Samsung Galaxy S10+ review: Premium design, spectacular performance, a delight for selfie lovers
The gorgeous display is the most impressive thing about the S10+.
Price: Rs 73,900 onwards
Samsung completed 10 years of Galaxy smartphones this year. Over the years, we have seen Samsung bring out some really great devices across a price range (they do want to cater to all segments) but it’s their flagships that established the company as a major competitor to Apple. In that vein, the Galaxy S and Note series have been leading the charge when it comes to the newest features. This is also the first time that Samsung’s flagship range includes three devices: S10e, S10 and S10+. Our review is based on the Samsung Galaxy S10+ with 128GB storage.
Premium Design to Match
We’ve always loved the design language on Samsung’s flagship range. The glass sandwich design has been elevated to a new level with the new colours – especially the prism white that reflects multiple colours in different light. It has a good hand feel and does not feel bulky thanks to its 175 grams weight. The only trouble is that the glass also picks up smudges quickly and needs to be regularly cleaned – thankfully Samsung provides a clear case in the box.
The Exynos 9820 is a performance beast! We were able to run PUBG on ultra settings without seeing a single frame drop. All other games we tried (Asphalt 9, Dead Trigger 2, Into the Dead 2 etc.) also ran without a hitch. We played 4k videos and even edited RAW photos using Adobe Lightroom on the phone and the S10+ just breezed through everything. Battery life is also great – we regularly got a full day of battery life with around 25% to spare. There is fast charge support which can do a 10 to 100% in an hour and a half. The S10+ delivers every bit of performance one expects from a flagship device.
Specifications, Pros, Cons
Best Screen of any Smartphone
Right off the bat, the gorgeous display is the most impressive thing about the S10+. The 6.4-inch dual curved screen has a resolution of 3040 x 1440 pixels and is the first to get HDR10+ support. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 6 which is quite sturdy and scratch resistant. Instead of a single punch-hole for a front camera, the S10+ has an oval cutout for the front dual camera. It might appear that this cutout would interfere in day-today use but we found it better than any sort of notch. Despite it being off-center, the cutout is something that is easier to forget about. Plus if you hold it in landscape mode, your thumb covers that space anyway. We think the screen is perfect in every way and a real joy to use.
A Wider Scope for the Camera
Triple rear cameras are not new. Samsung’s own A9 has four rear cameras.
What makes the triple camera on the S10+ different is the feature set and performance. Not only did Samsung include its dual aperture on the phone but also added dual OIS and dual pixel phase detection autofocus the primary and telephoto lenses. The third lens (a 16MP ultra-wide) opens up a new type of photography and helps capture panoramas with a lot more area. Image quality is top-notch with crisp details, punchy colour and amongst the best dynamic range we have seen on a phone. The only place where we found the S10+ lacking is portraits and night mode – the Pixel 3/3XL still does better than the S10+ in these areas every time. The S10+ redeems itself with fantastic 4k video, HDR10 video and super stabilized video. This is a truly impressive camera and goes head-to-head with Pixel 3/3XL and iPhone XS/XS Max.
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Tripping On Tech
A New Type of Fingerprint Scanner
Phones with in-display fingerprint scanners use optical scanners but Samsung is first with an ultrasonic scanner. An optical scanner uses the display to reflect the light from your finger to a camera while Samsung’s tech uses ultrasonic sound waves to precisely read the ridges of your finger. It can work with wet or oily fingers too. It works well enough but it isn’t as fast as a good capacitive scanner. It also takes time to get used to the precise finger placement required. Since this is a first-generation product there are bound to be speed improvements with software updates.
A New User Interface
Samsung has toned down their custom interface after listening to a lot of user feedback. It has Samsung’s One UI based on Android 9.0 and comes loaded with various features. There is no preloaded bloatware and dark mode is available out of the box. Some of the other features we liked included the option to change screen resolution, edge screen function, dual apps, game mode, video enhancer functionality and the option to customize home screen and app screen grid. There are significant features available in the camera app too including an Instagram mode which lets you post directly to your Instagram account, a superb pro mode, a best-shot feature that helps you take better photos and a scene optimizer for automatic selection of best settings while shooting. The interface is zippy and there is no sluggishness even with over 40 apps running in the background.
Selfie Lovers Delight
The S10+ has a dual front camera: 10MP f1.9 + 8MP f2.2 depth sensor. You get dual pixel PDAF on the front camera too and it’s amongst the first phones capable of recording 4k video from the front camera (Nokia 8 had it too). The images are as good as what we see from the primary cameras on midrange phones today. We also liked the level of edge detection in the portrait mode with a good amount of bokeh. A wide-angle mode expands the coverage area so that you can get in more people or more of the background.
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Those Who Want It All
Flagship Class Hardware
India gets the Exynos variant of the S10+ instead of Snapdragon 855 used in North America. It has Samsung’s top-ofthe-line Exynos 9820 processor (8nm process), 8GB RAM and you can choose between 128GB or 512GB storage options. The 4,100mAh battery supports fast charge and Qi wireless charging. This is also amongst the first phones to offer support for the faster WiFi ax standard and comes with Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and USB Type-C port for connectivity. The only disappointment is that it has a hybrid dual SIM slot which means no dedicated microSD slot for expansion.
Packed With Features
This phone offers wireless power share — you can charge compatible phones or accessories wirelessly by just placing it on the back of the phone. It’s not for everyone but nice to have.
Second, Samsung still offers a 3.5mm audio jack. Third impressive feature is the phone’s loud and clear stereo speakers. Last but not the least, Samsung has done away with IRIS unlock and opted for a simpler face unlock which works faster. That being said, face unlock is not secure at all. We were easily able to fool it into unlocking with just a photograph. This doesn’t happen on other phones like OnePlus 6T so Samsung needs to work on this.
Samsung has once again proven its mettle in the premium smartphone segment with the S10+. This phone is a seriously impressive piece of kit – one that any Android user would love to own. It’s an easy choice for anyone looking to invest in a top-tier smartphone. We had some brief time with the S10 and it’s almost the same – barring a slightly smaller screen (6.1 vs 6.4-inch, smaller battery (3,400 vs 4,100mAh) and single front camera. The only hitch we see is that its priced higher than the Samsung Note 9 which is better in terms of productivity thanks to the pressure sensitive S-pen. Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro is also a close competitor with an impressive triple camera, premium design and similar feature set. However, most people we spoke to preferred Samsung when given a choice and that’s why the S10+ is a sure-shot winner in our opinion.