Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review

Samsung's latest flagship is not unique but splendid

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has a triple camera setup with top-notch hardware comprising a 12MP normal lens, a 12MP telephoto lens with optical zoom and OIS and a new and most interesting 16MP ultra-wide angle lens. 

The primary sensor is using Samsung's dual-aperture lens which captures photos full of vibrancy and punchy colors in that light, which is usual with Samsung phones. The company continues to favor its aggressive photo processing for pictures that are visually appealing. The only instance where the camera fails is indoors. Noise reduction takes away the details, and you see a watercolor-like texture on zooming. 

In low-light, the camera clicks well-lit and clear images but its consistency is still a question in low light and indoors. Low-light is one area where the Pixel 3's camera has an edge over the Galaxy S10 Plus, but that's compensated its ability to shoot wider photos. Samsung's ultra-wide lens has a 123-degree field of view, which lets you capture more into the frame, which comes handy while clicking landscapes and buildings. 

Wide angle shot

Wide angle shot

Same shot with the main lens

Same shot with the main lens

Be warned that the wide angle can result in a GoPro like fisheye effect, which basically means curved sides, with people and objects towards the edges of shots appearing stretched compared to those in the middle.

However, the ultra-wide lens is stunning for sweeping landscape photos, and group shots if everyone’s tightly packed into the center of the frame to avoid the barrel-like warping.

While the fish-eye effect might disturb some, it still is a replacement for an action camera. The shutter is snappy. This picture is a good example where there was so much action happening. It's quite impressive at capturing moments as they happen without making the picture look ugly.

While the fish-eye effect might disturb some, it still is a replacement for an action camera. The shutter is snappy. This picture is a good example where there was so much action happening. It's quite impressive at capturing moments as they happen without making the picture look ugly.

The scene optimizer feature in the camera returns with 10 new categories, which basically identifies and differentiates between the objects in the frame in order to fine tune the settings. As a result of which, taking a photo of food doesn't come out warm with a slight boost in reds and yellow in the picture. It knows that it's food and the algorithms then result in more natural colors.

We found it to be smart enough to recognize the main subject in a busy scene, and brighten things up a little as appropriate.

The new Shot Suggestion feature assists to fix photos using the S10 Plus' neural processing unit (NPU). It allows real-time composition to assist like leveling shots and framing subjects. We are not sure how many of us need this, but it does help you to get a well-composed shot. 

The best part about the camera is its autofocus and shutter speed. It is so fast that you can literally shoot clear and detailed images while sitting in a fast moving car. 

Color point filter in the Live Focus mode. This can be applied to both the cameras. 

Color point filter in the Live Focus mode. This can be applied to both the cameras. 

The Live Focus mode for portraits has also got some additions. Apart from the standard background blur effect, there's new spin and zoom effect as well. All these effects can be readjusted in real-time and after taking the picture. Most interesting one this time is the Color Point option that keeps the subject in the foreground in color, while making the background black and white. 

All these options are fun to play with and add a pinch of creativity to your shots. The better part is that all of them are available for the front camera as well.

Image 1 of 10

Ultra-wide photo

Let's begin by taking a look at the ultra-wide lens. It provides a 123-degree field of view that captures more of what's in front of you without forcing you to back up... back up... back up... just to get the shot you want. It's like un-cropping a tight photo.

Image 2 of 10

Regular 12MP photo

The regular photo doesn't do the point we're trying to make justice, as sharp as it is, with recent HDR to capture what's out the windows.

Image 3 of 10

Telephoto lens

The telephoto lens zooms in, without losing the details. Great alternate to have the best distant shot. 

Image 4 of 10

Regular 12MP photo

This is a sharper photo at night using the regular lens. It has a 77-degree field of view, so it's more cropped than the 123-degree field of view on the ultra-wide lens. 

Image 5 of 10

Shot suing the regular lens. 

Image 6 of 10

Ultra-wide angle lens at play for the same shot.

Ultra-wide angle lens at play for the same shot.
Image 7 of 10

Samsung has always favored a vibrant color tone. In this scene, the optimizer detected that the object is a flower and the final output turned out to be a really great picture to look at. Ample details and bright colors.

Samsung has always favored a vibrant color tone. In this scene, the optimizer detected that the object is a flower and the final output turned out to be a really great picture to look at. Ample details and bright colors.
Image 8 of 10

A similar shot using the main camera.

A similar shot using the main camera.
Image 9 of 10

Front camera at night using the wide photo mode.

Front camera at night using the wide photo mode.
Image 10 of 10

The Galaxy S10 Plus softens the selfies by default. Even more in artificial light.

The Galaxy S10 Plus softens the selfies by default. Even more in artificial light.

On the front, there is a 10MP main sensor and an 8MP depth-sensing camera. It enables to create Live Focus pictures similar to the rear camera with ample details and a similar blurring effect. 

Images from the front cameras look good in every setting but low light, where the camera smoothens the noise resulting in a soft looking picture. That's a consistent issue with Samsung's camera algorithms from quite sometime now. 

The video sees a healthy amount of upgrades in 2019. The S10 Plus can record in HDR10+ and offers Digital Video Stabilization on the rear camera. 

Samsung says this is designed to make your Ultra HD video look as smooth as footage from an action cam, and while the handset doesn’t have the same durability, ti could rival the GoPro Hero7 Black for sure. Especially with that wide angle lens. 

Image 1 of 8

This shot indoors with limited lights but a lot of data. As you could see, the Galaxy S10 Plus (with the scene optimizer on) could not judge the scene that well. It tends to struggle against light in low light scenarios.

This shot indoors with limited lights but a lot of data. As you could see, the Galaxy S10 Plus (with the scene optimizer on) could not judge the scene that well. It tends to struggle against light in low light scenarios.
Image 2 of 8

A wide angle shot in low-light.

A wide angle shot in low-light.
Image 3 of 8

Shot using the main lens.

Shot using the main lens.
Image 4 of 8

The same frame shot using the wide-angle lens, the details are lesser but colors are intact and it's a decent picture.

The same frame shot using the wide-angle lens, the details are lesser but colors are intact and it's a decent picture.
Image 5 of 8

Shot using the wide angle camera.

Shot using the wide angle camera.
Image 6 of 8

Live Focus mode indoors.

Live Focus mode indoors.
Image 7 of 8

Shot using the telephoto lens at night.

Shot using the telephoto lens at night.
Image 8 of 8

Wide angle lens.

Wide angle lens.

All the images in the gallery above are either night shots or indoor shots with enough light. But the issue with the camera comes into the picture when you use it in actual low-light scenarios where there's a limited source of light inside a room. 

Have a look at the picture of the dog below. 

The picture quality of the Galaxy S10 Plus' camera takes a hit when used in challenging light conditions. This was shot using the main lens inside a room with no direct light hitting the surface of the object. Clearly, the camera software softens the picture due to its aggressive noise reduction algorithm.

The picture quality of the Galaxy S10 Plus' camera takes a hit when used in challenging light conditions. This was shot using the main lens inside a room with no direct light hitting the surface of the object. Clearly, the camera software softens the picture due to its aggressive noise reduction algorithm.