Samsung Galaxy S10: what we want to see

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Update: A leaked photo may have given us our first look at the Samsung Galaxy S10 - or at least an early prototype of it - and it shows off an all-screen design.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 has the potential to be the most exciting phone of 2019, but only if the company makes some changes.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 range is strong, but not 5 stars strong, and we’re going to need to see some big changes for the brand to stay on top, especially in the face of fiercer competition from the likes of Apple and Huawei.

We don’t know much about the Galaxy S10 yet, but we are starting to hear a few rumors, all of which you’ll find below.

And below that you’ll find a wish list of the main things we want from the phone, including an in-screen fingerprint scanner and a new design. The good news is that if early rumors are to be believed we might get at least one of those things.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Samsung's next main flagship
  • What will it cost? It's sure to be very expensive
  • When is it out? Probably early 2019

Samsung Galaxy S10 release date and price

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is likely to launch in early 2019. More specifically we might see it in January at CES 2019, if one rumor is to be believed. That takes place from January 8-11.

Failing that, it might land at MWC 2019, as Samsung announced the Galaxy S9 range at MWC 2018.

Next year’s show takes place from February 25-29, so mark it in your calendar if you’re eager to see what’s next from the S range.

Samsung's next S model will likely land in early 2019

Samsung's next S model will likely land in early 2019

Samsung doesn’t always announce its Galaxy S flagships there, but recent models have all been announced in the first few months of the year, so we’d be surprised if we don’t see the Samsung Galaxy S10 by the end of March 2019. Of course, whenever it is announced you might not be able to buy it straight away.

When it does go on sale it’s sure to cost a lot. There aren’t any price rumors yet but the Galaxy S9 launched at $719.99 / £739 / AU$1,199, while the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus went on sale for $840 / £869 / AU$1,349, so we’d expect the Galaxy S10 range will cost at least that much.

Samsung Galaxy S10 news and rumors

The biggest Galaxy S10 leak yet takes the form of a photo, possibly showing a prototype of the phone (though notably the source didn't refer to it by name but did say "this may be a design beyond", and 'Beyond' is believed to be the codename of the S10).

The image, which you can see below, shows a handset with a curved screen and almost no bezel on any edge. There seems to be less bezel in fact than we've seen on any other phone, suggesting the front-facing camera may either pop up or be built into the screen.

You can't see much else, but in addition to the power and volume buttons it looks like the Bixby button is making a return - if this photo really is showing the S10 and if nothing changes in the design before launch, which are two big ifs.

This could be the all-screen Samsung Galaxy S10. Credit: @UniverseIce

This could be the all-screen Samsung Galaxy S10. Credit: @UniverseIce

We haven’t heard much else about the Samsung Galaxy S10 yet, but one thing that we have heard is that it might have an in-screen fingerprint scanner.

A report claims that it will use an ultrasonic Qualcomm scanner, and that Samsung has felt pressured to include one due to the fact that Vivo and Huawei both now have phones on the market with in-screen scanners.

That’s in line with an earlier rumor, stating that while an in-screen scanner wouldn’t be ready in time for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, it would be ready by sometime next year, making the Samsung Galaxy S10 a candidate for one.

But Samsung might go even further and also put the speakers in the screen, as just such a display has been shown off by Samsung Display, according to OLED Info.

And the earpiece could go in the screen too, as Samsung is said to be planning a 'sound-emitting display' for use in a phone early next year, having already shown off the tech at an industry expo. All that combined could mean a truly bezel-free look, like the one shown in the image above, though the front-facing camera will still need to be put somewhere.

And speaking of the camera, the rear one of those could change too, as an analyst reckons Samsung is considering a triple-lens one for the Samsung Galaxy S10, along with a 3D sensor for augmented reality content. 

Analyst chatter isn’t always that reliable, but it would make sense if Samsung wants to compete with the Huawei P20 Pro and the rumored triple-lens iPhone.

Three cameras could be better than two

Three cameras could be better than two

We’ve also heard talk that Samsung might rename the range, launching the next model as the Samsung Galaxy X rather than the Galaxy S10. That might sound unlikely, but Koh Dong-jin, the head of Samsung’s mobile division, has been quoted as saying that “we have been thinking about whether we need to maintain the S moniker or the numbering system” so it’s possible.

We also have an idea of what might be powering the Samsung Galaxy S10, as it’s reportedly going to use the unannounced Snapdragon 855 (at least in some regions). This is said to be a 7nm chipset, which is smaller and likely both more powerful and more efficient than the Snapdragon 845 found in many of 2018’s flagships.

The 855 is also said to be capable of supporting theoretical download speeds of up to 2Gbps, up from 1.2Gbps on the Galaxy S9 – though don’t expect to get speeds anywhere near this in the real world. Still, it could be a big upgrade.

What we want to see

As good as the Samsung Galaxy S9 is, it’s also rather too similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8, so we hope Samsung changes things up for the S10. Here’s what we want to see.

1. A new design

Samsung's smartphone design is overly familiar at this point

Samsung's smartphone design is overly familiar at this point

The Samsung Galaxy S9 looks almost identical to the Galaxy S8, so it’s high time we got a new design from the South Korean company.

Whether that means a notch, a new material or even a foldable phone we’ll leave to Samsung, but we want to see something new.

2. Dual or triple-lens cameras on both models

While the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has a dual-lens camera, the standard Galaxy S9 only has a single-lens one. For the Galaxy S10 we want both models to have two lenses, or better yet, three. After all, the Huawei P20 Pro has landed with exactly that to stunning effect.

Samsung’s been delivering top smartphone cameras for a while now, but this year it has some real competition from Huawei, so for the Galaxy S10 we want to see it take steps to get ahead.

The good news is that a triple-lens camera has already been rumored, though it’s not clear whether both the normal and Plus versions of the S10 would get it.

3. An in-screen fingerprint scanner

Rear-facing scanners could soon be a thing of the past on high-end phones

Rear-facing scanners could soon be a thing of the past on high-end phones

In-screen fingerprint scanners have been rumored for various Samsung phones and the Galaxy S10 is no exception, but now that other companies have launched commercially available handsets with them we might finally see Samsung roll one out.

Having a scanner in the screen means it doesn’t need to take up space on the front or be awkwardly placed on the back, plus it looks high-tech enough to make owners of other phones jealous.

4. More vibrant photos

While the overall quality of photos taken by the Samsung Galaxy S9 is very high, some lack vibrancy and a few are also more washed out than we’d have expected or liked. This is especially true when there’s background light, so we’d like the Samsung Galaxy S10 to be able to cope with this better.

5. Improved AR Emoji

AR Emoji could really use some work

AR Emoji could really use some work

AR Emoji were one of the more hyped features of the Galaxy S9 range, but they were also one of the least impressive aspects of these phones.

There are a few reasons for this. Beyond their inherently gimmicky nature it can also be hard to create one that looks like you, and when recording a video of yourself using the emoji, the camera’s facial recognition isn’t powerful enough to do it justice.

While AR Emoji will probably never be an essential feature, if Samsung’s going to keep using them we’d like to see them at least rival Apple’s Animoji next time around.

6. Better battery life

Battery life is one thing that doesn’t improve with each new phone generation. In fact, sometimes it gets worse. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus you’re only really looking at a day of life.

And while that might generally be okay for anyone who doesn’t mind plugging their phone in every night, it’s worth remembering that the battery will start to wear out over time, so a day of life when you buy the phone means less than a day a year or two on.

As such we really want to see improvements to the battery in the Galaxy S10, whether that’s through a larger unit than the frankly small 3,000mAh one in the Galaxy S9, or just through more efficient hardware and software.

7. A totally bezel-free look

We’ve said already that we want a new design from the Galaxy S10, but what we’d really like is a complete absence of bezels. As in no notch either, just an all-screen front.

We’re not expecting this, not least because it would presumably mean building the camera and sensors into the screen, but it’s possible and would surely be less ambitious than a foldable phone, which we might also get from Samsung in 2019.