Galaxy S10 doesn’t cut corners when it comes to specifications. It comes with top of the line specifications as is expected of a Samsung flagship. From its screen all the way to its insides, the S10 is making sure that users get the best of its generation.
Let’s look at what comes inside the Galaxy S10. The S10 runs on Samsung’s Exynos 9820 which is the latest and greatest from Samsung with cutting edge 8nm fabrication. The new way of making the processor promises to conserve power while keeping the smartphone at top performance. The 9820 is also one of the first processors from Samsung with a neural processing unit (NPU) which allows better, more efficient management of resources when it comes to A.I.. Paired with the Exynos 9820 is paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage – completing a power packed trifecta.
The S10 comes with a triple camera array on its back and a single camera on the front. This combination makes the camera setup on the S10 one of the most versatile yet. The triple sensor main camera allows users to switch between 2x zoom and ultrawide angle. This allows users to get exactly the shot they want with the S10. The single sensor on the front is also able to take wide angle selfies as well as get you that perfect shot when it comes to the selfies.
Of course, the display rounds off the hardware of the S10. Its 6.1-inch new infinity display maximizes the space with an nearly bezel-less solution. The display spans the whole face of the S10 and has one of the sharpest displays with pretty accurate colour reproduction. Best part, you’re still able to operate the S10 with one hand!
|Processor||Exynos 9820 OctaOcta-Core (8 Cores)|
2×2.73 GHz Mongoose M4
2×2.31 GHz Cortex-A75
4×1.95 GHz Cortex-A55
|Memory||128GBExpandable with MicroSD (Up to 512GB)|
|Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)||Mali-G76 MP12|
|Display||Dynamic AMOLED panel 5.8-inch (~438 ppi)QHD+, 19:9 ratio (1,440 x 3,040 pixels)|
Corning Gorilla Glass 6
|Operating System||Android 9.0 Pie with OneUI|
|Battery||Non-Removable 3,400mAh Li-IonFast Charging (15W)|
Fast Wireless Charging (15W)
|Connectivity||Dual SIM (Hybrid Slot)Wi-Fi IEEE802.11 b/g/n/ac/ax|
GPS/A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
Bluetooth 5.0 LE
USB 3.1 (Type-C)
|Camera||REAR: Triple Sensor:|
12-Megapixel (f/1.5-2.4 aperture, 26mm (wide) focal length, 1/2.55-inch sensor size,1.4µm pixel size, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS)
12-Megapixel (f/2.4 aperture, 52mm (telephoto) focal length, 1/3.6-inch sensor size, 1.0µm pixel size, AF, OIS, 2x optical zoom)
16-Megapixel (f/2.2 aperture, 12mm (ultrawide) focal length, 1.0µm pixel size)
Phase Detection Autofocus
2160p Video recording (60fps)
10-Megapixel (f/1.9 aperture, 26mm focus length, Dual Pixel PDAF, 1.22µm pixel size)
Quad HD video recording (30fps)
Fingerprint (under display)
The Samsung Galaxy S10 comes with Android 9 Pie with Samsung’s OneUI skin. The interface is familiar for anyone coming from a Samsung device but carries performance updates and features that make it a better experience overall.
The main optimisation comes in the form of resource management. The new OneUI is smarter when it comes to utilising RAM and allows the phone to perform faster overall. Of course, being a new device, you won’t be able to feel the effects of the optimisation. However, this is more apparent in older devices which have received the OneUI update.
The S10 while ergonomic and natural in hand can be a little challenging to use one-handed. However, Samsung has optimised OneUI to allow users to better interact with the OS with one hand. Most of the functional interactions are within the bottom layer of the interface allowing you to interact with just your thumb. This makes the S10 even easier to use for those with smaller hands.
OneUI’s redesign may not be the most welcome redesign out there. The rugged, more futuristic icons of the old TouchWiz have been given the boot in favour of a more approachable design language. The icons can look a little bit kiddy but overall, their aesthetic is warm and welcoming. It also keeps utilitarianism in mind by keeping every functional toggle in view or a swipe way.
Of course, Samsung’s Theming engine is also still part of OneUI. The theming engine allows users to apply and create themes which are unique and show off their personality. Everything from the font to the colour of the your ambient display icons can be customised.
The S10 performs like you would expect a flagship to perform. It’s has an edge on multitasking thanks to both the optimisations on Android 9 Pie and also OneUI. Samsung’s utilisation of the curved edge for things like quick access to contacts and also app pairs allows users to better optimise their multitasking.
That said, Samsung’s take on Android 9 can be a little frustrating when it comes to multitasking. With the new implementation of multiwindow, users need to go into the recent apps list and click on the app icon. Only then can an app be sent into split screen. Of course, app pair eliminates the need for this sequence of events but if you’re trying to do split screen with an app you don’t use all the time – it can get a little tedious.
However, software optmisations aside, the S10 is able to handle multitasking without much fuss. There was little lag when it came to using more than one app and the phone was just as fluid jumping between applications. There may have been a little stuttering when swiping between apps in the multitasking view, but it seems to only be visual as performance is otherwise unaffected.
When it comes to gaming, the S10 is able to perform with the best of them. While it may not have optimisations that a “gaming smartphone” has, the S10 is able to handle games such as PlayerUnknown’s Battle Grounds (PUBG) without much of a hick. Of course, prolonged play time resulted in the smartphone getting a little warm but it wasn’t to the point where it became alarmingly warm.
On the battery front, the S10 has just enough battery to get you through a day of usage. I was getting about 12 hours of battery with my usage. This included syncing multiple email accounts in the background, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even the occasional gaming. Even when using PowerShare, the S10 was still able to push the 10 hour mark while topping off another device to about 20%.
When it comes to the display, the S10 has a display that is large enough to allow you the best experience when viewing your favourite show on Netflix or even when it comes to gaming. The Dynamic AMOLED screen has a crispness and the colours are pretty pleasing comparative to what we have on the market right now.
The Dynamic AMOLED screen has done away with the overtly saturated colours of Samsung’s Super AMOLED screens. Instead the screens now have more natural colours with 100% sRGB gamut coverage. The result is a more pleasing experience when it came to the viewing experience.
The Galaxy S10’s screen gave me one of the most immersive experiences on a phone of its size. The screen was large enough to deliver enough detail to enjoy the content I was consuming. Prolonged viewing and interaction didn’t result in much fatigue. In fact, I was able to watch about 3 episodes of Dragon Prince without feeling like I was missing out or getting eye fatigue. Samsung’s HDR10+ definitely played a part in making the experience an enjoyable one. Details in the videos and images were crisp and added to the experience.
Most people were making noise when it came to the pin hole for the front camera. To be honest, the pin hole for the front camera was never intrusive for me. It’s in the top right corner which seems to allow it to fade in to the background pretty naturally.
The main camera of the Samsung Galaxy S10 is one of the most versatile setups available. The triple camera with an ultra-wide and telephoto sensor allows the camera to adapt to any situation that the user wants to use it in. I found myself taking more pictures than usual thanks to the ease of use of the camera and also its versatility.
The ultrawide angle camera is allowed for some dramatic flair when it came taking landscapes and also buildings. However, some of the resultant photos came with a weird fish eye warp which can be off putting. That said, it only occurred when lighting was an issue. Other than that it performed pretty well. The telephoto sensor allowed for nice tight picture with the 2x optical zoom.
That said, the combination of sensors on the S10 allowed for pretty good photos. This was true in low light as well. However, when it came to low light, artifacting and pixelation was common if lighting was too much of a challenge. This held true even for the larger aperture setting. Other than that, the camera on the S10 is one of the best performing in the market – arguably.
The front facing camera of the S10 is pretty similar to the S10e. The dual aperture is a nice touch for getting better selfies in low light. That said, the pictures under normal lighting conditions are pretty good but nothing to scream home about.
The Perfect Balance of Features and Size
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is perhaps best described as a flagship that falls into the Goldilocks zone. It has all the bells and whistles you’re looking for in a flagship phone with a pretty decent price. Yet, its doesn’t overwhelm you with its size. In fact, for me, it was the perfect size for easy handling.