First impressions: Samsung Galaxy S10

Samsung was quite conservative last year when it came to introducing new features for the Galaxy S9 and the Note 9, which gave people the feeling that the company was holding out for its 10th anniversary S-model, the Galaxy S10.

Having had some hands-on time with the standard S10 model, we now think this rings true as the device looks and feels like it’s set to refresh Samsung’s flagship S-line.

It ticks all the boxes of what we come to expect from a flagship - an all-screen display, wireless charging, a three camera system, and an in-display fingerprint scanner - yet still offers a lot more of what we usually want in a smartphone. (Samsung Galaxy S10: Price, availability details)

Display

The Galaxy S10 line flaunts Samsung’s brand new Infinity-O display that incorporates a punch-hole to house the front-facing camera. It’s an acceptable compromise to the typical notch and one that significantly increases screen real estate.

Is it better than pop-up mechanisms or the notch? That may all boil down to preference.

If you’re not at all bothered that there may be a hole in the top right corner that can break your full screen viewing, then it’s great. It’s discreet enough to not be noticed in many situations, but those who care about their screen’s symmetry may constantly be bothered.

IN-DISPLAY FINGERPRINT SCANNER. Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler

IN-DISPLAY FINGERPRINT SCANNER.

Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler

Built into the display is the new Qualcomm ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, touted to be the most advanced of its kind. Other brands have used similar technology in their devices before, albeit with less success.

The S10’s in-display fingerprint scanner is accurate and fast. There were times when the scanner required me to push harder on the screen, but these cases were far and few in between.

If you’re coming from the previous generation Galaxy S or Note device, it might take a bit of time to get used to. But once you’ve mapped the placement of the sensor on the screen, you could likely do it even when the screen is off.

Camera

Both the S10 and the S10+ got a major upgrade in the camera department as they now feature three rear cameras instead of two. Of course, you still get your wide and telephoto lens from the S9 and the S9+. However, it’s the new ultra-wide lens that’s sure to impress.

It’s said to be capable of taking images at a 123-degree field of view, like the human eye.

Here are some sample photos to better explain how much is captured in the frame.

In this first set-up, here's a comparison between a shot of a locale on the Note 9's primary shooter followed by the S10's new ultra-wide lens.

THE GALAXY NOTE 9 SHOT. A photo taken on a Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler

THE GALAXY NOTE 9 SHOT. A photo taken on a Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler

S10 ULTRA-WIDE SHOT. A shot from the same location using the Samsung Galaxy S10's ultra-wide lens. Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler

S10 ULTRA-WIDE SHOT. A shot from the same location using the Samsung Galaxy S10's ultra-wide lens.

Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler

In this next set-up, the following 3 photos show the Galaxy S10's shots using its ultra-wide lens , wide/regular lens, and telephoto lens, respectively.

ULTRA-WIDE. This is a shot from the Samsung Galaxy S10's ultra-wide lens. Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler.

ULTRA-WIDE. This is a shot from the Samsung Galaxy S10's ultra-wide lens. Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler.

REGULAR SHOT. A shot from the Samsung Galaxy S10's regular lens. Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler

REGULAR SHOT. A shot from the Samsung Galaxy S10's regular lens.

Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler

TELEPHOTO SHOT. A telephoto lens shot on the Samsung Galaxy S10. Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler

TELEPHOTO SHOT. A telephoto lens shot on the Samsung Galaxy S10.

Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler

Wireless charging

The Galaxy S10 also has reverse wireless charging, or Wireless PowerShare as Samsung calls it. This turns your device into a charging port for other supported devices.

The great thing is you can easily use the feature by pulling the Quick Settings menu and turning the feature on. You’ll still be able to use your phone as another device is leaned against its back wirelessly charging, but you can expect your battery to drain much faster.

Although the wireless charging feature also supports the new Galaxy Earbuds, they did not have those available for us to try out.

It’s remarkable how Samsung has taken its 10-year S-line history and come up with a smartphone that’s both familiar and fresh. Given the stacked list of features and the awe-inspiring specs, those due for an upgrade would find plenty to love here.

Meanwhile, those who want something drastically different and novel and have the cash to spare, may want to wait for the Galaxy Fold, which is also right around the corner. – Rappler.com