Samsung Galaxy S10+ Review
The Samsung Galaxy S10 series marks the 10th year of companies highly rated flagship models. There’s also been a lot of praise and criticism over the years. Some generations have either been the world’s best smartphones or just terrible attempts to compete with Apple. It’s obviously not as black and white anymore. Huawei has been coming out fantastic phones that can compete with everyone.
That said, the Galaxy S10 series is still quite highly rated. I managed to get my hands on the largest version, the S10+. And if there’s one thing for certain, then it’s definitely much better than the previous S9 and S8 generations. Definitely worth the upgrade. But more about that in the review.
First impressions matter and the Galaxy S10+ does not disappoint. I’m not sure what it is exactly but the phone just feels so nice. Compared to most of its competitors, the phone looks much thinner and lighter while still being fairly large and shiny. I guess it’s the epitome of sleek.
Technical facts actually don’t support this impression. Because based on the technical specifications, the S10+ is almost as thin as the iPhone XS Max (7.8 mm vs 7.9 mm). But it is most definitely lighter than its competitors. The difference is maybe few grams but still.
This phone simply feels light, thin and that’s exactly the feeling that this design creates.
The screen is definitely the most fantastic feature on the S10+. It’s actually one of the main reasons why this phone looks so good. The screen covers almost entirely the entire front side. Obviously not completely everything though, they have left a couple of extra millimetres for the future models as well.
The technology is spectacular as well, since the AMOLED screen is vibrant and bright. And then you can suddenly make it even more vibrant and brighter, all the way until you can’t stare at the screen anymore.
Using the phone under the bright sunlight makes the deep black and vibrant colours create such a contrast that the display looks like real life. The only disappointment is that the human eye gets used to absolutely everything. During the first few days of using the S10+, the display looked to me like something insane. But after a week, I had gotten so used to it that it felt normal.
There’s one more feature that Samsung has done well with the screen. The display is exactly as large as the screen is. What I mean by that, is that Samsung hasn’t added a notch to it. Instead, the cameras are built inside the display.
The S10+ corner has two front cameras and the screen surrounds them completely. The cameras are like incredibly tiny holes or islands. This solution works surprisingly well, they don’t even stand out that much or annoy me at all. And when you switch on facial recognition, you get this cool animation.
Another feature that I’m really fond of is the Samsung user interface. I was really surprised of how much I actually liked using it. The new One UI interface works incredibly well on Android and it feels quite well balanced.
Not only is it informative and it covers the entire display perfectly, but it’s also incredibly easy and comfortable to use. It’s obviously hard to actually know where Samsung has been successful with their user interface and where it’s just the Android 9 being that good.
Cameras Are Confusing
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ has a lot of cameras, 5 to be exact. There are 3 on the back: one zooms in, the second is regular wide angle and the third is ultra-wide angle. The two front cameras can create multi-dimensional portraits with blurry backgrounds. I’d say that the overall camera quality has already been so good for the past couple of years that the S10+ doesn’t really surprise me with anything. Instead, there are a couple of things that have been disappointing.
For some reason, I manage to take out of focus photos quite often. Obviously not every time, but out of 20 photos I took, one didn’t manage to focus. I also noticed that about the front cameras as well. It might be a software issue.
What I’m having a hard time understanding is, how on earth can 2019 flagship phone, with a price of $999, lag during normal usage. For example during recording a video, there is a cool feature that allows you to change the “lens” while recording. As in you can change from portrait to wide angle while capturing the video. Each one of these switches creates a lag in the video. And it’s not just the interface lagging, you actually see that lag later on while watching the video as well.
Either it has something to do with weak quality control or they simply don’t care and hope that people won’t notice. But yes they do notice and most definitely don’t like seeing that on an expensive flagship phone. Especially since it’s not some 3rd party app but instead a factory configuration.
That said, the cameras have also a bunch of features that make me happy as well. One of such being the ultra-wide angle lens. You can use this to capture an entire parade and table covered with food. And more impressively, the quality is still fantastic.
More Features That I Liked
With just one tap on the display, you can wake up the phone from sleep. It will generate this black background with the current time, date and battery level. There are also small colourful icons from the apps that are trying to notify me of new information. It’s a convenient way of letting you know what is going on without being too much in your face.
The Galaxy S10+ includes incredibly comfortable earbuds that have a rubber endings. They sit really well in my ears. Plus the cable has a textile cover, which stops it from getting tangled. Simple but effective. Oh and yes, they aren’t wireless. The Galaxy S10+ still comes with a headphone jack!
Besides being able to charge wirelessly, you can also turn the Samsung Galaxy S10+ into a portable wireless charger as well. It has an area on the back that can charge all Qi supported devices. It’s quite slow but it works.
Facial recognition works flawlessly. Both with and without glasses. Besides that the phone has also got the fingerprint sensor built inside the display. We have previously seen this type of technology being used on Huawei and OnePlus. The only downside is that it’s much more troublesome than the physical sensor. You have to touch the exact area that it shows you. But still, I like it.
If you are looking for the best Samsung flagship then the S10+ is definitely better than the older versions. There’s no question about it. But is it the world’s best phone? In my opinion no. There are too many features that are simply mediocre.
That said, Huawei was recently put in a rough situation with Android. So that’s definitely a plus for Samsung as I don’t see them getting banned by Google.
Marcus Hagen is a journalism student from Columbia University. In his spare time he enjoys covering smartphone reviews on his blog called Tenpire. He aspires to become a professional tech journalist!