Samsung Galaxy S10 hands-on review
It's the 2019 flagship you've been waiting for.
08 Mar 2019
We were lucky enough to get our hands on the Samsung Galaxy S10 recently. And we were impressed, to say the least… it’s everything a phone should be.
From its cinematic display to a stunning triple lens camera, the S10 has it all. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
The super-slim and lightweight S10
- Super-slim and lightweight
- Polished metal frame
- Gorilla Glass 6 on the front
The first thing we noticed when we picked up the Galaxy S10 was just how slim and lightweight it is. When you think of all the important tech packed inside, it’s pretty amazing. Slip it into your pocket, and you won’t even feel it’s there.
The profile of the S10 is super-slim, and the curved display really adds to the appearance. It’s going to be tough for S10 owners to decide if they want to show off their phone in all its glory, or to cover it up and keep it in mint condition.
The brightest smartphone display ever
- Infinity-O display
- 6.1-inch Quad HD+
- Dynamic AMOLED
The front of the S10 is pretty much all-screen, with its edge-to-edge 6.1-inch Infinity-O display spilling over the curved sides. There’s no room for bezels on this phone. Instead, Samsung has laser-cut a tiny hole in the top right of the display to house the front-facing camera. That little circle is where the ‘O’ in ‘Infinity-O display’ comes from, and it really does play its part in providing an immersive (and bezel-less) viewing experience. It didn’t get in the way or distract us even once. After a while, we completely forgot all about it – exactly as it should be.
Let’s talk about the actual quality of the S10’s Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display. The older S9 was widely regarded as having the best smartphone display ever, but the S10’s is better.
DisplayMate,the specialist screen-tester, has given the S10’s display its highest ever A+ grade. DisplayMate’s official testing revealed that the S10 is brighter than any other smartphone, and its colour accuracy gets top marks too, being “visibly indistinguishable from perfect.”
We didn’t go as far as giving the S10’s display a rating when we tried it out for ourselves. But we did notice that the detail is incredible, the colours are rich without being over-saturated, and the blacks are blacker than black (if that’s possible). Those deep blacks are something that AMOLED displays are famous for, and the S10 doesn’t disappoint. Watch a moody blockbuster like Venom on it to enjoy the full effect.
A camera that sees things the same way you do
- TrueVision triple rear camera
- Ultra-wide selfie camera
- Super slow-mo video recording
The Galaxy S10’s triple camera really is something special. It consists of a 12MP camera with optical image stabilisation, a 16MP ultra-wide-angle camera (with a 123-degree field of view), and a 12MP camera telephoto lens with 2 x zoom.
Samsung has branded it as a ‘True Vision’ camera that captures every moment just as your eyes see it. And from our experience, it does exactly that. The shots we took during the day were incredibly sharp and clear, with rich colour and loads of detail. The night-time shots we took were even more impressive. The S10’s camera does a great job of pulling in light, but it doesn’t just make things brighter. Shadows are still black, and dazzling car lights look exactly as they do in real life.
We also gave the zoom lens a try, and took a shot of a faraway church steeple at maximum zoom. The resulting shot was nice and sharp, and picked up little details (like individual roof tiles) that were too far away to see with the naked eye.
Meanwhile round the front of the S10, the 10MP selfie camera lets you record your own 4K UHD videos - so if you’ve always fancied yourself as a YouTube star, well, now’s your chance. Or if you want to up your selfie game and make them more ‘arty’, you’ll love playing with the Live Focus mode. Without getting too techy about how it works, it basically finds your face and then lets you blur the background in lots of cool ways. Our favourite is the moody black and white.
Super secure, instant access
The S10 comes with a neat piece of security tech. It’s an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner and it’s the latest way of keeping your phone secure. It sits under the display (so no more smudging your rear camera as you search for a rear fingerprint scanner) and works in all sorts of conditions that other security scanners struggle with - including low temperatures and strong sunlight.
The power to share your power
If you’re the type of person that likes helping others and being a bit of a hero to your mates, the S10’s Powershare feature will be right up your street.
To bring a friend’s phone back to life, all you need to do is place the two devices back to back, and you’ll start sharing your power with them.
You can also power up accessories like wearables and headphones. So if your Galaxy Watch is running low when you’re out and about, or your Galaxy Buds give up on you mid-song in the gym, you can give them a boost with some S10 power. It’s great to share with others, but now and again – you need to look after yourself.
What’s going on inside the S10?
- Snapdragon 855 processor
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB or 52GB internal storage
- 3,400mAh battery
The S10 is powered by the latest Snapdragon 855 processor and it’s a speedy thing indeed, making the S10 perform 45% faster than the S9. The S10 also comes with 8GB RAM – another serious upgrade over the S9, with 4GB RAM. As for storage, you’ve got the option of going for 128GB or 512GB. If you want more, you can add up to 1TB with a microSD card. That’s 1000GB (!), enough to store a sizeable movie library on your phone – or to simply add any app you fancy, any time you want.
According to Samsung, the S10’s battery will last about 24 hours of mixed use. From our experience, we usually had around 40% of power left at the end of the day. That was after an hour or so of Netflix video streaming, and a few failed attempts at being last person standing on Fortnite.