After months of wait and desperation, Samsung finally announced their new lineup of Samsung Galaxy S10 series of flagships ahead of MWC 2019. With the Samsung Galaxy S10 family consisting of just three devices initially, Samsung had to put on a show for the folks to admire what Samsung has in store for 2019.
The new lineup from Samsung consisted of three devices, the Samsung Galaxy S10E, S10, and S10 Plus. Following the Samsung Galaxy S9 launch last year, I had an eery feeling that Samsung was holding back a ton of its goodies for the Samsung Galaxy S10 lineup. After waiting a full year to find out what Samsung had in store for its new launch, I went ahead and managed to get a review sample from the kinds folks over at Samsung Malaysia. After using it for the past two weeks, I have quite a few words regarding the device. So here we go.
01 | Build Quality & Design
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is the largest of the bunch, that is before Samsung decided to launch the Galaxy S10 5G earlier this month. While we wait for the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G to roll out in other markets, it seems like the largest device of the bunch is the Galaxy S10 Plus.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, like previous launches, features beautiful all-glass body. However, while the build materials haven’t been shaken, what has changed is the design language Samsung has introduced with the launch of these devices. In classic Samsung fashion, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus uses metal trims across the device and a glass slab on the front and back of the device. And that’s about it.
Coming over to the design of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, the device features an incredible 6.4-inch full display, spanning from corner to corner this year along with virtually non-existent foreheads and chins. After all the leaks and rumors, after two full generations, Samsung finally gave up on the forehead and chin, eventually, pushing the cameras into a cutout of the display. And to their praise, Samsung has done an incredible job at keeping the minimal forehead and leftovers barely noticeable. Not only are the incredibly small, but pair that with Samsung’s signature-like dual curved sides, and you have one beautiful looking device.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus comes in six colorways. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus comes in Prism White, Prism Black, Flamingo Pink, Prism Blue, Ceramic White, and Ceramic White. The color that I have today is the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus in Prism Black. However, to my surprise, at certain angles, the Prism Black S10 Plus resembles the Prism Blue colorway of the Galaxy S10 Plus.
Coming from the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 a few months ago, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus looked like a complete behemoth. And although it now resembles the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 here and there, it definitely has it’s own look that makes itself unique compared to the pack. It features the much pointier corners of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and shares the incredible front design of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (review).
However, what’s basically bugging everyone with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus this year is the button placements. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus comes with four buttons across the device. A volume rocker and Bixby button on the right as well as a power button on the right. Like many others, I was bothered by how far the power button is on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Not only is it too high to reach, but it absolutely annoys me to realize how Samsung threw the ergonomics book out of the window for such a huge device. I mean, it feels like all they cared about this year was the use of the Bixby button, making it easy and within reach. And while I’ll talk about Bixby later, this issue could still be fixed somewhat is Samsung doesn’t mind shoving Bixby wherever they want.
Aside from that bug, what you would be delighted to hear is that the Galaxy S10 Plus still comes with a headphone jack, that too, with a pair of stereo speakers found next to the Type-C port and the earpiece.
Overall, the design of the device was sweet. And the dimensions absolutely back that. Not only is the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus thinner, but it’s light too. The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus that preceded the S10 Plus weighs in at 189g. However, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus manages to shove off another 14 grams all the while being 7.8mm thin compared to the S9 Plus’ 8.5mm thickness.
Regarding build quality though, like many other glass-back devices, I was personally concerned. There’s no getting around that. However, if you are going for the S10 Plus in the first place, you’re very well aware of what you’re getting yourself into by this point.
02 | Display & Audio Quality
Unlike last year’s Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, Samsung actually revamped the display on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus this year. This year, as we long predicted before the S10 family arrived, comes with an even larger display ratio to work with. This year, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus comes with a 6.4-inch 3040 x 1440 Dynamic AMOLED display. However, it’s more than just the specs. Like every single release, Samsung brought major improvements to the display on the Galaxy S10 lineup. The display on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus features HDR10+ support, 0.4 JCND, 1215 nits of brightness and improves on the power efficiency on these displays.
Out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has its display set to 1080p. However, like the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus before it, Samsung hasn’t included the option of tweaking it while setting up the device itself. Like every other Samsung flagship, we absolutely loved the display on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. The display is sharp, colorful, and bright. Plus, the display supports HDR10+ content which makes the device incredible for media consumption.
However, where the Galaxy S10 Plus speaks volumes in the sound department. Featuring a stereo setup, Samsung has clearly shown what it means to have a device that ticks all of the boxes. Following the struggling days of the Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung has built an incredible foundation for great audio on the Galaxy S10 Plus despite super modern its design.
The speakers are loud and are vibrant. However, in my personal opinion, it seems like it lacks a bit of clarity, especially when it comes to vocals. The sound is well separated, and so are the volume levels between both of the drivers. Enabling Dolby Atmos on the device simply enlarges the sound stage, nothing too crazy.
The included AKG tweeters with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus are great too. They’re small, convenient and great to see. And it’s great to see that Samsung includes them in the box too to compliment the 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom of the device.
Overall, the time I spent with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus was incredible. Media consumption was great and so were the speakers. Sure, there’s a bit of work Samsung could put in here and there. But overall, the device, like the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S8 that preceded it, offers an incredible experience, fit to show why it’s well known to showcase the best of Android.
03 | Performance & User Experience
Depending on your region, you would either get a Snapdragon 855 or an Exynos 9820-powered Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. And boy, this year they’ve come up with a few new improvements to compliment their prowess.
The one that I have is the Exynos 9820 variant that Samsung largely retails in regions outside of the US. As highlighted earlier this year, the Samsung Exynos 9820 SoC brings a ton of speedy improvements to the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Allegedly dubbed as Cheetah, the 8nm Exynos-powered Galaxy S10 Plus does not disappoint. Clustered in a 2 + 2 + 4 (2.73GHz + 2.31GHz + 1.95GHz) layout, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus not only increases its power but also works on the devices power-efficiency spectrum.
Just like every other flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is an absolute beast. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus features an Exynos 9820 SoC, 128GB of internal storage, and 8GB of RAM.
For those who still care about scores, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus managed to score 328,000 on Antutu’s charts. Over at Geekbench’s turf, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus managed to score 4525 and 10124 in the single-core and multi-core department.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus performs like a beast. It zips through applications and games with ease. And thanks to its 8GB of memory, it manages to recall a ton of its “memories” without refreshing anything which was pleasant to see – if you know what I mean. I mean, throw anything at this beast and watch it munch away. Furthermore, the new animations that Samsung added to Samsung’s newly revamped Samsung One UI add a ton of character to the device which was pleasing to see.
Games ran without a hitch, regardless of the resolution. I mean, for a phone this expensive, I wouldn’t expect any less of Samsung at this point. Real Racing 3 and PUBG have become my favorites over the past few months. Being among the more demanding games on the Play Store, I was delighted to see that the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus managed to run the games incredibly smoothly.
Coming over to Samsung’s newly revamped UI, I was absolutely pleased to see where Samsung is heading. After making multiple iterations and tweaks to TouchWiz, it’s clear that Samsung finally realized that it was time to step up. With the revamped UI, Samsung added a ton of new additions to the new UI, all-the-while retaining Samsung’s signature vibe and features.
As we highlighted earlier this week, we absolutely loved the dark mode that comes with Samsung’s One UI package. Several areas of the UI showcase how well Samsung thought of every single point throughout the display. The Dark Mode dubbed as Night Mode is incredible, dimming pretty much every native/system app which is something I would absolutely miss once I jump back to my Poco F1(review).
Bloatware is still a considerable thing on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, and so are the frustrating apps that come along with it. I mean, I was a bit irritated by the fact that the gesture controls on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus often triggered Samsung Pay for no reason. Furthermore, the inclusion of apps such as Samsung Wearable, Game Launcher, Samsung Members and many others continue to question Samsung’s intentions with these applications.
Continuing our surf with Samsung’s One UI, the native system apps and settings app have been revamped for one-handed usage, pushing a number of display elements in the second half of the display. During my usage though, I was riddled to find that the settings section of the device often acted like other phones unless it would pull it down once otherwise. I would’ve personally loved to see every single menu be on the second-half of the display by default rather than forcing me to pull it down every single time. But hey, even though it’s minor, I’d say that it’s a personal gripe.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has a number of biometric options to unlock the device. Aside from face unlock, PIN, password, and pattern unlock methods, Samsung has introduced an under-display fingerprint sensor, an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor that is. During my usage, I found that the under-display fingerprint sensor to be fast and responsive. Like many other fingerprint sensors, not as fast as many other physical fingerprint sensors. However, we should be seeing even better fingerprint sensors in the upcoming flagships from Samsung.
04 | Camera & Video Quality
The highlight of the new Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has to be the triple camera setup on its back. After flaunting some incredible shots on the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and its dual aperture setup, Samsung decided to spice the Galaxy S10 Plus up even further by including an additional sensor.
This year, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus comes with a triple camera setup consisting of a 12MP main camera, a 12MP telephoto, and a 16MP ultra-wide dilemma. All three cameras are hosted in a single bump on the back of the device resembling the design of the Galaxy Note 9 from last year.
Additional specifications of the camera sensors include OIS for two out of the three cameras as well as a dual-aperture system that Samsung ported over from the Samsung Galaxy S9 lineup. Furthermore, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus utilizes some large apertures. Beginning with the 12MP main camera, you’re looking at a dual aperture system that flicks between f/1.5 and f/2.4 based on lighting conditions and comes with OIS and Dual Pixel PDAF to assist with focusing. Furthermore, the telephoto and ultrawide shooters come with f/2.4 and f/2.2 apertures as well. Although, the telephoto shooter is the only shooter to get OIS.
Regarding the front cameras, Samsung has finally introduced some incredible additions to the Galaxy S10 Plus. Up front, you’re looking at a 10MP and 8MP dilemma featuring 4K video recording at 30 FPS and depth mapping for those who have been waiting to up their game for a while to add some bokeh to their selfies. However, contrary to what it may seem, only one of the cameras actually takes pictures, this is the 10MP sensor up front. About that 8MP sticking around next to it, that’s there to record depth information.
Below are a number of samples we captured from the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus over the past two weeks featuring all three perspectives from each camera.
What we were happy to report is that a lot of the shots taken with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus looked incredible, regardless of the camera. However, with the whole multiple camera game that manufacturers now have going, it seems like, at times, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus jumps between color sciences.
Images taken with the ultra-wide shooter as well as the main camera were sharp, making them more than usable. Images taken with the telephoto shooter had the same qualities as the other two. However, compared to the former two, the shots taken with the telephoto shooter felt a bit soft at times.
The shots taken with the ultra-wide were so good that I began to shoot everything in ultra-wide. The wider field of view in tandem with the incredible experience simply made the ultra-wide shooter my main pick.
However, there were two bugs that bugged me for a while. When switching from the telephoto to the ultra-wide shooter, the camera had a hard time moving between cameras, often making a stop at the main camera in between before making it to either side of the spectrum. Furthermore, while in video, the camera freezes for a split second before moving to the next sensor. As bad as it sounds, it’s super minor. However, it’s up to Samsung to take notice of the issue. Hopefully, Samsung would fix it soon.
Below are a number of video tests we conducted with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus.
The above videos are simply samples of what the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is capable of. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, in my opinion, does an incredible job at recording video. Footage was stable, and so was the sharpness. However, as you begin to move indoors, grain starts to take a major hit on the device’s recording. Sure, we’ve come a long way from the Galaxy S days, but the competition isn’t forgiving either.
And while the cameras were great and versatile for most of the part, I did find that the footage recorded by the Samsung Galaxy S10 was great in a world of excellent smartphone cameras.
05 | Battery Life & Charging Times
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus comes with a 4100mAh battery, a full 600mAh bump over the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus’ 3500mAh battery. Like last year’s Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus still doesn’t rock the best head-turning charging times.
I wouldn’t consider myself a power user. For most of the part, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus lasted me more than two days if the phone was largely used for a few minutes a day. However, if I would use the device for some social media and YouTube, I found that the device lasted me for about 6-7 hours a day which is respectable. However, what I was surprised to see is how well the Galaxy S10 Plus handled games. After playing PUBG for two hours, I found that the battery had depleted from 80% to 55% in a matter of a few hours which is respectable enough given how demanding the title is. If I wouldn’t be gaming and using the device to simply browse the internet, I found that the device lasted me at least until 11pm at night from 8am in the morning.
Moving over to charging times, after launching 25W fast-charging in China, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus still retained its old charging times. During our testing, we found that the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus took more than one and a half hour to get back up from 0%. Considering that the battery is a whole lot bigger than the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus from last year, we think that the charging times are respectable in some manner. However, we’re certain that this could be improved in the near future.
06 | Pricing & Conclusion
There’s no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is an absolute beast. In my opinion, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has to one of the best devices this year and is the best Samsung Galaxy flagship I’ve seen to date, even trumping the Note 9 from late 2018.
Something between the new design and the versatility has me torn. I absolutely adored the device during the time I’ve had it. I mean, the way how the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has been built simply tells me that the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus had been planned for more than a long time. The way how Samsung has delivered on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and how they’ve managed to tick all of the boxes in incredible fashion implies the enjoyment I’ve had with the device over the past two weeks.
Sure, like every other phone, there’s room to improve. Just to name a few, Bixby, Samsung’s OneUI and the triple camera setup, all off these require some minimal changes from Samsung to make the Galaxy S10 Plus perfect. I mean, who still has a headphone jack on their device nowadays?
I simply can’t wait to see what Samsung has in store for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 which I would speculate would be launching in August this year. Hopefully, Samsung would be able to improve on a number of the aforementioned issues as well as improve the under-display fingerprint sensor before the Note 10 arrives.
In our books, for now, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is a recommendation for us.
If you happen to reside in Malaysia, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus retails for about RM 3599 and RM 4499 for the 128GB and 512GB variants of the device, respectively. However, if you happen to reside in the US, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus retails for $999 and $1249 for the 128GB and 512GB variant of the S10 Plus, respectively.