Tomorrow Samsung takes to the stage to announce three new Galaxy S10 smartphones. Today the internet delights in the accidental early sharing of a Galaxy S10 hands-on review video by a major tech news publisher. Though the original has now been taken offline it's still circulating on social media. We won't share it again here, but we can say it confirms many of the rumoured new features we outline below.
Shown above (in sickening yellow, thanks to @Slashleaks) is the Galaxy S10e, a new addition to the range. This is a 'Lite' model and will be joined by the standard S10 and S10 Plus, and a 5G version will come later in the spring.
New Infinity-O panels with integrated fingerprint sensors (shown below, thanks to @evleaks) are among the best new features. We'll also see a triple-lens rear camera on the standard and Plus models, and a dual-lens selfie camera for the 10e.
Closer than ever to the concept of the edge-to-edge display, the Galaxy S10 is not only beautiful but powerful, with UFS 3.0 fast storage (up to 1TB), up to 12GB LPDDR5 RAM (which offers insane performance), and a jump up to the Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9820.
As you'll read below, there's really not a lot we *don't* know about the upcoming Galaxy S10.
When is the Galaxy S10 release date?
Samsung has confirmed the Galaxy S10 will be unveiled on 20 February 2019 at a 7pm GMT Unpacked event.
This places the S10 launch several days ahead of the MWC trade show, which should enable it to hit the headlines before its competitors (see all the new flagship phones expected this year). Expect it to go up for preorder immediately, and early rumours suggest the official onsale date will be 8 March.
The event will be live streamed, and we'll bring you full details on how you can tune in nearer the time.
The 5G version will come later in the spring, followed by a Galaxy Note 10 in August 2019.
How much will the Galaxy S10 cost?
For the first time there will be a 'lite' model of the Galaxy S10, which will of course be cheaper at around £679, but the top model could be more expensive than anything we've seen before.
According to TuttoAndroid, a Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus with 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage will retail at 1,599€, which is around £1,400. The site also lists pricing for the other models as follows:
- Samsung Galaxy S10e (6GB RAM, 128GB storage): 779€ (£679)
- Samsung Galaxy S10 (6GB RAM, 128GB storage): 929€ (£809)
- Samsung Galaxy S10 (8GB RAM, 512GB storage): 1,179€ (£1,027)
- Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus (6GB RAM, 128GB storage): 1,049€ (£914)
- Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus (8GB RAM, 512GB storage): 1,299€ (£1,132)
- Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus (12GB RAM, 1TB storage): 1,599€ (£1,393)
You can pre-register your interest now at Carphone Warehouse for the chance to win a £1,000 Currys/PC World gift card.
Are there any design changes in the Galaxy S10?
At a glance the Galaxy S10 will look a lot like the Galaxy S9 before it, and even retains the 3.5mm headphone jack, but look closer and you'll find several changes.
At the front the most obvious of these is the new Infinity-O display, which achieves an even larger surface area by placing the selfie camera in a sort of punch-hole in the screen, leaving nothing else but glass in its wake. This enables slimmer bezels than we've ever seen before on a Galaxy phone.
Check out the cases already available for the Galaxy S10.
Also new at the front is an in-display fingerprint sensor, though rumours suggest the 10e model will feature a cheaper version of this than the standard Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus. In another effort to cut down on costs the 10e is equipped with just a dual-lens camera at the rear and loses the heart-rate sensor, where both S10 and S10 Plus are thought to feature triple-lens cameras. The Plus also has a dual-lens selfie camera.
Screens are expected to come in at 5.8in, 6.1in and 6.4in, which means the Galaxy S10 Plus now rivals Samsung's Note 9 on size. Despite these increases, the actual size of the phones themselves is expected to remain more or less the same.
German website All About Samsung has published the first live images of the Galaxy S10 family:
What are the key new features in the Galaxy S10?
Samsung has redesigned its custom UI for Android, which is now known as OneUI. Details of this interface were announced at the Samsung Developer Conference, when the company gave us more information about its upcoming foldable phone which will also run OneUI and may even launch at the same Unpacked event on 20 February.
One of the features of the new interface is that it can match the colour of the hardware, and the imagery shown during the keynote suggests we could be looking at silver, green, black, blue and red colour options for the Galaxy S10.
The software can also aid one-handed use with large-screen devices by adding larger thumbnails and icons and putting all the controls in the bottom half and leaving the top as a viewing area. There's also a system-wide night mode.
Bezel-less Infinity-O Display
It's no secret that Samsung is working on various new screen types for its upcoming smartphones, and the one expected to be found in the Galaxy S10 is known as Infinity-O. Rather than the flat notch favoured by 2018 flagships or the increasingly popular reduced-size 'waterdrop' notch seen in more recent designs, Infinity-O uses a single punch hole in the display to place the selfie camera.
This will almost certainly be a SuperAMOLED panel, and the three S10 models are expected to be differentiated in size - 5.8in, 6.1in and 6.4in. Galaxy S10 is thought to have a screen-to-body ratio of 93%, which is significantly higher than the S9's 89.6%.
Ice Universe has also suggested it will have a greater than 600ppi pixel density. Given that the Quad-HD+ Galaxy S9 is 570ppi, we may see a move to Ultra-HD/4K.
The only question that remains is where Samsung intends to put the earpiece and sensors. It's interesting to note that the company has been working on ‘Sound on Display’, tech that allows the screen glass to emit audio.
Whatever happens, confident and accurate leaker @evleaks has all but confirmed the design of the S10+ in a leak just nine days before the Unpacked event of an advertising banner:
So yeah, looks like that's definitely happening... [Thanks, tipster!] pic.twitter.com/CQ0nxrAGh2— Evan Blass (@evleaks) February 11, 2019
In-display fingerprint sensor
It’ll be in the Galaxy S10 Plus that we see for the first time the highly-anticipated ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor, a third-gen model made by Qualcomm. Taiwanese companies General Interface Solutions (GIS) and O-Film, which have previously collaborated with Qualcomm or Vivo on ultrasonic fingerprint-scanning tech, have been brought in to help produce the modules at the mass scale required by Samsung.
Originally thought to be a feature reserved for the two premium models, news from Korea suggests the Galaxy S10e will also get the feature but it will be a cheaper optical version to keep down costs (still fancy, but not as accurate when your fingers are wet or dirty).
Chosun Biz reports that technical difficulties have meant Samsung has tried and failed to implement FOD (fingerprint on display) tech for the past two years, and has decided not to add it to the Note 9 in favour of the S10.
A patent has been unearthed by Patently Mobile that reveals exactly how this in-display fingerprint scanning tech might work, showing a biometric area in the bottom half of the display. One might assume this will work better than existing designs that require you to place your finger in a specific spot.
Triple-lens rear cameras
Following Huawei's success with triple-lens rear camera arrangements, Samsung is expected to follow a similar format with its S10 - a theory backed by KBI Securities analyst Kim Dong-won, who says the company hopes it will help it to “reinvigorate” its business. Extra depth-sensing abilities, optical zoom and increased light sensitivity are expected to headline.
Triple rear cameras are expected to feature in the two larger Galaxy S10 models, with a 16Mp (standard) + 13Mp (telephoto) + 12Mp (wide-angle) setup (source).
However, there's now talk that the 5G model, a super-sized 6.7in Galaxy S10, will actually have four lenses at the back.
Less likely is the theory that Samsung will fly the megapixel flag high as a highlight of its latest phone with news that it recently announced the 48Mp Isocell Bright GM1 and 32Mp Isocell Bright GD1, both small enough to be used in smartphones with multiple cameras.
Reliable leaker OnLeaks claims the below render is what the S10 Plus will look like with three horizontal rear cameras and a dual-lens selfie camera:
The Galaxy S10 Plus is expected to arrive with two selfie cameras. The spec of these cameras is not known, though we suspect they may be 8Mp and 16Mp in line with the Galaxy A8.
As such the Plus is expected to have a larger cutout in its display, as depicted above.
The standard and Lite models will feature a single-lens selfie camera.
Face ID-style 3D sensing camera
Rumours hailing from Korea suggest Samsung will ditch the iris scanner in favour of a 3D sensing camera in the Galaxy S10. It says with the in-display fingerprint sensor at the front there’s really no need for this kind of tech.
Expect a processor bump in the S10, so we’ll see either Samsung’s 8nm Exynos 9820 chip or the Snapdragon 855 (the upgrade to the 845), depending where in the world you buy your handset.
Based on the specs of Samsung's recently announced Exynos chip, the S10 will not only be faster and more energy efficient, with smoother framerates thanks to the integrated Mali G76, but able to support 8K video at 30fps and 4K at 150fps. The ISP can support five lenses, adding weight to the theory there will be a triple-lens rear camera. There's also an integrated NPU for AI.
In line with this will be LPDDR5 RAM, and UFS 3.0 storage which is twice as fast as UFS 2.0. Samsung has recently begun mass production of its 1TB eUFS 2.1 smartphone storage chips, so a version of the Galaxy S10 could be the first to use them.
The Snapdragon 855 variant of the Galaxy S10 Plus has been spotted in the Geekbench database, recording a score of 3413 points single-core and 10256 multi-core. This model is said to come with 6GB of RAM, according to the benchmark, so expect the 8GB- and 12GB RAM models to be faster still.
Now the Exynos models have popped up, too, but with lower scores (source). That's not a massive surprise, given that the Exynos chip is an 8nm rather than 7nm design. In Geekbench 4 the Galaxy S10 Plus has recorded a slightly disappointing 3248 points single-core and 7999 multi-core. Weirdly the standard model scores higher, with 4382 single-core and 9570 multi-core.
Best of all, though, is the Galaxy S10+ with 12GB of RAM and 1TB internal storage. It's been clocked at Geekbench with 4450 points single-core, and 9753 multi-core.
Faster Wireless Charging
A tweet from Ice Universe, a renowned technology tipster, has mentioned that "Samsung smartphone 15W charging will become history".
With manufacturers such as Huawei pushing its wireless charging to 40W, Samsung could be looking to adopt Qualcomm's wireless charging technology of up to 27W.
In terms of battery capacity, an image shared by Ice Universe suggests the 5.8in version will have a 3,100mAh cell, the 6.1in S10 a 3,500mAh battery, and the largest 6.4in phone the highest capacity of all at 4000mAh.
Arriving before the launch of 5G the standard Galaxy S10 will not get 5G support, but a version of the phone with 5G is expected to arrive later in the year, according to The Bell.
Samsung has previously been said to have been working on a dedicated 5G phone.
Ice Universe claims: "Samsung will launch 5G in March next year, but only 5G will be opened in few regions of the world. It is reasonable for Samsung not to carry 5G on S10. 5G baseband may bring instability and heat. Samsung will release a 5G dedicated mobile phone."
We know that the Exynos 9820 does not support 5G, maxing out at LTE-A Cat 20, though the Snapdragon 855 variant could add 5G connectivity.
Read next: Best new phones coming in 2019