Samsung Galaxy S10+ review


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Erin Lawrence

Samsung galaxy s10 review, how to, best, batery, screen, whats new

Samsung fans are all agog now that the newest Samsung flagship phones are available in Canada. Announced earlier this year, there are three unique devices all under the Galaxy S10 banner: Samsung Galaxy S10, Samsung Galaxy S10e and Samsung Galaxy S10+. I recently had a chance to spend a couple of weeks with the new S10+ (along with the new Samsung Buds and the new Watch) to test out the ecosystem.

What’s new with Galaxy S10+?

Though most of the attention was on Samsung’s futuristic Galaxy Fold foldable phone, the Korean behemoth took the wraps off its four flagship Galaxy S10 phones: the Galaxy S10E, the Galaxy S10, the Galaxy S10+, and the Galaxy S10 5G. The new lineup of handsets are the successors to last year’s Galaxy S9 phones and will support the next generation of  5G mobile network.

What’s new with Galaxy S10+: No notch

Samsung galaxy s10 review, how to, best, batery, screen, whats new

So what’s new? The design for starters. Samsung ditched the 2018 ‘notch’ trend for what’s being called a ‘hole punch’ design. The wide pill-shaped cutout houses dual selfie cameras. The notches in any smartphone never bothered me beyond the first 10 minutes of ownership, but I will say the hole punch pretty much disappears into your top task bar and you’ll never notice it.

The bezels are also much thinner than last year’s S9+. The screen to body ratio is 93 percent which is a bump up from 84 percent on the S9+. The back resembles the Galaxy Note 9 except now there’s an extra camera. The phone is also IP68 water and dust resistant. And yes, the 3.5mm headphone jack is still there if you’re analogue like that.

The screen has been called the world’s first HDR 10+ display (and measures 6.4-inches). It is definitely clear, crisp, sharp and beautiful.

What’s new with Galaxy S10+ New fingerprint scanner on screen

This time around, there’s no physical fingerprint scanner on the back, as there was in the S9. Samsung has dropped the iris scanner, but the new Galaxies can still be unlocked with a  scan of your face or fingers.

Samsung galaxy s10 review, how to, best, batery, screen, whats new

Samsung claims their new fingerprint technology is harder to spoof than its rivals on-screen readers. The sensor works by taking a 3D scan of your fingerprint and so far it’s pretty quick, though it is a bit weird to get used to at first.

What’s new with Galaxy S10+ : New hardware

For you spec junkies, there is new hardware under the hood. The S10+ sports Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855. In addition to the new processor, the S10+ also has 8 GB of RAM, up from 6 GB on the S9+. Storage has also been increased at 128 and 512 GB for all models. However, there is an ultra-high-end version of the S10+ that comes with a whopping 12 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage. And if that’s not enough, all models have micro SD card support up to 512 GB. Phew! What are you folks doing on your phones with that much memory, anyway?

The S10+ ships with Android 9.0 Pie out of the box with Samsung One UI version 1.1. Overall the phone is supposed to be faster, but without putting them head to head in speed tests, that part is hard for me to verify.

All about the camera in Samsung Galaxy S10+

Samsung galaxy s10 review, how to, best, batery, screen, whats new, camera

Let’s get to everyone’s favourite feature in most smartphones – the cameras.

The Samsung S10+ has a whopping five camera lenses, plus a boatload of features and settings. Let’s dig in:

On the back, there is one primary wide lens, a telephoto zoom lens, and a new ultra-wide lens, though you’ll never know which is which. The cameras have the same sensors as last year’s phones and still include the dual pixel autofocus and variable aperture.

In the front, there’s two selfie cameras with the second camera providing depth information. The S10+ is also the first flagship from Samsung to offer 4K video recording from the front cameras now in addition to the rear. You’ll need to make sure it’s enabled to use it, and getting this turned on is a bit of a conundrum, particularly because Samsung never actually uses the term ‘4K’ inside the phone, yet it does on its website…

How to shoot 4K video on Samsung Galaxy S10+

Go into Camera and click the gear to access Settings. Choose whether you want the front or rear camera, and both do offer 4K. You’ll see a list of options and it will look like 4K isn’t an option:

  • 16X 9 (is likely the default selected)
    • Subheading: Resolution
  • Full
  • 1:1

Tap on the subheading resolution.

Samsung galaxy s10 review, how to, best, batery, screen, whats new, camera

To get 4K video, choose one of the options labeled UHD. UHD stands for Ultra High Definition, which is another industry term for higher resolution 4K video. Each option lists the 4K/UHD resolution, which is 3840×2160. There’s 2 options; regular 4K/UHD and 60 fps 4K UHD. Tap to select your option.

When you go back to the camera, you’ll see an immediate difference. 4K video is hyper-realistic and takes some getting used to. But it looks amazing. Read more on 4K and what it’s all about in this article I wrote for Best Buy Canada.

Worth noting that when it comes to video, you can also shoot Slow Mo and Super Slow too.

Night & Low light shooting

Shooting night and low light shots has always been best with a Samsung phone. The technology inside makes it very forgiving if you want to capture after-dark images whether you’re just being artsy or you really need to get something on camera in a dark place.

Camera Features & Settings

This smartphone camera does almost as many things as a DSLR! The camera could be a review all its own so we’re only going to focus on a few basics here.

Photos shot without Samsung S10+:

Photos shot WITH Samsung S10+

There’s settings for Ultra Wide shots, like panoramas, as well as Macro. These are denoted with small tree or leaf symbols on the main camera. There’s also something called Live Focus.

Live Focus uses the phone’s brains to detect humans in the frame, letting you soften the background and adjust depth of field for artsy shots. Then you can change the vibe with filters, even after you take the shot. There’s ‘Original’ or Blur, Spin Bokeh, Zoom Bokeh and something called Color point. It basically gives you different options for blurring the background out simply, or distorting it a bit too for effect.

In addition you’ll find settings you’ve seen previously on Samsung camera phones, like Food, made for Instagramming your lunch. Pro Mode is also back, which gives you fine tuning control over aperture, ISo and white balance, to name a few options.

Overall photo quality  – Galaxy S10+

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Samsung makes some of the best smartphone cameras, period. The photos are outstanding; they’re colourful, detailed, sharp and vibrant, and with all the options in settings, you can do a lot with your photography.

Battery Life

One of the biggest features of the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is the bigger battery and this one lasted me forever. The S10+ boasts a 4100mAh which is the largest battery in the S10 family. The S9+ had a 3500mAh battery whilst the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 had a 4000mAh battery. With moderate usage, it is possible to get a couple of days of use.

samsung galaxy s10, phone, review, how to, camera, battery, whats new

What is Samsung Power Sharing?

Like, its predecessor, the S10+ still has fast charging and fast wireless charging. What’s new is that now the S10s come with something called wireless Power Share. You can now charge any Qi wireless device by placing it on top of it, though it will be it pretty slow.

How to use Power Share

All you need to do is place the two devices together. Kind of… You do need to activate it for it to work.
Wireless Power Share works with most Qi-Certified devices. You do need a minimum 30% battery to share and to activate it, swipe down from the top of the screen using two fingers to open Quick Settings.
Touch Wireless Power Share, and then follow the on-screen instructions to use it. When charging begins, you will receive a popup notification and hear a chime.

To check on the charging status at any time, touch the notification in the Notification Panel.Worth noting, the speed and power efficiency varies by device, and it’s not going to work through all covers or with all accessories.

It worked like a dream with the Samsung Buds and the Watch Active I tried it with and is a nice extra option for power on the go. Surprisingly it also worked really well charging an iPhone too!

samsung galaxy s10, phone, review, how to, camera, battery, whats new

The Final Verdict: Samsung Galaxy S10+ What’s Improved?

For some, these new The Samsung Galaxy S10+ will be an incremental upgrade. While there’s some great improvements, none of them will probably rock your world, and if you waited until the next upgrade, you wouldn’t feel like you’re missing out.

To recap, the S10+ has a much larger display than last year’s Galaxy S9+, it’s got more cameras, a faster and more powerful chip, wider screen, bigger battery and more room for memory. Plus it’s also got toys like Power Share.

The cons? Locating the 4K/UHD video settings are tedious and not intuitive and there’s the price, yes.

expensive, yes, but it’s no big story that phones cost as much as a month’s rent these days. When you consider they are our phones, cameras, computers,  TVs, libraries, social hubs and more, that seems like a small price to pay.

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