Samsung has held their (un)packed event and the star of the show, their pride and joy, the S10 has arrived in a whopping 4 variants. Quick trivia. The Samsung Galaxy S10 marks 10 years of Samsung’s Galaxy brand.
Let’s take a brisk look at what distinguishes these 4 Galaxies.
Samsung Galaxy S10e
The smallest of the bunch at 5.8 inches and FHD+ for the screen with a hole in the display for the camera. It packs a 3100mAh battery, two cameras with one 12MP main camera handling general photography and a 16MP wide angle lens (FINALLY) for those landscape shots. The hole in the display houses a single 10MP selfie camera.
The fingerprint has been evicted from the back of the phone and placed on the edge of it in what they are calling a capacitive fingerprint sensor. Storage is either 128GB with 6GB of RAM or 256GB with 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of expandable storage.
Samsung Galaxy S10
This is the more normal sized variant coming it at 6.1 inches worth of QHD+ display real estate. The battery is now a tad bit bigger on this one at 3400mAh. The back is populated by 3 cameras now, a 12MP wide angle camera, a 12MP telephoto camera and a 16MP ultra wide angle camera. The front has a single 10MP selfie shooter.
The fingerprint sensor has been moved underneath the display but the tech is now what we have been waiting for for a little over a year now. An Ultrasonic fingerprint reader. More on that in a bit.
Storage options are 128GB or a mammoth 512GB with either coming with 8GB of RAM and a luxurious 1TB allowace for expansion.
Samsung Galaxy S10+
One would think the plus model is the biggest of the bunch. Not in this case. The S10+ indeed is the stretched version of the S10 with a bigger 6.4 inch QHD+ display. The battery is also a bit bigger at 4100mAh and the camera setup on the front is a bit different.
It’s got a dual camera setup with one being the 10MP primary selfie cam and the second being an 8MP depth camera for stuff like better portrait mode and some AR mapping. The storage is well nothing short of insane. You can have the 128GB or 512GB variants with 8GB of RAM or you can go for the 1TB version with 12GB of RAM. (I think I need to get more RAM for my pc)
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
And last but not least. The near future. Yes this one supports 5G and comes with an even bigger display at 6.7 inches. Camera setup on the back is the same unit on the S10 and S10+ but there is a 4th sensor. It’s called a 3D TOF sensor whose sole purpose is to provide depth information for 3D as well as Augmented Reality purposes.
The front cameras are a pair as well with a 10MP selfie camera and a 3D TOF secondary camera. The battery is bigger too at 4500mAh and there is only one variant of this one that is the 256GB internal and 8GB RAM variant.
What Else Is New?
Reverse Wireless Charging
Yes we saw Huawei pioneer this feature on the Mate 20 Pro and it made some waves having a phone that can wirelessly charge other wireless charging gadgets. Samsung decides to adopt it as well and it does make sense. Most of our accessories are now cordless. Wireless buds/Headphones, Fitness trackers/smartwatches and most of these charge wirelessly.
It will be convenient when you forget to charge your buds and you really need to listen to that podcast. Just flip your phone over and put them on top of your it and you are all set. Yes it does work on other smartphones that support wireless charging. No it’s not nice to troll your fellow iPhone neighbors.
Ultrasonic Under Display Fingerprint
So these fingerprints that are under the display really took off last year (2018). All the variants from last year really were the optical kind like the ones used on access doors in high security areas. This means for them to work they require the display to be lit so that it sines on your finger and the optical sensor receives the reflected light and decides to let you pass or not.
Samsung’s implementation however uses sound instead of light. It works like sonar where the sensor emits a high frequency sound and it is reflected by the thumb back to the sensor. This one seems more power efficient as it requires no light. I am still quite skeptical though. How these sensors will fare with scratches and cracks I wonder.
The iPhone XS got raving reviews over how good it was at taking great videos. Samsung decided not to skimp in the video department as well. Their smartphone now supports HDR10+ video recording. What do those numbers even mean? The simple version is a video is made up of a lot of pictures being shown one after the other really quickly.
To get the best looking video the shadowy/dark parts of the video need to be brightened a bit and the very bright parts of it need to be darkened a bit. To get this balance the camera will take a couple of photos of the same scene but with different brightness then take the best bits from each of the photos and make one awesome photo.
That is HDR (High Dynamic Range) and in videos it is a process that needs a very powerful processor for it to be achieved. The 10 refers to the color depth which in this case is 10 bit color. That’s a lesson for another day but essentially it’s a wider range of colors that it can reproduce.
Next Gen WIFI/WiFi 6
It is a new wifi standard under IEEE 802.11ax for the geeks that need specifics. It is a wifi that promises very low latency (time between sending a request and getting a response). This standard promises wire grade latency of about 1 millisecond which will be good enough for remote real time tasks like cloud gaming and AR applications.
Goodbye notch and hello punch holes. Looks like the punch hole is getting a bit of love even though Samsung’s promo material is being clever in hiding it. The Galaxy S10 looks pretty powerful and their main emphasis on their quartet of devices is hinged on multimedia. You have big batteries for long sessions between top ups. Storage is so plenty it feels like overkill.
Displays are bigger and bezels are smaller. Camera utility has improved thanks to the addition of a wide angle camera and the output of these cameras has been very much beefed up. Prices are typical current flagship pricing. The Galaxy S10e starts at US$750, the Galaxy S10 at US$900 and the Galaxy S10+ at US$1000
It does seem like all these are just incremental updates to an already existing phone. Reasonable effort I think. Enough to make me raise a brow but not quite enough to make a brother lean in closer. What do you think?