Test – Samsung Galaxy S10+: Ten Years and All Its Teeth

March 2019, Samsung celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Galaxy S series. To celebrate the event, the brand is offering not two devices as usual, but three. The usual Galaxy S10 and S10+ as well as a more affordable S10e, a bit like the iPhone Xrwhich has been a great success with Apple.

Before we look at the cheaper S10, we tackle the most premium of the three: the Galaxy S10+. Because he is the one who heads the range, with its larger screen of course but also a second photo sensor at the front in addition to a larger battery, it’s logical but it is important.

These differences add up to a hundred euros compared to the S10 to reach a recommended retail price of 1009 euros. This is 100 euros more than last year, following the market trend of increasing terminal prices in the high-end segment. Novelty comes at a cost, and we’ll see that right off the bat with the design.


A punch named Wanda

Unlike the Galaxy S9 last year, this tenth iteration breaks in part with the design launched by the S8. Because unlike the two previous generations, the screen is now punched to allow the two front photo sensors to pass through. This is what Samsung has called an infinity-O display, and it comes at just the right time as others are slowly starting to adopt the punch, or the Samsung dixit bubble. We have seen it at Honor with the View 20 recently. The Korean, on the other hand, is the first to do so on an Amoled slab. Exclusive for the moment.

Like the notch, it doesn’t please everyone, but on our side we have always found the aesthetic thing. This does not change with the S10+ even though, due to the double sensor, it is more visible. This is quickly forgotten, and the Amoled screen, with its perfect blacks, has the merit of making it completely disappear when watching a 16:9 video.

This allows Samsung to part with the high border that in 2018 already were slightly behind the aesthetic canons of the moment. However, after having so much denounced the notch, the Korean could not succumb to it without being taunted. The lower border is a little thicker, the brand has not managed to reduce it like Apple on its iPhone X, but it remains particularly thin. The S10s make up for it with this curved slab on the sides, which is as pretty to look at as ever.

Pearl Smartphone

The aesthetic success is not only at the front, but also at the rear, thanks to the new Prism colours with their changing reflections. We received the white version in test and this one is a real success depending on the light it oscillates between white and creamy blue, with some iridescent reflections that give the impression of looking at a pearl. Add a polished aluminum chassis to complete the package and give the S10+ its devastating look. The only aesthetic reproach that can be made against it is the presence of this imposing photo block with three lenses, in addition to the flash and the heart rate monitor.

So much for the design. On ergonomics, the picture is slightly less brilliant. The lightness (175g) and thinness (7.8mm) of the phone, as well as the curvature of the back panel to ensure a good grip, are highly appreciated. On the other hand, the standby button is placed a little too high and doesn’t fall quite naturally under the finger… unlike the Bixby button, which falls perfectly under the index finger or thumb depending on whether you use your left or right hand.

It is still not very useful in French, but the great news is that it is now possible to configure it to launch any application, or Bixby after a double press. This greatly avoids impromptu launches, but one regrets that it cannot easily be assigned functions such as the flashlight for example. Last problem, the thinness of the terminal increases the number of accidental touches with the palm of the hand on the edges, Samsung should review its software to better ignore these involuntary contacts. It can be quite infuriating on a daily basis.


The Galaxy S10+ is currently the beautiful phone on the market, that’s undeniable. Samsung offers us here a small jewel of luxury, refined, without being seen. On the other hand, a few ergonomic concerns spoil the pleasure of use. It’s a shame when you have such a beautiful setting.

Dynamic Amoled

True to its tradition, Samsung keeps its OLED display and offers us an interesting novelty for its screen: the support of the HDR10+. That’s enough for Samsung to consider changing its name: the Super AMOLED is dead, long live the Dynamic Amoled. In this case, it displays 3040 x 1440 by 6.4 inches or a resolution of approximately 525 dpi. However, you will be advised to use the Full HD display option to conserve Battery Life

There’s nothing wrong with that screen. Samsung has always offered the best displays on the market. The competition has become fiercer since a good number of high-end smartphones have switched to OLED (often with slabs supplied by Samsung, by the way), so the Korean is less fierce in the lead, but he remains flawless in terms of colors, contrasts and viewing angles. By the way, we appreciate that the color rendering is set to natural by default, it’s less flashy, but it’s more accurate.


HDR10 content is not very common at the moment, but Netflix offers it… if you have a 4 screen subscription. Also note the presence of a well-strung blue light filter mode that does not totally distort the colors. We therefore find ourselves using it more often than usual.

Lightning fast

New generation, new processor for Samsung. The S10s inaugurate the Exynos 9820. It is an 8-core chip, with the two fastest cores clocked at 2.7 GHz, two others at 2.3 GHz and four at 1.9 GHz. This whole little world is backed by 8 GB of RAM. The S10+ is a racing beast that behaves perfectly in all situations and allows you to enjoy your games in the best conditions. The opposite would have been amazing.

Storage starts at 128GB and can be expanded via SD card up to 512GB. Quite nice player from Samsung to offer this amount by default while we are more likely to find 64 GB. However, Samsung is not the only one to do so. As before, the phone is IP68 certified.


Autonomy just in the middle

Where Samsung disappoints is in the battery life. Yet on paper, the S10+ predicted a quite correct autonomy with its 4100 mAh battery, it’s even more than the Note 9 and its 4000 mAh. Only this is not the case. The smartphone consumes.

In our everyday use, the smartphone has never really been able to go beyond the day of use where the Note 9 gets an extra half day and tenors like the P20 Pro can even go up to two days. This means that in practice, you will need to recharge your phone every night, unless you have had particularly modest use during the day.

The explanation probably lies in Exynos 9820. If the processor is very fast, it consumes more power. This trend can only be felt in the telephone to be heated. The battery life of the S10+ is not catastrophic as long as you can get through a day of use in almost any situation, but we expected more from Samsung.


One IU to govern them all

The S10+ is the firm’s first smartphone to be offered natively with Samsung’s new OneUI overlay. It offers a completely new interface compared to the previous “Samsung Experience” which finally lasted only two years. I must say that she was debating. OneUI is clearly taking a leap forward.

Not only because of its more modern graphic redesign and better thought-out menus, but also because of its functionality. One of the most important features is the possibility to easily switch the interface to “night” mode via the quick action menu. Combined with the multiple apps offering a similar mode and the blue light filter, you have a very pleasant smartphone to use in bed (even if in real life it’s wrong).



Fingers on the display

As we said earlier, Samsung offers us a fingerprint sensor under the screen. Unlike other smartphones on the market, this one uses ultrasound technology. The latter has two advantages: it is presented as being safer because it “maps” the finger in 3D dimension and works better in dark environments, since it does not need light to operate.

On the other hand, it is clear from experience that it is not perfect. There are too many mistakes, which will force you to repeat the operation several times and when it works, it’s quite slow. Moreover, its placement is not ideal, too low in the screen. It’s a pity, because now that the sensors are behind the screen, they can be placed precisely where it’s most natural, like on the Mate 20 Pro for example.


Morality, to unlock your smartphone, the easiest way will be through facial recognition However, it is only in 2D… and therefore less secure. On the other hand, it is fast and significantly more reliable than the fingerprint sensor.

Trio photo

Let’s get to the picture. On its S10s, Samsung has opted for a trio that looks like this:

  • 12 ppi “Dual Pixel” at f/1.5 or f/2.4 OIS (main)
  • 12 mpx at f/2.4 OIS (telephoto 2x)
  • 16 mpx at f/2.2 (ultra wide angle at 123°) 

The Korean therefore takes the same main sensors as on the S9+ / Note 9 and adds an ultra wide angle sensor. Does that mean the results are identical? No, that’s better. Although technically the photo part is unchanged, the processing has been revised to offer better quality pictures, especially on the color and HDR management. 


With telephoto 2x / full size picture

On the software, the “AI” part has been enriched compared to Galaxy Note 9 on which the scene recognition was launched, it is now able to recognize 30 scenes. The firm also adds a framing aid feature. The idea is laudable and even interesting, but is not always useful as some of the proposed framing is clearly bad. In short, as in Note 9, Part IA is dispensable.

It’s not a big deal, because without AI, the picture is still high-flying. By day, it’s no great surprise. At night, it’s still great thanks to the f/1.5 aperture, which reduces grain and offers a better level of detail than a Pixel 3 XL for example. On the other hand, the smartphone inherits a nighttime contrast issue. It’s better than before, but Pixel 3 is still superior on this point.

In (very) low light, the Galaxy S10+ is much more comfortable than the Pixel 3 XL

Full size images: Galaxy S10+ / Pixel 3 XL

Remains thus the Ultra Wide Angle, 123° allows to obtain very beautiful panorama, and one appreciates the correction of the optical distortions which makes it possible to obtain in very straight lines (or almost) on the edges of the images. Clearly, Samsung offers us an impressive photo section and is currently among the best on the market. Is he the king? We can debate it, but he does not disappoint. 

At the front, the terminal is fitted with two sensors, the second having a slightly wider angle, like a Pixel 3, but significantly less wide. In fact, it’s so little that Samsung doesn’t even communicate on the corner, despite the presence of a button. This second sensor will especially allow to apply the bokeh effect with more accuracy.

What’s really new is that the 10MP main sensor now uses Dual Pixel technology, with an aperture of f/1.9. We did not see any improvement in the quality of the images. On the contrary, even the general results offered by the front sensors are not exactly crazy for a terminal of this range. They quite regularly put a white veil on the image and lack a lot of detail in low light. 

Mention very good

The Galaxy S10+ is charming. There’s no denying that. He’s not perfect, though. And it’s a shame, frankly. Yes the Galaxy S10+ is beautiful, yes its screen is superb yes the Galaxy S10+ is powerful, yes it is very good in pictures, yes OneUI is a modern overlay. But what a pity those little things that spoil the daily pleasure: the functioning of the fingerprint sensor, the placement of the buttons, those involuntary “inputs”, a just in the middle autonomy.

The Galaxy S10+ is an excellent smartphone, and of course it won’t disappoint, especially for those looking for an aesthetically flawless product. However, it should be borne in mind that it is not free of minor inconveniences. Mention very well, but he misses the jury’s congratulations.

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