After ten years of their existence, we finally have the Samsung Galaxy S10. This device is the culmination of all the things Samsung learned from making high-end smartphones over the past decade.
With that, we sure have high expectations for the South Korean tech giant’s latest flagship release. But the question is, were they able to meet them? That’s what we’re about to find out in our Samsung Galaxy S10 review.
Samsung Galaxy S10 Specs
- Android 9.0 Pie, Samsung One UI
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby (Hybrid)
- 6.1-inch WQHD+ Dynamic Super AMOLED display, 3040 x 1440 pixel resolution, ~551ppi
- 93.2% screen-to-body ratio, Always On Display
- 2.7GHz Exynos 9820 octa-core processor
- 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
- Mali-G76 GPU
- 128GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 512GB
- 10-megapixel front camera, dual-pixel, AF, f/1.9
- 12-megapixel (OIS, f/1.5-2.4) + 16-megapixel (ultra wide) + 12-megapixel (OIS, telephoto) triple rear cameras
- HDR10 video recording
- Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
- IP68 water and dust resistant
- Dolby Atmos, AKG stereo speakers
- 4G LTE
- WiFi 802.11 ab/g/n/ac/ax, dual-band
- Bluetooth 5.0
- GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou
- ANT+, NFC
- USB Type-C
- Colors: Prism White, Prism Black
- Dimensions: 70.4 x 149.9 x 7.8mm
- Weight: 157g
- 3,400mAh non-removable battery, Fast wireless charge 2.0
- Wireless PowerShare
Design and Build Quality
Samsung sure knows how to make a premium smartphone. Thanks to their expertise in design, the Samsung Galaxy S10 was constructed to make its users feel like they really own a premium and lavish device.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is sleek and feels really nice in the hands. It’s only 149.9mm tall, 7.8mm thick, and weighs only 157g. It’s easily one of the lightest flagship devices that we’ve tested.
Its back panel is crafted by a shiny and almost fingerprint resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 5 panel. The entire phone is then being held up by a polished metal frame. The unit that we have here is the Prism Black variant and it’s also available in Prism White, and a more stunning Prism Green color options.
On the front, we have a large 6.1-inch WQHD+ Super AMOLED screen, with Samsung’s signature curved edges. You can also notice one of Samsung’s biggest design changes here, which is the Infinity-O display.
Instead of having the traditional notch, it uses a punch-hole design to put the selfie camera on the front. Weirdly enough, it does feel less inconspicuous than the traditional notch. The fun part is, you can use clever wallpapers to hide it.
On the left side of the Samsung Galaxy S10, we have the volume controls and the infamous Bixby button. Thankfully, you can now remap this button to open a particular app or do quick commands, although you still have to set it up to access that setting.
Thankfully, setting it up is pretty easy. You can use your logged-in Google Account to create a Samsung account, skip all the related Bixby setup processes, and you can now remap the button and forget that Bixby even exists.
On the left side, we only have the lock/power switch. All the buttons are really well-made and they provide a satisfying clicky feel every time you press them.
Right up top, there’s the noise-canceling microphone and the hybrid SIM tray. While on the bottom you can spot the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port, loudspeakers, and the primary microphone. You can also see the antenna band right here, which is also present in all sides of the Samsung Galaxy S10.
Samsung is one of the biggest display suppliers in the industry, which is why it’s no surprise that the screens on their flagship smartphones are always top notch.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 boasts a 6.1-inch WQHD+ Dynamic Super AMOLED display, with a sharp resolution of 3040 x 1440 pixel resolution, and a dense ~551ppi.
It goes without saying that the display on the Galaxy S10 is great. The AMOLED panel provides deep contrasts with stunning colors. The WQHD+ resolution makes movies and texts well-detailed and sharp.
However, you might want to check the display settings as the resolution was automatically set to FHD+ out of the box for better battery efficiency. You’d barely notice the difference, anyway. But since you already paid for those extra pixels, you might want to maximize them as much as you can.
Samsung has partnered with AKG a couple of years back to improve the audio game of their smartphones. That’s why we’re experiencing good-sounding AKG-tuned stereo speakers from the Samsung Galaxy S10, which provides a passable surround sound effect on movies.
It’s also great when playing games like PUBG Mobile as the stereo separation gives you an idea where’s that enemy footsteps are coming from.
And unlike most flagships today, Samsung is standing their ground and is keeping the 3.5mm headphone jack on the Galaxy S10 — which is a big plus for us.
Hardware and Performance
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is a flagship device with flagship-level specs, which is why performance shouldn’t be an issue.
Samsung Galaxy S10 benchmark scores
Under the hood, Samsung Galaxy S10 has a 2.7GHz Exynos 9820 octa-core processor with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, and Mali-G76 GPU.
Unsurprisingly, its overall performance is really fast and snappy. Everything ran smoothly from taking pictures, using basic to demanding apps, multitasking, and more.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 gaming performance was also good. PUBG Mobile ran at the highest graphics settings with smooth frame rates, as well as Mobile Legends. However, NBA 2K19 looked a little ugly, but the frame rates were buttery smooth.
Samsung tried to be different and used an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, instead of the optical sensor that other devices have. During our first time with it — and as what you’ve probably heard from other tech reviewers — its performance was really slow and unreliable.
But a few updates after, it became noticeably faster. However, when I compared it side-by-side to the Huawei P30 Pro, the Galaxy S10 took at least half a second to recognize my print after I lift up my finger, while the P30 Pro was able to unlock the device right then and there.
Fortunately, the face unlock worked really fast. It can quickly unlock the device the moment you pull it out, even before you try using the fingerprint scanner. However, there are reports that it can be easily tricked, so just be mindful of that.
Software and User Interface
The Samsung Galaxy S10 runs on Android 9.0 Pie, with the company’s latest and cleanest Samsung One UI.
With the One UI, Samsung did their best to make their interface a lot more straightforward and less finicky than their previous ones. It looks very much the same with the stock Android 9 Pie aesthetics, which makes us wonder why they didn’t just use it instead.
There are a couple of things to talk about here, but I want to start first with the Night Mode, which is basically the dark mode that other interfaces have. The black interface feels more comfortable in the eyes. And since it’s an OLED panel, this is also good for battery efficiency.
Samsung also included their signature Edge Lighting and Edge Panel for easy access on your desired apps. With Edge Panel, you can also have a lot of apps in a floating mode.
Different navigation gestures/buttons options are also present. There’s Digital Wellbeing that monitors your smartphone usage, and Device care that analyzes your system’s current workload so you can optimize just by pressing a single button.
Of course, there’s Bixby, Samsung’s own virtual assistant. Personally, I think it has potential, but I don’t think it’s there yet so let’s just give it time to develop for now.
Lastly, the Galaxy S10 has Samsung DeX. This lets you basically turn the device into a desktop computer. You can dock it on a multiport USB Type-C hub, plug in a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and enjoy its PC-like interface on a bigger screen.
Samsung has always nailed their smartphones’ cameras, and the Samsung Galaxy S10 is not an exception.
This phone has three cameras on the back that consists of a 12-megapixel (OIS, f/1.5-2.4), 16-megapixel (ultra wide), and another 12-megapixel (OIS, telephoto) sensors.
The primary 12-megapixel camera delivers top-notch photos. Images look clean with vibrant colors, deep contrast, and neat dynamic range. The sharpness is also great which delivers incredible detail.
Samsung Galaxy S10’s 16-megapixel ultra wide sensor was also impressive. Besides giving you the ability to capture a lot of subjects in a single frame, the image quality itself is really good. Something that is rare in most ultra-wide cameras on other smartphones.
The telephoto sensor offers 2x of optical zoom, which feels underwhelming (it’s the same level of zoom that the iPhone 7 Plus had a few years ago). It does provide great image quality, although the zooming level is way behind on what the Huawei P30 Pro can do.
Lastly, we have a 10-megapixel selfie camera on the front camera. It may not be the most pixel-dense sensor like the 32-megapixel on the P30 Pro or the 16-megapixel on the OPPO F11 Pro, but it still takes really great selfies with surprisingly good detail, colors, and contrast.
I have to note that having the camera in the far right corner of the device feels weird when you’re framing the shot, since we’re used to having the selfie cameras on the middle of the screen.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 has an underwhelming 3,400mAh battery capacity. As stated earlier, it has a high-resolution screen and a powerful processor, so you probably already have an idea on how the battery performs.
PCMark’s battery test gave it a score of 9 hours and 2 minutes of screen-on time before reaching 20%. In real-world scenario, you might have to reach for a charger before the day ends if you’re a heavy user.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 also has Wireless PowerShare feature. This lets you charge other wireless-charging devices — like the new iPhone models or the Samsung Galaxy Buds — by laying it on the back of the Galaxy S10. It is definitely not the fastest charging technology around, but it does help if a friend really needs a quick top off.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is clearly a feat of everything that Samsung has learned in the past few years. It features a polished design, even better display, great cameras, and a way cleaner user interface.
However, there are still a couple of things that Samsung wasn’t able to get right on the Galaxy S10. For starters, its supposed-to-be revolutionary ultrasonic fingerprint scanner is bad, the battery performance is underwhelming, and more importantly, the pricing for this device is kinda over the top.
If overall value for money is what you’re looking for, then you might be better off looking somewhere else. The Samsung Galaxy S10 is a great smartphone by itself, but it is still behind some of the competition in the market today.
Pricing and availability of the Samsung Galaxy S10
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is available in the Philippines for a priceof Php49,990. You can get it at Samsung stores, kiosks, and multi-brand shops nationwide. It’s also available in Samsung’s online store partners.
- Premium, sleek design
- Vibrant display
- Great cameras
- Clean UI
- Slow fingerprint scanner
- Underwhelming battery performance
- Price still lags from the competition