Samsung Announces Galaxy S10 Line-Up

On Wednesday, Samsung announced their new Galaxy S10 line for 2019. It’s like clockwork that we get these reveals. While companies like Apple are struggling to get people to switch over to an updated phone, Samsung is throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. So here is a breakdown of everything regarding the new (and various) Galaxy S10 models.

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Samsung will launch a top-tier model of the Galaxy S10 that offers 5G mobile data connectivity. The device, which has a larger screen and battery than the S10 Plus, will temporarily be a Verizon Wireless exclusive before expanding to other carriers in the weeks after launch. It will go on sale sometime “in the first half of 2019.”

The 5G Galaxy S10 will feature a giant 6.7-inch display; the standard S10 Plus screen measures 6.4 inches. It will also have a 4,500mAh battery compared to 4,100mAh in the S10 Plus. However, it’s important to remember that 5G modems are still relatively new, so a beefier battery is likely a necessity to deliver battery life that equals or bests the other S10 models. Once the new 5G network takes hold, you could see the battery sizes shrink in future models.

You’ll be able to charge it quickly, too: Samsung says the S10 5G supports 25W Super Fast Charging. (Like the other S10 models, you can rest another device with wireless charging on the back of the S10 5G to juice it up using the phone’s power.)

For storage, the S10 5G offers 256GB. Unfortunately, it differs from the other S10 phones in that it doesn’t offer expandable microSD storage. Now, bare in mind that most people don’t need to go over that 256 GB cap. However, if you have cloud storage, you can delete some of those dinner or selfies and your world will not collapse.

The device has 8GB of RAM, which matches the base configurations of the S10 and S10 Plus but not the 12GB RAM option of the top-spec Galaxy S10 Plus. Again, this is the first phone out the gate for 5G. Many of the features won’t appear in the next-gen devices.

Anyway, the big sell here is obviously speed: Samsung says the S10 5G “can download a full season of a TV show in minutes, play graphics-rich cloud games with virtually no lag, enjoy enhanced VR and AR experiences and stay in touch with friends and family via real-time 4K video calls.”

samsung galaxy s10

Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus specs:

  • Screen: 6.1-inch / 6.4-inch “Dynamic AMOLED” display, Quad HD+ resolution in a 19:9 aspect ratio
  • Rear cameras: Wide angle 12-megapixel (77-degree), telephoto 12-megapixel (45-degree), and ultra wide 16-megapixel (123-degree)
  • Selfie camera: 10 megapixels, 8-megapixel RGB depth camera (S10 Plus)
  • Dimensions: 70.4 x 149.9 x 7.8mm, 157 grams (S10) / 74.1 x 157.6 x 7.8mm, 175g (Ceramic: 198g) (S10 Plus)
  • Processor: Snapdragon 855 (in the US, Exynos in some regions)
  • Memory: 8GB or 12GB RAM
  • Storage: 128GB to 512GB (1TB on S10 Plus), expandable via microSD
  • Battery: 3,400mAh (S10) / 4,100mAh (S10 Plus)
  • OS: Android 9 Pie with Samsung One UI
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, LTE Cat.20
  • Wireless charging, USB-C, headphone jack

As if the other S10 phones didn’t have enough cameras, the 5G version adds two more: 3D Depth cameras on both the front and back will enhance the device’s augmented reality (AR) performance. It also allows for “Video Live Focus” and a “Quick Measure” tool.

Verizon will be the only US carrier to offer Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G at launch, but its exclusivity is unlikely to last very long. So if you’re on AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint, it’s probably not worth switching over for. To get 5G speeds, you’ve got to be in a 5G launch city. At press time, Verizon still hasn’t revealed where its first mobile 5G markets will be. If it ends up that you’re not, well, the S10 5G is kind of a nonstarter at launch.

All Those Cameras

Not only is Samsung increasing the number of phones it’s releasing with the new Galaxy S10 lineup, it’s also adding more cameras to these devices than in years past. Every Galaxy S10 model will feature at least three: you’ll get both a standard camera and an ultra-wide angle camera on the back, plus a selfie camera up front. The S10 and S10 Plus offer a portrait camera, but the S10E doesn’t. And the upcoming 5G model has six cameras in all. It seems a bit silly, but having so many different, specialized lenses will allow for a ton of creative flexibility.

So if you’re constantly taking photos and video with your phone, it’s important to pick the S10 that best aligns with your shooting style. Here’s a breakdown of the number of cameras each Galaxy S10 has and when you’ll want to use them.

The Galaxy S10E has three cameras

  1. Regular rear camera (12MP, f/1.5 or f/2.4, optical image stabilization, dual-pixel autofocus)
  2. Ultra-wide rear camera (16MP, f/2.2, fixed focus)
  3. Selfie camera (10MP, f/1.9, autofocus)

Note that the S10E lacks a tele / portrait camera, with Samsung opting to go ultra-wide instead. This is a departure from the company’s previous dual-camera systems on flagship devices, which had a regular / tele combo.

The Galaxy S10 has four cameras

  1. Regular rear camera (12MP, f/1.5 or f/2.4, optical image stabilization, dual-pixel autofocus)
  2. Ultra-wide rear camera (16MP, f/2.2, fixed focus)
  3. Telephoto / portrait rear camera (12MP, f/2.4, optical image stabilization, phase-detect autofocus)
  4. Selfie camera (10MP, f/1.9, autofocus)

The Galaxy S10 Plus has five cameras

  1. Regular rear camera (12MP, f/1.5 or f/2.4, optical image stabilization, dual-pixel autofocus)
  2. Ultra-wide rear camera (16MP, f/2.2, fixed focus)
  3. Telephoto / portrait rear camera (12MP, f/2.4, optical image stabilization, phase-detect autofocus)
  4. Selfie camera (10MP, f/1.9, autofocus)
  5. Front-facing RGB depth camera (8MP, f/2.2, autofocus)

The Galaxy S10 5G has six cameras

  1. Regular rear camera (12MP, f/1.5 or f/2.4, optical image stabilization, dual-pixel autofocus)
  2. Ultra-wide rear camera (16MP, f/2.2, fixed focus)
  3. Telephoto / portrait rear camera (12MP, f/2.4, optical image stabilization, phase-detect autofocus)
  4. 3D Depth time-of-flight rear camera
  5. Selfie camera (10MP, f/1.9, autofocus)
  6. Front-facing 3D Depth time-of-flight camera

Regular camera: It’s your basic, everyday camera with a focal length appropriate for a wide variety of situations. Samsung’s primary rear camera will also have the best low-light performance of all cameras on Galaxy S10 phones.

Ultra-wide camera: A longtime LG specialty — among phone makers, that is — is now making its way to Samsung flagships. An ultra-wide angle camera can get more of your surroundings in the frame. It’s a fantastic tool to have when traveling and is great for capturing architecture, landscapes, or big group shots. Samsung’s ultra-wide camera offers a 123-degree field of view compared to the standard camera’s 77 degrees.

Telephoto / portrait camera: The telephoto camera is what you’ll use for portraits of people (or close-ups of objects) if you want to add background blur or other effects to make the image look as though it came from a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

Selfie camera: Self-explanatory. At least, I hope it is.

RGB depth camera: The S10 Plus has a second front-facing lens, as evidenced by the wider hole-punch cutout in its display. Samsung says that this RGB camera helps capture better depth data and should make AR effects and filters look more realistic when taking selfies or recording front-facing video. Samsung is also adding a new artistic live focus mode with new blur / bokeh effects. Note that these will also be available on the smaller S10 and S10E, but those phones will use software and Samsung’s neural engine to achieve the effect.

3D Depth camera: The S10 5G has two cameras that none of the standard models offer. Both of them use the same time-of-flight technology to capture a realistic 3D depth map of what they’re pointed at. This only works up to a certain distance, but it has the potential to improve AR gaming experiences, further refine portrait blur / bokeh on the front camera, and many other possibilities. A few manufacturers are already building ToF sensors into their devices, and it’s expected that LG’s upcoming G8 ThinQ will also have one.

Upgrade to Wi-Fi 6

They might not be the flashiest features, but Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 line has a subtler pair of upgrades that could meaningfully improve the experience of using them day in and out. All three new phones, the S10, S10 Plus, and S10E, include support for Wi-Fi 6 as well as 2 gigabit LTE speeds, up from 1.2 gigabits last year. The upgrades offer the potential for faster internet speeds, whether you’re connected to a cell network or just your home router.

samsung galaxy s10

Now, there are some big caveats here. For one, you’re never actually going to hit 2 Gbps on your wireless network — that figure is the phone’s theoretical maximum speed. But the higher figure reflects various speed-boosting improvements, which ought to translate to at least some real-world speed gains on networks that are equipped to take advantage of them.

There are also limitations around the use of Wi-Fi 6. Mainly: almost no one owns a Wi-Fi 6 router right now, and unless you’re connected to one, you won’t see any benefits. Still, it’s a good update to have, as Wi-Fi 6 is starting to roll out to new devices this year and will soon become commonplace. It might not be a huge advantage for the Galaxy S10 just yet, but it’ll be meaningful in a year or so as more and more people and businesses upgrade their networks with newer equipment that supports Wi-Fi 6’s faster speeds.

When You Need That Room

Samsung is bumping the storage up to 1TB in its new Galaxy S10 Plus. It’s the first handset to use Samsung’s new 1TB eUFS (embedded Universal Flash Storage) solution, and it’s the same physical size as last year’s 512GB version. While Samsung marketed the Galaxy Note 9 as “1 terabyte ready,” it needed an additional 512GB microSD card to reach that storage capacity. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 Plus comes with up to 1TB of storage on board, putting it ahead of the storage of most modern laptops.

Samsung’s latest chips are designed for the very purpose of laptop-like tasks. Samsung first unveiled its 1TB chips earlier this year, promising a “more notebook-like user experience [for] the next generation of mobile devices.” Samsung’s DeX docking station already converts its phones into a PC experience, and it’s the closest thing we have to transforming phones into PCs now that Microsoft has given up on its Windows Phone ambitions.

Samsung hasn’t radically overhauled DeX with the Galaxy S10 Plus, but this type of storage bump does open it up to a future where perhaps smartphones will be used for PC tasks more and more. Couple that with the possibilities of Samsung’s foldable displays, and the dream of a phone that transforms into a tablet and PC looks closer to reality in the next decade.

Bixby Can Do Something You Want… Now

Samsung will allow buyers of its new Galaxy S10 smartphones to use the Bixby key to open whatever app they want. The Verge has confirmed that with the S10, the company has added settings that allow you to customize the button beyond what has been allowed previously. You can assign the Bixby button to open a third-party app with either a single or double press of the button.

Whichever option you don’t assign to a different app will continue to open the Bixby feed. So for example, if you choose to open Instagram, Google, Spotify or some other app with a single press, a double press will trigger Bixby. Holding down the button still opens Bixby voice no matter what.

When Bixby was first introduced, users were given that option to re-assign the Bixby button. That option was later removed and hasn’t been an option for a while. It is fair to say that we may be excited for this latest option, but the idea of keep it remains murky at best.

Headphone Jack Remains

Samsung is keeping the headphone jack alive in its latest flagship phones, the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and even in the smaller S10E. All of the latest Galaxy S10 phones have 3.5mm headphone jacks so you won’t need a dongle or Bluetooth headphones or earbuds to listen to music. Unless you want to.

samsung galaxy s10

Samsung’s latest flagships among a couple dozen phones that still manage to retain the headphone jack, and expand the category a bit for those looking for a new phone that preserves the port.

Apple, Google, OnePlus, and many other companies have done away with their headphone jacks. If you’ve ever found yourself stuck with drained Bluetooth buds and without the dongle necessary for plugging in a backup pair of headphones, you’ll probably appreciate Samsung’s decision to keep the jack around. And it certainly makes life easier for people who want to charge their phone and listen to music at the same time. Without a dongle.

Of Course It’ll Have An Instagram Mode

Samsung is partnering with Instagram to add a new “Instagram mode” directly to the native camera app on the newly announced Galaxy S10. “We’ve worked together to rethink the experience of Instagram on the S10,” said Instagram’s head of product Adam Mosseri onstage at the Galaxy Unpacked event.

The new Instagram mode is built right into Samsung’s stock camera app, and is selectable just like you would choose the panorama or pro shooting modes. Instagram mode lets users shoot and upload directly to their Instagram stories, complete with stickers, Instagram’s editing tools, text, hashtags, and more, for what Samsung is calling the “best Instagram experience on a smartphone.”

In addition to the Instagram partnership, Samsung is also opening up its camera in an open SDK so that developers can take full advantage of new camera features in their own apps. So far, Snapchat, Snow, and Lime have been announced as partners, with the promise that through the new SDK, photos you take in those apps will be just as good as ones you shoot in the native camera app.

Instagram will presumably take advantage of that access inside its own app, too, but it’s the only one that’ll be getting the spotlight treatment in the camera app itself.

Now, The Painful Part… Price

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus with 1TB of upgraded storage is their most expensive Galaxy S phone to date, at $1,600. If you’re on a 30-month contract plan, like what’s available from AT&T or US Cellular, that’s $53.34 per month, on top of your service plan, making the 1TB S10 Plus one of the most expensive smartphones you can buy from a US carrier.

There’s not as much precedent set for a $1,600 smartphone as there has been for the thousand-dollar mark, as seen with the Galaxy Note 9 and iPhone X / XS / XS Max phones, to say nothing of $1,980 and up.

Regardless, Samsung does think that someone out there wants a 1TB smartphone that costs as much as a laptop. Against the lower starting prices of the S10E ($749.99) and regular-sized Galaxy S10 ($899.99), the S10 Plus (starting at $999.99) has a larger 4,100mAh battery, bigger 6.4-inch screen, and is the only Galaxy device of the three to come with a 1TB option (microSD expandable to an additional 512GB).

samsung galaxy s10

Overall, there are more than just a few spec bumps to differentiate the S10 Plus from its smaller brethren, but having a terabyte of storage on your phone — more than some laptops — might just be worth the few extra hundred dollars. Or, a bit of overkill.

How Do You Get One?

You’ll be able to order them starting February 21st. All will ship on Friday, March 8th. You can sign up right now through Samsung to reserve your spot that gives you 72 hours to place a preorder when they go live at 12:01AM ET / 9:01PM PT.

Additionally, you can trade in your current phone for up to $550 in credit toward a new Galaxy S10 from Samsung. If you place an order on the S10 or S10 Plus at any retailer between February 21st and March 7th, you’ll be eligible to receive a free pair of Galaxy Buds, Samsung’s new wireless headphones that can be wirelessly recharged with the S10 series of phones.

Just a note: this offer is fulfilled through Samsung, not the carrier or retailer where you purchased the device. And, early word is that they last one hour longer than their Apple counterpart on a single charge. Just throwing that out there.

Samsung Galaxy S10E

The most affordable Galaxy S10 device, the S10E, starts at $749.99. That’s a $30 markup over last year’s Galaxy S9, even though this is billed as the budget model. The S10E matches the S10 with its Snapdragon 855, but it gets away with a lower price by having a smaller display that’s FHD+ instead of QHD resolution, a lower RAM count, two rear-facing lenses, among a few other differences that may or may not be a big deal to you.

Carrier availability

  • Sprint will offer the S10E for $31.25 per month over 18 billing cycles as part of its Sprint Flex lease program. The carrier is offering a free S10E with purchase, paid back in monthly credits with purchase, though it requires an 18-month lease, and at least one new line and one upgraded line in your plan.
  • AT&T is offering the S10E for $25 per month ($28.34 per month for the 256GB model) for 30 months on AT&T Next. If you purchase an S10E, S10, or S10 Plus, you can get an S10E for free, though it requires a new line and credits the value of the free phone each month.
  • Pricing for the S10E at Verizon starts at $31.24 per month for 24 months. If you purchase an S10E, S10 or S10 Plus, you can get an S10E for free, though it requires a new line and credits the value of the free phone each month. Plus, cases are 25 percent off during the preorder period.
  • For T-Mobile customers, the cheaper S10E starts at $20.84 per month on the carrier’s 36-month plan. If you have a trade-in, you can get half the cost of the S10E knocked off, and up to $390 off the purchase of an S10 or S10 Plus when you open a new line.
  • During the preorder period, Xfinity Mobile is offering subscribers a $250 Visa gift card per phone purchased (up to five allowed.)

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Samsung Galaxy S10

The S10 is where you’ll find most of this year’s new features put to work, like its triple rear-facing cameras, the embedded fingerprint sensor, high-resolution display, and a slightly more refined design. Each of the S10 phones share the same Snapdragon 855 processor, but this model has a bigger display than the S10E (and a bigger battery to power it) and 8GB of RAM.

Carrier availability

  • Sprint will offer the S10 for $37.50 per month over 18 billing cycles with a Sprint Flex lease (preorder to get Galaxy Buds for free.) The carrier is offering a free S10E with purchase, paid back in monthly credits with purchase, though it requires an 18-month lease, and at least one new line and one upgraded line in your plan.
  • The S10 on AT&T will cost $30 per month ($38.34 per month for the 512GB version) for 30 months (preorder to get Galaxy Buds for free, and you’ll also be eligible to get a free S10E, or $750 in credit toward a more expensive Galaxy device with purchase of the S10, though it requires a new line and credits the value of the free phone each month).
  • Verizon is pricing the S10 at $37.49 (preorder to get Galaxy Buds for free, and you’ll also be eligible to get a free S10E, or $750 in credit toward a more expensive Galaxy device, though it requires a new line and credits the value of the free phone each month). Plus, cases are 25 percent off during the preorder period.
  • T-Mobile customers can lease the Galaxy S10 starting at $22.23 per month over a 36-month installment plan (after $99.99 down). If you have a trade-in, you can get half the cost of an S10E knocked off, and up to $390 off the purchase of an S10 or S10 Plus when you open a new line.
  • During the preorder period, Xfinity Mobile is offering subscribers a $250 Visa gift card per phone purchased (up to five allowed per plan.)

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Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

If you’re after a big phone that has the most features in Samsung’s range of S10 phones, the S10 Plus is your best bet. In addition to having the same triple rear-camera setup as the S10, the S10 Plus has a second 8-megapixel selfie lens. The S10 Plus can be configured with up to 1TB of storage and 12GB RAM, which makes it the most capable phone Samsung has ever produced. Unlike the other S10 devices, the S10 Plus comes in three configurations. The bottom two configs feature a ceramic back instead of glass, which is no more resistant to cracks, but is more scratch-resistant and increases the phone’s weight to 198g versus 175g for the glass-backed models.

Carrier availability

  • Sprint will offer the Galaxy S10 Plus for $41.67 per month over 18 billing cycles with a Sprint Flex lease (preorder to get the Galaxy Buds for free). The carrier is offering a free S10E with purchase, paid back in monthly credits with purchase, though it requires an 18-month lease, and at least one new line and one upgraded line in your plan.
  • AT&T will lease the S10 Plus starting at $33.34 per month ($41.67 per month for the 512GB model, $53.34 per month for the 1TB model) for 30 months (preorders are eligible for free Galaxy Buds, plus you can get a free S10E, or $750 in credit toward a more expensive Galaxy device with purchase of the S10 Plus, though it requires a new line and credits the value of the free phone each month).
  • Verizon is pricing the S10 Plus at $41.66 per month for 24 months (preorders for the S10 Plus are eligible for free Galaxy Buds, plus you can get a free S10E, or $750 in credit toward a more expensive Galaxy device with purchase of the S10 Plus, though it requires a new line and credits the value of the free phone each month). Plus, cases are 25 percent off during the preorder period.
  • At T-Mobile, the S10 Plus starts at $22.23 per month for 36 months (after $199.99 down at purchase). If you have a trade-in, you can get half the cost of an S10E knocked off, and up to $390 off the purchase of a S10 or S10 Plus when you open a new line.
  • During the preorder period, Xfinity Mobile is offering subscribers a $250 Visa gift card per phone purchased (up to five allowed per plan.)

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As of right now that is everything you need to know about the new Samsung Galaxy S10 line. Be sure to check back when new information become available.

 

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