We are only two months into 2019, and there comes Samsung’s latest flagship S series that is perhaps the most exciting offering so far. Just before the MWC 2019, Samsung announced the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10e, and the crown jewel of its lineup, the Galaxy S10 Plus.
Right now, we are focusing on the Galaxy S10 Plus, which is the highest-end flagship at the moment from the company and will remain so until the Galaxy Note 10 comes out.
Galaxy S10 Plus is the most innovative flagship from the Korean giant, or this is what the company claims. On paper, the S10 Plus looks a considerable upgrade over the Galaxy S9 Plus. The price has also skyrocketed as compared to the past flagships of Samsung.
In Pakistan, Galaxy S10 plus comes at an exorbitant price of PKR 179,999 and PKR 219,999, depending upon which variant you get your hands on. After spending such a significant amount on a smartphone, it would be very disappointing if you come across some worrying problems in it.
Design and Display
If you are spending a fortune on a smartphone, you’d expect it to be of top-notch quality in terms of design. It seems like Samsung likes to mix up the design of its flagships. While the Galaxy S10 is a significant upgrade from the S9 Plus, it borrows a lot of design elements from the previous Galaxy Note 9 and has the same design feeling to it.
On the back, you have a horizontally placed camera setup, which, honestly, doesn’t look visually impressive at all. We have seen the same camera placement from Note 8. Honestly, it seems boring. S10 should learn from the Huawei Mate 20 Pro in terms of design and camera placement.
Other than that, the phone has an Aluminum frame that is sandwiched between a Glass body, both on the back and the front. The back is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5, while the front is protected by a Gorilla Glass 6.
On the right-hand side, you get a power button while on the left-hand side, you get a volume rocker. Unfortunately, Samsung still deemed it necessary to retain the dreaded Bixby button. The power button, however, is way out of reach. While gripping the phone in a normal way, you won’t be able to reach the power key easily.
On the bottom of the device, you get a speaker grill and a Type-C USB port to juice up the phone. Thankfully Samsung has also decided to keep the headphone jack, something that we have been seeing on the Galaxy devices for the last 10 years. As flagships with an audio jack, are getting extinct, this is a brilliant step by Samsung to keep it in the Galaxy S10 Plus.
We had the device in Prism black color, and it looked just amazing. As soon as you hold the phone, you instantly realize the effort and dedication put into designing this phone. Both the front and the back are curved and seamlessly integrate into the frame that gives you excellent handling.
Though very premium and top-end, the smartphone is still very slippery, and because it’s too big, you will instantly realize that it’s not a one-handed phone. Other than that, it’s needless to say that the phone is a fingerprint magnet, and you might want to snap a cover on its back to protect it from getting dirty.
The star of the show in the Galaxy S10 Plus is its 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen, and while we are already admirers of the screens made by Samsung, this one steals the show, and we can’t help but notice how utterly gorgeous it is.
The display comes with a high resolution of 1440 x 3040 pixels and a pretty high screen to body ratio of 88.9%. It comes with a trendy design 19:9 aspect ratio, which makes it a bit taller and comfortable to hold. That doesn’t shadow the fact, however, that it is still a big phone and cannot be handled easily with one hand.
The display gives out pitch-perfect deep blacks and bright whites. Samsung claims that the S10 Plus can get to 1200 nits of brightness, which is a significant upgrade to the 1000 nits of Galaxy S9 Plus. The display of the Galaxy S10 Plus is also HDR 10+.
Together the HDR 10+ certification and the peak brightness of 1200 nits on an AMOLED can give you a show-stopping display that maintains excellent contrast and reproduces exceptional colors, which are neither oversaturated nor washed out.
A particularly irritating thing about the display is the laser cut punch-out hole for the dual camera on the top right corner. We couldn’t understand why Samsung opted for this. While the notch trend was no less irritating, we liked it much better than this dreaded punch-hole.
You never get used to the hole on display, and even if you try to hide the cutout (which you can do in settings), it spreads a huge bezel on the top, which feels like half the screen has been cut off, although it’s not.
Galaxy S10 Plus comes with the latest Exynos 9820 chipset from Samsung that is coupled with Mali-G76 MP12, so you should expect it to deliver class-leading performance.
The processor is backed up by a massive 8GB RAM and 512 GB of internal storage. Though S10 Plus also comes with 128GB storage, we had a higher variant. There is also a ceramic highest-end variant that comes with 12GB RAM and a humongous 1TB storage, but it won’t be available for sale in Pakistan.
Just like we expected, the performance on the phone was out of this world. Not many apps come preinstalled on the device, but since the collaboration of Samsung with Epic games, Fortnite comes preinstalled in the phone, but we didn’t run it as it might have been optimized for the device.
Instead, we installed heavy games like PUBG, Asphalt 9, Real Racing 3, Deer Hunter and played them one after the other while keeping other apps in the memory. The RAM management on this phone will leave you just awestruck.
It is also an IP68 certified phone, which means it can resist a mistaken drop in your local pool but not for too long. IP68 makes it dust/waterproof for up to 1.5m for 30 mins
Never did any application or even a graphics-intensive game requires a refresh when we played it from the recent apps, and trust me, we opened a lot of apps. All the social media apps, YouTube, Google Earth, Google Maps, along with a ton of heavy webpages opened on Google Chrome, and the phone handled it pristinely, without a single hiccup.
The question is that, if you are buying this phone just for performance, we can’t help but ask, why not the Huawei Mate 20 Pro that is available for almost rupee sixty thousand less and also comes with a 7nm chip while the S10 Plus packs an 8nm chip? Even the Lenovo Z5 Pro GT comes with the latest Snapdragon 855 and 12GB RAM and costs almost Rs. 90,000 ($650 approx.) so why would you buy a phone that costs Rs. 219,999?
The Galaxy S10 Plus packs some nifty features when it comes to battery. It packs a 4100mAh battery that supports 15W fast charging via the USB Type C port and 15W fast wireless charging.
Other than that, it also packs reverse wireless charging, and while Samsung was all about innovation on the phone’s launch, we saw the same feature first in the Huawei mate 20 Pro. Besides, we think that the reverse wireless charging is nothing but a showoff. There may come a day when we would be able to charge our other devices with our phones without our phones dying on us, but sadly that day might not be today.
The battery on the phone performs excellent when you consider the huge screen that consumes the juice too fast. To give you a better idea of how the phone drains the battery, let’s tell u about the camera testing where the phone ate up almost 35% juice in about 4 hours of extensive camera usage and that’s pretty great if you ask me.
The Galaxy S10 Plus packs the most cameras we have seen on any Samsung phone. It packs a total of five lenses, two of which are on the front and three on the back. The three lenses on the back include a 12MP dual-pixel primary lens with a variable aperture (f/1.5, f/2.4), a 12Mp telephoto lens with an f/2.4 aperture that also has a 2X optical zoom. The third camera is the ultra-wide 16MP lens with an f/2.2 aperture that provides a 123-degree view.
On the front, the Galaxy S10 Plus has a dual-camera setup that includes a 10-MP dual-pixel snapper and a second 8-MP depth-sensing lens, which Samsung claims will help in improved portrait shots.
The initial camera samples were quite vibrant and punchy. Though the phone tends to lose details in some parts of the picture but manages to retain natural colors in daylight. The primary shooter is a wide-angle sensor that fits more of the scene in the image
The quality of the pictures, however, may not be consistent in every case. Although it captures decent quality images that are sharp and have good contrast but sometimes it tends to lose the details. Here are some camera samples to give you an idea of what we are talking about.
Honestly speaking, we like the image quality of the front camera more than the rear one. Thanks to the dual-camera setup, the edge detection is quite great, and several modes in live focus let you change the effect of the background blur as well as convert it to monochrome while leaving the subject colored to pop up more.
There is also an AR emoji mode that lets you create your emoji by scanning your face. You can also use it from a wide variety of AR stickers to animate your pictures. Still, on the downside, the AR mode dramatically spoils the quality of the image experienced in the live focus mode.
Though with all the hype, we can safely say that the camera on the S10 Plus is not something that is out of this world. Don’t get me wrong, its a superb camera but it just leaves you wanting for more sometimes.
The Galaxy S10 Plus is a great phone, but is it a bang for the buck? We think the price of the phone will indeed be a deciding factor for consumers to buy the phone or dream about it.
While the device performs immaculately, there is nothing much that other high-end devices cannot do. Samsung is still using an 8nm chipset while other flagships like Huawei Mate 20 Pro come with a 7nm Kirin 980 chipset. However, in real-life usage, the S10 Plus works like a charm and handles anything that you throw at it.
The display is also vibrant, but what puts me off is that punch-hole. While many of the other users may get used to it with time, I don’t seem to get my mind around this obnoxious hole that looks like two eyes always staring at me, so I know I’ll never get used to it and it’ll always bother me like this.
The camera on the phone is also great, capturing some nice images with good colors. Although you may notice some inconsistency and some compromise in some pictures at first, it is relatively negligible.