Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review

Samsung's latest flagship is not unique but splendid

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Our Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is feature-packed, powerful, and it gets a much-needed design makeover. The features it offers aren't surprising, but its display, wide-angle lens, bigger battery, and seamless performance makes for a great phone. Except for the underwhelming low-light camera performance and the high price, there's nothing that stops it from being the most complete Android smartphone right now.

For

  • Superb display
  • Versatile camera
  • Stunning build
  • Wireless PowerShare
  • Dependable battery life
  • Powerful performance

Against

  • Slippery design
  • High price
  • Underwhelming low-light camera

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is one of the few flagship smartphones that many of us had our eyes on. Being the tenth generation model of Samsungs most innovative and advanced smartphone series, the Galaxy S10 Plus comes with high expectations, especially when its predecessor was an iterative, or rather an unexciting upgrade over the Galaxy S8. 

As expected, the company released three models - Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10e and the bigger and better Galaxy S10 Plus. The Galaxy S10e is Samsung's take on covering the 50K price bracket, while the S10 is for those who like a more handy phone or need to save some cash by taking a cut on the battery, screen size and front camera. 

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is the superior version like all Plus variants across brands. As the name suggests, it's slightly bigger and offers a massive 6.4-inch edge-to-edge display with Samsung's new 'punch-hole' design for front cameras.

There's a lot to like about the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and very little to dislike.

So what makes the Galaxy S10 Plus an interesting upgrade?

The first thing is its immersive edge-to-edge display with 93.1% screen-to-body-ratio with slightly curved sides. It also gets a new in-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor under the glass. A huge 4100mAh battery with Wireless Powershare feature, which is capable of reverse charging smartphones that have wireless charging support. 

Moreover, the three cameras on the rear make for a versatile camera setup where the newly added wide angle lens is just magical. There's also a telephoto lens that lets you take advantage of detailed close-ups from a distance. 

The design shares a resemblance with the Galaxy S-series, but it's neither similar nor boring. It looks stunning and has premium written all over the body.  

Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus price and release date

The new Galaxy S10 Plus was unveiled on February 20 at an Unpacked event held in Barcelona, Spain. Interested buyers can now buy the Galaxy S10 Plus in India all the variants of the phone are available across online stores as well as in brick-and-mortar shops.

Its 128GB variant is priced at Rs 73,900 and comes in black, white and blue colours.Want more internal storage? The 512GB storage variant of the phone also comes in the ceramic finish and will retail at Rs 91,900.

Samsung is also bringing its top-of-the-line Galaxy S10 Plus 1TB storage variant which is priced at Rs 1,17,900 and comes in a beautiful ceramic built with white and black color options to pick from. Samsung calls the 'Ultimate Performance Edition'. It packs in a mammoth 12GB of RAM and huge 1TB of storage.

The smartphone is on open sale from March 8th across all platforms. 

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Image Credit: TechRadar

(Image: © TechRadar)

Display

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus specs

Weight: 175g
Dimensions: 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.4-inch
Resolution: QHD+
CPU: Exynos 9820
RAM: 8GB/12GB
Storage: 128/512GB/1TB
Battery:  4,100mAh
Rear camera: 16MP + 12MP + 12MP
Front camera: 10MP + 8MP 

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display over S9 Plus' 5.8-inch display and equal to the one we saw on the Galaxy Note 9. The top and bottom bezels have got a cut, resulting in 93.1% screen-to-body ratio. 

As we all know, Samsung is one of the few OEMs that avoided using notch on their flagships last year and went with a new Infinity-O display that has a laser-cut hole in the top right corner.

The dual 'punch-hole' camera. (Image Credit: TechRadar)

The dual 'punch-hole' camera. (Image Credit: TechRadar)

In a bid to achieve more and more screen to body ratio, OEMs are now cutting down on the size of the notch and using a pop-up camera. But punch-hole is the latest trend that's caught up lately as an alternative to the notch. While the smaller S10 has a circular hole in the display, the S10 Plus has a capsule-like hole in order to reside two lenses. 

The notch is placed on the right where you usually see icons like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and mobile signal, and the all-important battery life percentage. I personally didn't find it distracting or weird for that matter. At least it looks different from the rest of the phone with the notch design. 

Also note that the two front cameras fall in the notification bar area, which means they don't get in the way while consuming content, browsing web and similar. While you're gaming, a black bar is applied to that area similar to how it is done on phones with a notch. Since it's a high-resolution AMOLED, the blacks are so deep that it effectively makes the hole disappear. 

The 6.4-inch QHD+ display looks great. (Image Credit: TechRadar)

The 6.4-inch QHD+ display looks great. (Image Credit: TechRadar)

The Galaxy S10 Plus screen boasts a 1440 x 3040 QHD+ resolution, which is stretched over the tall 19:9 aspect ratio and provides a pin-sharp 526ppi pixel density – in short, this is a big, highly detailed display.

Similar to the last generation flagship, Samsung keeps the default screen resolution to Full HD+ (2280 x 1080p). It's done to conserve battery power, but you can always maximize the resolution to high from the quick toggles. FHD+ is an apt resolution for a display so good, especially when it is able to automatically adapt to higher settings when you load up a 4K movie or a graphic greedy game.

HDR10+ support is a huge addition, which also makes it the first phone with this capability. HDR10+ basically enhances the contrast and color of the picture output to make it look rich and crisp. It's an important perk for movie buffs.

It is not a completely bezel-less display as there is still a considerable black area at the top and bottom of the screen. But it has elegantly curved edges, letting pixels stretch over both the edges. 

However, we did find out that the smaller bezels lead to more accidental touches, which gets annoying after a point. It also makes it difficult to play games in landscape mode, especially PUBG Mobile where there are so many action buttons at the edges of the screen. 

The Infinity-O display is the face of the Galaxy S10 Plus and it looks impressive, with bright, colorful reproduction making it the best for content consumption and gaming at its price.

Design

While the face is completely new, the back of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus shares resemblance with its predecessors. However, you'll find subtle improvements and surprises new and old.

The frame is aluminum as usual, but it's slightly slimmer than that of the S9 Plus. The front and the back is covered in smooth Gorilla Glass 6 with the glass curved at the edges. It comes in Prism White, Blue and Black, but we chose the White variant for our review.

The 512GB and 1TB versions are backed by ceramic instead of glass. They are available in either white or black. Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to have a proper look at it yet, but we'll update it as soon as we get our hands on it.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

There's a dedicated Bixby button below the volume rocker. (Image Credit: TechRadar)

(Image: © TechRadar)

The back of the Galaxy S10 Plus is neat and very aesthetic. Especially, the white variant looks stunning with that black colored horizontal camera module in the center. The centralized position of the camera module also helps it sit nicely on the surface. At least, that is what we liked the most on the white variant. The back has a prism-like color changing finish, which is definitely something new but also quite subjective to comment on.

Let's also not forget that Samsung continues to offer IP68 certification, making it a dust/water resistant device.

Samsung changed completely scrapped the idea of putting the fingerprint sensor on the back this time. The sensor performs an invisible trick, it's now embedded under the glass of the display. After a two-year hiatus, Samsung finally found a solution in Qualcomm's ultrasonic fingerprint technology. 

The 3D scan of your fingerprint is said to allow for more accurate unlocks and be more secure than the optical scanners on the likes of the Huawei Mate 20 and Vivo V15 Pro.

It's not the fastest in-display fingerprint sensor we've used, and that's because optical readers located outside of a display. The unlock animation also makes it look a bit slower, and that is exactly the opposite of what it's supposed to do. 

Even with that speed, you're looking at no more than a second from placing your finger on the sensor. Also, you need to apply slightly more pressure on the in-display sensor and you can't unlock it without looking at the phone as there's no physical ridge to guide our finger. There's a fingerprint icon on the screen where you keep your finger. Lastly, if you're planning to attach a glass screen protector on the display, make sure you check if the in-display fingerprint sensor works with that on.

The good part is that it's more secure and the accuracy has also increased after the last update. It now has more than 90% success rate.

If you're not liking the fingerprint experience, you can opt for the less secure but much faster face unlock. It is very fast. 

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

There's a fingerprint scanner located just about the home button. (Image Credit: TechRadar)

(Image: © TechRadar)

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus measures 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm, roughly the dimensions of the S9 Plus – the new phone is a bit shorter, a tad wider, and noticeably thinner and lighter – and feels better in the hand than the physically bigger Note 9 with its 83.4% screen-to-body ratio. 

It feels good in the hand and it's also quite easy to hold with one hand for a ‘Plus’-sized handset. But note that the sleek design with glass on both sides make it an extremely slippery device. We would suggest you to use the plastic case that comes inside the box as it adds enough protection without disturbing the look and feel of the phone. 

During the hands-on prior to its launch, the first design flaw that we noted was the high placement of the power/lock key. It does not fall under the natural spot where the thumb lands while holding the phone. This might sound like nitpicking for some, but these details matter to others.

On the left side, there's a volume rocker and a dedicated Bixby button. Pressing this launches Samsung's assistant immediately, giving you quick access to its features. You might end up hitting the Bixby button accidentally thinking it's the volume down key, but that's only until you get used to the phone. 

We're glad that Samsung still has a 3.5mm jack despite that sleek body. It's placed right next to the USB Type-C port at the bottom. 

It's good to see that Samsung retains the decade-old feature on the latest S-series flagship, despite the fact that it's also launching it's wireless Galaxy Buds. 

Lastly, there's one more factor you must know before you invest in the stunning Galaxy S10 Plus that it's going to cost a bomb if the display is damaged. With that slippery slab of glass comes pressure of keeping it safe. That's a common concern in all such phone, including the new iPhones.