The Samsung Galaxy ‘S-series’ has been one of my favorite line-ups since its inception. They have always brought in just the right amount of innovation and practicality. This year we got the S10 and the S10+, Samsung’s 10th iteration to the lineup. And surprise surprise, we got just that with the new entries.
Among the two, we got the opportunity to try out the smaller variant i.e, the Galaxy S10. The phone has many of the features of its bigger sibling with some exceptions. It packs the same design, cameras, and internals. But with all that, is the Samsung Galaxy S10 still relevant? Is it the best flagship smartphone that you can buy right now? And most of all, is it worth the premium price tag of Rs 1,10,900 in this day and age? Well, let us find out the answers to these questions in this full review.
A quick disclaimer! Before we get into the review I would like to mention that I have been using the Samsung Galaxy S10 for almost two months now. Unlike other reviews, this one is going to be purely based on my experience and how the device held-up in the above mentioned time span. So, without wasting your time any further, let’s get started!
Samsung Galaxy S10 Review
Before we into all the technical stuff, let us first talk about the in-hand feeling of the Samsung Galaxy Note S10. It is as important for a device to have a superior in-hand feeling as the powerful internals. And lucky for the S10, the phone absolutely nails the in-hand experience. Being made out of glass and metal, the phone feels quite premium in the hands. It also has rounded edges which makes holding the phone that much easier. Speaking of which, the phone is of a perfect size. Unlike other phones in the market, the S10 is not too big nor too small. It fits comfortably in my hands as well as my pocket.
That said, the combo of glass and metal does make the phone a bit slippery. Add to that the edge-screen and being careful with the phone is a must. You might want to invest in a good cover case!
Let’s get it right out there! The Samsung Galaxy S10 has the best display on any flagship of 2019. The 6.1-inch Quad-HD (1440 x 3040 pixels) Dynamic AMOLED display produces some stunning images. The phone gets plenty bright and packs some punchy colors. Watching movies and playing games on the device has been a surreal experience. The crisp display coupled with the Mali-G76 MP12 GPU and 8GB of RAM took mobile gaming to a whole new level.
And the icing to the cake of the whole multi-media experience on the S10 is its dual-speakers. They are super loud and pack a punch! In fact, it gets so loud that I have to drop two stops from the max volume. The phone also packs a headphone jack which is slowly becoming a dying breed.
The Galaxy S10 packs a triple camera set up! It is made by an f/1.5-2.4 12MP wide, an f/2.4 12MP telephoto, and an f/2.2 16MP ultra-wide lens. The image quality from the shooters was amazing with great details, sharpness, and vibrancy. Shooting pictures from the trio has been a delightful experience.
The low light performance of the camera also has improved compared to the Note9. The low-light images have more details in them with a decrease in the graininess. Although, the camera still struggles with properly exposing night time shots. A manual reduction of exposure is needed to get the best low-light image. Samsung definitely needs to work on improving this!
Besides having a kickass image quality, the camera on the S10 has a slew of modes and features. Everything from Live Focus to Super Slow-Mo, Hyperlapse, and Live Filters are here. A new feature with the S10 is the night mode! It helps take better images during night time by taking a slew of photos at different exposures. It then merges these images into one perfect image. The camera also comes with a Scene Optimizer and improved HDR capabilities.
The phone also comes with a 10MP selfie shooter with an aperture of f/1.9. Initially, I was disappointed at the decreased aperture of f/1.9 compared to the f/1.7 on the Note 9. But the S10’s selfie camera took much or less the same quality of selfies as the S10. The low-light performance, surprisingly, is a bit better. Not the best but it gets the job done!
One weird thing with the selfie camera on the S10 is the zoom. Although the S10 doesn’t have a dual-camera it has a zoom and wide mode. I like the fact that Samsung is giving the option to take a close up shot. But the issue for me is the fact that it defaults to the zoomed-out mode. In the stock app, it is somewhat manageable as you can easily switch between the mode. But for third-party apps like Snapchat and Instagram, the option is unavailable. So you end up with selfies too close to your face. Come on Samsung just give us an updated to use the wide selfie camera by default. It will be more useful!
Like everyone else, my daily activities constitute of scrolling through Facebook, checking my E-Mail and calendar, binging on some shows, and a lot of messaging & web surfing. The Samsung Galaxy Note S10 was easily able to handle these task, no-brainer! I also didn’t notice any visible lags or stutters while doing so. This is largely thanks to the octa-core Exynos 9820 processor that the phone packs.
I also listen to a lot of music, use a billion apps, and take a ton of photos on a daily basis. The, already available, 128GB of internal storage and support for micro-sd card helps keep the phone ready for more files. This inclusion is a live saver as I have 92.14GB of used storage. Imagine if I had just 64GB of internal storage. This would have been a problem! I know, I know I can always stick a micro-sd card in there but I really don’t own one right now. And I would rather resort to transferring the file to a computer than buying an sd-card. So yeah, having 128GB of inbuilt storage, as a default option, is a boon. Kudos to Samsung for that!
Moving on, let’s talk about the battery life of the Galaxy S10. Initially, I thought that the 3400mAh non-user removable battery of the phone would just not be enough. Coming from a 4000mAh cell on the Note 9, I was expecting to be disappointed. But to my surprise, the battery life on the S10 is not that bad. I got around 5-6 hours of on-screen time which was comparable to my Note9. This is quite impressive for the phone!
Speaking of impressive, the phone retains the Fast Wireless Charging and Reverse Wireless Charging from the Note9. You can charge your Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Buds and share charge wirelessly with the S10.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 runs on the latest One UI 1.1 based Android 9.0 Pie. The UI on the phone is very smooth with no visible lags or stutters. Everything is where it should be with the option for customizability. The UI is also properly designed for one-hand usability. This made wielding the already compact Galaxy S10 a joy.
The phone comes with a slew of Biometric options. This time around, the S10 packs an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. This helps unlock the phone without having to light up the display. While this is a positive feature, the sensor is not as fast as its optical counterpart. The S10 also has a face unlock feature which now uses the front-facing camera located in the punch hole cut out. I usually use the combination of both the digit sensor and the face unlock feature to unlock the phone.
Verdict: Samsung Galaxy S10 Review
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is an amazing flagship smartphone that packs a similar punch as its sibling, the S10+. Coming into the S10, I was expecting to be disappointed by the smaller display, form factor, and lack of a front dual-camera set up. But to my surprise, I enjoyed using the S10 more than I thought I would. The compact display and form factor helped me better wield the device. Using large devices, I had forgotten how easy and pocketable it was to use a “smaller” device. “Smaller”, in air quotes, because the S10 still packs a large 6.1-inch display which is capable of delivering amazing multi-media experience. I didn’t feel all that left out!
And for the issue regarding the dual front-facing camera, I am glad that it is not there. Don’t get me wrong, having a secondary camera would be nice. But have you even seen its size? It’s huge! The smaller punch hole of the S10 is much more elegant than the large cutout on the S10+.
So is the Samsung Galaxy S10 still relevant? Is it the best flagship smartphone that you can buy right now? And most of all, is it worth the premium price tag of Rs 1,10,900 in this day and age? My answer to all these questions, to simply put it, is yes! I think the size and capability of the S10 make it still relevant. For those wanting a flagship which is great all around, takes breathtaking images, and has a compact form factor, the S10 is the best choice. You can’t get anything better than that. And talking about the price, it is totally worth its premium tag. It is just that good!
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