A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Samsung Galaxy S10+
Tests

Published:
By: Adam Łukowski

Just like every year…

In this year Samsung went bonkers too and presented not two (like it used to) but three models from the flagship Galaxy S series. In my opinion, the biggest interest is evoked by extremities – that is the compact Galaxy S10e and the top, bigger S10+.

Samsung Galaxy S10+
Samsung Galaxy S10+
photo: Adam Łukowski/GSMchoice.com

I have received Samsung Galaxy S10+ shortly after its official launch. Thanks to that, the review model could accompany me for a longer time and it withstood a decent testing ground, that is MWC.

Galaxy S10+ endured troubles of the convention bravely, and what is more it convinced me to itself almost entirely. Why “almost” – you will find out from this review.


Samsung Galaxy S10+ - video review
video: GSMchoice.com, via

Contents



Construction, set quality of assembly

Samsung Galaxy S10+ can be found around the world with two different CPUs and it has a lot of different memory versions. We received the version with the Exynos 9820 CPU, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal memory. There is a version with 512GB of ROM and even 1TB, which in addition has 12GB of RAM.

If you would like to know more about other variants of S10, please refer to the launch coverage or simply watch this video:

Samsung Galaxy S10 straight from its launch
video: GSMchoice.com, via YouTube

What does the package hide? Besides the phone, we can find a 15-watt Adaptive Fast Charge charger (compatible with QC2) and a USB cable of a reasonable length. In addition, we have (known from previous generations) adapters from USB and microUSB to USB-C – it can help with transferring data from our previous phone using the Smart Switch app.

This is a great solution and I recommend using it, in order to configure the phone much faster. The app works well with basically any phone with Android or iOS.

Let us get back to the box for a minute, because we can find here AKG earphones as well. They have a high quality of construction and they play decently.

Galaxy S10+ is similar to models from the previous generation. It has a similar shape of the metal frame and arced edges. Curves are slightly less noticeable than in the predecessor, angles have lower degrees, which overall contributes to a better looks.

Shapes of the housing are rather simple, without any peculiarities, though I must admit that colours of the back is rather effective and eye-catching. My device was pearl-white, but the black version falling into purple shades is equally interesting. If you will choose the pure white or black, you must unfortunately pay more – these colours are reserved for versions with ceramics backs, with the highest internal memory – which equals to the highest price.

As I have mentioned before, the S10 line continues the style of its predecessor – but it brings a lot of novelties as well. One of them is the frame of the main camera, which has three lenses, a LED flash and sensors. No matter the colour of the housing, it is dark, it draws our attention to it, but what is the worst – it stands above the housing. If we will place the phone on its back, it rests on the edge of this frame, which raises concerns about its durability. In my device, despite an intensive usage, it looks good – still, I recommend buying a cover…

Another novelty can be found at the front, but in order to see it, we need to light up the display. Samsung resisted the trend of placing a notch, but it fell for the lack of bezels. The result is a display with a hole for the front camera. In base models, the hole is round and relatively small, but in Galaxy S10+ we have a large cavity, which I immediately started calling “binoculars”.

I cannot asses it in one way. On the one hand – it is not pretty. On the other – it is better than a notch… We have a display without any bezels, there is a dual camera, and if “binoculars” are bothering us, we can look for an appropriate wallpaper. Samsung took care of adding such wallpapers, which are perfectly covering this detail.

The housing is really solid and glass panels covering it are durable. My device had a few adventures during the convention, but it still looks like new. I must commend the waterproofness, but at the same time criticize the housing for being susceptible to dirt. It is really high, but cleaning the device is not a problem. If it is going to be really bad, then while trying to take a photo the phone will notify us about the necessity to clean up lenses.

The stiffness of the body is decent, and the quality of assembly and materials used – perfect, like it should be in a smartphone from the highest shelf. Ergonomics is impeccable, though I heard some opinions about the inappropriate placement of the power button – for me it is placed perfectly, but I recommend “measuring” your hand to the phone (or at least its dummy) before buying it – just in case.

A quick glance at the elements’ placement. The button mentioned before is on the right side, while on the left there are volume control and Bixby button (which now can be ascribed with different tasks). On the lower wall we will find the speaker, USB-C socket, minijack and the main microphone, while on the upper one – the additional microphone and a tray for cards, which can be filled with a nanoSIM a microSD cards. And where is the fingerprint scanner, you will ask? I will tell you in a moment.

Display

Samsung Galaxy S10+ is equipped with a 6.4-inch QHD+ display, in which the density exceeds 500 ppi. The display was created in the new Dynamic AMOLED technology, which connects advantages of SuperAMOLEDs with the usage of HDR10+. This cannot look bad – and it does not. Colours and details representation are perfect, just like brightness levels of the display. The minimum one almost completely dims the screen, while the maximum one provides a good readability even in sunny Barcelona.

What is interesting, the automatic brightness control can boost it even more than the manual slider… There is of course the eyesight protection from the blue light, there is a dark, night time mode and the possibility to automatically run options mentioned above. What is interesting, in comparison to the predecessor, there are less options of colours balance.

We can choose between the “standard” and “vivid” – maybe it will be enough…? After all, we can manually control the RGB palette… Unfortunately, I did not manage to try out the content dedicated to the HDR10+ technology, so we just need to believe in what the manufacturer is declaring.

Security

I have said a moment ago that I will mention about the scanner. You have probably already figured out that it is hidden under the display… It uses ultrasounds, thanks to which it is less susceptible to dirt on the display or a moisture than sensors using a camera. The interface hints where to place our finger, while configuring the scanner is almost identical as in the standard one.

This is a bell-and-whistle solution, but it is still less accurate than a traditional scanner. For a display scanner – this one is really good, but I think that a true boom for these types of system will come sometime later. Fortunately, in Galaxy S10+ we have the facial recognition system, which works rather ably and fast.

Unfortunately, it is based on a simple imaging, so it is possible to “deceive” it by a photo or unlocking it with your eyes closed. If you care about confidentiality – stick to your fingerprint. As you have probably noticed, in its S10 Samsung did not use the security measurement of using a retinal scanner…

Interface, applications

Samsung Galaxy S10+ works under Android Pie, with the new One UI add-on. This interface can be known to users of Galaxy S9 or Note9, but it is worth to say a few words about it. The interface is designed in a way that we can use it with one hand – that is why functions’ descriptions can be seen in the upper part of the screen, while the “operating” one is usually in the reach of our finger.

“Ten” does not have a notifications LED, that is why we are left with Always-on-display. Fortunately, OneUI provides a wide personalization of this element. The rest of the interface offers wide personalization options as well – but most of them are well-known from previous Samsung interface incarnations.

I will simply remind that we can use the flat interface or a one with a tray, we can change the grid and the size of icons, their shape, as well as whole themes. What is important we have a night time mode, with darkened interface elements. It is worth using it during the day as well, because it is readable and due to the high level of black it is more power saving.

The notifications bar is nicely remodelled. In OneUI with a single swipe we will drop down the main line of shortcuts and notifications, and another swipe will show the full panel of shortcuts – with the clock at the top. Thanks to this switching functions is more comfortable, we have shortcuts just under our finger. Using the last apps menu was made easier as well. After entering it we just need to tap the icons’ app in its upper part, in order to see available options – including moving to the divided screen view.

Less swiping – more comfort. Of course there is the navigation bar as well. We can edit its arrangement and the placement of buttons, and in addition switch to gestures, which seem to be a lot easier in usage than in iOS or in MIUI. We just need to swipe a finger through the display in places where normally we would have icons’ buttons. We need to get used to it, but basically it is rather comfortable.

Of course in OneUI there is everything that we already know from previous Samsungs – there is the safe folder, gaming mode, keeping the display on when we are looking at it, muting calls by turning the phone or cloning selected apps.

Samsung does not exaggerate with the number of preinstalled apps, providing basically what is needed. There is an app that helps managing accessories, there are packages from Microsoft and Google, there is Spotify, Health and Facebook. Samsung adds its own browser (though there is Chrome as well) and Gallery, but I cannot understand why there is no Samsung Music app, instead there is a simple app from Google… Fortunately, there is the additional Galaxy Apps store, in which we can download this app, which is much better than the one from Google. Another flaw is the lack of an FM radio… It is good that they have left the minijack!

I have never thought that I will ever commend the Bixby button. Now it does not have a single function ascribed to it – we can change its work. And in addition Bixby allows creating procedures, which enables to “automatize” many functions of the phone.

Thanks to “Bixby Routines” we can make the phone “go to sleep” along with us in order to save energy, not attacking us with notifications at the same time, it can change signals when we will be at work or it will turn on music when we will enter our car and it will connect to the radio.

The configuration is simple – and the number of capabilities is a big one. I have almost forgot – in the interface there are side panels, which use the curvature of the display and are known from previous generations of Samsungs with curved displays.

Efficiency

Is it really worth dwelling on the efficiency, when it comes to the Galaxy S series? It cannot be any different – it is the top. Samsung Galaxy S10+ beats most of its competition in benchmarks, it does not matter which version we are talking about. I will just remind you – I was using the model with Exynos, and results can be seen below.

And more subjectively? Everything works instantly, but I do not see a major difference after switching from Galaxy S9+ or Mi 8 Pro. Let us just say that it is in the higher zone and major differences can be seen in benchmarks numbers, but not in an everyday activity.

In my case – the most important thing was that Galaxy S10+ worked great as a work tool during MWC. It did not cause any problems, it did not lag nor burn my hands after recording videos for a longer time, it had no problems with saving files, sending others and editing another, and what is more – I did not need to restart it once.

Sometimes to phone can get warm and a few rounds of benchmarks can result in a minor slow down – but in an everyday usage – as I have witnessed it myself – you will not feel it.

Battery

I have expected that the battery will need to be charged every day…

And here we have a surprise, normally used Galaxy S10+ lasted for almost 2.5 days. Of course the last few moments can be a bit nervous, but the phone will last. You can easily assume that S10+ will last a whole day without a problem, and the battery should last during an evening party as well.

It would have been perfect if the charging time offered by “ten” had been even better. Fully charging an empty battery takes less than 100 minutes, and half an hour will only give 40%. This is not a bad results, I just wished for more, I do not see a major progress when it comes to the predecessor. As a consolation – there is a wireless charging – and a novelty: a possibility to wirelessly charge other devices!

In other words – our Galaxy can become a Qi charger. We just need to touch our phones with their backs – and have over 30% of battery left. What is more, S10 can transfer energy even while charging its own battery – which means that it can charge two phones with a one charger.

Communication, sound

Samsung Galaxy S10+ is fully equipped with all communication interfaces. All connectivity modules work properly, I did not notice any troubles with any of them.

GPS catches the fix instantly and its precision is great, even in a high urban zone. The quality of sound – just like in previous generation – is impeccable, I did not notice any problems with searching for network or configuring them.

As I have mentioned before, in the set we receive a pretty decent earphones, but if we will replace them with better ones – we will not regret this. Samsung Galaxy S10+ works great as a music player and it offers a wide options of sound corrections. The external speaker (or rather speakers…) was enhanced.

The sound comes from both speakers – the receiver and the lower one. I would not call this a stereo, but both of them play loud and pleasingly clear. “Pleasingly” – because, in my opinion, the previous model plays clearer and is more pleasant to our ears, though is definitely quieter. We will appreciate the higher power of the speaker while talking in the loud speaking mode.

Photography and video

Top Samsung models have been known for their good quality of photos for years now. In Galaxy S10 and S10+ the Korean manufacturer introduced a highly desired modification. For the main lens they added not only a telephoto lens (which is already known from Note9 or S9+), but the “fish-eye” as well – and with a decent angle, that is 123 degrees.

The software was slightly changed as well. The known, rather simple and comfortable interface was enhanced with Scene Optimizer. Yes, we had it in previous models, but in the S10 series it recognizes more scenes. The camera software has an “assistant” that shows some hints on how to achieve a better shot, the smartphone can signalize the possibility of having a bad shot – for example when the phone was moved or the photographed person closed their eyes…

The main desktop of the app is minimalistic and simple, but the best thing to commend is how easy it is to switch between particular lenses. On the other hand, I can reproach hiding some important options in the settings menu, under Save options.

Is it a place where you would be looking for a mirror selfie or the correction of the wide angle lens photo geometry…? As a consolation I will add that there is a manual mode in the interface, and the selfie camera in Galaxy S10+ offers not only background blurring, but a wide angle lens mode as well, though it is a bit of cheating. There is no “fish-eye” here, and the darker shot is just a cut-out of a wider shot – which has 6.5 instead of 10 megapixels.

I think I need to finally talk about the quality of photos. There is not much to write about – it is perfect. Let us start from novelties, that is the wide angle lens. The typical problem of the “fish-eye” are images distortions. Galaxy S10+ is not free of them – but truth to be told, deformations are a lot smaller than in the cheaper Galaxy A7, and the shape corrections hidden in the software decreases them additionally as well.

On the other hand, the characteristic image distortions can give some interesting effects in some cases… The quality of wide angle shots is great – both when it comes to the colours and details representation. However, it is worth knowing that in this case the focus is fixed, so we need to maintain a longer distance from the photographed object.

Other two cameras – the main one and the telephoto – are basically the same as in Note9 or Galaxy S9+. And they still take great photos. Whether it is night or day, we can count on pleasant effects, however it is worth remembering that the telephoto lens has a lower brightness than the main one – and it is best to use the second one at night.

There are of course some novelties. One of them is the additional night time mode, which turns on in appropriate conditions, or when the Scene Optimizer is active. It slightly enhances the sensitivity, which gives a more noticeable noise, but it adds a bonus – a “star” effect around brighter elements, like, for example, street lights. Cameras in S10+ offer background blurring as well. It works pretty nice, and what is more – we can select between a few blurring effects.

Blurring can be found in the front camera as well. It works well enough that the presence of “binoculars” on the display is not as bothersome. Standard selfies should please the most demanding users of this type of photos, though truth to be told, I have expected slightly better effects with the weaker lighting.

But we must say this – it is good. Just like in the video recording section. We can record in the maximum resolution of UHD+ with 60 frames per second, but then we cannot use image stabilization. So it is better to decrease the resolution – and then we can use the additional stabilization that uses the wide angle lens. We lose autofocus, but on the other hand, we receive an unmoved image, cut out from a larger frame. The possibility to switch between three matrixes without interrupting the recording can be useful – but we can only do this when recording in 30 frames per second. The cherry on top is the enhanced recording mode in slow motion. We can record a longer fragment and the recording can start automatically after detecting an “action” in the shot. The quality of slow motion is lower than the one in other modes. You can see the compilation of review videos below:


Samsung Galaxy S10+ - sample videos
video: GSMchoice.com, via YouTube

Summary

Samsung Galaxy S10+ is not the cheapest smartphone. If you are looking for a great phone with great looks, which offers a high efficiency, good photos and a perfect display, and you have an abundance of cash – it is worth it.

However, if you are looking for something cheaper, but you do not want to be deprived of flagship components – consider buying Galaxy S10e. If you are using Galaxy S8 - it is high time to switch, but users of Galaxy S9+ should wait for another generation – or switch to 5G. Personally – I would choose between the cheapest Galaxy S10e 6+128 GB and the “middle” version Galaxy S10+ 8+512 GB - depending on personal needs.

Those are advices for those decided to choose Samsung. And what should those undecided do? I recommend waiting for other flagships from this year and compare them with “ten”. I will try to help you choose by showing what I liked in Galaxy S10+ and what I liked… slightly less.

The biggest advantages of Galaxy S10+ are display, stylization, the possibility to charger other devices and the quality of photos from the main camera and interesting effects provided by the wide angle lens. I like the new One UI – but we can have it in Galaxy S9 as well, so…

I appreciate the presence of minijack, the possibility to use microSD cards, the waterproofness of the housing is important as well. The smartphone does not fail us when it comes to the efficiency and the battery works decently. When it comes to videos and the sound – it is on an unchanged, high level.

I slightly disliked the quality of selfies in the dark, I hoped for a better shots from the telephoto lens as well. It is a pity that the wide angle lens does not have AF… Additional effects of background blurring in the portrait mode are not always perfect, but I am more disappointed with the night time mode.

The camera interface could be slightly fixed, and those who like to listen to radio should be mindful that there is none in S10… I am not satisfied with security either. The fingerprint scanner is no match for a classical “plate” and the facial recognition could be deceived to easily. Some can be bothered with the lack of notifications LED – but I was not bothered by this. On the other hand, the “binocular” in the corner still draws my attention and forces me to reflect on the superiority of holes above a simple frame…

Advantages and disadvantages

ADVANTAGES:

  • great display
  • powerful speakers
  • comfortable interface
  • nice (for a set) earphones
  • fully equipped with connectivity interfaces
  • waterproof housing
  • smooth work
  • minijack
  • perfect photography and video capabilities
  • lossless zoom and wide angle
  • reverse charging
  • enhanced emojis
  • possibility to map the Bixby button
  • Bixby procedures – that is macros

DISADVANTAGES:

  • high price
  • lack of an FM radio
  • facial recognition is simplified
  • fingerprint scanner is not perfect
  • telephoto lens without autofocus
  • night time mode is disappointing

Source: GSMchoice.com; viewed: 369 times.


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By: Adam Łukowski

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