In the last few months, major telecom operators have started to offer 5G connectivity services. With the launch of such services, compatible phones also have started to appear, and the first to arrive was Galaxy S10 5G, the model presented by Samsung in London along with the rest of the S10 series. In the following lines, we will try to explain how this model differs from the rest of the Galaxy S10 range.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G: A “late” S10, but still relevant
The Galaxy S10 5G hit some markets later compared to other markets across the world. The reason was, of course, the lack of 5G services in many countries and the partnership of some operators with other brands. While some mobile operators have chosen in their offer 5G phones like Huawei Mate 20X 5G and Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G, others seem to have made a deal with Samsung – and their first 5G model is S10 5G. Now, Samsung also offers Note10+ 5G, for those interested in S-Pen phones.
Thus, the S10 5G is a little “late” phone and some might say that it is really outdated now that the S11 knocks on the door. Yet, it is not. It features a 6.7″ Dynamic AMOLED display, the largest on Samsung smartphones so far, a triple camera system, and a headphone jack. Yes, you read that right. A top phone launched at the end of 2019 still has such a useful component!
The cut in the display is much more pronounced than on the standard S10 models and huge compared to the Note10. Here are three sensors: two 10-megapixel cameras and a 3D TOF sensor for depth calculation, which needs extra space for a laser to be included. Thus, the cut is more pronounced than in the case of S10+, for example, which used only 2 front cameras. Those sensitive to screen cuts will certainly have a harder time adapting to this model.
The construction is at the same high level that we used to receive from Samsung. Glass curved on both sides, even slightly curved for the back panel, as the metal frame is even thinner. The rear camera system also received an additional 3D TOF sensor, making the camera module occupy a larger space on the back, almost full width.
Also, compared to the latest models in the Note10 range, this model keeps the power button on the right side and also has a dedicated Bixby button, below the volume buttons on the left.
The Galaxy S10 5G comes with a 25W socket adapter in the box, the same one we found on the Note10, and a cable with USB-C jacks on both ends. It also includes AKG headphone jack and micro-USB and USB-A adapters.
Compared to the latest top models from Samsung as well as the standard S10 series, the Galaxy S10 5G seems to have a less curved screen. In fact, it is curved only at the extreme edge on the sides. For this reason, we found it even more enjoyable to use, the virtual buttons on the edges being easier to press on this model. Those who prefer flat-screen phones can use S10 5G without any problems.
On the other hand, it is still a very slippery and fragile phone, so a protective case is absolutely necessary. Samsung offered a factory-applied screen protector on the glass. This will scratch in time, but being original accessories, the company sells them in stores. Last but not least, not all glass protections for the S10 and Note10 models work with the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, so plastic protection is probably a must.
Galaxy S10 5G: Top specs
- Main Display : 6.7-inch, 19: 9, QHD + (3,040 x 1,440 pixels), Dynamic AMOLED
- Chipset : Exynos 9820, 8 nm, 64-bit, octa-core (2 x 2.73 GHz Mongoose M4 + 2 x 2.31 GHz Cortex-A75 & 4 x 1.95 GHz Cortex-A55)
- RAM: 8 GB LPDDR4
- Storage: 256 UFS 3.0
- Front camera: 2 x 10MP, f / 1.9 + 3D TOF
- Main camera: 2MP wide, f / 1.5-f / 2.4, 1.4μm, 77 ̊, OIS + 12MP zoom 2X, f / 2.4, 1.0μm, 45 ̊, OIS + 16MP ultra-wide, f / 2.2, 1.0μm, 123 ̊ + 3D TOF
- Operating System: Android 9.0 Pie (One UI 1.1)
- Security: Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor on display + face recognition
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0, GPS
- Sound: Stereo speakers, 3.5mm jack
- Battery: 4,500mAh, fast charging at 25W, Qi wireless charging at 15W, PowerShare
- Contactless payments: MST + NFC
- Dimensions : 162.6 x 77.1 x 7.9 mm
- Weight: 198 g
- Colors: Crown Silver, Majestic Black, Royal Gold
Galaxy S10 5G: Higher performance
Since we have already tested Galaxy S10+ and Note10+, there are not many new things to mention when it comes to the capabilities of the S10 5G. It is based on the same Exynos 9820 8nm hardware platform, comes with 8 GB of standard RAM (S10+ and Note10+ also have 12 GB variants), and 256 or 512 GB of storage. However, in several countries, there is only the model with 256 GB, which in theory should provide enough space for any type of user. Unfortunately, those who need more space, are NOT provided with a MicroSD slot. Moreover, this model is NOT a “Duos” type, so it only benefits from a single nano-SIM slot.
Still, from the performance point of view, it does very well, running the most demanding applications in excellent conditions, and offering the ability to record 4K videos at 60 frames per second. It is even able to edit and export 4K videos at very high speeds. Video games, in particular, will play very well on this phone and the large screen is an advantage!
- AnTuTu v8: 415.523
- GeekBench 5: Single-Core: 824 / Multi-Core: 2,321
- 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Volcano: 4,526
- PCMark: 7,665
Galaxy S10 5G: An excellent display
We have to deal with a 60Hz display. Lately, gaming phones boast 120Hz screens, but those aren’t “good at all” like the S10 5G and they don’t even have 5G – something that should provide an advantage in online games due to a faster and more stable connection.
In spite of this, the display is large and beautiful (we are dealing with the same type of Dynamic AMOLED top screen). To integrate as much technology as possible into the front-facing cameras, Samsung slightly compromised the design, with 20% of the notification bar being moved to the left. Thus, fewer notifications will appear in the top bar at the same time.
Those who have used an S10 or S10+ will not be disturbed, but the lack of those pixels is strange, especially in certain games, which could position buttons in that area. In video clips, in general, that area is still black, as online video clips are usually 16:9 or at most 18:9, while the screen has a 19:9 aspect ratio.
Galaxy S10 5G: Fewer updates, good autonomy
One thing that should be noted especially by those who are interested in software updates is that the phone comes with Android 9.0 Pie with One UI 1.1. The update to Android 10 for the Galaxy S10 in the normal versions has already started to be delivered by Samsung, but for the 5G it doesn’t seem to be ready yet. An update to Android 10 with One UI 2.0 may be delayed by 2020. Recently, OnePlus also delayed the update for OnePlus 7 Pro 5G by 2020, saying that the connectivity code needed to be rewritten for the new operating system.
This may be true for most 5G devices today. If you want quick updates, 5G phones are not a good choice at the moment. However, the tested model received an update for Google security certificates for November 2019, and another one to improve the performance of the fingerprint sensor. Samsung is actively working on the software development of the phone.
In terms of autonomy, the Galaxy S10 5G performed very well, but not necessarily better than other Samsung models of the past. Even if it has a slightly larger 4,500mAh battery, it does not work on a single charge for more than 2 days. And yet, it is understandable. It comes with a large, bright and high-resolution display, it has a powerful processor, used to the maximum in certain applications and it also has a first-generation 5G modem, expected to consume more power than a 4G.
When we got on a 5G connection, the battery consumption was obvious. However, we must also take into account the fact that when we got the signal we still gave speed tests, which certainly contributed to the extra consumption. However, if all the connections were made on 5G, the phone would certainly not withstand 2 days of normal use. Fortunately, the phone comes with a fast 25W charger in the pack, and it allows wireless charging at 15W. It can even charge other wireless devices, for the most “gifted” who are willing to give up their autonomy for others.
Galaxy S10 5G: A good camera, but not very different
As for the camera, there are few new things to say about the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. The only noticeable differences would be the addition of AR effects and the ability to shoot in live focus, that is, adding blur around the subject. These capabilities are “inherited” from Galaxy Note10 through a software update.
Galaxy S10 5G was at the time of launching on the first position in the DxOMark, which is no longer valid now that new models such as Mate 30 Pro from Huawei and Mi Note 10 Premium from Xiaomi have been released. However, all three cameras of the Galaxy S10 5G are still very relevant. There are a few situations where the main camera will fail, especially now that there is an improved night mode. Still, the night mode performance is not as high as on the Pixel, iPhone, and Huawei, but it is quite good in most situations and works on all three cameras – something the iPhone does not offer.
Unfortunately, it is not clear why 3D TOF sensors were needed. Samsung says they help calculate the distance between the phone and the subject, and the “live focus” mode should provide a better cut. There are several phones with TOF sensors on the market and so far none have been able to highlight the benefits of this component. For this reason, the more pronounced cut-out on the screen is a compromise that does not come with any clear advantage.
Galaxy S10 5G is one of the best phones from Samsung at the moment. It has a very large, high-resolution screen, includes a headphone jack, has a large battery and very good autonomy, and is equipped with the latest connectivity technology available, capable of speeds similar to those we usually have at home through a fiber-optic connection.
Of course, 5G technology is just in an incipient phase, so its benefits will not be obvious very soon. Yes, you will be able to download a movie from Netflix faster and then watch it offline on the plane and install faster applications from the Play Store, but currently, services that could benefit from 5G connections are not yet available. Moreover, the “5G revolution” will not take place on smartphones, which are already fast enough on 4G for most common functions, but in the Internet of Things and Smart City, when more devices will be connected to the Internet and they will be able to communicate with each other.
At the moment, a 5G phone is aimed at those who will always want to test the latest technology, even if it is not yet in an advanced stage. If you live or have an office in one of the 5G areas in your country and are willing to take the plunge, the Galaxy S10 5G is probably the best smartphone option of this kind right now.