Alright, so this is the tenth edition of the Samsung Galaxy S series and the company has put all its efforts to take on the competition by giving out the best from its camp. The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is what the company has come out with and the top-of-the-line flagship is ready to conquer. Or is it? We used the smartphone for well over 10 days to understand what makes it tick and what makes it tock. This is our review of the largest S series smartphone in the current generation, the Samsung Galaxy S10+.
Design and Display
Samsung has left no stone unturned when it comes to the built of the Galaxy S10+. It is refreshing to look at, especially when you have seen a slew of smartphones with a notched display. The Samsung Galaxy S10+ comes with a large 6.4-inch edge to edge Dynamic AMOLED infinity-O display. So, what that means is that there is no notch on the smartphone where the front-facing camera and other sensors are placed. Instead, there is a punch hole setup on the top right side of the screen, which has the front facing dual cameras.
So, what happened to the sensors and the ear speaker? Well, they have been neatly tucked behind the screen and the earpiece speaker has been pushed towards the top part of the phone. This enables the smartphone to give a richer, nicer screen experience to its users. With almost 90% screen to body ratio, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ has nearly no bezels, on any of the sides. The curved screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6. The same glass can also be found on the back of the smartphone.
Talking about which, the rear of the smartphone has a ceramic back panel underneath the glass. Available in a couple of colours, we tested the prism white version that has a blue-ish pearl tint to it. To put it simply, it looks outstanding. At the back, Samsung has installed three cameras with an LED flash with the Samsung branding under it. Also, at the back one can find the manufactured in India writings at the bottom. The rear does manage to get its fair share of fingerprints since it is a glass back. However, with the colour scheme, one can’t really make them out. For the ones who have a hawk eye, then you might want to pick a nifty case for the mobile.
The sideband of the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is a made up of metal with chrome finish. The buttons also have the same chrome finish, which adds the show. The volume rocker and the dedicated, yet not so dedicated Bixby button (since it can be customised to almost any other app, besides another voice assistant) is placed on the left side. While the power button sees an unusually high placement on the right.
The bottom plays house to a 3.5mm audio port, USB Type-C charging jack, primary microphone and a loudspeaker. The top has the hybrid SIM and microSD card slot along with a secondary microphone. The smartphone is also dust and water proof.
Now to talk about the display, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ brings the absolute best. The infinity-O display is eye candy. We just could not get enough of it. The screen is legible in any kind of light conditions and is one of the best we have seen so far in 2019. The text is crisp, the imagery is sharp and the colours are vivid. YouTube videos play like a charm and gaming is a much better experience here when compared to the Google Pixel 3/3 XL.
The screen supports a resolution of 1,440 x 3040 with an aspect ratio of 19:9. So, we tested a couple of 4K videos on it too, and to our amazement, they ran very well. There is a night mode present in the UI that enlists most things with a black background colour. This makes everything look cooler, but not all is turned dark with it. The app drawer and some of the other apps are still in their natural colours. We were hoping they also turn dark and add to the ambience.
Performance and Camera
Switching gears, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ we held for review is the base version that has all the neat parts except more RAM and storage. Let’s quickly run you over the specs. This one is the Indian version of the Samsung Galaxy S10+, which has Exynos 9820 octa-core CPU with two cores running at 2.73 GHz, the next two running at 2.31 GHz and the last 4 running at 1.95 GHz. For the Lehman, to balance out things between when you are gaming and not gaming, you get multiple cores with different clock speeds.
The RAM in the device is 8GB since this is the base model with 128GB storage. In case you want more storage, you can install a microSD card of up to 512GB. However, that means you would lose one Nano SIM slot, since it is a hybrid slot. The GPU is powered by a Mali-G76 MP12 chip and it works wonderfully well. The whole combo made games run extremely smooth, even the more demanding ones like Asphalt 9 Legends or PUBG.
We threw everything at this device and it would never come under pressure. Yes, it did get a bit warm when we extended our PUBG sessions on it, but nothing that will burn your fingers. 8 gigs of RAM is good enough to load and run the most demanding of apps and is also good for multi-tasking.
A lot of security options are available in the smartphone starting from the trusted numeric password to the pattern lock. A new form of fingerprint unlock system has been added to the Samsung Galaxy S10+. This is called ultrasonic fingerprint detection, an advanced version of indisplay fingerprint detection. Which hardly faulters, but does take a few extra milliseconds to open the device’s screen. Face detection unlocking system is also there that does work really well and is super quick to open the smartphone during the day or in well-lit conditions. However, in the dark, it takes a wee bit of extra time to respond, since the screen will brighten to detect your face and then unlock.
The operating system on the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is Android 9 Pie with Samsung’s One UI. The user interface is now much cleaner and nicer looking. It is very close to stock Android. You do end up getting a few unwanted apps on the mobile, but nothing you cannot disable or remove. Nonetheless, in a premium phone, one would not want to see them at all. If one wants them, the PlayStore is where one should get it from. The UI is slick, responds well and almost never falters. Thanks to the good CPU and RAM combo inside, the whole operation during our time with the mobile was excellent.
Moving to the camera power. The Samsung Galaxy S10+ comes with a triple rear camera setup. The first one has 16-megapixels (ultrawide) with an aperture size of 2.2, next is the wide 12MP sensor with an aperture size of 1.5-2.4 and another 12MP telephoto sensor with a 2.4 aperture size. These are horizontally stacked on the rear glass panel and come with a very bright LED flash. When tested they gave us one of the best results we have seen so far from any Galaxy smartphone from Samsung. The day shots come out to be very close to life and have exceptional sharpness.
The night shots with flash were quite nice too, but lacked some detail when the flash was not used. A bit of camera noise also crept in around the corners without flash. The videos with the rear cameras can be shot in 4K and those come out to be vivid with great details around the object. However, we do not recommend it for dark to low-light videography as it suffers a little. Live mode, a lot of effects and other good styles are available in the native camera app and some of them even help you take the best shots by telling you where to point the camera exactly.
Let’s talk about the front cameras now. There are two selfie cameras in the Samsung Galaxy S10+. These comprise of a 10MP primary sensor with an aperture size of 1.9 and a secondary 8MP sensor with an aperture size of 2.2. What these essentially do is cover a lot of space around you. So, you get a wider shot in the selfie mode. The beauty effect here works superbly well and does manage to do what it is intended for. The front shots are crisp and are mostly on point during the day (indoors and outdoors). At night too we were able to squeeze out some good selfies, barring when we were in super dark areas.
As per our AnTuTu test, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ scored 3,29,575 points and on Geekbench 4’s compute test the mobile device got 7,087 marks. On the Geekbench 4 CPU single-core test it garnered 4,525 points and CPU multi-core test it got 10,057 marks. All of them indicate best in class performance and even without a Snapdragon chipset inside, the Exynos with 8 GB RAM can give its competition a run for its money.
The sound quality of the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is what we loved the most after its superb display and performance. The device comes with stereo speakers, with a downfiring single speaker located at the bottom and the earpiece speaker being used up as a second speaker in the stereo setup. Together they are very loud. These are backed by Dolby Atmos and do make the gaming, movie and YouTube experience more immersive. Our recommendation is to keep the volume at around 80 per cent, for the best optimal long-term use.
But that is not where the sound department ends, Samsung Galaxy S10+ come with a pair of AKG headphones that are even better than the supplied stereo speakers. They are thumpy and take gaming and music to a new level altogether. These are truly worthy of being in the pack of a flagship device.
The battery life of the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is where we got a mixed bag of results. During our test phase, we were able to get a full day of battery life with its 4,100 mAh battery under nominal use. But it fell down considerably when an hour or two of gaming or using the GPS navigation was added to the blend. Yes, the device does come with a fast charger, but unlike others it does not fast charge as quickly as one would expect from a premium device. Wireless charging is supported too, but that too isn’t as quick when compared to the Apple iPhone XS/XS max or Google Pixel 3.
Samsung has added reverse charging mode to the Galaxy S10+, which is quite cool if you have a pair of wireless ear buds or need to charge your buddies smartphone when out of juice. But be careful, this method will only work when your Samsung Galaxy S10+ has more than 30% battery soup left.
Verdict and Final Thoughts
Samsung Galaxy S10+ does get you excited from the word go, and the excitement continues as you move on. There are some good embellishments of UI engineering you would find on it, like the apps edge enrolment or the way the front cameras border lights up when you press the power button to face unlock/lift it up. These are things only Samsung would probably do.
There is attention to detail and one can see the effort the company has put in to give a far superior experience to its users. We would have been happier if they would have included a better fast charger in the box, as these days one rarely has time to wait. Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is a superb device at Rs 73,900 and is a rocking start to 2019 series of flagships!