Just what is the Galaxy S10+? It’s definitely a top of the line device, but is it Samsung’s best smartphone ever? Or merely an iterative upgrade to the S9+ from last year? If you’re struggling to answer those questions, here’s an intriguing prospect: can it actually be both at the same time?
Nine years after the original Galaxy S birthed Samsung’s flagship smartphone line, the S10+ came to shake things up in the mobile world once more, with its notch-less hole-punched Infinity Display, smaller bezels, three rear cameras, and an ever-evolving hardware design language that still looks pretty familiar. Turn it on and you’ll find a wholly revamped interface sitting pretty on top of Android, so is the S10+ truly a pivotal device for Samsung, or just more of the same?
What’s without a doubt is that it’s still the company’s top dog, that is, if you aren’t into 5G. That will change very soon when the Galaxy Note10 lands to steal the S10+’s spotlight, which got us thinking: what would it be like if you bought an S10+ now, months after its release? Does it still have what it takes even if it will imminently be one-upped by its cousin from the Note line? Or will people that don’t necessarily care for the S-Pen be better served by the S10+ even in the latter half of the year?
Display quality, settings
Quality-wise, the Super AMOLED Infinity Display fitted to the Galaxy S10+ is among the best there is at the moment, in any smartphone. It’s a joy to look at, no matter what the ambient light conditions around you may be, and it’s easily visible even in direct sunlight. In short, you will never go wrong with the Galaxy S10+ on the display front, not by a long shot.
The default resolution out of the box still isn’t the full one the panel is capable of, and this continues to baffle us. If there’s a huge number of people out there who enjoy the very marginal power savings that come with downscaling to lower resolutions, then Samsung could have catered to them simply by having the option to go lower than QHD+, without making 1080p+ the default. After all, you’re buying a gorgeous, high-res screen in this phone, and not utilizing that gorgeousness to its full potential from the moment you take it out of the box doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Plus, people who actually care about the aforementioned screen resolution settings would undoubtedly have been able to locate them and change them if necessary. Alternatively it could just be that Samsung is betting most people won’t notice the difference in pixel density, but then the obvious question is – why did it choose to use a high-res panel in the first place? Just for the spec sheet bragging rights?
As this is an AMOLED panel, unsurprisingly you get an Always On Display, and it works very well. You can schedule it to turn on and off at specific times, and it’s very customizable, as almost everything else on a Samsung phone. It’s a useful way to quickly see what time it is, what notifications you’ve got waiting for you, and what song is currently playing.
The fingerprint sensor
While it hasn’t outright incorporated all of the mobile world’s newest trends (pop-up selfie cameras come to mind), Samsung did fit the Galaxy S10+ with an in-display fingerprint sensor. This is a mixed bag at best, even with the latest updates.
The other Android manufacturers all use optical sensors under their screens, while Samsung chose an ultrasonic one. The latter has theoretical advantages over the former, chief among them being that there’s no need to illuminate your finger with a ray of light as it’s touching the designated area on the screen. That’s required for the optical models because they’re literally taking a picture of your finger when you touch them. In low-light situations this can get annoying, say when you want to unlock your phone in the dark. The ultrasonic sensor is also better at unlocking even if your finger is slightly wet or sweaty, and it’s supposedly a bit more secure too.