Today is Samsung’s big launch event, and the company has made the thoroughly leaked Galaxy S10 official. The company announced the S10 and S10 Plus smartphones onstage today at Samsung Unpacked 2019, after it unveiled the impressive and incredibly expensive Galaxy Fold foldable handset.
The Galaxy S line never joined the notch trend of 2018, and this year, Samsung is going with a new scheme to maximize display space while still having a front camera: the hole-punch display. Samsung is pushing the display boundaries all the way out to the edges of the phone, and a camera is located the display panel. Samsung’s display technology has reached the point where the camera lens is under the display, so you get a display with a round camera hole in it (cut out by a laser!) and pixels all around the camera lens.
The slimmer bezels means screen sizes are getting even bigger. The S10 has a 6.1-inch 3040×1440 AMOLED display—up from 5.8-inches in the S9—while the S10 Plus is getting a 6.4-inch 3040×1440 AMOLED panel—up from 6.2-inches on the S9 Plus and now the same size as the Galaxy Note 9. Both phones are a few millimeters wider than last year, so they will feel a bit bigger when you’re holding them.
These displays are what Samsung calls “Infinity-O” Dynamic AMOLED panels, meaning they’ll hit 1,200 nits of brightness at their peak. They also produce 42 percent less harmful blue light, and users will be able to adjust color temperature to what’s most comfortable for them.
Another huge perk of these displays is something you can’t actually see. The old fingerprint sensor on the handset’s back is gone, and instead you’ll get Qualcomm’s new ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader. This fingerprint sensor will work even in “challenging conditions,” like when it’s very sunny or when the display itself is wet. Also, your biometric data is encrypted, and Samsung employed machine-learning algorithms to keep your data protected. Notably, the iris scanner that existed on the Note7/S8/Note8/S9/Note9 is also gone.
On the back, you’ll get three cameras for the S10 and S10 Plus: a 12MP dual aperture camera, a 12MP telephoto camera, and an ultra-wide 16MP, 123-degree camera. The front-facing cameras on the models differ, though: the S10 has a 10MP, f/1.9 dual pixel camera while the S10 Plus has that same camera along with an additional 8MP f/2.2 depth sensor.
Samsung added a bunch of new software features to elevate the S10 cameras. The “Live Focus” feature lets you blur the background of your portrait shots, while a new neural-processing unit can recognize scenes and suggest how to frame your shots before you take them.
There are a bunch of new photo filters as well, and they can be overlaid on photos in real time before you actually take the shot. Stabilization comes from Samsung’s “Super Steady Camera” technology, which it claims is “on par” with the stabilization tech in most action cameras.
The Galaxy S10 is also the first smartphone that can record video in HDR10+, which will please mobile videographers. The front-facing cameras support 4K video recording, too, so you’ll get great-quality videos from both the front and rear cameras. Samsung partnered with Adobe Premiere Rush CC to optimize the handsets for video editing, so users can edit videos and upload them to social media directly from the handset if they use that Adobe program.
Samsung also partnered with Instagram to bring a special “Instagram” mode to the camera. This basically blurs the background of selfie shots automatically, letting users quickly take suitable photos that they can share instantly over the Facebook-owned, photo-focused social media platform.
For specs, every Galaxy S10 variant comes with either Qualcomm’s brand-new Snapdragon 855 SoC (this is the US variant) or Samsung’s Exynos 9820 SoC. There’s a baseline 6GB of RAM with options for 8GB and even 12GB of RAM—a new high-mark for smartphones. Storage starts at 128GB and goes up to 512GB and 1TB tiers, another high score on the spec sheet. If this somehow still isn’t enough storage for you, you can also add a MicroSD card.
Both devices are equipped with an “all-day battery life,” and they both support wireless charging as well as the standard USB-C port for wired charging. The S10 has a 3,400mAh battery, while the S10 Plus has a 4,100mAh pack. You can even turn the phone itself into a wireless charging pad by flipping it over and placing another device on top of the handset’s back. The S10 and S10 Plus are also the first handsets to support Wi-Fi 6, so they will have about 20 percent faster Wi-Fi than the Galaxy S9 from last year.
The Galaxy S10e
If you’re looking for something smaller and cheaper, try the Galaxy S10e. It’s the third and most affordable option in the new Galaxy S line. You’ll still get the baseline S10 specs with the new Snapdragon or Exynos SoC, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, as well as an IP68 water-resistant design just like the other handsets.
But Samsung did cut a few corners to keep the S10e the cheapest option of the bunch. The display drops to a 5.8-inch AMOLED with a resolution of 2280×1080. It’s still a hole-punch display, but you’re getting thicker bezels then you’d find on the more premium S10 and S10 Plus. There’s a smaller (3,100mAh) battery, only (only!) two cameras on the back, and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor instead of the fancy in-screen option.
Lastly this year, Samsung will offer a 5G version of the Galaxy S10. The 5G model looks nearly identical to the regular S10 in terms of its overall design. The biggest differences are in the display and the battery: it will have a whopping 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED display and a massive 4,500mAh battery inside.
There’s also a fourth depth-sensing camera on the handset’s back, which will give it an extra photography edge over the other S10 handsets. Samsung’s also promising a “realistic AR experience” with the 5G model, but we’re not sure how that will look in practice considering there aren’t many great AR apps available yet.
The Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and the S10e will be available starting March 8. The S10 starts at $899, the S10 Plus starts at $999, and the S10e starts at $749. The S10 5G doesn’t have a starting price or a release date yet.