Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Sony Xperia 1 full review
The covers are off these two new Android phones. But how do they compare? Is the Galaxy S10 the obvious choice? Or has Sony managed to out-innovate its rival?
Price & Availability
The Galaxy S10 costs £799/$899 for the 8GB/128GB combination and £999/$1149 if you prefer the 8GB/512GB version. Both are available to order now and come with a free ultra thin wireless charger while stocks last.
Sony unveiled its new Xperia 1 at Mobile World Congress in February 2019. It's available to pre-order now on a range of plans from Carphone Warehouse, EE, O2, Sky Mobile and Vodafone, and has a SIM-free price of £899. It's expected to ship on 30 May.
Design & Build
Samsung has refined its already enviable design with the new S10. By moving the camera under the display, it creates a screen to body ratio of 93 percent, which is quite remarkable. The only real obstruction is a pill-shaped aperture in the upper right corner and time will tell whether this is preferable to the notch found on so many rivals.
It’s not just the camera that’s nestling beneath the front panel, as the new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor also resides here.
In keeping with past designs there is a metal chassis with a glass back, allowing for fast wireless charging, and it’s also where you’ll find the three main cameras. USB-C is the port of choice and the headphone jack survives once again. A doff of the cap to you, Samsung.
Sony has taken a somewhat radical step by moving up to a 21:9 screen ratio, making the Xperia 1 a very tall, narrower device. A metal rim flanks the glass front and back, with the power button on the side doubling as a fingerprint sensor.
- S10: 150mm x 70.4mm x 7.8mm
- Xperia 1: 167mm x 72mm x 8.2mm
Three cameras are nestled on the back, continuing the trend for 2019, plus there’s a USB-C charging port but sadly no wireless charging capabilities. A rating of IP65/68 makes the Xperia 1 safe around water, much like the IP68 on the S10.
- Almost bezel-less screen on the S10
- New, taller 21:9 display on Xperia 1
- Three cameras on both devices
- Headphone jack on S10
Here's a breakdown of the technical specifications for both devices;
|Galaxy S10||Xperia 1|
|Operating System||Android 9 Pie||Android 9 Pie|
|Display||6.1in Wide Quad HD+ (3040x1440) 19:9 Dynamic AMOLED||6.5in OLED QHD+ HDR|
|Processor||Exynos 9820 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855|
|Storage||128/512GB (expandable via microSD)||128GB (expandale via microSD)|
|MicroSD||Yes - up to 512GB||Yes - up to 512GB|
|Main camera||Dual pixel 12Mp, f/1.5-2.4, OIS rear camera + 16Mp Ultra Wide, f/2.2 + 12Mp Tele, f/2.4||12 Mp Wide (26mm Dual PD with OIS), 12Mp Tele (52mm, OIS), and 12Mp Super Wide (16mm)|
|Selfie camera||Dual pixel 10Mp, f/1.9 front camera||8Mp|
|WiFi||802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi||802.11a/ac/b/g/n|
|Bluetooth||5 with aptX||5|
|LTE||4G Cat 20||4G|
|Ports||USB-C, 3.5mm Headphone jack||USB-C|
|Dimensions||150mm x 70.4mm x 7.8mm||167mm x 72mm x 8.2mm|
|Price||From £799 / $899||£899 / $TBC|
Specs & Features
As these are flagship devices, it’s no surprise to find flagship components inside. Both come with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, except for in Europe where the S10 features Samsung’s equally powerful Exynos 9820.
The Sony has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the S10 comes in either 8GB/128GB or 8GB/512GB configurations. All models have expandable storage thanks to microSD card slots which take up to a maximum of 512GB.
The 21:9 aspect ratio of the Xperia 1 means that the 6.5in display is very tall, much more so than the 6.1in 19:9 variant found on the S10. This makes it ideal for multi-tasking and watching movies in the same format that they were filmed, all without black bars or notches.
Sony boasts that the panel is the world’s first 6.5in 4K HDR OLED display to come in a smartphone, and there’s no doubt it’s a very impressive piece of glass.
Samsung is no slouch though, as the 6.1in Dynamic AMOLED Wide Quad HD+ display is one of the best we’ve ever seen, coming as it does with a HDR10+ certification. Blue light, which can interfere with sleeping patterns, has been minimised through the fluid composite in Dynamic AMOLED, meaning you might rest easier after an evening with the S10.
It can’t match the uninterrupted splendour of the Xperia 1 though, so be sure to spend some time with one before buying as that camera aperture is now the new notch.
The standard flagship feature for this generation is three cameras, and both the Xperia 1 and S10 come fully equipped in the optics department. The new triumvirate usually includes a telephoto lens, wide angle, and very wide angle, which is the case here.
Sony opts for a complement of 12 Mp Wide (26mm Dual PD with OIS), 12Mp Tele (52mm, OIS), and 12Mp Super Wide (16mm), while Samsung has Dual pixel 12Mp, f/1.5-2.4, OIS rear camera + 16Mp Ultra Wide, f/2.2 + 12Mp Tele, f/2.4.
Either should produce impressive results, with images taken on the new ultra/super wide-angle format sure to quickly become a regular feature on social media.
- Xperia 1’s 21:9 format allows movies to be watched in full screen
- Top-end processors
- Ultrasonic Fingerprint sensor on S10
- New ultra-wide cameras on both units
Android 9 Pie runs on both devices, each with skins added by their respective manufacturers. Sony’s is quite light, with only a few significant alterations, including Side sense that allows menus and shortcuts to be opened by tapping the flanks.
Samsung has a long history of using its heavy-handed TouchWiz interface, but this has seen significant improvements in recent years, which has led to the new One UI. This is an elegant, helpful, and easy-to-use new format that should prove a welcome relief from the garish colours and overly complicated efforts of the past.
Sony Xperia 1: Specs
- 6.5in OLED screen with 4K resolution, 21:9 aspect ratio
- 'X1 for mobile' engine
- Gorilla Glass 6 front and rear
- Triple 12Mp rear cameras (ultra-wide, wide and telephoto)
- Support for recording 4K HDR video in 21:9, 24fps
- 8Mp selfie camera (3D support)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
- 6GB RAM / 128GB storage
- MicroSD up to 512GB
- Hybrid dual-SIM (tray can accept second SIM or microSD)
- 3300mAh battery
- IP68 water-resistant
- Bluetooth 5 / NFC / 802.11ac
- Android 9 Pie
- Colours: Black, Grey, White, Purple
- Dimensions: 167 x 72 x 8.2mm
Samsung Galaxy S10: Specs
- Android 9.0 Pie with One UI
- 6.1in Wide Quad HD+ (3040x1440) 19:9 Dynamic AMOLED
- Exynos 9820 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor
- 8GB RAM
- 128/512GB internal storage
- microSD card slot (up to 512GB)
- Dual pixel 12Mp, f/1.5-2.4, OIS rear camera + 16Mp Ultra Wide, f/2.2 + 12Mp Tele, f/2.4
- Dual pixel 10Mp, f/1.9 front camera
- Pressure sensitive home button
- Embedded Ultrasonic Fingerprint scanner
- 2D Face Recognition
- Heart rate monitor
- 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX
- 4G LTE Cat 20
- Headphone jack
- 3400mAh non-removable battery
- Fast Wireless Charging 2.0
- Wireless Powershare
- IP68 dust & waterproof rating