Samsung Galaxy S10+ review: the definition of top-of-the-range

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For

  • Great screen
  • Great camera
  • Excellent build quality
  • Matured software
  • 3.5mm audio jack

Against

  • Price
  • The fingerprint reader is slow
  • Average autonomy
  • Face unlock is not secure

Samsung is the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer, a primate that is not easy to hold on in such a complex and fast-growing market. The truth is that such a position you can earn only with precise know-how that accumulates over the years, advancing in small but decisive steps, in order to one day create something like the Galaxy S10 Plus ().


Almost perfect, complete all around, and two steps ahead of the previous generation, the S10+ is considered the best 2019 smartphone. Let’s see together what really distinguishes it from the competition.

Let’s see together what really distinguishes this Galaxy S10+ compared to the competition.

Package

Samsung Galaxy S10 package

Inside the package, we find a 1.67A power adapter (not the fastest in the category), a USB/USB-C cable, a USB-C/USB adapter and the excellent stereo headphones from AKG.

Lightweight, small and beautiful

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lightweight, small and beautiful

Samsung has raised the bar on build quality in recent years. What surprises me, in addition to the attention to detail, is how the Korean company managed to achieve a top of the range that is thinner, narrower, shorter and lighter than the previous Galaxy S9 Plus (Check on Amazon.com), but with a 6.4-inch wide display like the one on the Galaxy Note 9 (Check on Amazon.com).

The S10+ manages to make these smartphones look old. The first impact with the phone will leave you speechless: I find it sexy, I would not know how else to describe it.

And after trying out the new hole punch solution for the front facing camera it is impossible to go back to a notch. In fact, the future will focus on this Infinity-O solution.

Also curious the fact that Samsung placed the proximity sensor underneath the display. An unusual position that opens up to a more important question: is it already possible to have this type of integration under the panel and no one told us?

The Exynos 9820 isn’t afraid of no one thanks to the One UI

The Exynos 9820 and the 8GB of RAM make it a real powerhouse — from video games to screen projection on an external monitor via the Samsung DeX feature. However, processing capacity is just one of the most striking aspects of the phone. The onboard memory can reach as much as 1TB and can be further expanded via a microSD card. The fingerprint reader is placed underneath the display and it is ultrasonic rather than optical. The difference is immediately noticeable: the new sensor is faster and allows for less accurate positioning than the ones we have seen so far.

Everything runs on the Android 9 operating system embellished by the One UI graphical interface: clean yet full of personality; simple to use yet powerful and overflowing with options and features: this is the best implementation after the Pixel’s.

The Galaxy S10 Plus is one of the most complete devices on the market: the expansion slot for microSD can also be used for a secondary SIM, its Wi-Fi antennas are the only ones able to support the ax standard (Wi-Fi 6) and the contents of the screen can be replicated on an external display both via USB cable and wirelessly. There are also Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Finally a wide angle lens

Samsung Galaxy S10 Finally a wide angle lens

The rear cameras are three, all extremely fun to use. We have a 12 megapixels primary sensor, with a stabilized dual aperture (f/1.5-2.4) lens, a 12-megapixel sensor with a stabilized zoom lens and the new 16-megapixel sensor with a 123-degree wide angle lens. The first two are basically the same sensors you can find on the Galaxy Note 9: they offer stunning pictures under every light condition. The wide-angle camera is a very welcome addition because it has a really wide angle that allows you to take original shots. And all this is governed by one of the most mature, complete and fun to use software ever developed.

Dual selfie cameras for Live Focus

The real question is: Do you believe that the dual front camera and improved live focus is a real advantage on this smartphone? The answer will depend on your habits. I take very few selfies and I do not care if the bokeh effect is more or less perfect on this type of photo, but I am aware that so many others do. Personally, I would have been happy with a single sensor and a smaller hole.

Videos made with the Galaxy S10 Plus are among the best possible using a smartphone, not only for image quality, stabilization, and depth of field but also for the accuracy of the autofocus (excluding the wide-angle lens) and brightness balance.

Quick face or secure ultrasonic unlock

You could think that the ultrasonic sensor is the real novelty, but it is important to note that Samsung’s face recognition software is finally on par with the other top of the range. The Face Unlock is the fastest method by far however it poses a major security risk since the phone can be unlocked using a photo. The ultrasonic fingerprint reader is the only safe choice.

Gorgeous display

Samsung Galaxy S10 Gorgeous display

This is the best display in the industry, full stop! It’s a 6.4-inch OLED panel with a resolution of 1440×3040 pixels and a 19:9 format ratio. It can get extremely bright so you can easily use it outdoors even under direct sunlight; the contrast is perfect and the viewing angles almost infinite. The screen is also compatible with the HDR10 standard.

One UI

The new One UI from Samsung is the best skin currently present on Android. Moreover, it is even faster than the previous Samsung Experience and it has a streamlined design perfect for use on bigger screens. Among the most relevant features, we have Samsung Pay, the Samsung DeX desktop ecosystem and full support for the Gear VR virtual reality headset.

I like that I am able to use it with one hand or that I can activate night mode that saves both battery and my retinas. One UI is also very power efficient which helps with the overall autonomy (which is not great).

Stereo audio

Despite the almost nonexistent bezels Samsung managed to find some extra space for an earphone capsule that doubles as a secondary speaker for stereo audio. The sound is mostly generated by the primary speaker on the bottom, but about 15-20% actually comes from this “sidekick”.

Autonomy

The Galaxy S10+ boasts a 4,000mAh battery unit that managed to always last me a full working day, but no more. The included charger can bring it from 0 to 50% in 38 minutes and to 100% in 1 hour and 42 minutes.

It is clear that Samsung must do a whole lot better if it wants to keep up with the competition. It is also clear that they focus on other interesting features such as Powershare which I’ll admit is very handy in certain situations (and somewhat of a showoff).

Price

The Galaxy S10+ starts at (Check on Amazon.com) which makes it abundantly clear that is more of a luxury product and reserved only for those that want the best of the best.

Final verdict

The Galaxy S10 Plus is the perfect gadget by today’s standards. Elegant, powerful, versatile, complete and in some ways surprising. It is not without defects: it is bulky for someone with small hands and still lacks a dedicated night photo mode that further enhances low light photography. For the rest, it incorporates all the best features that smartphone technology has to offer.

Its biggest (and only real) drawback is the price, but if you can spare the money you will not regret buying it.

Also read: BEST CELL PHONES

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Package
8.5
Build quality
9.5
Hardware
9.5
Camera
9
Display
10
Software
9
Autonomy
7.5
Price
6.5
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