Event Coverage

Hands-on: Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, and S10+

By James Lu - 21 Feb 2019,3:30am

Samsung Galaxy S10e and S10 up-close

From left to right: Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+ (S10 5G not pictured).

A Galaxy for everyone

Samsung announced no less than four new S10 smartphones today at its first Unpacked event of 2019: the Samsung Galaxy S10e, the S10, the S10+, and the S10 5G

First, here are some general observations on the line as a whole. As you move up the range, each phone increases in price, display size, features and the total number of cameras it sports - three for the S10e, four for the S10, five for the S10+, and six for the S10 5G.

All of the phones will be powered by either Samsung's Exynos 9820 chip or Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855, depending on the region. We'll be getting the Exynos version in Singapore. They all support fast charging, fast wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging, which will let you use the phone to charge other phones, or your Samsung Galaxy Buds wireless earphones.

Like previous years, all of the phones have IP68 dust and water resistant builds, a 3.5mm headphone port on the bottom, and stereo speakers tuned by AKG, with Dolby Atmos surround sound support. 

The entire range also supports Wi-Fi 6 (formerly known as 802.11ax) and 4G LTE Cat 20 (up to 2Gbps) connections, while the 5G version, as its name suggests, is the only one with 5G connectivity.

Okay, let's take a closer look at each phone.

 

Samsung Galaxy S10e

The 'e' is the 'Entry' level phone in the S10 range, and also the smallest, with a compact 5.8-inch display size. The overall design of the phone is fairly similar to previous S phones, with an aluminum frame and glass on the front and rear.

The phone has a Dynamic AMOLED display with a Full HD+ 2,280 x 1,080 pixels resolution (438ppi) and a 19:9 aspect ratio. Unlike the other phones in the range, it is also the only one with a flat display, something we haven't seen on a Galaxy S phone since the Galaxy S7. Due to the flat display, the S10e is a tiny bit thicker than the other models, at 7.9mm thickness. However, it is also the lightest model, at just 150g.

The new Dynamic AMOLED display replaces the Super AMOLED of previous models and sports a higher maximum brightness (up to 1,200 nits), better color accuracy, and it's also the first display to be HDR10+ certified. According to Samsung, all of the displays in the S10 range have also been awarded certification for 100% Mobile Color Volume with a contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1 by VDE.

The S10e is Samsung's first Infinity-O display, which means it has a small hole punch cut out for the 10-megapixel f/2.0 front camera in the top-right corner. The cutout is fairly unobtrusive and the bezels above and below the display are quite slim too, resulting in a 91.6% screen-to-body ratio.

While the other phones in the lineup have in-display fingerprint scanners, the S10e has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the power button. I actually really like side-mounted fingerprint scanners (I was quite sad when Sony stopped using them on their phones), so I don't find this to be a downside compared to the more advanced in-display scanner. The power button is a long oblong shape, and is slightly concave to make it easier to place your finger in the correct spot.

On the rear, the S10e is the only model with a dual-rear camera setup, pairing a 12-megapixel variable aperture f/1.5 + f/2.4 lens with a wide-angle 16-megapixel f/2.2 lens that boasts a 123-degree field-of-view. 

Due to its smaller size, the S10e has the smallest battery in the range at 3,100mAh.

The S10e will be available in 6GB RAM/128GB storage and 8GB RAM/256GB storage options, in Prism Blue, Prism Green, Prism White, Prism Black, and an exclusive Canary Yellow color, which has a gold frame and looks quite similar to Apple's yellow iPhone XR. Unfortunately, for now, Singapore isn't getting the 8GB RAM/256GB storage variant and neither will it be available in Canary Yellow or Prism Blue (at least for the launch phase).

 

Samsung Galaxy S10

Moving up the range, the S10 has a 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a QHD+ 3,040 × 1,440 pixels resolution (550ppi) and a 19:9 aspect ratio. It has the same 1,200 nits maximum brightness as the S10e display and is also HDR10+ certified. The S10 display is curved on both edges like the S8 and S9, and as a result is slightly thinner than S10e, at 7.8mm. The display has the same hole punch cutout as the S10e, and the same 10-megapixel f/1.9 front camera. Thanks to the larger screen size, it has a higher 93.1% screen-to-body ratio. However, it's also slightly heavier than the S10e, at 157g.

The S10 is the first Samsung phone with an embedded in-display fingerprint scanner. The scanner is also the first ever Ultrasonic Fingerprint scanner on a smartphone, which makes it a little different from other in-display fingerprint scanners because it reads the 3D contours of your physical thumbprint, instead of just a 2D image, which makes it a lot more secure. In fact, the S10's fingerprint scanner is the only fingerprint scanner with FIDO Alliance Biometric Component certification. In actual usage, the scanner works just like other in-display scanners, requiring you to place your finger over a specific spot on the screen. You have to press quite hard to activate the scanner, but it unlocks the phone just as fast as any other scanner.

Pictured here is the Galaxy S10+, which also features the Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor.

On the rear, the S10 has a triple camera setup, with the same 12-megapixel variable aperture f/1.5 + f/2.4 lens and wide-angle 16-megapixel f/2.2 lens as the S10e. The third is a telephoto 12-megapixel f/2.4 lens. The telephoto lens provides 2x optical zoom, and the default camera app allows you to seamlessly transition between all three focal lengths.

The S10 has a 3,400mAh battery, which is actually a little small for a 6.1-inch device.

The S10 will be available in either 128 or 512GB storage capacities, both of which come with 8GB RAM. It will only be available in Prism Blue, Prism Green, Prism White, Prism Black - unfortunately, there is no exclusive color for the S10. In Singapore, the S10 will only be offered with a 128GB storage option and there is no Prism Blue color option at launch.