Samsung Galaxy S10

Samsung's latest and greatest flagship smartphone has a little bit more of everything - but we're still not sure about that hole on the screen

Read our review and see the latest UK deals below or go direct to our recommended deal on O2, including 30GB data for £49.20 a month.

VIEW RECOMMENDED OFFER

Our review of the Samsung Galaxy S10, including the S10+ and S10e

Bezel-less screens are the must-have feature of the moment as manufacturers scramble to find new ways of hiding everything from the Home buttom to the camera lens, not to mention the bezel itself. Samsung no doubt believe the new Galaxy S10 probably comes closest to the "perfect" solution with an almost all screen device with minimal bezel and a little O shape, or punchhole if you prefer, within the screen.
This punchhole isn't really a hole of course but is where the selfie camera lens sits, at the top right side of the display. Samsung call this the Infinity-O display, though the "hole" is not actually round on the larger S10 Plus. This is due to the inclusion of a second lens which we'll come to in a moment.

The Notch
Like the notch that was all the rage in 2018, you'll either love or hate the camera lens punchhole and initially if you're looking at a screen with a light background it will probably annoy the hell out of you, but like the notch you probably won't notice it after a while.
You can hide it if you wish by turning if "off" which turns the whole top section black. This then gives you a bezel along the top edge again, but the downside is that it isn't used for the notification icons so it really is just wasted space.
The positive is that because this is an AMOLED screen the blacks look like black and blend in seamlessly with the rest of what bezel there is.

Black Space
It's an odd decision not to use the black space for the notification icons because it's a solution which Huawei use very well on all their phones which sport a notch. Their notch simply becomes a black notification bar with the camera lens in the centre, and I personally prefer their "dewdrop" edge of screen cutout around the camera lens rather than a virtual hole in the screen itself.
Samsung Galaxy S10 in Prism White at 1stmobile.co.uk

No Protection
It's noticable that Samsung's product photos do a good job of making sure you can't really see the hole, which we're sure is a deliberate move, but we're not sure why this obsession with bezel free screens exists at all.
One reviewer recently described it as the "eternal bezel problem", yet the bezel was never my idea of a problem and in fact has some advantages. If you knock or drop your phone the bezel provides at least some protection and may save your screen. Like the S8 Edge and S9 before, the S10 provides no such protection.

 



The more common issue you will encounter is fingerprints along the edge of the screen, as it's impossible to wrap your hand around the phone without leaving said prints.

To be fair you probably won't care about that when a phone looks as good as the Galaxy S10 because the last thing you're going to worry about is fingerprints, and the oleophobic coating actually does an excellent job of keeping them at bay. The prismatic colours and light effects they create on the casing, particularly Prism White, are truly astounding. 

Premium Quality
We would recommend a sturdy case though as the potential damage problem isn't going to go away even with the added protection of Gorilla Glass 6 (it's version 5 on the back and on the S10e).
The Galaxy S10 follows the now well established format of an aluminium frame sandwiched between glass front and back, unless you opt for the ceramic bodied version, and while it looks and feels every bit as premium as it's undeniably premium price suggests it's not the grippiest phone you'll ever hold.

Galaxy S10 Plus
We're including the S10 Plus in this write up as there is very little difference between the two. In fact the slightly larger model's display measures 6.4 inches, while the S10 offers you a 6.1 inch display, and a slightly smaller battery to boot.
As I mentioned up top, the front selfie camera of the S10 Plus has two lens, enabling you to take selfies with depth sensing which in laymans terms means you can add a blurry background to your selfies on your 0.3 inch of extra screen.

Ceramic Body
The S10 Plus also comes with the optiion of a black or white ceramic body, and comes in a whopping 12GB RAM/1TB storage version for those of you with very deep pockets filled with cash.

And that's it really. So unless the larger screen size or the optional extra memory of the S10 Plus is important to you, don't bother. You simply won't need 12GB of RAM and the minimum offering of 8GB is more than enough to cope with anything you throw at it.

Fast Wireless Charging
Samsung include USB-C and fast wireless charging on all models, and despite offering a pair of wireless earbuds on the top two sizes we're pleased to see that the 3.5mm headphone jack has been retained, as is the memory card slot which accepts cards up to 512GB if the 128 or 512GB of built in storage isn't enough for you.

Three Camera Lens
The main features of both phones is the all new in-screen "hidden" fingerprint sensor, and the third camera lens. The irony of that hidden ultrasonic sensor that Samsung have been working on for a couple of years at least is that now it's arrived it almost redundant already.

With the advent of face unlocking, which works so well you'll hardly notice it, it can be argued that we don't really need fingerprint unlocking any more. This is especially true if you consider that it doesn't work quite as well as the older type button mounted fingerprint sensors, and there's an inescapable feeling that it's another solution to a problem that didn't exist.

Gimmicks?
Some might also say the same of the third camera lens which seems gimmicky, but does allow you to take ultra wide angle shots. Yet opt for the S10e and you probably won't miss it.
We do like the almost flush camera module panel, which houses the three lens, flash and a the rear sensor array.
We also like the "Wireless PowerShare" feature which effectively does what it says, enabling you to share some of your battery power with another device wirelessly. Obviously that device will also need to have the ability to be charged wirelessly and it's not a feature you're likely to use every day but there are times when it might come in handy.
The display does have one truly useful feature. It reduces the effect of harmful blue light, i.e. eye strain, while not changing the appearance of colours on the screen, according to Samsung, who call this display Dynamic AMOLED.
Blue light helps fool your brain into thinking it's daylight and so could affect your sleep patterns, so this will be useful if you use your phone a lot into the late hours, though we think it's more likely to be of benefit on a larger screen such as your laptop and Microsoft introduced a similar feature some time ago, which you'll find on Windows 10. They call it Night Light. 

Bixby
Bixby makes it's customary appearance. This is in effect Samsung's voice controlled assistant, their take on Apple's Siri or Google Assistant, or whatever Google are calling it this year.
This means you get the slightly unusual arrangement of the dedicated Bixby button on the left of the phone, together with the volume controls, while the power button sits on the right hand side, mounted slightly higher up than I would have liked to see it.

One OS
Even Samsung fans will likely be glad to hear that their proprietary version of Android, the TouchWiz interface, has finally gone and has been replaced with One OS which overlays Android 9, or Pie as it's also known.
TouchWiz has been a part of Samsung phones for around a decade but was never universally loved and One OS is much closer to stock Android so will no doubt be welcomed by most of us.

Samsung Galaxy S10e at 1stmobile.co.uk


Samsung Galaxy S10e
You may have also noticed that there's a third version, the Samsung Galaxy S10e.
You're probably thinking "e for economy" but in fact the e of the S10e stands for "essential". Apparently. This is a smaller version of the S10, again with a 0.3 inch difference in screen size with this "small" version offering a still larger than average 5.8 inch display.
However this time there are a few more differences. The back panel houses two lenses, now referred to as modules, which is one less than the three offered on the S10 and S10 Plus with the third lens which makes up the ultra wide sensor on the two larger models being left out here.

Smaller
Again, the battery is smaller but this time the screen resolution is lower on the S10e. This isn't a problem as you're still getting Full HD which is more than good enough on a small screen. The stunning processing power remains the same but the biggest plus point is the S10e is the easiest of the three to hold and pocket thanks to it's smaller size.

6GB RAM and more!
6GB of RAM is more than enough for anybody, but it's the minimum on offer on the S10 range with the two larger phones starting with 8GB.
The only other difference on the S10e is there's no 'edge' screen here, it's a completely flat display and you'll notice from the photos that there is a little more visible bezel and the handset's corners are a little more rounded.

Omission
The only other omission of note on the S10e is the lack of an in-screen fingerprint sensor, which has been replaced with a side mounted fingerprint sensor but that short list aside the specifications are pretty much identical across the S10 range.
However, some of you might rue the lack of a heart rate sensor here too which has been a given on the Samsung S range for a few years now but there's nothing else you'll miss. It's still in situ on the two larger models if that's going to be a dealbreaker for you.

Our verdict
The problem with the Samsung Galaxy S10 is the insane price. Like the iPhone XS, the S10 starts at a staggering £1 shy of £1000 and regardless of how good it is we still think that's far too much for what we should remember is basically just a mobile phone.
It doesn't have any special powers or anything and you can buy something like the outstanding OnePlus 6T for literally half the price, or the Honor 10 for even less, and still enjoy more than satisfactory quality and performance. It's even worse if you want the only slightly larger S10+ which costs another £100, starting at £1,099.
Like Apple, Samsung have at least had the sense to produce a more affordable version in the Galaxy S10e at for £699, a hefty £300 less than the S10. Given that the S10e is considerably cheaper it makes the most financial sense and has probably been introduced to compete with the iPhone XR which starts at £749.
You should seriously consider it rather than buy the larger models just because you want the biggest. Both the larger models start to teeter on the verge of unweildy, both in size and weight, and 5.8 inches is, we think, as big as any of you are likely to need from a phone.
A couple of years ago all three models would have been referred to as "phablets", a word invented to described larger phones that were approaching tablet size, though not by us because we've always thought it was a silly word. The S10e is in fact cheaper than the iPhone XR in the UK, and with considerably higher spec.
Whether you want to stump up the extra for the S10 or S10 Plus is ultimately your choice, and won't make a huge difference to your monthly payments if you're buying on contract but whichever you choose you're definitely buying a version of Samsung's best phone yet.
Yes, it's undeniably expensive, even the S10e isn't particularly cheap - though £50 less than the iPhone XR - while the top of the range S10+ weighs in at well over a thousand pounds, but if only the best will do then this is your phone.  

Samsung Galaxy S10 best UK deals

Details correct at time of publication but subject to change. Other offers are available.

MAIN SPECIFICATION - Samsung Galaxy S10


Display - 6.1 inch Dynamic AMOLED, 19:9 ratio
Resolution - 1440 x 3040 pixels, 550 pixels per inch
Protection - Gorilla Glass 6
Operating System - Android 9 (Pie)
Sim Type - Nano sim 
Charging - Fast Charging, Wireless charging, USB-C.
Main Camera - 12 + 12 + 16 MP triple lens
Selfie Camera - 10 MP, Dual Pixel autofocus
Video - 1080p/2160p at 30 frames/sec
Audio - Dolby Atmos, AKG 32 bit audio
Bluetooth - v5 Stereo, LE, aptX
3.5mm Headphone Socket 
Wi-Fi - 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, dual band
NFC, Android Pay
Frame - Aluminium, glass front/back
Battery - 3400 mAh fixed
Size - 150 x 70 x 7.8mm
Weight - 157 grams
BACK TO TOP