Samsung Galaxy S10 full review

It's absolutely no surprise that Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy S10 range of smartphone just ahead of MWC at its big Unpacked event. As usual, you'll want to know what's new and how the device has changed since last year. Here we compare the Galaxy S10 with the Galaxy S9.

Price

The Galaxy S10 pricing starts at £799/$899 for the 128GB version and £999/$1149 for the 512GB version so that's a bit of a jump compared to the S9 which launched at £739.

That was the launch price though, so the difference is even bigger now the S9 is the older generation. If you don't already own the S9, then this is a chance to get it at a more bargain price. It's £619 from Samsng and may drop further soon and you can find it on Amazon for around £500 at the time of writing.

Galaxy S9

Design & Build

When it comes to design, Samsung has walked the tightrope of keeping familiar design while moving things forward.

So the Galaxy S10 looks both recognisable yet modern and fresh at the same time. It's something many phone makers have struggled to achieve over the years.

Despite being a little bit bigger in footprint, the S10 is both thinner and lighter than the S9. At 7.8mm and 157g it's not a huge change but it's still something.

There's still IP68 waterproofing as you would expect and Samsung continues to offer a glass rear build along with a headphone jack.

Galaxy S10 design

The most noticeable design differences are the new camera module which is horizontal and the display which is now even taller, with a better screen-to-body ratio (93.1 percent) and has a punch-hole camera in the corner. You might not be a fan of this way of having a front facing camera but it's less intrusive vs a notch in our opinion.

Lastly, the S10 comes in different colours: Prism green, Prism white and Prism black.

Specs & Features

Even the Galaxy S7 was a brilliant phone, so we have some empathy for phone makers trying to bring new hardware and interesting features year after year. 

The Galaxy S10 brings a number of upgrades across the board that improve on the excellent Galaxy S9.

Galaxy S10 vs S9

It looks pretty different due to the punch-hole camera, but the screen isn't hugely changed. It's a little bigger at 6.1in (vs 5.8in) and is slightly taller with a 19:9 aspect ratio. It still uses AMOLED tech, curved edges and a Quad HD+ resolution.

The bit you can't see is the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner which is embedded into the display, like the OnePlus 6T. This is why there's no scanner on the rear like the S9.

The back makes it obvious there are more cameras, with an extra two. The main 12Mp camera is the same as the S9 with its dual aperture, but the S10 has an extra 16Mp Ultra wide camera and 12Mp Telephoto lens on top.

At the front, that camera goes from 8- to 10Mp but drops from f/1.7 to f/1.9 so it's swings and roundabouts.

Galaxy S10 screen

Moving to the engine room and there are a number of upgrades beyond the new Exynos 9820 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processors (depending on your market). 

The S10 has double the amount of RAM at 8GB and offers either 128- or 512GB of storage. There's still a microSD card slot that can now take up to 512GB. The S9 technically goes to 256GB but finding anything larger than 64GB is tricky.

There's more with a 3400mAh battery in the Galaxy S10 vs 3000mAh and there's not only Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 but Wireless Powershare means you can use the phone as to wirelessly charge other devices.

It's also worth noting that the S10 means getting the latest software, that's Android 9.0 Pie with Samsung's new One UI. It might take a while for the S9 to get an update.

See below for a full spec table of the Galaxy S9 vs Galaxy S10:

  Galaxy S9 Galaxy S10
Display 5.8in SuperAMOLED Infinity Display, 18.5:9, HDR10, Quad HD+ (1440x2960), 570ppi 6.1in Dynamic AMOLED, 19:9, HDR10, Quad HD+ (1440x3040), 550ppi
Processor Exynos 9810 or Snapdragon 845 Exynos 9820 or Snapdragon 855
GPU Mali-G72 or Adreno 630 Mali-G76 or Adreno 640
Memory 4GB 8GB
Storage 64/128/256GB (expandable by up to 400GB via microSD) 128/512GB (expandable by up to 512GB via microSD)
OS Android 8.0 Oreo Android 9.0 Pie with One UI
Main camera 12Mp, f/1.5-2.4 dual aperture, 26mm (wide), 1.4µm, OIS, dual pixel PDAF 12Mp, f/1.5-2.4 dual aperture, OIS
16Mp, Ultra Wide, f/2.2
12Mp, Tele, f/2.4, OIS
Selfie camera 8Mp, f/1.7, Autofocus 10Mp, f/1.9, Autofocus
Biometrics Facial recognition, Iris scanner & rear fingerprint scanner Embedded Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, 2D Face Recognition
Battery 3000mAh with fast charging & wireless charging 3400mAh with fast charging & fast wireless charging 2.0 & Wireless Powershare 
GPS Yes Yes
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0 LE Bluetooth 5.0 LE
LTE Cat 18 (4G) Cat 20 (4G)
NFC Yes Yes
Heart rate monitor Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Dual-band 11ac Dual-band 11ac
Ports USB-C (USB 3.1), 3.5mm headphone jack, Dual SIM/MicroSD USB-C (USB 3.1), 3.5mm headphone jack
Waterproofing IP68 IP68
Dimensions 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm
Weight 163g 157g

Verdict

With smartphones hitting something of a technology ceiling over the last few years, it's impressive to see the Galaxy S10 bring upgrades in almost every area. They might be small in some places but they all add up to a lot.

The most exciting ones for consumers will be the embedded fingerprint scanner and those extra cameras. But there are plenty more including better processors, more RAM, more storage, a bigger battery and reverse wireless charging.

What's not to like? The price, we guess.

Specs

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
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE Cat 20
  • Headphone jack
  • USB-C
  • 3400mAh non-removable battery
  • Fast Wireless Charging 2.0
  • Wireless Powershare
  • IP68 dust & waterproof rating
  • 70.4x150x7.8mm
  • 157g

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