Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is Samsung’s latest flagship handset running Android 9 Pie with Samsung’s own launcher software firmly overlaid on top. It has a large 6.4in edge-to-edge screen with a hole-punch selfie camera cut-out instead of a notch and 5 cameras (yes, you read correctly, 5!! Three at the back and 2 at the front.
With a stunning 93.1% screen-to-body ratio, the pixels now stretch from the small top speaker down to the thin bottom. It all feels so nicely put together and it just looks stunning. Other new features included are an “ultrasonic” in-screen fingerprint reader and reverse wireless charging which lets you charge other phones and accessories, such as the Samsung Galaxy Buds, simply by placing them on the rear of the phone.
What’s the best price for the Galaxy S10 Plus?
In the US it will set you back $999 for the 128GB model and $1249 for the 512GB version. The massive 1TB edition costs $1499.
In the UK prices start from £899 for the 128GB model and £1099 for the 512GBmodel. The Performance Edition version with 12GB RAM and 512GB storage will set you back £1399.
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Scores
- Build Quality
The Galaxy S10 Plus is Samsung’s new flagship phone for 2019 and it is as impressive in real life as the hype had promised. Its 6.4-inch screen is so big it displaces the front camera, while its triple-lens rear camera can take ultra-wide photos. Video features are fantastic with 4K slow-mo and even HDR+. Hidden perks like an in-screen fingerprint sensor and Wireless PowerShare offer a lot of flexibility. You just have to bear in mind that all of this doesn’t come cheap.
User Review( votes)
Features and design
– The high-end 512GB/1TB version comes with a premium ceramic back
– Perks: reverse wireless charging (new) and headphone jack (age-old)
– You’ll want a case to avoid dropping this big, slippery phone
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is the first Samsung flagship that at first might feel there is nothing incredibly new but when you pay attention you do appreciate this is a step up from anything they have released before. The S10 Plus hides inside quite a few surprises, new and old. Its sleek aluminum frame is thinner than that of the S9 Plus, and it is still sandwiched in between smooth Gorilla Glass 6.
The phone is available in a variety of different finishes, all of them look great. You can choose from four “prism” colours to choose from, white, green, blue and black, each of which has an attractive and unique shine. There are also two ceramic-backed models in white and black.
What sets the Galaxy S10 Plus a few steps above the competition are the elegant touches. We noticed (and liked quite a lot) the animated “snake” that chases its tail around the hole-punch camera to indicate that it is looking for the user’s face to unlock.
With Gorilla Glass 6 at the front and Gorilla Glass 5 at the rear, as well as the chrome frame, there is a definite feel you are holding a premium product that only a few phones have. We are confident to say that the S10 Plus is Samsung’s most elegant smartphone to date. It is, quite simply, a fantastic product from top to bottom.
The fingerprint reader has now been moved from its ugly square housing in previous models, to the front, beneath the screen. This has definitely improved the phone’s aesthetics. Samsung says that the new fingerprint sensor in the S10 Plus is different from most phones in the market. It uses Qualcomm’s ultrasonic technology, which bounces sound waves off your finger to capture a 3D scan of your finger’s ridges and patterns. This is a contrast move away from the optical sensors employed by most other phones, only able to capture a flat image.
It’s more accurate than the optical in-screen fingerprint scanners. Even though we tested this with a wet finger we found that at first, we would get it right 80% of the time. That went up to 95% success rate with a little more practice. This is probably because with no physical ridge to guide our finger we don’t expect to eliminate failures completely. We guess it all comes down to getting used to the invisible sensor location before getting 100% success.
These issues, though, can be mitigated if you opt to set up face unlock, which we found it can recognize us faster than the fingerprint scanner. The only issue we can think of with face recognition is the now old fear that you have to be looking at the S10 Plus to unlock it and it’s less secure. Let’s face it most of us won’t ever need to worry about this but if you are the type that worries about this, well, with a little practice the finger recognition will work perfectly.
On the left side, the volume rocker sits above a dedicated key for Samsung’s smart assistant, Bixby. Press it and you will launch the assistant, giving you quick access to voice commands and the Bixby Today screen. Unfortunately, it is a little too easy for our liking to mistake this AI key for the volume-down button. We found it to be distracting but thankfully you can re-map the undesirable Bixby button this time.
With more practical considerations in mind, there’s a lot to like here. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus retains the 3.5mm headphone jack, despite the fact that they have released their own wireless earbuds. It also provides a second SIM slot and microSD expansion when so many rivals are dancing to Apple’s tune and getting rid of them.
Those with an active outdoor life will be pleased to know that the Galaxy S10 Plus is still water and dust-resistant with an IP68 rating. It will give you some peace of mind that in case of an accidental dunk in the bath or a drenching with tea, it won’t fry it.
The S10 plus also includes reverse wireless charging, Wireless Power Share, allowing you to charge a battery simply by placing the item on the back of the phone. You have to enable the feature via the quick settings pull-down menu, which is a touch fiddly, but it’s better than on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, where the feature is only accessible by delving into the power saving settings.
– 4-inch QHD+ screen with an impressive 93.1% screen-to-body ratio
– Infinity-O display type’s punch hole fits two front cameras in top right
– The first phone with HDR10+, but beware of false touches from lack of bezel
The 6.4-inch display on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has an aspect ratio of 19:9 and uses AMOLED tech to ensure effectively perfect contrast. It the largest S phone screen to date and also a lot better than any previous models. The resolution is 3,040 x 1,440 but the phone comes set to display a default 1,080 x 2,280, which we would recommend you don’t charge it in order to retain optimum performance and battery life. The 93.1% screen-to-body ratio fits more pixels across a tighter body and that results in crispier colors and sharper images.
The hole-punch front camera is now a laser-cut hole rather than a cutting out a notch from the top of the screen. Called Infinity O, this laser-cut hole is technically quite impressive, and its position in the top-right corner means it looks neater than the centrally-located notch on most phones. The end result is still the same, however. A portion of the screen is permanently blacked out and the only measurable difference is that your notification and status widgets along the top of the screen are shifted in one block to the left, instead of being split in two.
Samsung added two front cameras on the Galaxy S10 Plus to capture better portrait selfies than the single-lens on the Galaxy S10 and S10e models. We were a little unsure at first about this but we didn’t find these two-camera set up to be too distracting, as a matter of fact, after a couple of hours getting used to the overall phone we didn’t find it distracting at all.
Dynamic” OLED, provides a peak brightness of 1,200cd/m², 10-bit colour, support for HDR10+ content and reduced blue light emission. The default resolution is Full HD+, but you can crank it to QHD+ and it’s pin-sharp, with HDR10+ for superior contrast and color. That’s an important perk if you’re a movie-watcher on your phone – an idea which isn’t so crazy its size.
We measured screen brightness peaking at a dizzying height of 1,057cd/m² in automatic brightness mode. This means you will be able to read the text in even the brightest of environments. The screen’s sRGB coverage in the default “Natural” colour mode is at 94.7%, with a total volume of 97% (which is really good), while in “Vivid” mode it’s pretty close to the DCI-P3 colour space used in most HDR playback.
Suffice it to say, this is a screen that is spectacularly good for watching Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Aside from some over-sensitive edges, which takes some time getting used to, the Infinity-O display is quite a leap forward. It looks amazing, giving you stunning bright nada vivid colors, a joy to use with images, games and video.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of its performance, however, isn’t related to how smoothly games play or how much grunt the processor can deliver, but rather how efficient the phone is. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus battery hits a new high for the S series with a 4,100mAh capacity. Last year’s S9 Plus was above average for Android flagships, delivering all-day battery life from its 3,500mAh unit, but the S10 Plus performed better for us in our tests. The phone lasted an impressive 21hrs 17mins while playing back a looped, low-resolution video. This is remarkable in itself.
What does all of this mean in the real world? The phone will comfortably make it through a day of heavy use with plenty of juice in the tank left. Pushing the phone to its limits for almost a week, We are yet to need topping up the charge before bedtime. That is seriously impressive stuff and one thing you should definitely consider when looking at this phone against the competition.
The Galaxy S10 Plus does come with a host of power-saving modes with the most aggressive – maximum power saving – locking down the interface to just a few key apps (of your choosing), ensuring you still get hours from you final few percents.
– Triple lens camera for normal, telephoto and ultra-wide photos
– The 3MP main camera takes excellent photos rivalling Pixel 3
– The ultra-wide camera is a great addition, even if it isn’t always sharp
– New ‘Live Focus’ portrait filters like Color Point are fun to use
As with most modern smartphones being released from 2019 onwards, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has a lot of cameras, five in total to be precise, three at the back and two at the front.
Starting with the three at the back, the primary camera is 12-megapixel with dual-aperture (f/1.5 or f/2.4). The zoom camera is also 12-megapixel, f/2.4 2x zoom. What’s exciting though, though, is the ultra-wide-angle 16-megapixel, f/2.2 camera with a field of view equivalent to a 12mm full-frame lens (around a 123-degree field of view, insane! 123 degrees! I remember lugging around expensive wide-angle lenses to try to capture as much as possible of a scene. This does it all within such a tiny lens. Incredible. Samsung’s dual-aperture lens allowed us to capture vibrant-looking photos and even fairly good low-light pictures.
If you wonder what Samsung has come up with for the front cameras, well, you have a 10-megapixel (f/1.8) and an 8-megapixel (f/2.2) camera. The latter is used mainly as a depth sensor for portrait shots but it can also be called in to provide a slightly wider angle of view for group shots.
One area where the Galaxy S10 Plus excels is video. The S10 Plus is able not only to shoot stabilised footage in 4K resolution at 60fps but also capture HDR10+ clips for video with improved dynamic range plus ultra slow-motion footage. Ultra-slow mo at 4K???? I can see some phone bloggers and indie filmmakers going, WHAT??
Samsung new stabilization technology is designed to make your Ultra HD video look as smooth as footage from an action cam. In all fairness to it, The S10 Plus rivals the stabilization of the GoPro Hero7 Black. As close to a gimbal-like experience as you can get holding a smartphone on your hands, though the tiny DJI Osmo Pocket remains our favorite for silky smooth gliding/ floating video.
With so much on offer, what about image quality? Image quality is stunning, particularly in regards to colour rendition. We were impressed by how accurate colors are captured, so natural. They’re not under or over-saturated, and there seems to be a good balance between noise suppression and detail. Video looks incredibly clean, neat and sharp, yet giving you a natural, subtle and professional look. We would, however, advise that you steer clear of the HDR video mode for now in case you want to download and view clips on a desktop PC. The files won’t display properly which is something we are sure they will address as time goes on but as of the time of writing this review, the playback wasn’t as smooth as we would expect.
Clearly, the Galaxy S10 Plus holds an advantage in having that wider-angle view in the first place, though (and the images you can capture with this the wide-angle camera can be stunning, by the way) just be aware that distortion correction isn’t enabled for the ultra-wide camera by default. That means, when you first use the camera, straight lines at the periphery of photographs will look bent out of shape. To apply distortion correction and straighten out those lines in your images, you need to dig into the camera settings menu in the “Save options” section. Enable the option titled “Ultrawide shape correction”.
Live Focus is more fun with the Galaxy S10 Plus, with Samsung’s portrait mode now offering a few different options. You still get the standard background blur effect, the amount of which can be easily toggled with an on-screen slide, but there are now three other options. Spin and Zoom offer different blur effects for the more artistic and creative, but it’s the final option, Color Point, which is our favorite. This keeps your subject in the foreground in color, while turning the background black and white.
It works extremely well, and the results are striking. You can also select this option when using the front-facing cameras, for striking selfies that allow you to ‘pop’ in color while the background is turned mono. This is something we had a lot of fun with and we are sure a lot of people will find wacky uses for. We noticed that the quality of images from the front-facing cameras dip noticeably in low light but then again, giving the different specs between rear and front cameras, it was to be expected. It is the same as every other phone out there.
The performance of the Galaxy S10 Plus is absolutely spectacular. Samsung’s latest and greatest mobile chipset: the 8nm Exynos 9820 (US customers get the 7nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 855), ensure everything runs like clockwork. The phone has a whopping 12GB of RAM if you’ve splurged on the 1TB model, or 8GB if you own the model with 128GB or 512GB of storage (which is what we envisage most people will purchase).
The Exynos 9820 is arranged with a total of three CPUs clocking different speeds, each one of them kicking in automatically, without you noticing, depending on how demanding the task. It can get too technical for the average person but think of the different driving modes in a car, sport, cruise, economy, etc. The phone will automatically switch modes, depending on the task at hand.
This translates to barnstorming benchmark results and a slick, responsive-feeling experience all around. In the Geekbench 4 graphs below, you can see it performs slightly better than the Snapdragon 855-equipped Xiaomi Mi 9 for single-threaded tasks and slightly worse for multi-core.
It’s a similar story for gaming and graphics performance. In the GFXBench tests, we see a slightly lower frame rate for the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus than the Xiaomi Mi 9 when the test is run at native resolution, but that’s because the Mi 9 is driving a much lower resolution 1080p display. And, remember, if you ever want smoother frame rates from the S10 Plus, you can reduce the resolution at which graphics are rendered through the Display settings menu.
The simplicity of the camera’s software interface and its general speed and responsiveness in use is something that impressed us all. Toggling between the wide-angle, primary and zoom cameras is achieved simply and easily by tapping the control in the bottom-centre of the camera preview screen and you can switch modes by swiping left and right. A particularly nice feature in the Galaxy S10 Plus is that the portrait blur (or bokeh) effects are previewed live on-screen and change as you increase or reduce the intensity. That is something we found really helpful and quite impressive.
That remarkable simplicity isn’t restricted to the phone’s new interface. The S10 Plus “One UI,” has to be the best software Samsung has ever put on any of its smartphones. There are so many nice little details. The animated highlighting that surrounds the front-facing camera when you switch to the front-facing camera and the overall amount of customization of much of the interface. It’s even possible to adjust the intensity of vibrations at different levels for calls, notifications and touch interactions. One UI is a pleasure to use and, naturally, Samsung has packed it full of options and nuggets you’ll discover as you use the phone. One of our favourites is the desktop icons for the phone’s clock and calendar apps, which update in real-time to reflect the current time and date.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is the most complete smartphone the company has produced to date. It is an elegant and well-considered design, a thing you actively want to pick up, to physically touch, hold and use. It has an infinite amount of adjustments and customizations, which makes the S10 Plus a joy to use.
The camera is outstanding, both for stills and video. The display is awesome, the battery life impressive and the performance is lightning fast. Surprisingly fast we would say. The fact that Samsung has retained old-school features such as the 3.5mm jack, dual-SIM and storage expansion capabilities give the user that much to play with.
This is the first phone with next-gen Wi-Fi 6, giving you to seamlessly transition between Wi-Fi routers and is four times faster than the 802.11ax standard. That extra 20% speed boost can only be a good thing and adds to the already impressive set of features this phone has.
The only thing we would complain about is the price. It is a battle we will never win but if you want the best, I guess you got to pay top dollar for it.
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S10: What’s the difference?
Along with the S10 Plus model, Samsung released the Galaxy S10, a cheaper version. The main difference between this phone and the S10 Plus, other than the price, is that it’s smaller. It has a 6.1in edge-to-edge display instead of the S10 Plus’ 6.4in screen. As a result, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is slightly narrower, shorter and lighter. It is, however, the same thickness at 7.8mm.
|Samsung Galaxy S10||Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus|
|Weight||157g||175g (198g Ceramic)|
The other key differences between the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the S10 Plus are the battery, which is smaller at 3,400mAh vs 4,100mAh in the S10 plus, and the selfie camera which is just one on the S10 compared to the S10 Plus’ dual front shooter. The S10 also isn’t available with 1TB of internal storage, but that option on the S10 plus is quite expensive and we are not sure how many people will actually buy it, let alone need it.
The single selfie camera on the S10 means that your blurred-background portrait shots won’t look anywhere near as nice as on the S10 Plus. In addition, you don’t get the option of the wider-angle selfie mode. There are some other small cosmetic differences but other than that (some might think these are substantial differences, others will be able to live with them and save some cash) the S10’s features are precisely the same as they are on the S10 Plus.