Just a little shy of two weeks ago, we witnessed the global launch of the Samsung Galaxy S10 series of smartphones, their 10th iteration of flagship smartphones. Then we got our hands on Samsung Galaxy S10+ and we are now bringing you our full in-depth review of this majestic phone.
Just how much has changed since the Galaxy S9 series? What and how are the new features found on Galaxy S10+ in terms of practicality? Let’s find out in this in-depth review of the Samsung Galaxy S10+.
We actually did an unboxing video of the Galaxy S10+ not too long ago, and you can watch it down below.
But if you are not into videos today, then let us just walk you through our thoughts and opinions on the new packaging that Samsung has bestowed upon the Galaxy S10 series of smartphones.
First off, the box design is completely different. Samsung made a vow recently to use sustainable materials for their packaging and the Galaxy S10 series of smartphones are the first to experience this overhaul in packaging. Opening up the box reveals the phone itself, which is quite typical.
At the back, we have the specs of the Galaxy S10+ listed up above.
On the lid itself is where the accessories box is found. We can only find the quick start guide here, but referring to unboxings from other countries – we found out that there is an included TPU case. As mentioned during our first impressions, the unit we have here is not the Malaysian retail unit – it is presumably from Netherlands.
Under the Galaxy S10+ we can find the whole slew of accessories. Once again, we get the same contents from previous iterations of the Samsung Galaxy S series of smartphones – just in a much more compact packaging. Here is the list of items inside the box itself.
- The Galaxy S10+ (obviously)
- Adaptive Fast Charger (15W)
- USB-A male to USB-C male cable
- Micro USB to USB-C adapter
- USB-C to USB-A female adapter (OTG)
- AKG earphones with different eartip sizes
- Included TPU case (not in this variant)
- Quick start guide
The AKG earphones and the cable has been packaged really compactly this time around – which I truly appreciate Samsung’s effort to use as minimal amount of materials as possible. There are no plastic wraps for any of the accessories too.
It’s a truly refreshing unboxing experience.
The Galaxy S10 series is the first in Samsung’s lineup to have this new design that they are calling the Prism colors. The one we have here is the Prism White and it does have some funky colors on the phone itself. While the name is white, it is not pure white. Instead it is off white, which surprisingly, has a slight light blue hue to it.
Shining light to it at a certain angle reveals that the back has purplish pink hue to it instead. It’s quite difficult to catch this color but we discovered it while taking pictures of the Galaxy S10+.
We also got to look at the different colors of the Galaxy S10+ during our trip to Sky Avenue, Genting Highlands, to witness the grand launching of the Galaxy S10 series. There, we saw the ceramic counterparts of the black and white colors.
In terms of the overall design, the Galaxy S10+ is pretty similar in terms of look and feel compared to its predecessor. The phone is still thin, has curved edges, the general geometry of the phone hasn’t changed since its predecessors. Still beautiful and practical as ever.
As you might have seen in the picture above, the cutout for the two cameras are at the top right corner. We will talk more about it later.
[nextpage title=”Connectivity & ports”]
Samsung Galaxy S series of smartphones has always been the first to be the best of the best connectivity. We first saw the Galaxy S8+, it was the first smartphone to feature Bluetooth 5.0. And now, the Galaxy S10 series is the first to feature WiFi 6 – which is based on the IEEE 802.11ax WiFi standard.
This technology is so new that there are only a number of routers that support 802.11ax on the market currently. The ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX1100 supports WiFi 6, but it costs as much as the Galaxy S10e.
That aside, the fingerprint scanner has also been moved under the display. Instead of using an optical fingerprint scanner like the OPPO R17 Pro or the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Samsung developed their own technology – using sound waves. Essentially, it uses TOF techonlogy to map your fingerprint in 3D by utilizing sound.
The new ultrasonic under-display fingerprint scanner works a lot better compared to its optical counterpart. If I placed my fingertip on the correct position, it will unlock 100% of the time. I tried dirtying up my fingertip, unlock the phone while eating fried chicken, and the ultrasonic fingerprint reader still flawlessly.
If you misplaced your fingerprint, an indicator of where the fingerprint scanner will be shown on the screen. Brilliant!
Samsung has once again retained all of the ports that we all have come to love over the years. Obviously, I am speaking about the 3.5mm audio jack. It is found at the bottom alongside with the USB-C cable, a microphone, and also loudspeaker.
At the left side is where we can find the volume rocker and Bixby button. More about this button in the software section of this review.
At the right side we can see the power button. The position of it has been moved way up above compared to its predecessor. It cannot be reached with one hand without changing your grip on the phone.
At the top of the phone, we can find the card tray and the secondary microphone. Samsung also retained the usual nano SIM 1 + hybrid slot for the cards.
Samsung really did us a favor this time around by retaining microSD card and also the 3.5mm audio jack as many of us still rely on these two things. Since they are not broken, why fix it?
While we’re on the subject of audio, the Galaxy S10+ has fantastic stereo speakers (from the earpiece too) and it sounds amazing. There is actually bass and I enjoyed my time listening to music from the loudspeakers themselves.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 series of smartphones are the first to use Samsung’s new Dynamic AMOLED display – and the big difference compared to its predecessor is HDR10+. These are also the first phones in the market to have HDR10+ support on a smartphone.
Samsung really puts an emphasis on the HDR10+ this time as the Galaxy S10 series of smartphones can also record HDR10+ video. More on that later.
Samsung also boasts that the Dynamic AMOLED covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color space. That means you can enjoy perfect color reproduction on whatever content that you are enjoying on the Galaxy S10 series of phones.
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ comes with a 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with 3040×1080 pixels in resolution and has this cutout that Samsung is calling “Infinity O”. The Galaxy S10+’s screen size is as big as the Galaxy Note9, by the way.
Samsung has reduced the number of screen modes to just two – natural (default) or vivid. This is once again, in stark contrast to what was found on its predecessors that has 4 different modes.
The first thing many of our readers pointed out is the oblong-shaped cutout is way too big. Actually, I passively ignored that cutout pretty quickly, just like when I used the HONOR View20. Like it never existed. It is definitely easier to ignore the hole than a big notch at the center of the phone.
Samsung did have a trick to make the cutout look smaller – and that is by shifting the notification panel down a little more. Still, not a big deal since it does not disrupt my usage at all. I can still drag the notification bar down by swiping through the cutout too – which means gaming is not an issue as well as there are no dead zones.
Samsung gives you the option to hide the cutout for specific apps or hide the cutout entirely as well. For me, I’ll just go full screen for all my apps since the cutout does not bother me at all.
Of course, one of the most important aspect of today’s smartphones and that is the cameras. Samsung packed their latest and greatest camera technologies into the Galaxy S10+, and it has a total of 5 cameras here. Two at the front, and three at the back.
Here are the specs of the cameras found on the Samsung Galaxy S10+:
- Triple rear-facing cameras
- Main: 12MP f/1.5-2.4, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
- Telephoto with 2x optical zoom: 12MP f/2.4, AF, OIS
- Ultrawide with 0.5x magnification: 16MP f/2.2, fixed focus
- Dual selfie cameras
- Main: 10MP f/1.9, Dual Pixel PDAF
- Secondary: 8MP f/2.2 RGB depth sensor
From what we can find out, the rear-facing main and telephoto cameras are exactly the same as the previous generation of Samsung Galaxy S9 series. In terms of megapixel count, Samsung could definitely do better. However, Samsung made a lot of software improvements.
We have comparisons of all the 3 cameras in terms of its focal length. We will show you a few sets of images that goes in this order: ultrawide, main wide-angle camera, telephoto.
You might realize the telephoto camera in this set looks rather pixelated. And you are right – it is. Samsung has implemented an algorithm where it automatically switches to 2x digital zoom on the main wide-angle camera. This switch happens without informing the user at all.
I also happen to find out what criteria triggers this switch. While using the telephoto camera and when the scene is dimly-lit or the subject is too close to the phone, it automatically switches from 2x optical zoom to 2x digital zoom. And the image looks hideous especially in low-light conditions.
Samsung should have a popup or any sort of sign to tell the user that the switch happened.
From here, we can see that the 5 sets of pictures show the differences in focal lengths – from ultrawide angle to the main wide-angle camera, and then to the 2x optical zoom camera. Of course, we are only highlighting the capabilities of the triple camera setup. Every focal length has its place. How the photo is framed according to the focal length is important.
Here we will show you different pictures of different scenarios with the different usage of the triple camera setup.
As you can see, the ultrawide angle photo and the telephoto camera are taken in the same location – inside a car. However, the look, feel, and vibe that the picture gives is totally different.
Also, do you realize that the ultrawide angle camera does not have fisheye lens distortion? That is because Samsung offers an option to fix it by default.
Samsung is offering a total of 3 different cameras with 3 different focal lengths – and it is up to your creativity to utilize them depending on how you like it. Let’s not forget that the Galaxy S10+ is also IP68-certified. Have fun with a brand new perspective of taking pictures under water.
I’m not much of a selfie fan, but the Samsung Galaxy S10+ has a total of 2 selfie cameras – one RGB depth sensor and another 10MP f/1.9 with autofocus. From what we know, Samsung’s Galaxy S and Note series are the only smartphones that have autofocusing selfie cameras.
The Galaxy S10+’s selfie camera is rather funny. It is actually an ultrawide angle camera by default, but zoomed in by default.
The “wefie” mode is pretty wide in angle too. We managed to fit everyone inside at an arm’s reach.
With the help of the depth sensor, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ has a total of 4 different fancy selfie modes available to choose from – blur, spin, zoom, and color point.
The depth sensor does give a more accurate and faster separation between the subject and the background.
Samsung has once again taken the “point and shoot” approach when it comes to the camera. Since there are a total of 3 different cameras to use on the Galaxy S10+, Samsung mixed the One UI’s camera UI with the one found in the Galaxy A9 (2018).
In terms of features, the Galaxy S10+ is a culmination of what Samsung has in the past, plus extras. It can take RAW format pictures in HEIF format (high efficiency image file format) and also can have the ultrawide angle image automatically corrected to eliminate the fisheye effect.
The Galaxy S10+ also has an option to enable “shot suggestions”. This option makes a floating ball appear on the screen. That ball shows you where to point the camera to get the best shot. This feature has been trained with AI technology and it actually works, sometimes.
Samsung’s camera UI is still my personal favorite after using so many different smartphones from different companies. Samsung’s camera UI is the only one that allows customization on how the modes are laid out. If you want the Pro mode to be on the immediate left side, you can do that.
The Pro mode for the Galaxy S10+ has an exposure setting from 1/24000 seconds to 10 seconds exposure, both at either f/1.5 or f/2.4. Lots of granular control here.
As for the videos, the Galaxy S10+ can capture in either in HEVC or HDR10+. However, there are limitations. Let me explain in this short list.
- HDR10+ works in 30FPS recordings only, either at 1080p or 4K.
- HEVC works for all 1080p or 4K at 30FPS or 60FPS.
- HEVC and HDR10+ cannot be enabled together at once.
Overall, the videography capabilities of the Galaxy S10 series of smartphones continues to shine as Samsung is the one and only smartphone currently that can capture 4K HDR10+ video and view it on the phone itself.
[nextpage title=”Software – Android 9.0 Pie with Samsung One UI”]
I honestly have a soft spot for Samsung’s brand new One UI. Since its announcement last year, I was eager to try it out for myself. Not too long after that, One UI arrived to my Galaxy S9. I updated it at an instant and have been loving it thus far.
Samsung cleaned up the settings menu and made everything much easier to find, which is a stark contrast compared to the clunky Mi Mix 3. Moving all of the buttons to the bottom of the screen is also a plus point as I am a one-handed smartphone user.
Like what we mentioned when we did a highlight on the Galaxe S10e, it comes with even more features than the previous iterations of the Galaxy S10 series of smartphones. Whatever features we are highlighting here are applicable to the Galaxy S10e, the Galaxy S10, and also the Galaxy S10+.
Firstly, Bixby got an upgrade with the new One UI look. The Bixby button got an upgrade as well – it can now be programmed. Decently flexible too, but can’t bring up the Google Assistant.
But that’s okay, since you can have it trigger any of the Bixby commands with the press of a button. For example, you can program the Bixby button to show you weather for the day. That is what I did – and I can ask Bixby the exact same question every time by just pressing the Bixby key. Holding the Bixby key will wake Bixby to listen to my queries instead.
In my opinion, Bixby is still not perfect, hence your queries have to be really specific. But then again, it has deep integration into Samsung’s hardware and you can control many parts of the phone via voice.
The other feature that is exclusive for the Galaxy S10 series is Bixby Routine. Veterans of Android OS will be familiar with these two apps – Tasker and Locale. These apps are essentially IFTTT but made to control your phone based on triggers. Bixby Routine is just that – but integrated into One UI directly.
Samsung has given a lot of focus in terms of WiFi security as well – particularly on public ones. It can now detect suspicious activity on the WiFi network and also connect to McAfee’s VPN to provide maximum protection. However, there is a 250MB/month quota and there is no option to purchase more for Malaysians just yet.
By the way, Samsung DeX does work with the new Galaxy S10+. Samsung just did not show it off on stage this time around.
UPDATE: We also tested Samsung DeX for the Galaxy S10+
Our curiosity got better of us and we tested the Galaxy S10 series with DeX.
[nextpage title=”Performance & gaming”]
Moving on to the performance, the Galaxy S10 series comes with the Exynos 9820 globally except for North America. The Galaxy S10+ specifically has these specs:
- 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with 3040×1440 pixels in resolution
- Exynos 9820 Octa
- 2x Mongoose M4 @ 2.73GHz
- 2x Cortex-A75 @ 2.31GHz
- 4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.95GHz
- Mali-G76 MP12 GPU
- 12 cores @ 702MHz
- 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
- 128GB UFS 2.1 storage
- 4,100mAh battery
- Android 9.0 with One UI
Samsung’s new chipset sets a new milestone in benchmarks as well – let us show you how it performs when compared to other smartphones.
As we can see here, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ really wrecked its competitors when it comes to most of the benchmarks here. Especially with Antutu, the Exynos 9820 not only passed the 300k mark, but crushed it.
As mentioned earlier, the Galaxy S10+ does have the option to swap to 1080p resolution as well. This will obviously have an effect on the GPU performance, and we did the benchmark as well.
Magically, there isn’t much in terms of performance difference other than 3DMark, especially in the Vulkan benchmark. Other than that, it is within the margin of error.
As for gaming, the Galaxy S10+ can obviously play the latest and greatest games without an issue. We recently reported that Fortnite for Android can run at 60FPS and yes, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ can run it at 60FPS at “high” graphical settings as well. We expect the Galaxy S10e and the Galaxy S10 to run Fortnite at 60FPS without any issues as well.
As for the gaming experience, we do get a lot of questions and memes pointing out that the Galaxy S10+ in particular has the largest screen cutout. But the question remains – how does it affect gaming experience?
Let’s take PUBG Mobile as our candidate here. By default, the cutout does not mess with the game’s UI at all. Samsung made a smart choice to tuck the cutout at the top right corner. Of course, PUBG Mobile gives you the option to rearrange the HUD however you like.
Flipping the phone to change the cutout’s position yields this result. It’s safe to say that the Galaxy S10+’s oblong-shaped cutout will not be an issue. The touch screen still works around the cutout – and that is crucial for other games like Asphalt 9.
The cutout is directly on the back button itself but touching the selfie cameras does indeed work. In a race match though, the cutout does not interfere with gameplay at all.
Honkai Impact 3 has its UI moved inwards to avoid the cutout as well – which is brilliant.
Samsung has updated the Game Center as well. It now has “Dolby Atmos for gaming” as an option.
[nextpage title=”Battery & Charger”]
Then comes the battery life. We first tested the Galaxy S10+’s relatively massive 4,100mAh with other smartphones at 1440p resolution. It yielded about 12.05 hours in our battery life test, which is actually really good considering the performance that it offers.
When we downscaled the resolution to 1080p, we saw an increase in battery life – which is a surprise to no one. What caught me off guard is that the battery life did not differ a lot – scoring in at 12.73 hours on 1080p.
The explanation behind this is that the Galaxy S10+’s Dynamic AMOLED. Samsung claims that the new Dynamic AMOLED technology uses new OLED materials, which also lowers the power consumption.
As for the charger, the Galaxy S10 series still retains the few-year old Adaptive Fast Charging technology, which has a 9V @ 1.67A output. What we think is that Samsung wants to preserve the battery longevity by limiting the current pumped to the phone. It does take a longer time to charge, but the Galaxy S10+ can last a full day’s worth of usage anyway.
As for the specific time taken to charge the Galaxy S10+, here is our graph.
Using the Adaptive Fast Charger, it took about 30 minutes to reach 50% battery charge and a total of around 51 minutes to reach 75% battery.
If we used a 5V 2A charger (or disable fast charging via settings), the Galaxy S10+ takes around 41 minutes to reach 50% battery and a total of around 72 minutes to reach 75% battery charge.
Speaking of which, the Galaxy S10 series of phones has reverse wireless charging as well. Not particularly a great way to charge your friend’s smartphone but it works – and there is no finicking with cables as well.
Like what was mentioned, the reverse wireless charging speed will be affected by the separation distance and what is in between the two devices.
[nextpage title=”Wrapping up the Samsung Galaxy S10+”]
In terms of core specs alone, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ seems like a bump from its predecessor. However, looking at its software and how the phone is constructed, it is a very different phone compared to its predecessor. We can talk about the differences all day long, because they are just that distinct.
Samsung shook things up with the fingerprint scanner and moved it back to the front while hiding it under the display. The stereo speakers now sounds fantastically good. Samsung also retained the 3.5mm audio jack and microSD card slot while packing in a large battery as well.
The cutout for the camera is not an issue – at least for me. I ignored it automatically within minutes of using the Galaxy S10+. While on the subject of cameras, the triple camera setup is excellent. The camera UI that goes along with it is excellent as well, though a few fine adjustments are needed.
However, their ultrasonic fingerprint scanner works with 100% reliability. The power button has been shifted even higher this time around, which I find it to be a weird design choice. It is just very different from its predecessors.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is honestly, the most powerful smartphone you can buy right now. Its hardware and software integration is tight and I just enjoyed my overall experience with the phone.