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Last Updated : Jun 14, 2019 10:23 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Samsung Galaxy S10 review: A powerful 'compact' flagship with a big screen

Galaxy S10 sits right between the S10e and S10 Plus in terms of specs and pricing but does this help you get closer to buying it? Read our review to know better:

Pranav Hegde

The Galaxy S10 marks the 10th anniversary of its popular Galaxy S series. The South-Korean giant has tried its best to ensure the Galaxy S10 series becomes a ‘Go-to’ device for consumers looking to buy a premium smartphone.

The Galaxy S10 series comprises of three different models — Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, and Galaxy S10e. The Galaxy S10 sits right in between the bigger S10 Plus and the ‘affordable’ S10e in terms of specs and pricing. With three options to choose from, is Galaxy S10 the one for you? Let’s find out.

Design

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Samsung Galaxy flagship smartphones have always set high standards when it comes to design, and the Galaxy S10 is no less, if not better. It offers a punch-hole screen that comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 wrapped around a glass and metal body. Couple that excellent build quality with a triple camera setup at the back that sure is one of the best in the market. 

S10 design

The rear panel has Gorilla Glass 5 for protection against drops and scratches. On the side, you get a polished metal frame holding both the glass panels, giving it a sleek look. The device, however, like any other glass back smartphone is a fingerprint magnet.

On the left side are the volume rocker and a programmable Bixby smart assistant buttons, whereas on the right you’ll find the power button which is placed slightly on the higher side.

The top of the smartphone has room for a dual-SIM tray/microSD card slot with a mic whereas at the bottom you’ll find a single speaker grille and a mic with a USB Type-C port.

Unlike many other flagship devices, the Galaxy S10 retains the 3.5mm headphone jack, delightfully. The phone comes in three ‘Prism’ colours — White, Blue, and our review unit Black, which looks very classy. 

Overall, the Galaxy S10’s design sure looks like a premium flagship device. It gets an IP68 certificate for water resistance, which means you can dip the Galaxy S10 in 1.5 meters of water for 30 straight minutes. 

Display

samsung s10 front

Samsung has used a punch-hole display for the first time on the Galaxy S10. The company calls it an Infinity-O display which has a hole on the top right of its 6.1-inch Super AMOLED QHD+ screen.

The display has a resolution of 1440 * 3040 pixels and comes with an aspect ratio of 19:9. The punch-hole did not bother us while streaming content, although since it is not customised for several apps, chances are you might lose some part of the content.

There is an option to hide the hole with a black bar in the display settings. The display comes with an HDR10+ rating with a pixel density of 550PPI. While streaming high-resolution content, you would surely appreciate how crisp and vibrant the colours are on the Galaxy S10’s screen.

S10 display hole

The Galaxy S10 also gets an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner that Samsung claims is very secure and better than the optical in-display scanners used in other smartphones.

Performance

Under the hood, the Galaxy S10 comes with a 7nm Exynos 9820 chipset paired with a lone 8GB RAM variant combined with 128GB and 512GB internal storage options, expandable up to 512GB via microSD. The Octa-core processor clocks four Cortex-A55 efficiency cores at 1.95GHz, two Cortex-A75 central cores at 2.31GHz, and the remaining two Mongoose M4 performance cores at 2.73GHz. For graphics, the SoC is paired with a Mali-G76 MP12 onboard. 

With such high-end performance specs, the Galaxy S10 is bound to be a powerhouse. Gaming on the smartphone is a breeze. We played Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG on the Galaxy S10, which proved that the device can surely handle heavy usage. We played PUBG in the highest graphics settings with 80 percent brightness for straight 30 minutes. The device did heat up, which was manageable. We did not experience any lag or freeze while playing either of the games.

Even while multitasking, the apps remained open in the background. We had multiple tabs open on Chrome, with YouTube, a paused-episode on Amazon Prime, and WhatsApp in the background and most of the time, the apps opened where we left them. Overall, OneUI has done a better job with the memory management on Galaxy S10. 

Biometrics include face-unlock and in-display ultra-sonic fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner does a fair job in unlocking the device at the first attempt itself. However, one has to place the finger precisely on the scanner for it to read and bypass. Face-unlock is quick and does well in low-light conditions as well.

S10 ports

One place where it falls short is the battery. The device comes packed with a 3,400 mAh battery and we wish if Samsung could have offered a slightly bigger battery. If you are someone who plays a lot of games and streams video content with medium to almost full brightness, the Galaxy S10’s battery will last for less than a day.

To cover that up, Samsung offers a 15W fast charger which charges the device entirely in roughly an hour and 25 minutes. The smartphone also supports wireless charging and reverse wireless charging.

Camera

The Galaxy S10 shares the same camera unit with its bigger S10 Plus variant. It comes with a triple camera setup at the back with LED flash. The primary sensor includes a 12MP lens with a dual aperture of f/1.5-2.4. The other two cameras have a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto sensor and a 16MP f/2.2 fixed-focus ultra-wide sensor. The ultra-wide sensor misses out on OIS while the other two get OIS and phase detection.

S10 camera unit

The camera unit at the back performs like how it should on a flagship device. Photos taken on the primary 12MP sensor turned out to be rich in colours. There was proper sharpness and colours were not over saturated. The contrast levels, too, were just fine.

Shot on Galaxy S10's primary camera

The photos are better when scene optimiser is enabled, which also bumps up the contrast levels and assists in offering a better output in low-light conditions.

S10 ultrawide

Images clicked in ultra-wide mode resulted to a bit too much of barrel distortion as per our liking. To fix that, Samsung offers shape correction features within the camera app.

Shot on primary camera

2x Optical zoom

The telephoto lens offers 2x zoom with its 12MP sensor. There were enough details captured on the subject that was focused on. It may not be an ideal choice for a low-light situation as we did see some noise that, however, was negligible. The rear camera unit supports various modes, like Live Focus, Pro, etc.

On the front, we have a single 10MP sensor for portraits. It misses out on the depth sensor for edge detection which the Galaxy S10 Plus gets. Photos taken on the front camera are good and provide enough details. Although it does not have a dedicated depth sensor, the front camera does a decent job in edge detection.

Software

Samsung has worked a lot on the software front. The Galaxy S10 comes with One UI 1.1 based on Android 9 out of the box. There are plenty of customised features offered on the Galaxy S10. Smart Stay being one which keeps the screen awake till you are looking at it. There are also a bunch of gestures and shortcuts like gesture-based navigation instead of the three buttons at the bottom of the screen.

The phone comes pre-loaded with many Samsung apps, which can be uninstalled. Overall, OneUI offers a fresh and clean look, which also allows uninstalling bloatware on the Galaxy S10.

Verdict

The S10 is an important phone for Samsung, coming as it does after the lacklustre S9. Its proposition to users is straightforward: you get a premium brand phone with flagship features, along with certain things that are Samsung's USPs, such as a pleasing display or a first-rate camera.

The S10's compact form factor is great for users who operate their phones single-handedly and like them light. Despite this, the phone has a fairly large 6.1-inch display.

The one place the Galaxy S10 comes up short is the battery, which lasts just about a day with moderate to heavy use.

The competition in the flagship space is heating up, with the likes of OnePlus 7 Pro (read our review here), proving to be able competition.

Samsung's middle-of-the-way pricing -- it sits above the OnePlus but below the iPhone XS -- makes it a compelling proposition for those who prefer a Tier 1 brand.

 

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First Published on May 30, 2019 03:49 pm
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