Home Samsung Samsung Galaxy S10 Review: Shines Bright Like a Diamond

Samsung Galaxy S10 Review: Shines Bright Like a Diamond

Lava International

I got the Galaxy S10 and S10+ after a week of their launch and since there were so many reviews of them already, I decided to use it for a little longer and give you guys more than just my initial impressions. I bought the S10 with my own money to use it as my daily driver and also took the S10+ in for review so that I can take a better look at both of them. So, let’s get into it!

Samsung Galaxy S10 & S10 Plus Specifications

Samsung Galaxy S10 Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
Display 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED Quad HD+ Infinity-O display, HDR10+ 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED Quad HD+ Infinity-O display, HDR10+
Chipset Exynos 9820 Exynos 9820
GPU Mali-G76 MP12 Mali-G76 MP12
RAM 8 GB 8 GB
Storage 128 GB 128 GB / 512 GB
Rear Camera 12MP, f/1.5 – 2.4, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS (Primary) + 12 MP, f/2.4 1.0µm, Auto-focus, OIS, 2x optical zoom (Telephoto) + 16 MP f/2.2 (Ultra-wide) 12MP, f/1.5 – 2.4, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS (Primary) + 12 MP, f/2.4 1.0µm, Auto-focus, OIS, 2x optical zoom (Telephoto) + 16 MP f/2.2 (Ultra-wide)
Front Camera 10 MP, f/1.9, Dual Pixel PDAF 10 MP, f/1.9, Dual Pixel PDAF + 8 MP, f/2.2 (Depth sensor)
Operating System Android v9.0 Pie with One UI on top Android v9.0 Pie with One UI on top
Color Options Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Blue Prism Black, Prism Green (128 GB variant), Prism Black (512 GB variant)
Sensors Fingerprint (under-display), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, heart rate, barometer Fingerprint (under-display), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, heart rate, barometer
Battery 3,400 mAh, 15W wired fast charging 4,100 mAh, 15W wired fast charging

Design and Build

samsung galaxy s10 plus design build

A couple of years ago, lots of people complained about the placement of the fingerprint scanner on a couple of Samsung flagship phones. And while that has changed last year, Samsung has been generous enough to add another nuisance this year in the form of the placement of the power button. It is placed way too high, and even people with large hands will have a hard time handling it. Come on Samsung, this is a schoolboy error. You just brought yourselves a problem that isn’t even supposed to happen.

But Samsung has added an option to remap its extra button, the infamous Bixby button, which is a nice thing. I use it to open the camera app, but it’s up to you to choose for yourself.

Continuing with the design, the Galaxy S10 is curved on the back, giving us a better feel on hands. However, due to the glass back, it is a lot slippery, so you should probably use a case at all times. I also like the color options these phones have. I am not into white phones, but this here, I liked. It has a white color that shows off subtle change in color according to its reflection. It’s really cool. But my pick of the bunch is the blue one, 100%. However, having used the Galaxy Note 9 for several months, the Samsung Galaxy S10 doesn’t feel as premium as its predecessor. Don’t get me wrong, it is premium, but it isn’t up there at the top. It actually feels more like the back on Samsung’s A-series smartphones.

We are all aware that both the S10 and the S10+ are more or less the same device. S10+ has the bigger display, bigger battery, and that twin notches with dual camera. The S10 is for those who want smaller form factor and minimalism.

Display

Samsung Galaxy S10 Display

What Samsung has nailed is the display quality. When I used the Note 9 for a while, I never thought Samsung could actually better it. And to my surprise, the Dynamic AMOLED panel is just great, the colors, the vibrancy, the sharpness, everything is just too good. And the screen bleeding over the edge makes this the best-designed phone for me. But the same infinity display brings in accidental touches. Even with the Accidental Touch Protection setting enabled, you will register a few unwanted touches, especially with one hand usage.

The Galaxy S10 has a 6.1-inch screen while the Plus model comes with a 6.4-inch screen. And me, personally, I like the larger displays as you get to see a lot of content on it. But most of the people I know have leaned towards the Galaxy S10 due to its “compact” design as it fits comfortably on the hand.

Also, the Blue light filter here is improved. What Samsung did is shift the “eye straining” blue light of the 450mm wavelength to a safer 465mm wavelength, which means my eyes are less stressed and I am less fatigued.

Performance

Talking about the processor, the units we reviewed are powered by the Exynos 9820. It excels all the benchmark tests and as far as the performance is concerned, initially I faced this PubG issue on the phone. See at first when I started playing the game, I had no problem at all. But reading all the posts about it lagging, I reinstalled it and that brought in the lags. And those lags were crazy, I start walking from somewhere and a few seconds later, I end up in the same place. This was obviously fixable through software updates, and Samsung has looked into it yet. I recently received an update on the phone which seems to have fixed the issue completely. Other than that, I have had no problem with the S10 as far as the performance is concerned. It easily handles all other games, and its RAM helps with the multi-tasking effectively. There have been no stutters anywhere, and you will get the almost perfect flagship experience with the phone.

Other than these two issues, I have had no problem with the Galaxy S10 as far as the performance is concerned. It easily handles all other games, and its RAM helps with the multi-tasking effectively. There have been no stutters anywhere, and you will get the almost perfect flagship experience with the phone.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Benchmark Tests

  • Geekbench v4.3.2
    • Single-core: 4460
    • Multi-core: 10046
  • AnTuTu v7:
    • 329680
  • 3D Mark
    • Slingshot Extreme OpenGL ES 3.1: 4340
    • Slingshot Extreme Vulkan: 4297
  • PC Mark
    • Work 2.0: 7861
  • Andro Bench
    • Sequential Read: 794.35 MB/s
    • Sequential Write: 191.02 MB/s

Software

And part of this is also due to One UI, Samsung’s new and improved user interface. The software is really light, and even with a lot of customizations in its bag, it is really smooth. Gone are the days of laggy Samsung phones. Samsung has also made this UI by keeping tall phones in mind. If you have small hands, you will really like how the whole interface tries to bring most of the things down for the ease of use. However, I think that this UI’s icons are quite cartoonish and also the notification shade is too big for my taste.

Like always, though, Samsung has added in a few of its own applications with some being useful. The Samsung Password app saves you the hassle of saving your password every time, and Samsung health is helpful in keeping track of your health status. The heart rate sensor at the back, which is something essential and something we don’t get on any other smartphone. I have also seen people complaining about bloatware’s on Samsung phones, but there are very few that cannot be uninstalled. This includes the LinkedIn, Office mobile, galaxy store, and one drive. On the positive side, you get 100GB of cloud storage with Onedrive, which is a great complement to the internal memory. Oh, I completely forgot about Bixby. Actually, Bixby was the first thing I disabled and I even remapped the button to the camera app. So, let’s not just talk about Bixby.

Camera

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus camera

The cameras on the Samsung top of the line phones always have one of the best, it still not the best out there. The S10 is simply not as good as the Google Pixel 3. But maybe it lies somewhere in the top 4 list.

If you go by the specs, there’s the same primary lens as the S9 and Note 9, the same 2X telephoto lens, but we’ve got a new ultra-wide lens. So, you really get a complete package in the optics department.

When I got my hands on the Galaxy S10 a few weeks ago, I really wanted to see what Samsung had in mind with the camera. So, I went to a few places just to test out the triple cameras on the back. If you go by the specs, the phone has a primary lens, a wide-angle camera, and a telephoto lens. So, apart from the depth sensor, you really get a complete package in the optics department.

Until the Huawei P30 came out a few days ago, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ was the joint top on DxOMark’s camera rating, and after using the cameras in real life, well I think they are one of the best around. And here are the pictures to prove them.

There are ample details on the pictures, and even if you zoom into the image, you will still see a lot.

The dynamic range is great as well. The shadow details are well pronounced on the image, and there are no over-exposed highlight details. And all of these pictures have a natural color tone with a good level of saturation that looks natural to the eyes.

Due to the telephoto lens, even when you zoom into the shots, you will notice no loss in terms of the quality, and this is really helpful. The wide-angle lens is of good quality as well. When I compared it against the Mate 20 Pro, the pictures from the Galaxy S10 had better colors and details. Take a look at the sky on these two images, the Galaxy S10 definitely has the better quality.

The Galaxy S10 doesn’t have a dedicated depth sensor, and even without it, the software does a good job in blurring out the background of the subjects effectively. Take a look at this shot, the colors are natural, and the background has been blurred out well.

But there were times, where the subjects went a little soft like this statue here.

Like the other flagship devices, Samsung has added in its own effects for its Live focus mode, I really like the Color Point mode that only applies colors to the subject. There is also the zoom and spin effect which is fun to play around with.

One thing Samsung should add to its camera app is a dedicated night mode. Now the night mode on phones may not be 100% great, but they are slowly getting there, and with software updates, they can really improve. So, Samsung should definitely keep this in mind and release a night mode for the S10 series.

As per the night shots, well, Samsung’s flagship devices have been doing well and the Samsung Galaxy S10 is no slouch. All the shots are well detailed and natural to the taste. The Mate 20 Pro did overexpose dark shots, but the Galaxy S10 remained all natural. Even the colors are reproduced well, and just like day time, the color tone is natural too. I know I have been saying natural far too often, but the cameras have really done well.

In the previous years, I had bashed Samsung for not including a good selfie camera on its flagship phone. But that has changed over the years, and this time, the company has included a good selfie shooter. In ample lighting, the selfies are well detailed and have an abundance of colors to them. They are of great quality.

But if you are indoors under artificial lighting, the skin tone is quite weird, and the quality is not up there.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Dual Selfie

As for the selfie portraits, the Galaxy S10+ is the pick of the bunch with its depth-sensing camera. But I think it would have been better if Samsung had included the wide-angle selfie camera like Pixel’s in place of the depth sensing lens. The Galaxy S10 has this option to widen selfies, but that’s just dropping in and out of the same shot. This feature has resulted in an issue, though. When you video call someone from the Galaxy S10, the selfie video is zoomed into, and I don’t like this thing at all. Samsung if you’re reading this, please check into it.

Talking about the video, both the front and back of the S10 now can capture 4K video and the quality and the overall stabilization is just great. If you want to start vlogging, the S10 is a good way to get started. Also, there’s this super steady mode that’s really impressive as well.

Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Fingerprint

Up front, the Samsung Galaxy S10 comes with an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. Now if you get the angle right, you can even see the sensor under bright sunlight. But this sensor is completely different from Huawei’s or OnePlus’ optic sensor as it takes a 3D map of the fingerprint by projecting out sound waves. Pretty cool right?

It’s fast and will also work when you have wet fingers. But I would say a couple of the phones with optic sensors can match the speed. And, it’s not accurate like all the other in-display sensors. It gets the readings right most of the time, but still, there are a lot of times throughout the day it doesn’t get them right. But this is the first generation of the technology, and I can wait to see its development.

What I found weird was when you get the angle right, you can even see the sensor under bright sunlight.  I freaked out that day because I thought I had a faulty unit, but it is how it is.

Extras

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus speaker port

Also, cool on the Samsung Galaxy S10 are the dual speakers. It’s the best I have seen on a phone and actually, I don’t need to carry a portable Bluetooth speaker. The Samsung Galaxy S10 is IP68 rated like most of the flagship devices so you can use it underwater too.

Like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the Galaxy S10 also has power sharing feature, so you can definitely charge up other wirelessly enabled products through the phone. And it’s a bit faster than Huawei’s take. It will especially come in handy while charging accessories. You won’t be able to charge up another device if the Galaxy S10 has less than 30% battery remaining, though.

Samsung Galaxy Earbuds Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Power Share

The Samsung Galaxy S10 has ample memory with the storage going up to 1TB on the Galaxy S10+, although Nepali buyers will find 512 GB as the highest they can opt for. You also have a memory card slot along the dual SIM slots. And if the call quality is concerned, it is great, Samsung has actually included a tiny bezel for adding in the earpiece as well. So, yeah, you could take this as an advantage or the ugly point of its design!

Battery

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Battery

Now, the battery is where the Galaxy S10+ has a big edge over the S10.  While the S10 lasts for a typical day, the bigger battery of the S10+ will give you a little bit more. But that completely depends on your usage. To endure the battery life, I toned down the resolution of the display to 1080P, because, with QHD+ resolution, the battery life is really low, especially on the S10.

Also, like with the PubG issue, there were a lot of people complaining about battery life. Apparently, if you make VOIP calls like from messenger or WhatsApp, it won’t go into deep sleep and will remain active until you restart the whole device. So, the battery isn’t that efficient on this Exynos variant compared to the Snapdragon version. But again Samsung has solved this issue with the software update. Yaay!!

As for the charging time though, the Galaxy S10 takes about 2 hours to go from 0 to 100% which is slow for a flagship phone. It’s because Samsung is still using the 15Watt charging tech that was first used on the Galaxy S7.

Huawei has a 40Watt charger, OPPO has got a 50Watt charger and Xiaomi is coming with the whooping 100Watt charger, and even S10’s 5G version has a 25Watt charger, so the 15 Watt charging speed on a flagship phone is something not very fancy.

Conclusion

So, the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+ are great devices for sure. But I feel like the updates that Samsung has brought are incremental and not worth upgrading if you’re already an S8, S9, Note 8 or Note 9 user. However, if you are using the S7 or its predecessors this is the right time for you to upgrade. Or even if you are coming from a midrange phone like I did, the S10 would be a great upgrade.

And talking about the S10 and S10+, since, S10 is cheaper among the two and does not miss out on essentials, I feel that it is the better deal of the two. But, again, it completely depends on your preference.

So, here’s my final conclusion: if you’re looking for a flagship phone right now, go for the S10 or S10+. You won’t regret it, I haven’t!

Pros Cons
– Best Display on any smartphone – Average battery life on Galaxy S10
– Great performance – Power button’s placement
– Quality rear cameras – Ultrasonic Fingerprint is quite inconsistent
– High standard speakers and ample storage
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
9.5
Build
8.5
Display
10
Performance
9
Software and UI
9.5
Rear Cameras
9
Front Camera
9
Battery
9
Value for Money
9
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Anuj Bhandari is currently working as a tech reviewer and content writer for gadgetbytenepal.com. He is an ardent follower of developments in the smartphone world and a devoted fan of Arsenal FC.