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Samsung Galaxy S10+: The Good, The Bad, and The X Factor
Samsung brings the much-anticipated flagship to the Indian market.
As everyone has their eyes on folding smartphones in 2019, the year will also witness a lot of other flagships, as it would be too early to write off the candy bar form factor. One of them will definitely be the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+. After unveiling the device on February 20th, Samsung has finally announced the device for the Indian market. The Galaxy S10 has a starting price of Rs 66,990, while the Galaxy S10+ will be selling for a starting price of Rs 73,900.
The Galaxy S10+ is the latest flagship from the company that was 10 years in the making. The engineers at Samsung have fine-tuned this product to an extent where it feels there's little room to improve. But as they say "applause doesn't come without caveats," the device sure has its flaws. But, is it the best Android smartphone to date? Or is this the safest bet in the premium smartphone segment? Let's break it down for you.
If looks could kill
With the Galaxy S10+, Samsung has built on the winning formula of an edge-to-edge screen that was commenced with the Galaxy S8. The design might resemble its precursors, but you'll be happy to see some subtle improvements. It doesn't feel too big and fits perfectly in hands. Not to mention, anything above 5-inches isn't meant for people with small palms.
It's a glass sandwich design that has aluminum running along the edges which are even thinner compared to the last year's Galaxy S9 Plus. Both front and rear panel are protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 6. The 512GB and 1TB storage variant of the S10+ also offer white/black ceramic backs. The rear panel also houses a triple camera setup aligned horizontally.
The device is also Samsung's first smartphone to come with a punch hole display which has placed with precision and complements the overall design of the phone. The front shooter also shows a cool graphic when in use, which means that the company is embracing the camera cutout, instead of trying to hide it by darkening the default wallpapers on the sides (pun intended).
Eye-melting bright display
Honestly, if there's something Samsung could say with conviction is that its flagship has the best display that has ever been put on a smartphone. The side bezels have been reduced further but in a more squared-off manner on what Samsung likes to call the Infinity-O display.
What makes the display even more futuristic are the laser-cut punch hole and the in-screen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. You might be thinking that the front camera will come in your way while watching videos, but honestly, that's isn't really the case. The only time it might get in the way is when you watch content in expanded mode, but would hardly make a difference to the viewing experience.
Watching content on this screen is an absolute treat and you might other screens a tad dull after using the Galaxy S10+ for a while. The HDR10+ screen makes every scene look vivid and vibrant with its deep blacks and brilliant color reproduction.
One UI makes it better
Samsung finally revamped its user interface, and boy did it work in their favor? Yes, the new One UI adds a new edge to the already snappy experience of the Galaxy S10+. The UI has a subtle layout with new fonts and a convenient one hand usage mode. The whole interface is wrapped around Android 9 Pie.
I personally loved the smart pop-up notifications which show selected app alerts in Facebook-like bubble on the screen style. Tapping on these bubbles will open a small window where the user will be able to read the whole message. However, dismissing these alerts wouldn't be this simple.
The new UI also brings the Bixby Routines, which are surprisingly very helpful. You can set them up manually or wait for the device to suggest a few after it learns your routines. The feature allows you to set some specific routines such as enabling the Do Not Disturb mode during the nights, or change the lock screen shortcuts, and many more. All these features come together to make the One UI a smooth and user-friendly experience.
Battery with a will to survive
Alongside all these top-of-the-line specifications and a sleek design, you also get a huge 4100mAh battery which could surely take some abuse. We managed to push the device to its limits with constant web browsing, some social media surfing, and firing up some graphics-heavy games. But the battery just wasn't ready to give up that easily.
The Galaxy S10+ lasted for a good one hand a half day with moderate usage. And whenever needed to plug it in, the fast charging did the trick, which took only an hour or so to fully charge the device. Besides, the device also supports reverse wireless charging letting you charge other devices just by placing them on top of the phone's rear panel. Well, that's something you'll barely use, but could come in handy at times.
Not so ultrasonic
Samsung Galaxy S10+ also incorporates another trending featuring in the industry - the in-display fingerprint scanner. However, the company has used an ultrasonic sensor from Qualcomm which is touted to be much faster than the conventional optical sensor. It is only the second smartphone after the OnePlus 6T to use this technology.
The sensor uses sound waves to read the ridges of the user's fingers, so it should work with wet or sweaty fingers and it does. But, not every time (especially when you are trying to show off). The technology doesn't seem really accurate as of now.
We found the OnePlus 6T was a tad faster, but that's because the device has received a number of updates since the time it saw the day of light. We are certain that few updates for the Galaxy S10+ would make the fingerprint sensor on the device better and much more reliable.
Low-key low-light shots
The smartphone sports a triple camera setup that comprises two 12MP wide-angle and telephoto sensors and a 16MP ultra-wide lens. While the camera set up on the Galaxy S10+ is versatile and gives you a lot of freedom to click some unique shots, we felt that the low-light performance was sub-par. Pictures taken in well-lit condition were as good as any other flagship smartphone camera.
However, the pictures clicked in dim situations had some noise. We've seen phones like the Google Pixel 3 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro perform better in such lighting conditions. The Galaxy S10 also smoothens the skin tone in order to reduce noise during low-light shots, making the image look weird at times.
Whose AR Emoji is that?
AR Emoji was really fun when they were first introduced with the Galaxy S9. The feature allowed you to create a digital doppelganger of yourself which can be shared in chats just like other emojis.
With Galaxy S10, the company made the facial mapping more accurate than its previous iterations. Now, the emoji match with your expressions better, but they fail to create a digital self that actually resembles your face. That's a bit disappointing as the Galaxy S10+ has an upgraded front snapper - 10MP sensor backed by an RGB depth sensor for AR effects and portrait modes.
The X factor
Above all, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is a mean machine that could take some serious beating. Under the hood, the smartphone is powered by an Exynos 9820 processor backed by 8GB of RAM. The device also has a 12GB RAM variant, but the 8GB seemed enough to handle all tasks without breaking a sweat.
The app launch time was zippy and we didn't notice any signs of lagging or stutter while navigating through the drawers or while switching between the apps. We fired up some high-end games like PUBG, Modern Combat 5 and the device absolutely blazed throughout. The whole experience is supported by AI which learns from the user's patterns to determine which background apps to close and what apps require more attention.
The device also uses a novel cooling system, which we also saw on the Note 9. The vapor chamber is ideal for long gaming sessions, and it's something you won't find on the Galaxy S10 or 10e. Besides, the audio quality of the handset is excellent, thanks to the two front-firing speakers. The audio is clear and doesn't get easily muffled by your hands.
From viewing content to playing games to killing time on social media, everything on the Galaxy S10+ is fast and furious. The One UI makes the overall experience even better by bringing some really useful feature to the table.
Hit or a miss?
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is a result of a decade of progress from the company. It's definitely not the last in the series but is probably the last major design change we'll witness for good. The device gives us a glimpse of what the future could be like for the Galaxy S series of smartphones.
The device packs an excellent display, a great design, a good set of cameras, and a brilliant user interface to complement it. The device sure has its minor flaws, but they are forgivable as none of them are dealbreakers.
With the Galaxy S10+, Samsung improves on its record for making the best Android smartphones. In our opinion, the latest flagship is an absolute winner and sets a new benchmark for other OEMs which seems hard to topple.