Samsung Galaxy S10+ Review: 10th Generation Android Greatness

Enter The Next Galaxy Flagship Superphone, Samsung Galaxy S10+

Galaxy S10 Plus With Box
Samsung leads the pack in global smartphone market share, with over 21 percent command, versus second place Apple that sits at a little over 15 percent, and Huawei at about 14.8. Samsung and Apple both lost ground to Huawei last year, but if early indications for the first quarter of 2019 are on point, Samsung could come roaring back, due in part to the positive reception of the company's 10th generation Galaxy S series device, the Galaxy S10. Samsung's Galaxy S10 family is currently a trio of Android handsets, soon to expand to a quartet, with the introduction of a 5G-targeted variant sometime next month.

To say the buzz around Samsung's launch has been deafening would be an understatement. The device has been leaked, teased and sneak-peeked ad infinitum, so there are certainly high hopes. In the current 3-member family, there's the Samsung Galaxy S10e, Samsung's mainstream 5.8-inch device, the Galaxy S10, a mid-range 6.1-inch display-equipped version, and the Galaxy S10+, the big, bodacious yet surprisingly efficient 6.4-inch Galaxy flagship model we're looking at in deep-dive detail here today. 

Historically, Samsung's industrial designs and its impressive OLED display technology have earned the company high marks out of the gate with its smartphone products, but as the product category has matured, many others have followed in Samsung's footsteps, and yes, even Apple has taken a cue or two along the way.

Galaxy S10 5G on end
Samsung Galaxy S10 Family, Galaxy S10 5G Near End

In fact, in the current market dynamic, it almost seems easy to assemble sexy hardware, coupled with a bright display, a robust processor platform, and Google's latest Android OS. It's easy, that is, if you want to blend-in with the crowd and relegate your brand to department store or carrier service center point of presence displays. But sorry, these days, if you want to chip off any significant chunk of market share, smartphone OEMs have to deliver true innovation, great performance and a refined, balanced user experience. 

Sounds like a tall order -- and it is. Samsung's Galaxy S10 series is running with the big dogs, like Apple's iPhone XS, Google's Pixel 3, the scrappy OnePlus 6T and new offerings in the wings from others like LG. Does Samsung still have what it takes to deliver a class-leading handset that can set the bar in the evermore crowded smartphone market?

At the risk of floating spoilers out too soon, we'd offer that the new Samsung Galaxy S10+ delivers the goods and then some, even with the caveat of its $1,000 price tag. So strap in and let's take a detailed look at a new Galaxy.

Samsung Galaxy S10+
Specifications & Features
Operating System Android 9 Pie With Samsung One UI
Display 6.4" Curved Dynamic AMOLED (3040x1440 WQHD+), 19:9 Aspect, 522ppi, HDR10+, Infinity-O, Reduced Blue Light 
Cameras Rear: Ultra Wide: 16MP FF, F2.2 (123°), Wide-angle: 12MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.5/F2.4, OIS (77°), Telephoto: 12MP PDAF, F2.4, OIS (45°)
Front Selfie: 10MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.9 (80°), RGB Depth: 8MP FF, F2.2 (90°)
Processors Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 - 2.84GHz, 64-Bit octa-core, Adreno 640 graphics
Memory & Storage 8GB RAM, 128GB UFS2.1 storage
Dimensions & Weight 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm (175 grams)
Colors Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Blue, Flamingo Pink
Media & Audio Single downfiring speaker, headphone jack
Battery & Power 4,100 mAh w/ Wireless Charging, Qualcomm QuickCharge And Wireless PowerShare
Wireless & Location Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4/5GHz), Bluetooth® v 5.0, ANT+
Network World-wide network/carrier compatibility, up to 7 CA, LTE Cat.20
Sensors Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro Sensor, Compass, Magnet (Hall) Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, HR Sensor
Ports, IO, Location USB Type-C, NFC, Location (GPS, Galileo*, Glonass, BeiDou*)
Materials And Protection Metal frame, Corning Gorilla Glass 6, IP68 Water and Dust Resistance
Security/Biometrics Embedded Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner, 2D Face Recognition

From a quick rundown of the specs, your early observation might be that the Galaxy S10+ is strapped and fully loaded. The first thing to note is that this device will be the first Qualcomm Snapdragon 855-powered handset that we've tested. Qualcomm's new Snapdragon mobile platform claims to deliver significant improvements in both general compute performance and graphics/gaming performance uplift as well. You can expect specific benchmark details in this regard on the pages ahead. 

The other notable here is that the Galaxy S10+ comes with either 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 128GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage, the latter higher configurations of which are available in more expensive ceramic versions of the phone only. We happen to have the 8GB RAM/128GB storage variant here, and all Galaxy S10+ phones come with a large 4100 mAh battery. 
samsung galaxy s10 bundle kit

The members of the Galaxy S10 series differ in a few other ways as well. Both the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ have a triple rear camera array: a 16MP Ultra-Wide f2.2 aperture shooter, along with a Wide-angle 12MP f1.5 camera and 12MP f2.4 Telephoto shooter. The smaller Galaxy S10e, however, is the only one of the currently released three Galaxy S10 devices that has just a dual camera array (Ultra-Wide and Wide-angle only, no Telephoto), and in fact that's the easiest way to tell them apart, by looking at the rear camera array, because they look so much alike, other than display size.  You also are treated to dual front-facing cameras, one of which is an 8MP RGB depth sensing camera for snapping portrait selfies with enhanced depth of field bokeh effects and the like. 

The Samsung Galaxy S10+'s display (boy it's hard to write that model name possessively) also delivers an impressive upgrade over the previous generation, but more on this later. 

galaxy s10 kit unpacked
galaxy buds power share charging
Samsung Galaxy Buds Set For Wireless PowerShare

Finally, if the updated camera, processing platform and display specs aren't enough for you, Samsung decided to up its peripherals, connectivity, and charging game as well. Samsung includes the usual USB-C sync and charge cable, quick charge adapter, a UCB-C to USB-A converter, SIM key tool, and a pair of wired analog earbuds as standard equipment with the phone. And yes, that's an actual headphone jack, son and we like it just fine.

However, Samsung also offers an optional pair of wireless Galaxy Buds by AKG. The case doubles as a wireless charger and provides up to 13 hours of play time in total. It also can charge wireless via the Galaxy S10 series and its Wireless PowerShare feature (all Qi-certified devices and wearables courtesy of IDT's wireless charging tech). If you look closely above, the buds are actually charging, just sitting on top of our Galaxy S10+ here. In just 15 minutes, they'll pull down 1.7 hours of play time, according to Samsung. So how do they sound? In a couple of words, we'd say "pretty good" but more on this later as well.

So that's the whole shootin' match with available options for the Galaxy S10+. Now let's dive in deeper to its design and user experience...

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