48 hours with the Galaxy S10+: some you win, some you lose
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ has finally been in my hands for about two days. During the weekend I had a chance to test out the new flagship. As someone who loves this smartphone series, I could not miss the opportunity. Here are my first impressions after 48 hours in the company of the new Samsung Galaxy S10+.
That's what I wanted: Ceramic White
In terms of design, I wasn't immediately wowed, especially when looking at the front. The new Galaxy S looks very similar to its predecessor. However, this time the screen is even bigger and the bezels even smaller, a goal achieved thanks to two holes in the display that house the two front cameras. The real magic materialized when I turned over the device. In fact, I was lucky enough to find the Ceramic White variant inside the box, which, not by chance, has a back made of ceramic.
If last year's Galaxy S9+ had left me some doubts about design, I must say that this year the work done by Samsung on this Galaxy S10+ has been really excellent both in terms of construction and materials chosen. The device fits very well in your hand, is well balanced and offers a solid grip. It's practically impossible for it to slip away and that's something I appreciate.
World's best display
Once turned on, the real star of the show is here: the new 6.4-inch display is so bright (1200 nits peak) and nice to look at, that there are no words to describe it. As every year, when it comes to displays Samsung has no rivals - both from what you can see with the naked eye and in terms of numbers. You can safely say that this is the best display ever installed on a smartphone.
The new screen is called Dynamic AMOLED (no longer Super AMOLED), but putting aside this detail, the technology used is still OLED, able to ensure perfect blacks. But this year there is another novelty, and it is probably this that makes the screen of Galaxy S10+ more beautiful than ever: it is in fact the first HDR10+ certified display that we will discuss more specifically in the full review that will arrive in the next days.
After so long... I'm disappointed!
At the bottom, a fingerprint sensor integrated into the screen can be found for the first time, replacing the previous generation fingerprint sensor mounted on the back. Samsung's implementation marks a huge change, especially compared to the competition, since the one installed on the new Galaxy is not optical but ultrasonic and, consequently, does not need a powered display to allow it to go into action.
At first glance, the sensor behaved very well and demonstrated good speed in reading the fingerprint. However, in the following hours I had very little difficulty in unlocking the device through this biometric system: suddenly, my thumb was not recognized several times and I even noticed a general slowdown in the reader.
Later that night, while using the device, I noticed a strange icon in the notification bar and, to my surprise, it was a background update of the fingerprint recognition system that was installed so quickly that I couldn't even run a screenshot. I immediately thought that the manufacturer had corrected something, but, alas, not much has changed. Morale of the story: I activated the much quicker facial unlocking.
Dear Samsung, you have waited so long to implement this cutting edge sensor under the display. This made me think that the moment it appeared it would be perfect. What a pity!
Performance and battery that keeps up
Otherwise, from the point of view of performance, there is very little to complain about. The new SoC Exynos 9820 (we had the European version to try out, but the US version will of course have the equivalently powerful SD855) does all the work in the best possible way and is able to handle infinite multitasking, thanks also to the support of the abundant 8GB of RAM. Even the internal storage won't be a problem and the 512GB on board of this version will be more than enough. In addition, UFS 2.1 technology certainly helps the entire hardware sector to make this phone stable and fast.
The battery also showed a marked improvement over last year. No, I'm referring not only to its size (4100 mAh this year), but also to its stamina. After the first recharge I managed to reach 5 hours and a half of active screen and 6 hours after the second charge (this is when I activated Dark Mode) - an exceptional result if we compare it with the rather underwhelming results of the previous generation.
Finally the wide angle...
What about the triple camera? Well, I couldn't help but try it out right away to test the quality of the new sensors the manufacturer touted during the Unpacked event. There's nothing to say, Samsung has worked very well and the addition of the ultra-wide-angle sensor makes the landscapes really spectacular. We'll leave the technical details to the full review. For the moment, let's talk about the images below.
...and another disappointment!
However, I was disappointed that there were two modes missing from the new camera app: the night shooting mode and the new Instagram mode. The first of the two is not a feature currently expected from Samsung and this, in my opinion, is scandalous, as Samsung does not seem to be able to compete with Google and its direct competitor Huawei.
As for the Instagram mode, I'm even more frustrated: Samsung made it official at the Unpacked event and then (obviously) forgot to activate it, which made me spend a weekend (literally) trying to convince myself that there could be a way to activate it, digging into every corner of the camera app and system settings.
Samsung, we need an update before the official launch
These details may seem small to many users but, as I have shown on many other occasions, I do not hesitate to find something that makes me turn my nose up at every smartphone I have the honor to try. However, we are only at the beginning of my time with the Galaxy S10+ and, most likely, the firmware installed in this test unit is not the final one.
I therefore expect an imminent OTA update that will resolve the negative points I have listed in this article. It is likely to come just before the official launch on March 8th, but unfortunately we have no official information about it yet.
I certainly hope the fingerprint problems are firmware fixable and not hardware handicapped.
I'm confident that the Instagram Mode will show up before launch. I'm not as confident that Samsung will implement a software night mode, but I'm hoping. I wonder if any 3rd party camera apps so that reasonably well.
Instagram mode arrived yesterday in an update.
There will probably be several updates before I get mine. I pre-ordered on the second day and it's telling me that it will ship by the 15th...a week after the launch date. 😥
The rush to be early to market isnt helping flagships.
They need to focus on function and stability, not feature checkboxes . This sounds more like a OnePlus review than a Samsung.
It sounds more like pre-release software that is being upgraded before launch.
How is this a rush to market? They've most likely been working on this for a couple years.
Quick question does the exynos variant have wifi 6 and how is the experience without the notification bar ?
Additionally I guess the in display ultrasonic fingerprint tech is from Qualcomm , maybe works better with SD855 ,, would be sad if that were true ..
The Exynos variant does have Wi-Fi 6, yes. Not sure what you mean about the notification bar though, it's still there. If we do test a Snapdragon variant and we notice a difference in the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner's performance, we'll definitely cover it.
I still think that Samsung has much to offer with the s10plus. 8gb's of ram & 128gb's of storage & a 4100mamp battery. Plus the best display in the business & 1200nits of brightness. Yes pricey but still offers ALL the premium features!
Agreed. Simone is already working on the full review, so you can look forward to that soon :)
Well, I wanted a great display which to me is the most important feature. The s10plus has just that. 1200nits of brightness, yikes and I thought my s9plus has a great display. This one is better & brighter. Then I wanted a bigger battery. Holy cow, 4100mamp. Samsung has addressed my two best features. So now I have a decision to make, will I upgrade. Bottom line, most definitely. I love new tech and that's exactly what the s10's offer. All the premium features!
Thanks very helpful, I got to believe from certain articles that samsung has done away with the notification bar , phew !! Glad that's not the case & it's great to know even the exynos variant rocks WiFi 6. Great buy bottom line will be considering for sure.
If you pre-order direct from Samsung, you can get a $550 trade-in credit for that S9+! 😲