It is not too often that you come across a phone that ticks almost every box you put in place for it. Samsung’s Galaxy S10+ is one of those rare devices. Samsung’s Galaxy S series has always been seen as the alternative to the iPhone, and that is one heck of a rating.
This year Samsung released three versions of the Galaxy S (read more about them here), and the S10+ is the most powerful of the lot. It thus comes with very high expectations. To find out if it justifies them, well, check out the following points:
The Galaxy S10+ cannot be mistaken for anything but a premium phone. Yes, we have seen our share of glass front and back phones but nothing quite matches the way in which the glass on both sides of the S10+ tapers to meet at the steel frame that supports the device.
And the glass on the back is no routine design either — it reflects light in rainbowlike patterns in what Samsung refers to as a prism effect. At a mere 7.8 mm thin and 175 grammes in weight, the S10+ is a sheer marvel when you consider what is inside it (we will tell you later).
Yes, the glass back will get smudged (there is a very basic plastic transparent case in the box) and some might find the phone a little slippery. But take our word for it, this is a very beautiful looking device with an almost jewel-like quality to it. It is a tough one, though, with an IP68 resistance rating for water and dust, and Gorilla Glass 6 on front and 5 on the back!
The display is awesome… but that notch…
The display has been one of the highlights of the Galaxy S series and the S10+ takes this tradition forward. Although a little divisively. The S10+ has a magnificent 6.4 inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 3040, which we can safely say is among the best displays we have seen on a phone.
It is bright enough to be visible even in the harshest sunlight and handles colours magnificently, although some might find it slightly too colourful at a level (you can change this in settings if need be). Speaking for ourselves, we like the slightly more realistic display of the iPhone XS/ XS Max.
But no matter how you look at it, there’s no denying that this is an exceptional display, and videos and images look amazing on it. Samsung has however gone with a notch on it, and on the S10+, it is a rather big notch on the top right corner of the display as it contains dual cameras. It is a sort of dual punch hole and while we got used to it after a while, but we can see people disliking it. Incidentally, the display also has a fingerprint scanner built into it — whatever the phone lacks, it is not the coolness quotient.
Those cameras are crazy good, even if inconsistent
The Galaxy S10+ comes with some very serious camera muscle. It has three cameras on the back — two twelve megapixel shooters (one wide angle with variable aperture, one with 2x telephoto, both with optical image stabilisation) and one sixteen megapixels ultrawide snapper.
The phone comes packed with shooting modes and options and we could spend pages discussing them, but we will keep it short and sweet: the S10+ takes fantastic pictures, and thanks to the option of using telephoto and ultrawide, you actually get the option to zoom in and out as well, taking great close-ups as well as landscapes.
Low light performance is also very good, although we sometimes felt that the phone was trying too hard to smooth out grains, resulting in smudges. There are plenty of animations and editing options to play around with (Snapchat users will feel right at home) and portrait mode (Live Focus) works brilliantly, especially in good light conditions.
Yes, as in most Samsung devices, the colours erred on the crazy bright side at times, but this is easily one of the best cameras out there on a phone. Period. Video performance is stellar too, although we would have liked better sound capture.
Which brings us to the front-facing cameras in that punched hole notch — the 10 and 8-megapixel camera combination takes some very good selfies. But honestly, we are not too convinced about the need for a second camera here, as we have seen comparative results even from devices that come with lower price tags!
Great specs = Awesome performance
The version of the S10+ being sold in India does not come with the Snapdragon 855 processor, but Samsung’s own Exynos 9820 chip. However, as we have seen in the past, that does not mean any corners are cut in performance. This is an excellent processor and will handle everything you throw at it — from PUBG at maxed settings to video editing.
The phone also comes with 8 GB and 12 GB RAM options and storage that goes from 128 GB to 1 TB, so there is literally no end of storage, although there is also an option for a memory card. One touch that we totally love is the inclusion of stereo speakers, which make this a terrific device for watching films. Want a more private listening experience?
Snap headphones on to the 3.5 mm audio jack (yes, there is one) and get Dolby Atmos supported sound. This is one total powerhouse of a device. Our only complaint: it can sometimes heat up a little, and alas that in-display fingerprint scanner is slow and very moody!
Some seriously good battery life… and for others too
The Galaxy S10+ also comes with very good battery life, lasting easily a day of heavy use on a single charge. That’s because the device has a large 4100 mAh battery, with support for fast charging.
And that’s not all — you can even use it to wirelessly charge other devices, by just placing them on its pack (provided the devices support wireless charging of course). It’s a super cool trick and one right out of the book of the Mate 20 Pro — we totally approve!
Cleaner Android finally
One of the complaints about the Galaxy S series has been the fact that Samsung’s interface has tended to be a little complicated. The company has clearly listened to its users and the result is One UI, which is much cleaner and easier to use as compared to the likes of TouchWiz, and runs on top of Android Pie (9).
No, we would not say it is as simple as OnePlus’ Oxygen UI or pure stock Android — the settings and camera interface can get a little too complicated for routine users — but using the S10+ seems a much more seamless and smooth experience than any of its predecessors in terms of software. Now, we just hope Samsung keeps it updated regularly, as this is definitely the best UI we have seen on a Samsung phone!
The pricing? High, but so is the quality!
Of course, all this goodness comes at a price. Samsung has priced the Galaxy S10+ at a rather stiff Rs 73,900 for the 8 GB/128 GB model. This puts it right out there with the likes of the Pixel 3, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and of course, its old rival, the iPhone (in this case, the XS and XS Max).
We know that there are some who will say that you can get comparable spec sheets from the likes of the Honor View 20 and the OnePlus 6T, but well, we can safely say that in terms of premium design and performance, the S10+ still remains THE Android phone to beat. Want a high-end phone that looks premium and is NOT an iPhone? The Galaxy S10+ remains your best option.