The Galaxy S9 was the best Galaxy phone to be recommended in the premium category until its bigger brother stole its thunder with newer tech making it the epitome of a 10th anniversary flagship smartphone.
Other than the ‘new tech’, the S10+ also brags of plenty of added horsepower and battery life for your everyday needs. Oh, and how can we forget, it comes fresh out of the box running on OneUI with Android Pie awesomeness. But the question still remains, should you upgrade to this year’s 10th anniversary king? Let’s get munching...
Design and build: Clean and mean
Pick up the S10+ and you’ll lose all sense of shame. It’s a marvelous slab of tech built with strong aluminum and glass and feels like it’s worth your all your money. Not to forget, it’s also slimmer, sharper and easier to hold in the hand and doesn’t feel ‘too big’ like the Note 9.
And since the Galaxy S9 wasn’t bad at all, Samsung didn’t have too much to work on with the S10. So, instead of undergoing a full-blown surgery, it just tweaked the little imperfect things in order to make it a better, smarter and cleaner phone for you to put in your pocket.
For starters, Samsung replaced the fingerprint scanner from the back, which opened up a little more space for an ultrawide shooter, making it a mean looker when you pick the phone up for phone calls or when placed on the desk.
And since Samsung wanted to be extra friendly, it threw in a hard-plastic case and a pair of earphones tuned by AKG, so you can connect to the 3.5mm headphone jack. Thank you!
The Bixby button is now remappable! You can’t replace it with Google Assistant, heh... but you can configure it to a single/double tap to any desired app. We used it to launch the camera app.
Display: An estate of pixels
The S10+ has a very beautiful display and that is the best thing about it.
The 6.4in AMOLED Infinity-O Display is certainly the most ogle-worthy display in the market right now and it can get pixel-peepers staring at it all day and night. The display can get super bright in harsh sunlight and projects super accurate colours with excellent dynamic range.
The S10+ is the first phone to sport two cut-hole cameras inside its screen housing a normal and a wide-angle camera for selfies. Honestly, after using for a while, the cut-hole ‘notch’ rarely bothered us while using the phone in landscape or in portrait mode. And hey, it also makes a cool feature for certain wallpapers.
The screen is now slightly better for your eyes when you’re binge watching After Life on Netflix. That’s because it’s made to emit 40% lesser blue light giving it a slightly yellowish tinge no matter what setting it’s on. Blacks are much deeper and whites aren’t that bright, but hey, at least your eyes are alright.
Watching movies on Prime Video or shows on YouTube is an absolute joy as it feels super immersive and real. And it’s even better when you switch on Dolby Atmos from the notification panel.
Best part, you can also shoot your own recordings at 1080p (30fps) or at 4K (30fps) with HDR10+ switched on and relive those mad Saturday night ragers. Oh what joy!
Avoid shooting videos in Full HD or 4K at 60FPS with HDR10+ switched on if you’re going to upload to social channels like Insta or Facebook. When posting, it adds a hazy filter and removes all saturation and contrast. That may be because these channels don’t support HDR10 content, yet.
OS: Neat and clean
Finally, the Gods have heard us.
Samsung gathered its UX team to re-create a cleaner, lighter and less cartoonish UI. Running with sprinkles of Android Pie (9.0), OneUI’s been a smooth and pleasant ride, till now, in everyday usage. And if you’re a nocturnal creature, you’ll appreciate the system-wide dark mode.
Best part, Samsung’s shoved all its Galaxy apps into a box in the app drawer so you don’t have to. Talk about cleaning the clutter, eh?
The ultrasonic fingerprint scanner reads the 3D contours of your thumb and requires a slight amount of pressure when unlocking. It isn’t as speedy as other optical scanners, but it’s super secure and unlocks with wet/dirty fingers even whilst the screen is turned off. It’s a 70% hit and 30% miss at most times, but the more you use it, the better it gets.
And if that’s not enough, there’s also an option to add your mug for speedy unlocking. It isn’t as secure as the iPhone X/Xs, but it’s handy when you don’t want to use press your thumb or type the password.
Camera: Say cheese
Samsung isn’t the camera king yet, but thanks to its NPU, using Scene Optimiser and Best Shot from its 12MP rear cam, it boils up a very nice looking photo with excellent exposure and saturation. It might not have the best detail and contrast in class, but can sure set your Insta page on instant fire.
Once you go wide, you can never hide. The 16MP 123˚ wide angle lens is a boon for videographers and photographers giving them more playground to capture. It lacks detail when zoomed in, but you can finally fit in the whole table, food and your silly cat at your family dinner!
Speaking of family dinners, you can also switch to the wide-angle selfie mode if you’re willing to get into the frame. Again, this isn’t the best selfie-camera, but it does the job and it’ll please aunties or your girlfriend’s gang of girls.
And unlike the S10, this one sports a 12MP Telephoto lens which comes in handy when you’re trying to capture the DJ when you’re far away from the stage.
Use Live Focus to bring all kinds of effects when you’re clicking portrait or bokeh shots. It’s pretty trippy and cool when you add effects like Spin, Zoom, and Colour point.
And hey, did we mention there’s an Instagram feature built right into the camera app? Once you click the picture, it directly takes you to the Insta’s story mode. Handy stuff.
We expected slightly more from the camera performance and quality, but nevertheless, it still is one of our top four smartphone shooters in the world and can offer everything a shutterbug of today’s time would fully appreciate and make full use of.
Performance and battery: Marathon runner
With upto 12GB RAM and the bumped up Exynos 9820 chip, the S10 is quite brilliant in running everyday tasks and utilising power efficiently. It’ll make sure it keeps pushing adrenaline when multitasking on social media or gaming on PUBG or Fortnite.
Despite having a big and gorgeous screen, the S10+ manages to bring you a whole day’s usage even if you’re gaming, multitasking or travelling. Lower your screen resolution to FHD or switch to Super Power Savings mode if you’re falling short of battery. It can fast charge to 100% in about 1.5hrs and you’re set to take on the day, again.
The Wireless PowerShare feature is pretty handy if you own other Qi-enabled wireless devices such as the Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Buds or other wireless wearables. But you can’t really fully charge up another smartphone...
You can’t charge up other Qi devices if battery levels is below 30%.
Samsung Galaxy S10+ Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is worth every single penny and ticks all boxes required for it to be a five star phone. We feel it's more of an experience bundled with joy moulded in a piece of premium hardware.
Photography wise, it definitely lands in our top favourites, but videography wise, it’s comes close to the taking down the iPhone XS. However, what really tickled our toes was the all new UI which felt like the cherry at the top of really good looking cheesecake. And if you’ve got small hands, we recommend the Galaxy S10 instead of the bigger beast.